Why Is My Pool Pump Pressure Low? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Why Is My Pool Pump Pressure Low

Pool pumps are one of the most important parts of your pool. Your pool pump needs to be able to move the water through its system as a part of cleaning. Having the right pressure in your pool pump’s flow is priceless. A typical pool pump operates at 10 to 15 psi. When it dips below that, you should be concerned. What does that mean for you, and your pool?

A lower-than-average pool pump pressure reading can be caused by a variety of different issues. These include:

  • Low Water Levels
  • A Leak
  • A Clog In The Pump System
  • Clogged Filters
  • Clogged Baskets
  • Too Many Features Turned On

Before you panic and assume that you need to get a new pool pump, it’s important to troubleshoot the cause. You might be able to fix it all on your own.

Don't want to do it yourself?
Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.


Before You Begin: Is It Your Pressure Gauge?

Before you assume that your water pressure is very low, check the pressure gauge. Turn off your pump, and see if the gauge goes to 0. If it doesn’t, your gauge is stuck and it needs to be replaced. So, rest easy. This means that your pool pump is probably perfectly fine.

How To Troubleshoot Low Pool Pump Pressure

Once you’ve fully ascertained that it’s not your pressure gauge, it’s time to do the real troubleshooting. We’re going to break it down for you by cause.

Too Many Features Turned On

Do you have all your fountains and waterfalls turned on at the same time? That could be the issue. This is a simple fix. Turn off the ones you’re not using.

Low Water Levels

The other major “easy fix” is to take a look at the water levels. If your pool’s water level isn’t reaching the midpoint of your skimmer, then your pool doesn’t have enough water to make your pump work well. Fill it up to the midpoint of your skimmer and you should be good to go.

Clogged Collection Baskets

You have two baskets in your pool pump and filter system. They are your skimmer basket and your strainer basket. Both are there to help contain the gunk and debris that your filter won’t be able to handle. Both baskets will end up getting cloggy if they aren’t emptied. When they get too bulked up with debris, it will negatively affect your pump pressure. Remove any gunk you see in them, and wait to see if things work better.

A Clogged Filter

On a similar note, having a filter that is filled to the brim with debris will also slow down your pump’s ability to work well. At times, this can cause high water pressure. Other times, it can be a cause of lower water pressure. If you have a sand pool filter, turn it on backwash mode and get your filter cleaned out. You will be able to handle a lot more flow now, hopefully.

A Clog In Your System

Did you notice that your pool pump’s pressure just doesn’t make sense? At times, you might have a problem with debris getting stuck in your piping. The best way to make sure that clogs aren’t your issue is to use this troubleshooting quickie:

  1. Turn off and unplug the pool pump and filter. You don’t want to do this while it’s working.
  2. Remove the strainer basket from your pump and check the impeller. If you notice that the impeller (that little blade) has something blocking it, use a wire to dislodge and remove the item.
  3. Replace the basket, then turn to the skimmer. Use your handy dandy wire to poke around in the skimmer’s area. Sometimes, the basket doesn’t catch all the debris. When this happens, it can clog your piping. Push the wire around the area where your skimmer reaches the plumbing. If it’s all clear, you’re good to go. Otherwise, remove the clog.

Note: If you cannot find a leak in your pool pump, call a pool tech to see if a clog or a leak is the problem. Sometimes, both issues can be notoriously hard to spot!

A Leak In Your Pool Pump

I’m going to be real with you. This is the worst thing that can happen to your pool pump in most cases, simply because it often signals the end of your pool pump’s lifespan. Even so, you *might* be able to repair it if you know where the leak is. Here’s how to try to troubleshoot it:

  1. Turn off and unplug the pool pump. It’s good not to tinker with a pump that’s in use, usually.
  2. Check the pool pump’s suction pipe. Most fixable pool pump leaks happen because the O-ring around the suction starts leaking. Try to secure it if you notice water pooling in the area. If it doesn’t work, then try to replace it.
  3. Then, take a look at the diverter valve at the front of the pump. The diverter is in charge of routing all the water from the pool to the filter and to the drainage. If your diverter valve is leaking, it’s often best to try to call a professional to find out what your options are. You may have to replace seals, or just get a new valve.
  4. Finally, if all else fails, check out the smaller fittings. A good way to figure out where the leak is coming from, if you want to try, is to add food coloring to the water in the skimmer. Then, turn on the pump and wait. You will be able to see where the leak is by tracing where the food coloring bleeds out.

When Should You Call A Professional?

It’s a personal decision. Most people will be able to handle a pool pump with low PSI on their own, at least when it’s a more mundane issue. However, if you suspect a leak or believe that there is a deep-seated clog that you can’t get with a wire, it might be a good idea to call a pro. Of course, if you ever feel like you’re in over your head, no one will hate on you for calling a professional.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Pool Pump?

This all depends on if you do it on your own (potentially free) or if you hire a professional. A professional will charge between $60 to $600 to fix most pool pump-related problems. Leaks and clogs will cost around $60 to $250 in most cases, while a full replacement of your pool pump tends to be closer to $600. 

Don't want to do it yourself?
Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.


Related Questions

How long should a pool pump last?

A pool pump should last a minimum of 10 years in most cases, with more durable models being able to last up to 15. The bottom limit for pool pump lifespans is around eight years, but that’s the exception to the rule rather than the case. To get a better idea of your pool pump’s lifespan, check the warranty.

How high should my pool pump’s pressure be?

Most pool pumps operate best between 10 to 25 psi. Any lower, and there is probably an issue with conducting water flow adequately. Any higher, and there’s a chance that the pressure could lead to your pump being broken. In extreme cases, a high psi rating may suggest that your pool pump is about to blow.

Can a pool pump be too large for a pool?

Believe it or not, the answer is yes. A pool pump can be too large or too powerful for a pool. When you get a pool pump that’s too big or powerful, you may notice that your filter will start to struggle. The sheer force of the pump may end up harming your filter over the long term. You may also notice that your pump will kick into a dangerously high pressure or start to leak faster. Stick to a pump for your pool size!

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

Recently Published