What is a Pool Booster Pump and How Does it Work?

If you’re a long-time swimming pool owner, chances are you’ve heard of a booster pump. If you’re new to pool ownership or considering investing in a pressure-side pool cleaner, you’re probably just learning about booster pumps.

What is a Pool Booster Pump and How Does it Work?
Pool Booster Pump

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Zodiac PB4-60 Polaris Booster Pump with 60-Hertz...
Zodiac PB4-60 Polaris Booster Pump with 60-Hertz...
Ultra high efficiency 3/4 horsepower motor; Heavy duty single piece base. Amps: 6.4/12.8; Captured backplate nut fasteners

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Pool Booster Pumps

A booster pump isn’t much different than the pump already connected to your swimming pool. After you hook up your booster pump, your automatic pool cleaner will receive more water pressure, so it can move and function.

Usually, a booster pump has a motor that pushes out 1 horsepower or less. While one of these pumps connects to your swimming pool much like the main pump, a pool booster pump does not come with a strainer basket like the main pump.

Pool Booster Pump
Pool Booster Pump

What are the Advantages of using a Booster Pump for your Pool?

As well as making sure you are getting the most from your pool cleaner, adding a booster pump is not expensive and a simple way to increase the quality and even lower the costs involved of operating a pool.

The additional pump can result in improved filtration, better results when warming the pool and a more effective chlorine distribution thanks to the improved circulation.

A pool booster pump would also give you the choice to increase pressure when you need it and also to run water features if you have some that require a bit more pressure.

What are the parts of a Booster Pump?

It is irrelevant who the manufacturer is, they would all have the same basic parts like:

  • The electric motor
  • Pump impellers
  • An inlet as well as an outlet
  • Pressing sensor or a flow sensor
Pool Cleaner Booster Pump
Pool Cleaner Booster Pump

Makers of Pool Booster Pumps

Three manufacturers dominate the pool booster market – Pentair, Hayward and Polaris/Zodiac. In terms of quality, all three manufacturers are on equal footing.

Often, you’ll notice that the manufacturers state in their products’ descriptions how their booster pumps are designed for exclusive use with their brand of pressure-side pool cleaners.

However, as long as the wiring and plumbing are aligned, you can safely and easily mix brands.

Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners

Before you learn how a booster pump works, you need to know how a pressure-side cleaner functions. Pressure-side swimming pool cleaners are powered by a pool’s return jets, which returns water back to the pool after the main pump filters it. These pool cleaners are different from suction-side cleaners, which utilize the water drawn by the skimmer to move.

To use a pressure-side pool cleaner, you must connect the cleaner to a hose; then, you attach the hose to a water jet. The way the cleaner is constructed allows the water to be sent through the cleaner’s sweeper, which lifts sediment, and the venturi, which suctions coarse particles.

As the force from the water expelled by the jet puts the cleaner in motion, the cleaner loosens debris. Large debris are collected by a skimmer bag while fine debris are trapped by the swimming pool’s filtration system.

Water also runs through the pressure-side cleaner’s thrust jet. As you may have guessed by the name, the thrust jet uses the flow of water to propel the cleaner. These cleaners also have a reverse valve that changes the redirects the water, so the cleaner can move in different directions.

How Does a Booster Pump Work
How Does a Pool Booster Pump Work?

How Pool Booster Pumps Work

Many pressure-side pool cleaners require a water pressure of at least 30 pounds per square inch in order to function. Before you hook up a booster pump, you have to set up the plumbing.

In most cases, this requires cutting the return pipe and adding a connector, so the water can run through the dedicated cleaner pipe.

As far as electricity goes, you’ll find that the majority of booster pumps are dual-voltage. This means they can run on 230 volts or 115 volts. If you opt for the 115-volt option, you usually have to convert the wiring first.

Booster pumps operate on centrifugal force, using one or multiple impellers to bring in water. As the water is sent through the pump’s impeller, or impellers, and the volute, the water pressure increases. Single-stage pumps only have one impeller, dual-stage pumps have two impellers and multi-stage pumps have more than two impellers. The more impellers, the higher the water pressure.

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Running a Booster Pump

All booster pumps are different, but there is one usage instruction everyone must follow – Only operate the booster pump when the main pump is running if the booster is not self-priming. Otherwise, you risk locking up the booster pump’s motor.

