The pool pump can be considered the heart of the pool system. It pulls water from the pool through the skimmer and main drain, pushes it through the filter, and returns it to the pool through the main returns. The pump itself consists of three components: The motor, impeller, and hair and lint trap. The motor is electric and uses 220 volts. It is air cooled, and because of this is not perfectly sealed from the environment, so caution should be taken to keep excess water from entering the motor through the cooling vents located on the underside of the housing. Connected to the end of the shaft of the motor is the impeller. As it turns, it pulls water in through the hair and lint trap at the end of the pump and pushes it out the top of the pump through a pipe leading to the filter. The impeller contains small openings and is very susceptible to becoming clogged with debris. If the pressure on the gauge at the top of the filter is reading lower than the recommended levels, and if the amount of water flowing back to the pool has decreased, it is possible that the impeller is either clogged or damaged. This can be determined by separating the assembly at the impeller housing and checking the impeller visually. A special hair and lint trap is located at the end of the pump assembly to prevent debris from entering the impeller assembly. Inside the hair and lint trap is a basket, which should be checked and emptied at least twice per week. If the basket were clogged, the flow of water into the pump would be restricted and the pump would begin to pump air instead of water. This is known as a "loss of prime". At this point, the motor would begin to turn faster, and would eventually burn out. If this basket were not present, the impeller could become clogged, which would prevent it from pumping large quantities of water, or it could become damaged.
If you do not own a timer, get one. Swimming pool pumps should be run an average 8 hours a day to properly circulate and clean your water. The pump should push your entire pool in gallons in this 8 hour period of time.
The pump needs to be backwashed once a week. Before backwashing, it is important that the pump be turned off to avoid damage to the backwash valve mechanism.
Taking good care of your swimming pool pump will prolong it's lifetime considerably.