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How to Undo a Stuck Pool Pump Lid Without Breaking It

Is the strainer lid of your pool pump stuck? Have you tried draining off the pressure and even attempted brutal methods but the little guy is staying put? It must be frustrating, but we have a solution for you.

In this article, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to undo your tight or stuck pool pump lid without breaking it.

The best and safest way to undo a tight pool pump lid is to use a pool pump lid wrench. Fasten the wrench securely on the pump’s lid, and twist it anti-clockwise. It offers a firm grip making it easier to undo tight lids. Another unsanctioned method is to apply a lubricant around the lid; WD40 spray does magically unfasten tight seams. 

There are actually four different ways you could use to loosen your tight pool pump lids. Keep reading to find out what they are and check out our tips to prevent your lid getting stuck again.

pool pump lid
pool pump lid

Your Pool Pump Lid Is Stuck? (Here Is How To Undo It Safely)

The lid to a pool pump is also called a strainer lid, and it is essential as it is the secret behind the general performance of the pump when in action.

It acts as the only access point to the inside of the pump. It’s also an important feature to be able to  observe if the water is being properly pumped and the pump is in good condition. For the pump to work properly, the lid must provide an airtight seal.

The lid comes second among the parts that pool owners and pool technicians replace on a pool’s pump. That means there’s a lot of pool owner’s struggling to undo their lid.

After cleaning out the strainer basket or any other repair inside the pump, you may overdo things and over tighten the lid. Or the threads may be old and damaged or dirty. Which means the next time you want to access the inner parts of the pump, you find that the lid won’t budge.

The mistake many people make trying to open a stuck pump lid is to brutally force the lid open, which might crack it, which leads to a leaking pump.

Related Reading: What to Do About a Frozen Pool Pump | How to Unfreeze

4 Ways to Open a Stuck Pool Pump Lid

You should first try opening it like you normally would before you engage more forceful methods. Your goal is to avoid damaging the lid, or damaging the connected pipes.

There are four ways of opening a strainer lid;

  1. The normal way
  2. Use a pool strainer lid wrench
  3. Spray WD40 on the seams
  4. Use a rubber mallet

1. The Normal Way

Pool pump lids vary in design. Sometimes you’ll find two handles on either side of the lid. And other times there is indents or protruding plastic on the lid that is meant for holding with both hands when you are opening or closing the pump. 

Before you start, you want to make sure you’re turning it the correct way to loosen it. On the top surface of the lid, there are often four curved arrows indicating which direction the lid is supposed to be rotated when opening. Usually, it’s pointing anti-clockwise.

You’ve likely already tried this but give it one more go before moving on. Try holding firming to the handles or the plastic parts of the lid, and give the lid a good twist clockwise. 

If that doesn’t work, try holding on the handle that is on the left with your left hand and with the palm of your right hand, try tapping or thumping the other side of the lid to crack the seal (no break it).

If it moves, keep tapping as the lid softly comes off until the threads on the lid are fully unsealed.

2. The Pool Strainer Lid Wrench

The next thing you should try is a pool pump lid wrench. A pool pump lid wrench is a lid opener that is fastened on the pump’s lid to provide extra grip and leverage to open the lid. It’s very safe to use and will often open a tight lid.

You’ll also find that there are wrenches suitable for all lids and there are lid removal wrenches that suit certain brands of pumps.

Here’s some common pool pump wrenches:

Multipurpose Lid Removal Tool / Strap Wrench

Boeray Strap Wrench
  • Perfect for removing tight plastic fittings without damage
  • Good for pump lids, stuck impellers, tight unions
  • Also good for automobiles, oil filters, & more

This strap wrench is a multipurpose tool to remove lids of all kinds. It’s great for undoing stuck pool pump lids and also for undoing car oil filters, pipe connections, jars and many other things.

Simply fit it around the lid. The yellow loop tightens around the light providing grip whilst the handle will give you the extra leverage you need to undo that stuck lid.

