How to Troubleshoot a Swimming Pool Timer


A swimming pool timer is a tool to help save energy in the operation of your swimming pool. By turning the pool's pumps on and off at prescribed times, you can run the pumps when you need to and shut them off during the hours the pool isn't in use. Some newer electronic timers not only operate the pumps, but they may also control the heaters and the lighting system for the swimming pool. Generally you can troubleshoot pool timer problems before you call a service technician.

Troubleshoot Pool Timer Problems

  • Check the electrical supply to the swimming pool timer. For automatic timers, check to see if the LCD panel shows that the timer is set. For dial timers, look at the timer and note the position of the dial. Also note the position of the "on" pin and the "off" pin. Let a few hours pass and return to check the timer. If the dial is in the same position, the swimming pool timer either isn't working properly or it's not getting electricity. You should also see the gears behind the dial timer working if there is electrical power to the timer.

  • Examine the circuit breaker that operates the swimming pool timer. It should be in the "on" position. If it is in the "off" position, turn it on and see if the pool timer dial resumes turning.

  • Make sure the manual override switch is on. You can find this switch under the pool timer dial.

  • Reset the swimming pool clock if the electricity has been off. Otherwise the swimming pool timer may operate at odd hours. Gently pull out the time indicator bar. Align the bar with the current time and push it back into place.

  • Move the start and stop pins to appropriate times for swimming pool filter operation. Partially loosen the screw that holds the "off" pin in place. Slide it around the pool timer dial to the correct start time and re-tighten it. Repeat the process for the "on" pin. As the hours of swimming pool use increase during the peak swimming season, you may need to adjust these pins periodically.

  • Keep the pool timer clock dial free of the on and off pins. If the dial hand gets bent, it may snag on the pins keeping the pool timer from operating properly. You can easily straighten the dial hand.

  • Realize the swimming pool timer only operates the low-speed pump and not the high speed one.

Tips & Warnings

  • While you can troubleshoot pool timer problems, hire a licensed electrician to handle the replacement of a defective swimming pool timer.

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  • Photo Credit swimming pool image by apeschi from
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