Pool Pump Not Working After Power Outage or Rain

You may discover that your pool pump isn’t working after a power outage, and you may start to feel a little worried. There are a few reasons why a pool pump may not fire up after a power outage and we’ll go through them here. But not to worry, getting the pool pump back up and running will only take a few steps. 

When a pool pump isn’t turning on after a power outage, there are a few possible reasons for this to happen. Reasons for a pool pump not turning on include a circuit breaker that has tripped, the pump or the wiring to the pump could be damaged, the power outage could be ongoing or you could simply have a pump that is not primed correctly. 

Any of the above reasons could be the issue. In the next section, I’ll cover how to troubleshoot a pump that doesn’t come on after a power outage or storm.  

pool equipment
pool equipment

Four Reasons Your Pool Pump Is Not Working After A Power Outage And How To Fix

For a long time I was a technician and I quickly learnt that when troubleshooting a pool pump, or anything for that matter, start with the easiest things to check. Below is a list of the most common and easiest things to check if your pump has stopped after an outage. 

1. Circuit breaker has tripped

A common reason for your pump to not be working after a power outage is for the circuit breaker to be tripped.

To check if this is the problem, go to your power board and check all power, breakers and switches to make sure they are all in the “on” position.

circuit breaker
Try the circuit breaker if your pool pump has stopped after an outage.

Find the circuit breaker that is for your pool (your home will have more than one circuit breaker) and look for any tripped circuits – that is the circuit breaker will be in the “Off” position. It is common for circuits to trip after power outages so that the circuits don’t overheat.

If you discover a tripped circuit, simply reset the switch to alleviate the problem. And if it’s tripping repeatedly, see our article:
How to Fix Pool Pump Tripping Circuit Breaker (Repeatedly)

2. Pool Pump Timer Has Stopped Working or Isn’t the Correct Time

Your pool timer could be why the pump isn’t coming back on after a blackout.

A pool pump timer runs off the mains electricity and if the power goes out, then the timer will stop keeping time and also stop functioning.

To check this, firstly locate the pool pump timer (it’s usually with your pool equipment). Then check that the current time the timer is showing is set correctly. You’ll want to also check that it has power to it. 

pool timer
Pool timers stop when there is a blackout or outage.

For electronic pool timers, you’ll be able to see if the electronic display is working. If there’s power to it, check the current time is correct. Reset it if it’s not. Then you can do a manual override and switch it on. Hopefully your pump will come on.

For mechanical timers, for example an Intermatic brand timer, the clock dial should be turning. An easy way to check if there is power to the timer is to flick on the manual override switch. The pump should come on. If it does, reset the clock to correct time. Problem solved!

3. Local power outage

Is the power to your property still out?

A local power outage will stop your pump from working until power is restored or until your pump is connected to a backup power generator. If there is a local power outage for an extended period of time, you should be sure to turn off the circuit breaker that powers your pool pump to ensure that any power surges that may occur don’t damage your system.

If the outage occurs with freezing temperatures, you should also open the pump lid, drain plugs and filter the air bleed valve until power is restored. If your pool pump runs on a timer, you will also want to check on the timer when the power returns. Power outages can disrupt the timer and you may need to set it back to your preferred schedule.

4. Pump Not Primed Properly

If your circuit breaker and timer all look to be in proper working condition and you took proper steps to protect your pool during a local power outage, but your pump is still not working properly, you may have simply lost your prime during the power outage. 

First of all, can you hear any noise coming from the pump? Is the motor running but not water is flowing?

If that’s the case, you will need to prime your pool pump again to get it running. To do this, turn the pump off and remove the pump lid then fill the basket area of the pump with hose water. After that, replace the lid, turn the pump on and open the filter bleed valve (located on top of the filter – this bleeds the air from the system)  and let the water circulate. 

If all is OK, you can close the bleed valve again.

If the pump continuously does not prime correctly, you should check for a suction leak if there is not enough water in the strainer basket or if the water level of the pool is correct. Check for any air leaks in the pipes and ensure the pump lid is secured tightly.

You may also want to check to see if there is blockage or damage to the impeller caused by debris. Be sure you are giving the pump enough time to prime. People will often restart the process thinking the pump wouldn’t prime but didn’t give it enough time. 1-2 minutes is usually enough time for the pump to prime. 

pool pump
pool pump

5. Power surge has damaged the pump or wiring to pump

In addition to a tripped circuit, a power surge can damage the pump itself or the wiring to the pump.

Check the wiring to the pump first to determine if there is an issue you can see visually before checking the pump itself.

Check all wiring for any loose connections, blown fuses, open switches or relays. If loose wires are detected, reconnect for a tight fit or, if needed, replace wiring or fuses as needed. Make sure you do these steps with the circuit breaker switched off.

If no issues are detected with the wiring, check the rotation of the motor shaft to see if it is obstructed or broken. If the motor makes a humming noise, your issue could be a bad start up capacitor that will need to be replaced. If none of these are the issue, the storm could have damaged the pump itself and it may need to be replaced.

What To Do After a Power Outage

The first thing to do is to get your pool pump running again. Follow the steps in above to do this.

After you have got your pool pump back up and running following a power outage, it is very important to make sure your water chemistry is where it needs to be.

Pools need regular filtering. A power outage could lead to cloudy water, imbalanced PH, low chlorine or more. And if you’ve had heavy rain and/or wind, it is also a good idea to skim and vacuum any debris out of the pool to prevent any possible blockages in your pump. 

After the power outage and after the pump has been restarted, you should let it run for 2-3 hours to let it circulate and filter the water. After the hour, come back and test the water to ensure proper water chemistry and balance the chemicals as needed.

If the power was out for an extended period of time, you may need to shock your pool and filter it continuously for 24-48 hours. 

Final Thoughts

Whenever your pool pump doesn’t start after an outage, always start at the circuit breaker. If it’s tripped, it is just a simple flip of the switch to get you going again. If not, check the wiring and ensure the motor is in good condition and the pool is primed properly and don’t forget to check the timer, if you use one. It is also good practice to turn your circuit breaker off any time a local power outage occurs to protect your pool pump.