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Pool Pump Motor Humming and Clicking Off: Change the Run Capacitor (Starter Capacitor) Easy Fix!

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Added by shubnigg in Outdoors equipments


So your pool pump won’t startup. You go to turn it on and you hear a brief humming coming from the motor and then a loud click sound. Is it time for a new motor? Maybe, but maybe not just yet. It could be just the Run Capacitor or Starter Capacitor.

There are ways to test the Run and Starter Capacitor with a voltmeter (see below), but it is often a very simple process of listening to the pump as it tries to start. It sounds similar to when there is a jam in the impeller and this also can produce the humming and clicking off. So check the impeller also for any debris jammed in there. Also, if you have a Pentair Wisperflo pump I have also seen the seal plate warp and rub against the impeller and jam it. But more commonly it is a bad capacitor.

They are relatively inexpensive and very easy to change so it would not be a bad idea to just purchase a new one and swap it out with the old one to see if that does the trick. If you do the math a $10 or $20 part vs a $400 motor, it is very worth a shot. Of course, if the motor has been making loud grinding noises or getting very hot and clicking off it would not be the capacitor but the motor burning out. So you will have to know the difference and in this case you may need a new motor.

The Run Capacitors and Starter Capacitors are motor specific so you will need to get the correct replacement for your motor. There are several ways to do this. The best way is to turn the power off to your pump and remove the old capacitor. You will find the Run Capacitor on the top of the motor in a metal casing held down by 2 screws and most Starter Capacitors are located on the back of the pump. Both are held on by just two wires and the swap out is very simple and easy. Just make sure you have one wire on each of the two separate terminals and not both wires on just one.

Keep in mind that if you change the Capacitor and the motor does not startup, it is most likely burned out. The clicking noise is a safety feature so if you put in the new Capacitor and it still just click or no sound is produced, the motor is probably burned out and needs to be replaced.

You can also test the Capacitor with a Multimeter but there is some danger of it exploding so I only advise this to be done by a service professional. It is easier and safer to just swap it out in my opinion. But here is how you would check it courtesy of

“Testing the Capacitor with a Multimeter
Remove the cover at the back of the motor or on top of the motor to expose the capacitor. How To Test A Pool Pump Capacitor
The capacitor will store an electrical charge. It will need to be shorted out by placing an insulated screwdriver across the leads of the capacitor. CAUTION: Capacitors have been known to explode when shorted out. For this reason, wear eye protection and place a cloth over the capacitor before shorting it out.
Remove the leads to the pool pump capacitor. Note the placement of the leads so that you can restore them to their correct positions when you reconnect them.
Set the multimeter on ohms to 1K.
Slip a heavy piece of paper between the points on the switch.
Attach one probe to each terminal. On an analog meter, the needle should move rapidly to right then slowly drift to the left. If a digital meter is used, readings should start low and rapidly increase to the maximum value. If the needle or number starts at zero and doesn’t move, the capacitor is bad and therefore needs to be replaced.”

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