Skip to main content

How to Clean Out and Unclog a Pool Pump Impeller

Rob is a pool-service industry professional with over 20 years of experience.

Pool pumps aren't impossible to clean!

Pool pumps aren't impossible to clean!

How to Clean Pool Pump Impeller

The pump impeller is what pulls the water through and pushes it out. This can often become clogged when larger debris has gone beyond the pump basket and into the impeller. This is often caused by a cracked or broken pump basket.

The symptoms of a clogged impeller usually include low to no flow through the pump and low filter pressure. If you have a broken pump basket and a leafy pool, the chances are that the impeller will become clogged. If the impeller is NOT clogged, however, this indicates a different problem. Low flow and high filter pressure may point to a dirty filter.


How to Unclog the Impeller

Step 1:

Turn the pump off. I prefer turning the breaker off since you definitely do not want the pump turning on while doing this.

Step 2:

Insert a long screwdriver into the pump, as shown in the photo. Although you will not be able to see the impeller physically, you will be able to move it or turn it both clockwise and counterclockwise.

Step 3:

If the impeller is clogged, it will be a bit difficult to move at first. Work the impeller both ways until it begins to move more freely. You will be able to feel debris being removed with the end of the screwdriver, and you should even see some at the bottom of the pump.

Insert screwdriver to reach the impeller

Insert screwdriver to reach the impeller

Preventing a Clogged Impeller

Just a few simple things can prevent this from ever happening. First, make sure both your skimmer basket(s) and pump basket is not cracked or damaged. These will both become brittle and crack over a period of time due to the chemicals in the pool water. Replace these when they begin to show signs of wear.

Also, if you have a leafy pool and an automatic pool cleaner, please consider an in-line leaf canister for the pool sweep. They hold a lot more debris than the pump basket and prevent anything from entering the pump basket.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Rob Hampton