2020 FAQ: How To Clean Pool Pump Impeller Inside and Out?

Having a pool is great. But, to keep that water fresh and clean there are some additional pieces of equipment required which come with some maintenance needs. A pool pump is a vital aspect for pushing water through the filter system and circulation which maintains even temperature and dispersion of chemicals throughout the pool. So this brings about the question: How to clean pool pump impeller inside and out?

Clogs are one of the most common issues you are likely to run into with the pump so this is usually the first thing to check if you are experiencing issues. If your filter pressure seems abnormally low, there is a screeching or strained sound from the pump motor, or if the automatic pool cleaner is moving slowly you may need to clean out your pool pump impeller.

It doesn’t take much to restrict water flow so be sure to check for tree droppings such as leaves, flowers, and pine needles or other particles that may fit through the basket such as grass clippings, small pebbles or sand, or even pieces of the pool lining or cover that may be disintegrating.

What is a Pool Pump Impeller?

The pump impeller is responsible for the pressure of the water exiting the pump into your pool. It is seated behind the pump’s basket and features a set of fan-like blades that are spun by the motor to push the water through to the diffuser, out of the pump and into the pool.

How to know if your pool pump impeller is clogged

When researching how to clean pool pump impeller parts, there are two main tells as to whether your impeller is clogged or not:

  • Your filter pressure is abnormally low – the difference in pressure will be noticeable if there is an issue
  • Abnormal sounds from pump motor – if your pump motor sounds strained or if it makes any type of mechanical noise such as grinding or screeching this is an indicator that your impeller is likely clogged

There are a couple of possible contributors to low pressure you may want to eliminate before tackling the impeller. If you have a vacuum for your pool look over the hose to check for any cracks. This is easy to do by pulling the hoses above the water and listening for any air coming out.

If there is, then that hose needs to be replaced. Also check to make sure the filter and skimmer basket are clean, as they can get clogged too since this is where debris should collect before having a chance to reach the impeller. If you determine there is a clog in the impeller, check the basket for any cracks that may be allowing contaminants to pass through to the impeller.

Correcting Pool Pump Impeller Clogs

Method 1: Wire Hanger and Pliers

  • Step 1: Turn off the power at the circuit breaker to avoid your pump inadvertently turning on while you are cleaning the impeller as this can cause injury
  • Step 2: Gain access to the pump and prepare a pump for cleaning by unscrewing the pump lid. Check to ensure the filter and pump basket are clean and then remove the strainer basket
  • Step 3: Make a hook tool – use the pliers to bend an end of the wire hanger in an approximately 1/2” hook shape. Create even better maneuverability of your hook tool by making a slight bend (>45º) about 6” above the hook
  • Step 4: clean the impeller – slowly insert the wire into the opening that leads to the impeller. When it stops and hits the impeller, start to gently fish around for debris and pull it out with the hook. Repeat as necessary until no more grime is coming out.
  • Step 5: replace the pump – put the strainer basket back in place, prime the pump with water, and screw the lid back on.

Method 2: Remove the Impeller for Cleaning

  • Step 1: Turn off the power to the pump at the breaker so that it cannot turn on to avoid any potential injury.
  • Step 2: Remove the screws in the middle of the pump body. There may be a clamp band that holds the seal plate to the volute so be sure not to accidentally remove the 4 motor bolts instead.
  • Step 3: Separate the housing that has just been unscrewed and pull out the assembly by removing the gasket away from the impeller. Be cautious as the motor may be hot.
  • Step 4: Remove any debris with your fingers or a piece of wire or pliers if necessary to reach deeper.
  • Step 5: Reassemble the pump by placing the assembly back in the housing and refastening with the screws.

Clog Prevention Tips and Efforts

  • Keep a pool cover on when the pool is not in use, especially if your pool is under or near trees that may drop leaves into the water.
  • Clean regularly by vacuuming the floor, skimming the water surface, and checking the filter basket more often.

Additional Resources