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How To Prime A Pool Pump

After installing the pump you must prime it with water prior to starting it up. To prime the pump simply fill the wet end of the pump with water. As you fill the wet end the water will drain out through the suction port of the pump. Fill the pump again with water and quickly replace the lid being sure that the lid gasket is seated properly before tightening. Once you have the lid in place then you can turn on the pump.

If your pump is installed below the height of the water level in the pool then priming should be easy as the water will make its way into the pump as soon as you open the isolation valve on the suction and return lines.

Above Grade Pool Pump Priming

If your pump is above water level then it will be harder for your pump to start as it will need to draw water all the way from the pool before priming. The higher above water level the more difficult it will be for you to prime the pump. It is recommended to let the pump run for one to two minutes and if it has not primed and begun to move water like normal then to shut down the pump and refill the strainer basket of the pump with water again. Repeat this process until the pump is able to prime.

The addition of a check valve (one way valve) on the suction lines can help the pump to prime on a system that is known to be difficult to prime. Another method to deal with a difficult to prime pool is to use either a priming plug or install a hose connection directly into the suction line of the pool in front of the pump suction port.

Difficult To Prime Pool Pumps

Both a priming plug and a hose connection on the suction line perform the same function. The priming plug is a regular expandable rubber plug like you use for winterizing your pool except that it has a hose connection so that you can put the plug into the skimmer suction port and drive water up to the pump by pushing water from a garden hose into the skimmer port.

Installing a hose connection directly into the suction line of the pool is a more permanent and easy to operate process than a priming plug in the skimmer. With this configuration you simply turn on the water supply until the pump has primed and then you can shut it off and the pump will maintain the prime. If the pump loses its prime after getting prime then you likely have a leak in the system and you need to double check any connections that you have made to ensure that they are air tight.

Continue on to see Common Pump Failures and learn how to prolong the life of your pool pump.

Pump Fact

Running a pump without priming it first will usually cause the pump to overheat and damage the main seal, the impeller or the motor itself