Hayward Pump Lid Removal Tool

Hayward SP3100T Pump Lid Removal Tool
  • Effortlessly remove pump lids
  • Compatible with Hayward Super pump models
  • Remove tight lids without breaking them

This tool here is suitable for undoing the lids on several Hayward Super series pumps.

Sta-Rite Lid Removal Tool

Pool Tool Lid - Removal Tool
  • Removes stubborn & tight-fitting pump lids
  • Provides a secure grip & makes lid removal effortless

These filter lids are notoriously difficult to undo. Using this tool will make your life much easier. For an extra tight lid, you can also gently tap the handle with a mallet to loosen the lid.

Every pool owner who values cleaning the strainer basket should have a pool pump lid wrench in their store in anticipation of such situations.

3. Spraying WD40 On The Seams/grooves

WD-40 Spray
  • Eliminates moisture-induced short circuits
  • Acts as a corrosion inhibitor to prevent rust
  • Lubricates & releases stuck or rusted metal parts 

On pool pump strainer lids, the magic is with the WD40 spray. The spray is sprayed around the joint where the lid comes into contact with the pump.

It’s best to apply the lubricant beforehand and allow it to penetrate for a few hours. During this time, the spray will lubricate the seams, traveling up the seams or the threads and making them slippery.

After you’ve waited a few hours, give this a go. And if it doesn’t work, try combining this with a lid opening wrench or a rubber mallet.

Aside from the strainer lid wrench, this is the best and most restraining method ever; the only downside is the window period.

4. Use Of A Rubber Mallet

If again the lid is still proving too tight to open, it’s time to try with more force. This should be a last result as you may break the lid or something else doing this.

Arm yourself with a mallet, preferably one made of rubber. The lid to the pump is plastic and fragile; a metal tool will definitely maim it or break the knobs altogether.

The mallet is an extra force so hit one of the knobs on the inner backside while being mindful of the directions on top of the lid.

The pipes will vibrate because of the impact of the force on the pump. Try not to use excessive force as you may damage the pipes.

Alternative hitting between the left handle and the right handle. 

Why Did My Pump Lid Get Stuck

Some pump lids are known for being difficult to open. My top tip for these type of lids is to invest in a pool pump lid opening wrench. That way you don’t need to struggle every time you try to clean out the strainer basket.

Some other pump lids usually open OK but can get stuck. Reasons your pool pump lid is tight or stuck include:

  • You didn’t use a seal lubricant
  • Overtightened lid
  • Dirty threads
  • Cross-threaded lid
  • Old rubber seal
  • Sealant used when doing up the lid (you shouldn’t need sealant)

Related Reading: Pool Pump Not Working After Power Outage or Rain

How to Prevent a Pool Pump Lid Getting Stuck

For other pumps that aren’t prone to always getting stuck,  there are a few things you can do to make your pump lids easy to open:

  • Do not overtighten the lid. Tighten it until you can’t go any further using gentle force then give it one last ¼” turn.
  • Clean the threads. With the lid off, use a toothbrush to clean the threads on the lid and the pump body. Make sure there is no dirt or debris stuck.
  • Careful not to cross-thread the lid. Cross threading is when you haven’t aligned the threads properly when you do the lid up. When tightening the lid, you shouldn’t need excessive force, if you do, you may have cross-threaded the lid. Undo it and start again.
  • Renew the rubber seal. 
TacParts Teflon Lubricant

This high-performance lubricant is specially formulated to provide long-lasting lubrication for seals. Its Teflon-based formula ensures smooth movement, reduces friction, and prevents wear and tear. 

Final Thoughts

As discussed earlier, the mistake many people make is to brutally force the lid open, which might break it and replace it. You should first try opening it like in typical situations as you gradually seek to engage more forceful methods. 

Once in a while, technical problems occur with the lid where the lid is stuck and no ordinary method is working. It is okay, and it is normal. But while at it, you might want to be careful enough not to hit the knobs to the point of breaking them and rendering the pumping unit disabled.