How to Clean a Pool Pump Impeller: The Ultimate Guide

Regular maintenance is vital for the proper functioning of your swimming pool, and a clean pool pump impeller plays a crucial role in keeping the water pristine. In this updated guide, we’ll explore the common causes of a dirty impeller, how to clean pool pump impeller, and preventive measures to avoid future clogs. Let’s get started.

Signs the Impeller is Clogged

To ensure you’re cleaning the impeller when necessary, it’s important to recognize the signs of a blocked impeller. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

Reduced Filter Pressure: If you notice a significant decrease in filter pressure, it could be a sign of a clogged impeller. While filter pressure naturally increases over time, a sudden drop indicates that the impeller may be obstructed. Lower pressure means the pump is not effectively circulating the same amount of water.

It’s worth noting that low pressure doesn’t always indicate a blocked impeller. Other factors such as closed valves, blocked lines, or a full skimmer basket can also cause reduced filter pressure. Consider these possibilities before proceeding with impeller cleaning.

How to Clean Pool Pump Impeller?

The pool pump impeller plays a vital role in circulating water through the system. However, it can become clogged when larger debris passes beyond the pump basket and reaches the impeller. This is often caused by a cracked or broken pump basket. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean the pool pump impeller:


Step 1: Turn off the pump

For safety reasons, start by turning off the pump. It is recommended to switch off the breaker to ensure the pump doesn’t accidentally turn on during the cleaning process.

Step 2: Access the impeller

Insert a long screwdriver into the pump, aiming to reach the impeller. Although you won’t physically see the impeller, you can manipulate it by gently turning it clockwise and counterclockwise.

Step 3: Check for clogs and remove debris

If the impeller is clogged, it may initially be challenging to move. Work the impeller back and forth until it starts to move more freely. As you do this, you’ll feel debris being dislodged, and you may even see some debris accumulating at the bottom of the pump.

By following these steps, you can effectively clean the impeller and remove any clogs that are hindering water flow. Remember to exercise caution throughout the process to avoid any injuries or damage to the pump.

How Often Should You Clean a Pool Pump Impeller?

Cleaning the pool pump impeller should be done when there are noticeable issues with the pump or filter pressure. By inspecting the pump basket on a weekly basis, you can identify any problems related to the impeller.

To minimize the need for more involved impeller cleaning, it is recommended to clean the pump basket on a weekly basis. Start by turning off the power to the pump, then remove the pump lid and check the basket for debris. Rinse any accumulated debris using a garden hose.


While inspecting the pump basket, also check for cracks or other damage on both the basket and lid. If everything appears to be in good condition, securely place the lid back on the basket, turn on the pump’s power, and resume regular operation.

However, if you perform the regular maintenance and notice that the pressure is not building up or there is no water flow through the pump lid, it indicates a more serious issue, requiring a thorough cleaning of the pump impeller.

Preventing a Clogged Impeller

Taking a few preventive measures can help you avoid the occurrence of a clogged impeller. Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent impeller clogs:

  • Maintain the skimmer and pump baskets: Ensure that both the skimmer basket(s) and pump basket are in good condition and not cracked or damaged. Over time, exposure to pool chemicals can cause these baskets to become brittle and prone to cracking. Regularly inspect them and replace them as soon as signs of wear or damage appear.
  • Consider an in-line leaf canister: If you have a leafy pool and use an automatic pool cleaner, using an in-line leaf canister for the pool sweep can be highly beneficial. These canisters have a larger debris-holding capacity compared to the pump basket and act as an additional barrier to prevent debris from entering the pump basket. This helps in reducing the likelihood of impeller clogs caused by larger debris.

Final Thought

In wrapping up, knowing how to clean a pool pump impeller is essential for proper pool maintenance and optimal performance. The impeller, as the heart of the circulation system, can become clogged with debris over time, leading to reduced doing its job well and potential damage. By recognizing the signs of a clogged impeller, such as low filter pressure and decreased water flow, you can determine when it’s time to clean the impeller.

With a few basic tools and following a step-by-step process, you can effectively clean the pool pump impeller. It involves turning off the pump, accessing the impeller, and removing any debris that may be obstructing its movement. Regular maintenance, including inspecting and cleaning the pump and skimmer baskets, can help prevent impeller clogs in the first place.

Remember to exercise caution, use appropriate tools, and follow the recommended steps to avoid common mistakes while cleaning the impeller. By practicing regular maintenance and promptly addressing impeller-related issues, you can ensure the longevity of your pool pump and enjoy a clean and efficient swimming experience.

So, whether you are a pool owner or considering becoming one, understanding how to clean a pool pump impeller is a valuable skill to have. By incorporating this knowledge into your pool maintenance routine, you can keep your pool pump in excellent condition, prevent clogs, and enjoy a clean and well-circulated pool.