Pump problems

Last night I’m lying comfortably on the couch, playing a game, when Sara comes upstairs from her float.  “The pump, it made a weird humming noise and then the circuit breaker blew.  I don’t know where the breakers are.”

There are in fact several, both two regular circuit breakers and two ground-fault interrupters.  Turns out it was the breaker on the power bar, so I reset it and gingerly tried the pump again.  Nothing but a weird humming noise.  I turned it right back off.

The only thing I could think of was stories I’d heard of epsom salt crystallizing inside pumps, and it suddenly weighed on me that we hadn’t run ours in a couple weeks.  The cold snap had made the basement too chilly.

Today I plugged the pipes and opened the stopcock to drain the filter, then opened the pump.  Look what I found in the pre-filter basket:

Crystals of epsom salt
Crystals of epsom salt blocking my pump pre-filter.

Spiky, two-inch long epsom salt crystals.

I scooped out as much of the salt as I could by hand, then poured in fresh boiling water to dissolve the rest.  In the end, I showered no less than four times today to avoid tracking salt around.  But the pump is running again.

New rule:  we run the pump at least 10 min a day, every day.

About colin

Cofounder, FLOAT. Colin has been an astronomer and a software developer. He's watched the sun set from Angkor Wat and rise over the Arctic Circle, and believes that life is much too important to take seriously.