Step-By-Step Swimming Pool Motor Replacement

backyard pool

Those of you keeping up with the trials and tribulations know about the swimming pool pump and motor giving up the ghost after many years of operation. Yesterday afternoon I went by my local swimming pool company and purchased a Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump and also a new bag for the Polaris, total bill was a little over $650.  I was hoping the pool store had compression fitting but it was out of stock, so I then headed to Lowe’s to pick up some PVC pipe, 1.5″ in diameter, PVC Pipe Cleaner, Primer and Cement(Medium Duty Cement works fine on Pool Applications).  I also highly recommend using cleaner as joining to existing PVC you can expect the old pipe to be dirty. Word of advice, the PVC cleaner will take the paint off of anything it touches, and that includes the pretty new paint on the motor.  I also picked up a PVC Saw at Lowes, $15 for the Superior Tool Model. My total pool bill yesterday was a little over $700.

What Tools Do I Need?

You will need a few tools to remove and install a new swimming pool pump. Here is what I used, a Superior Tool 12″ Pipe Wrench, also called a Stilson wrench, the aforementioned PVC Saw(You can also use a hacksaw or I could have used my M12 Milwaukee PVC Shear.  You will also need a nut driver to remove the motor’s electrical cover or a slotted screwdriver. I recommend the nut driver. I used my M12 Milwaukee Compact Drill/Driver but a standard nut driver would have worked fine.  A pair of wire cutters to prep and bend the wire to supply 230v power to the motor.  I also used a knife and sandpaper. The knife to chamfer the edges of the old PVC pipe and sandpaper to prep the old pipe so it could accept the new fittings.  Pick up a roll of teflon tape if you don’t have one. You will need it for your threaded connections to the motor.

Kill the Power!

The first step in this project is to remove the old unit. Before even touching the motor, kill the power to the pump at the switch box and also the breaker that supplies power in general to the swimming pool power box. I have a breaker located outside in the filter area that controls the heater, Polaris Pump and also the main Swimming Pool Pump Motor. Kill the power here. But also kill the power on your main breaker box circuit that feeds power to the exterior breakers. (Click on any of the below pictures to see an enlarged version for better detail.)

Measure and Cut the Old PVC Pipe

Before cutting anything, make sure you will have enough pipe that you can attach your new fittings to.  I measured my new male threaded connector and cut a portion of pipe so that the new connection would be the same length as the old connections.  This is very important and helps maintain the same distances of piping so that when you cement the new PVC the pump connections fall int he same place as the old ones. If you mess up, you will need to correct the connections by using additional lengths of PVC or by cutting and rejoining the new pipe to the existing pipes that lead to the filter on the top side or from the pool on the horizontal inlet pipe. Try and get it right using the fewest joints. Fewer joints means fewer potential trouble spots with leaking or total blow outs.

Cutting the 1.5″ PVC Pipe with a Superior Tool PVC Saw

Electrical Disconnect and Reconnect to the New Motor

Once removed, take the two screws out that hold the case cover on the end of the motor of see the picture for location. Chances are you will need a nut driver for this task as the screws are likely corroded from being exposed to weather and high levels of chlorine. Once the cover is off you will see the wires connected to the wire post and held down by HWH screws. Loosen the two screw holding the supply wires to the motor and also remove the ground wire attached to the green screw. The ground wire is usually a bare copper wire but I have seen occasions where it was not. Remove the clamp from the motor case that holds the wires in place and remove the three wires from the motor.

Note the location of the two screws that attach the electrical cover to end of the motor

(Ensure the Power is Off!!) Repeating the same procedure, remove the end cover from the new pump and attach the wires per your pump’s instructions. I use 230V service because that is what the previous pump used. The Hayward pump also had the option to be wired for 115V service by moving  a connector marked in the photograph.  If you have 230V service, use it. Your service wires will run much cooler due to the lower amperage at 230V. Depending on style attach the wire clamp to the wire but leave it loose until its time to close up the case. Check the condition of the existing wiring and replace if corroded or worn.  Clean the wire ends and bend them around a screwdriver’s metal barrel if necessary to attach around the wire post.  Attach the feed wires to the two post and the ground wire to the green screw located away from the service(hot) connectors. Fasten the clamp to the motor housing and tighten the clamp to hold the wires in place. I dab silicone on this area to ensure a weather proof seal around the pool electronics.

Note the two wire post for attaching the supply wires and the 110v warning

Attach the PVC Male Couplers to the Pump Housing

You can attach the horizontal intake fitting first or the vertical outlet fitting, on this part it makes no difference.  Wrap in a clockwise rotation the male threads of the fitting with several layers of Teflon tape.  I build up my tape layers the higher up I go. This provides a margin of error in case there are irregularities in either the PVC fitting or the pump’s threads.  You can also pre-prime the slip side of the connector so that is has time to dry before you cement the new and the old PVC together.  Here is where you need your pipe wrench. Use it to tighten the PVC connector to the pumps inlet and outlet threaded holes. Here is my trick on preventing cross threading. Instead of tightening the PVC first, twist the fitting counter-clockwise until it seats in the threads and then begin tightening. In the battle between PVC and steel, steel wins and you can easily cross thread your PVC which will result in a leaky joint.  Use your wrench to tighten the PVC connectors to both the inlet and the outlet. The Teflon tape aids in this effort. It acts as a lubricant and  a sealant.

Wrap Teflon Tape Clockwise Around Male Threads
Use a pipe wrench to tighten the connector into the threaded port on the pump

Clean, Prime and Cement

Beginning with the horizontal intake side, prep the old PVC by cleaning it with the solvent cleaner. I used Oatey’s PVC Cleaner(Yellow Can) and then primed the inlet pipe coming from the pool.  I used Oatey’s Medium Duty Cement and coated both the old PVC and the new fitting attached to the pump inlet. Your cement is going to harden, so I suggest using it and throwing it out after you finish this job.  Carefully line up the old line coming from the pool with the new PVC connector on the inlet(horizontal).  If needed support the back side of the pump so that when you join the inlet to the pipe coming from the pool, the pump will not twist or rock breaking the weld of the cement.  Once you have cemented the two pipes joined you will need to let this connection cure for 30 minutes before attempting to repeat this procedure for the outlet connection. Patience is required when working with PVC. Allowing a little time now can save having to redo these connections later. Once the horizontal is cured, repeat the procedure for the vertical outlet connector on top of the pump. I measured wrong on my horizontal cut and had to correct on my vertical connection to ensure that the pipes lined up with the pump connection.

Final Assembly of a 1.5 HP Hayward Pump Replacing an Older Model

Patience is a Virtue

Once you have finished cementing your outlet connector to the PVC pipe that leads to the filter allow the fitting to cure for two hours before allowing any water to come into contact with the fittings. I know you want to turn your new pump on to see how well it works, but do you really want to do this whole exercise over again? Let the cement cure according to the label.  After curing time has passed turn the power on at the main breaker and then return to the pump area and switch the power on while observing the connections for leaks. Be prepared to immediately turn the power off at the first sign of trouble or leakage! Do not stand in a wet area when there is voltage present, go back inside and turn the power off at the main breaker.

Hopefully you have been patient and no leaks are found. Now, you will also need to check your old PVC connections as sometimes the jarring of the lines causes problems in the older connections also.

Thanks to Swimming Pool Services of Birmingham, Alabama and as always thanks to Lowe’s!

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