To keep yourself from making this mistake, you can connect an external timer to the booster pump. With a timer, the pool booster pump will start and stop by itself.

Plus, you can save electricity and enjoy more consistent water pressure even when the swimming pool’s skimmer basket is full.

Pool Booster Pump Guide
What is a Pool Booster Pump?

Keeping your Pool Booster Pump Quiet

Always consider that the pump may vibrate when in operation, and the way the pump is installed could worsen the noise if you’re not cautious.

Try not to fix the pump straight onto copper supply lines, because the vibration might resonate through the copper and it would sound like a plane going right through your home. Try using a flexible connector on both sides of the pump to avoid any noise it might create.

Troubleshooting

On the off-chance that you have a pump and are having issues with it, we’ve made a complete list of potential issues you might be experiencing. If that is the case, call in the services of an authorized professional to diagnose and fix the problem. There are some tests that a handy person could perform to fix simple issues.

Pump not Working

See if the pump is properly connected to the proper voltage. If it is a 230 Volt pump connected to 115 Volts or the other way around, it probably won’t work and you could likewise damage the pump.

Utilize a multimeter to make sure that the power provided does not go more than 10% outside of the voltage specified on the nameplate.

Also test the capacitor to check whether it is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.

Use a 1/4″ hex key through the cover on the fan and try to turn the driveshaft, if it doesn’t turn easily it may be damaged and will need to be replaced.

Booster pump for Pressure Pool Cleaner
Booster pump for Pressure Pool Cleaner

Cleaner not Working

Ensure that all valves are in the correct positions.

Clean the baskets of the skimmer, pump and the filter also.

See that all the settings are correct, as described in the manual.

It might be that the pump is not strong enough for all the bits of pool gear attached to it, like a hot tub and other features. If so, you will need to see that you have these features work independently and not all at the same time. You could also use a higher power setting on the pump if it’s able to do that, otherwise buy a bigger and stronger pump.

Air Pockets in the Basket of the Filter

If you notice that there are bubbles in the basket fitted to the filter, ensure that the water level of the pool is correct so that air isn’t being sucked into the pipes.

If the level is correct turn off the pump, remove the cover and check for anything obstructing the O-Ring on the lid and seal causing it to suck air. Clean it properly, put the cover back and tighten it by hand. The seal should seal properly and there should be no dirt on it.

Check the pipes on the suction side with the pump running and fix it if necessary.

Make sure the connections are all tightened properly and that no air can be sucked into it. You may have to utilize pliers to tighten the connections, but do not overtighten.

What is a Pool Cleaner Booster Pump?

Pressure Fluctuates or Drops

Inspect the impeller of the pump for indications of wear and tear and if you need to, replace it.

Ensure that the O-Ring is properly seated and does not show any damage.

Also ensure that the seal on the pump isn’t damaged and drawing in air. If you are able to hear some air movement, then call a professional to tend to it.

If it is quite a new installation, it might be that there is a problem with the connection. Ensure that the voltage is within 10% of the rating of the pump. If it is not then have an Electrician take a look.

Leaking Pump

If you notice a leak between the pump body and the motor itself, it could be an indication that the seal is damaged and should be replaced.

Overheating and Switching Off Regularly

Ensure that there is sufficient air ventilation around the pump to keep it cool while working.

Also ensure that the voltage supplied to the pump is correct.

How Does a Pool Booster Pump Work
Pool Booster Pump

Noisy Operation

Inspect to see if there are blockages, any leaks or garbage on the pump or around it. In the event that the pump is noisy when it’s working and you see any of these issues, correct them. Booster pumps have a number of hours it can operate, and it’s conceivable that it has run those hours and needs to be replaced.

What about a Booster Pump for Home use?

If you have the need to increase water pressure in your home, one pump would be able to do the job well enough. In some cases, well water clients getting water from a well will need to pressurize the stream to their homes.

If you have a borehole or well which is the source of your water, it might not provide enough water for the home and you would have to make use of a storage tank. Installing a booster pump would draw water from the tank and pressurize it into the house.

If the well or borehole can’t supply sufficient water to satisfy the demand, the idea would be to fill a tank to capacity and then from there pump it into the home for use.

