How To Prime A Pool Pump

One of the most important parts of the swimming pool is the pool pump. Sometimes, the pool pump may be on, but not circulating the water. A pool pump is mainly intended to pump water and also deal with small amounts of air in the system. If there is a lot of air getting into the system, the pump may “loose the prime.” Before you can start priming your pool pump, it’s important to establish why the prime first got lost before you try to get it moving again or you may fail.

There are two types of swimming pool pumps.
• Flooded suction
• Self priming
Most swimming pool pumps are self priming, but majority of pool cleaner pumps are the flooded suction type. This means that if your pump contains a strainer basket on it, then it means that it is a self priming pump. Ensure you maintain the O-Ring on the pump lid well lubricated so that the lid seals properly and you are also able to remove the lid much easier.

When the pump is correctly operating, the lid of the pump is usually under suction and the pump will compress the lid tighter. However, avoid making the pump lid too tight as it may become difficult to remove.

inground pool pumpWhat causes the pump to “loose its prime?”

Air in the system
Is your water level in the pool too low? Do you have any breaks on the suction plumbing? Did you winterize your pool correctly? You will also need to inspect the chlorinators in your swimming pool that are connected to the suction side plumbing should be well inspected for any air leaks.
Power outage
If there was a power outage on the pump and power came back later, air could have slowly got into the system causing loss of prime when the pump started back.
Obstructions
Have you checked your skimmer baskets? Are they full of dirt and debris and limiting the flow of water? Is the main drain blocked with leaves?

How do I prime my swimming pool pump?

Step 1: You will need to establish how air got in

You will always find your pump has air on it during the beginning of early summer, more so if you had winterized your pool by disassembling the pump. Ensure you reinsert and reseal every part you removed from the pool pump. Also check your water level in the swimming pool if it’s high enough and that’s its getting into the inlets of your skimmer. Check and get rid of any clogs and debris in the primary drain and skimmer. Clear any decayed leaves and hair in the pump strainer basket and impeller. After you have done all the above, you can try and prime the pool manually.

Step 2: Get ready to prime the pump

priming a pool pump
Switch off all the pool support equipment. This will include the pool heater, filter unit and pump. Locate the valve marked “air relief” at the top part of the pool pump. Shut off all the skimmer inlets and then completely open the drain valve. Ensure that the pump basket is filled with water. If not, you can add as much as you can by using a garden hose. Check the pool pump lid and the O-ring seal below the lid for any wear and tear or any other type of damage. If you realize it’s worn out or damaged, then you may have to replace it. Avoid applying any lubricants on the O-ring or on any other seals. This is because lubricants may make particles stick to them which will prevent a secure seal. Fasten the pump lid again, securing the screws to total hand tightness. Do not over tighten the screws as this may put a strain on the supple seals. Place the valve on the top of the pool filter to the “filter” position.

Step 3- Time to Prime the Pump

Turn on the pump then run it for about 3 minutes but not more than 5 minutes. If the pool water circulation does not start after 5 minutes, close off the pump and then retry it. Most pool pumps are water cooled and thus running it hot may damage the poop pump seal, motor and impeller. When the pool pump is effectively circulating water again, open the skimmer inlets each at a time ensuring the pump doesn’t lose suction again. If you open them too quickly, the pressure might escape which may cause the pump trap to empty too fast. If this happens, you can turnoff one of the inlet valves until the pressure builds up again and the pump trap is full. After all your skimmer outlets are opened, turn off the pumps air relief and then restart the swimming pool filter unit. During this entire process, you should be able to see lots of bubbles coming out of the inlets in the pool. This will eventually go away after all the air gets out of the inlet lines. Ensure your pump is operating as it should be and if you wish, you may turn the pool cleaner pump on.

What may interfere with my pumps ability to prime?

how to prime a pool pump
Location of the pump
If your pump is located far away from your pool, then it may be difficult for the pump to catch the prime once more. The higher the pump is located from the pool water level, the more difficult it is for the pump to catch the prime.
Pool water level
If the pool level in the pool is low, it may be difficult for the pump to catch prime.
Air leaks
If there are any leaks in the pool plumbing, then it can be harder to catch the prime once more. Incorrect installation of the O-ring and pump lid also reduces the ability of the pump to prime.
As a pool owner, it’s important that you familiarize with the equipment in your pool that ensures smooth operation of the pool and to also maintain safe water for swimming. The better you understand your equipment and know how to maintain it properly, the better your pool systems will perform to their best.

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