DIY Pool Pump

With the weather getting downright hot, I spent time this last week fixing all (well almost all) the pinholes in our above ground vinyl pool.  The Swimline Hydro Tools vinyl repair kit did the job and can be found at your pool supply store.  The pool is 10 feet in diameter and holds about 1000 gallons.  After cleaning out all the leaves, scrubbing the bottom, filling it up with water, and changing the filter, we were ready to go.

I plugged in the pump and…no water!

The pump impeller was stuck.  I took it apart and found that the little permanent magnet pump spindle, with the impeller on the top had corroded and broken up so that the shaft rubbed against the inside of the housing.  It was shot.

I looked around online and found a new 530 gph (the size packaged with the pool) Intec pump for between $40 and $60.  I found Intec 800 gph ($80 to $100) and 1500 gph ($100) models both locally and online.  The smaller two were bolt-in replacements.  The 1500 gph model would need to be re-plumbed.

Why do it the easy way when you can DIY?

I wanted a solution to my problem that would work for more that a season or two.  I didn’t have much faith in the cheapo plastic pump and filter systems that were available.

I found a compact little cast iron electric pump for $50 at a local Northern Tools store.  The flow was 720 gph at about 50 psi.  Since the filter worked OK and was the same one used with the 800 and 1500 gph models, I figured I’d just retain the filter and adapt the Northern pump, in place of the cheesy little internal pump.

To use the filter, all that really had to be done was cut off the impeller housing, inside the filter canister and remove the impeller and shaft.  I put the filter back it, bolted the motor assembly (without the impeller and shaft) back on the bottom of the filter and it was ready.

I used the old cord from the Intec pump and wired it into the Northern motor.  The connections are neatly packaged in a little water resistant black plastic box, on the top of the pump.  The motor is rated at 1/2 HP and the Kill-A-Watt show that it consumed right at 300 watts (at 120 volts AC), when running.

Next I plumbed in the 1 inch PVC pipe to the pump and used 1-3/8 heater hose to connect the filter to the inlet side of the pump and the pool water intake.  Working with PVC pipe is so easy.

The pipes were all glued together with solvent and the hose clamps tightened.

The project took a few hours and a couple of trips to get parts.  Just like any other DIY project.

It turned out very nicely and now I have a bulletproof pool filter that I expect to run indefinitely.  I watch the flow of water coming from the discharge pipe, into the pool, and when the rate drops, I know it’s time to clean the filter.

Take a look at the photo to see how neat and clean it turned out.



About Rob Reilly

Rob is an independent consultant, writer, and speaker, specializing in Linux/Free software, hacking of just about everything, DIY and Maker Movement, and tech media. He has a BS in Mechanical Technology from Purdue University. Contact him at
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