Pool Cleaner Booster Pump Guide

Pool Booster Pump Accessories

Booster Pump Covers

A pump cover is the cheapest way to look after your equipment, if you live in an environment where you could have lot of rain and/or perhaps snow at certain times of year.

These pumps are meant to work outside and are able to handle all kinds of climate situations, but it is recommended that you consider buying a cover to protect your pump and extend the life cycle. A cover is an easy and inexpensive way to protect the pump if you have nothing else.

The air vents on some pumps will not be able to withstand water from rain or other sources like sprinklers.

booster pump for pool
Booster Pump for a Pool

Pool Shed

In case you already have a shed and there is sufficient space to place the pump inside it – with enough ventilation, that would be a great solution. It would really protect all the equipment you have all year.

A shed is suggested as a first option, as it is not too expensive and would protect your equipment well in any climate.

Our Recommended Pool Pumps

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Hayward W3SP1580X15 Power Flo Pool Pump, 1.5 HP
Pentair SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump,...
Zodiac PB4-60 Polaris Booster Pump with 60-Hertz...
Hayward W3SP1580X15
Pentair 342001
Zodiac PB4-60
• 1.5 HP Pool Pump
• 115V
• Heavy-duty motor
• Extra-large debris
• Drain plug
• 20.5 x 6.5 x 8.5 in
• 24 pounds
• 1.5 HP Pool Pump
• 115-230V
• Digital control keypad
• Three programmable speeds
• Real-time, 24-hour clock
• 28 x 15.5 x 12.5 in
• 52 pounds
• 3/4 HP Pool Pump
• 115/230V
• Ergonomic drain plug
• Larger volute seal o-ring
• Quick and easy installation
• 17 x 9.5 x 14.5 in
• 31 pounds
The Hayward W3SP1580X15 is a high performance pool pump, featuring a heavy-duty motor, which provides dependable performance and quiet operation. An extra-large debris basket keeps pool maintenance to a minimum, letting you enjoy your pool more.
The Pentair 342001 Variable Speed Pump brings remarkable energy cost savings of variable speed technology to everyday pools that require up to a 1.5-HP pump. They dramatically reduce energy costs by moving water more efficiently at lower speeds.
Delivering the best combination of high-performance power and durability — this Zodiac Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump is specifically designed to operate together with the Polaris pressure-side pool cleaners. Its compact, rugged design allows for maximum performance.
Best of the Best
Hayward W3SP1580X15 Power Flo Pool Pump, 1.5 HP
Hayward W3SP1580X15
• 1.5 HP Pool Pump
• 115V
• Heavy-duty motor
• Extra-large debris
• Drain plug
• 20.5 x 6.5 x 8.5 in
• 24 pounds
The Hayward W3SP1580X15 is a high performance pool pump, featuring a heavy-duty motor, which provides dependable performance and quiet operation. An extra-large debris basket keeps pool maintenance to a minimum, letting you enjoy your pool more.
Also Great
Pentair SuperFlo VS Variable Speed Pool Pump,...
Pentair 342001
• 1.5 HP Pool Pump
• 115-230V
• Digital control keypad
• Three programmable speeds
• Real-time, 24-hour clock
• 28 x 15.5 x 12.5 in
• 52 pounds
The Pentair 342001 Variable Speed Pump brings remarkable energy cost savings of variable speed technology to everyday pools that require up to a 1.5-HP pump. They dramatically reduce energy costs by moving water more efficiently at lower speeds.
Less HP
Zodiac PB4-60 Polaris Booster Pump with 60-Hertz...
Zodiac PB4-60
• 3/4 HP Pool Pump
• 115/230V
• Ergonomic drain plug
• Larger volute seal o-ring
• Quick and easy installation
• 17 x 9.5 x 14.5 in
• 31 pounds
Delivering the best combination of high-performance power and durability — this Zodiac Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump is specifically designed to operate together with the Polaris pressure-side pool cleaners. Its compact, rugged design allows for maximum performance.

This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!


Sources
HouseholdMe: Best Pool Booster Pumps in 2021
Energy: Best Pool Pumps
NREL: Best Variable Speed Pool Pumps
Australian Government: 3 Different Kind of Pool Pumps

Last update on 2021-05-08 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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