How to Prime A Pool Pump

How to Prime a pool pump

In the beginning of summer, it's common for homeowners to discover their pool pump not working. They may hear loud noises or not even hear anything at all. Even worse, there might be no power to the pump at all. Sound familiar? Well, here are some common ways to get the pool pump up and running again -- without turning to a professional!

The pool pump motor is actually very easy to troubleshoot if you know where each wire goes on the outside of the unit.

So, let's get to it!

How to Prime A Pool Pump

Whether from a power outage or blown fuse, you can see the bubbles of your return line lying dormant. In order to get back up and running as soon as possible, you need to prime your pump. Here is how:

Step 1: Turn Off The Main Breaker

Pool Pump Breaker

Your First Step in Priming Is To Turn Off The Main Breaker For Your Pool Pump Then Unplug It From The Circuit Board (Not Just The Outlet).

This way when the breaker is turned on again, there won't be any sparks or electrical damage due to arcs between contacts that are still energized

You will want to take this opportunity to clean the strainer basket inside the base of your pump while you're there, removing any leaves or other debris that may have accumulated over the winter.

Step 2: Prime Your Pool Pump

Pool Pump Lid

Now it's time to prime your pool pump, your first step is to make sure you are wearing safety goggles and rubber gloves.

Next, remove the filter cartridge housed inside the top of your filter canister by gripping onto both ends of it firmly and rotating in opposite directions until it comes loose.

If this is too tight for you to loosen by hand, try placing a pair of pliers where shown below and twist until it has loosened further.

Once this has been removed set it aside then flush out the bottom half (which houses the impeller) with water from a garden hose until no visible particles remain in either compartment.

Important: Make sure you have water in it BEFORE you turn it on!

You will need to do this at least 3 times or until clear water comes out. Then, take your garden hose and run this directly into the skimmer area of the pool where it attaches to your pump lid.

Now you are ready to prime the pump canister itself, make sure that your intake valve is shut off by turning the crank clockwise until tight.

For primer placement use a "t" valve similar to what you would find on any indoor faucet.

This will allow for both suction from the pool pump as well as an outlet line for waste water that may accumulate once you have started up your system.

Using a small funnel start pouring in 8 ounces of water into the priming port (marked with blue ) then close the "t" valve with tape to prevent any spillage.

Step 3: Open Your Main Drain

Once this is done, open your main drain line at the diverter valve to allow for water drainage into the pool then remove the plug on top of the pump lid and insert a primer line into it.

You will want to run this line in through either an existing skimmer or directly onto the surface of the water.

This is important because you do not want any air pockets getting trapped inside where they can cause damage when you turn your system on.

Now that everything has been primed it's time to double-check your connections.

Start by disconnecting all power (from both breaker box and outlet) for 5 minutes before turning back on, next make sure your pump lid plug is secure, and lastly test out your "t" valve to ensure it is open and not leaking.

Once you have checked everything, turn back on your breaker then plug in your pump into the outlet.

You will want to leave this unplugged for a minute or two before turning it on to allow for pressure relief and drainage of any air that may have accumulated inside.

Step 4: Plug it in and test it out!

Primed Pool Pump

Then once plugged in give it another quick test and squeeze the trigger of your "t" valve to make sure there is no dripping.

All done now!

Your pool pump should be running smoothly as if it were brand new, now all you need do is enjoy the rest of your summer.

Video Walkthrough

If you're still stuck or confused, check out this helpful video walkthrough!

The steps are similar but different from mine, but as you know there's more than one way to skin a cat! 😹

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

How long does it take for pool pump to prime?

It can take from a few seconds to up to an hour, depending on the size of the pump, how it's installed and whether or not you have placed a strainer on top of it. A pool pump should only need 30 - 60 seconds if everything is as it should be. If your pump doesn't prime within that time then something may be obstructing the water flow into the pump – check that there isn't a kink in the return hose and that nothing is blocking the suction line. It will also take longer for a larger pump due to decreased pressure.

What do you do if your pool pump wont prime?

If you can't hear water going into the pump, check the impeller. If it has been blocked with debris – perhaps a twig or leaves - then this is what will prevent it from starting up. You can just remove the material and then start the pump again. If that doesn't work, there may be an obstruction in the piping system itself – perhaps something smooth and cylindrical which could have been pushed into one of the intake valves by mistake, such as a long piece of wire or a fallen leaf.

What if your pool pump still wont prime?

The first thing to do is to turn off the pump using the power switch on its casing. Then close all other water sources leading into your pool – make sure that there is nothing filling the pipes on the way to your pool pump. If you have an automatic suction filter on top of your pump, make sure that it's turned off, too.

What if my pool pump still wont prime after this?

The last thing to do is turn off the main power supply at the switchboard. This will be a crescent-shaped handle or button which can be found near to where all your power lines enter the house – usually outside in a small box attached to a wall somewhere. Then restart your pool pump – if everything has been done correctly, it should now start up and begin pumping water around its circuit again. If you are still having issues getting a new pool pump run, don't hesitate to contact a 'pool guy' or swimming pool repair company!

How do you remove air from pool pump?

There are several ways to remove air from a pool pump. One method is to run the circulation system in your pool, opening the venturi on the return jet and giving it some time to do its job. Another way is to use an air bleeding device which you can attach directly onto the suction line - these devices work by removing air pockets for you. If both of those fail (and they often do), then there might be something wrong with your pipes or pump itself – if so, take it in to be fixed instead of playing around trying to fix it yourself. Otherwise, you may end up breaking something which could potentially cost hundreds if not thousands in damage!

What causes a pump to lose its prime?

Many things can cause a pool pump to lose its prime. One of the most common reasons is that dirt, hair or other materials have clogged up your pool's pump filters or intake valves. Another reason may be a lack of suction in the piping system, caused by too many angles and bends in the way from your pump to where it begins to circulate water into your pool again. The third possibility is that there is not enough pressure coming into your pump – you can test this yourself by taking off one of the hoses leading into your pool and placing your thumb over its end. If you cannot hold it there firmly then there isn't enough pressure inside the pipe, which means that something inside has gone astray like perhaps an air pocket or a kinked pipe.

How can you increase suction pressure?

You can decrease the amount of volume going into your pool pump by using a smaller skimmer basket for instance, which forces more water to pass through each minute. Another way is to make sure that nothing is blocking any of the intake valves on the piping system leading to your pool's filter and pump assembly. You could also choose a different type of filtration system all together if what you have isn't working well enough - most people who have these sorts of problems tend to benefit from a sand filter instead because it has greater suction power than its D.E. counterpart. If none of this works then it might be worth purchasing an external booster pump to increase the amount of pressure coming into your main pump - you can connect this in either between your pool's filter unit and the pump, or at the outlet through which all of the water flows. Of course, be sure to ask for an electrician's advice before you do any work on your electrical circuitry!

Does a new pool pump give better filtration?

Finding ways to improve your existing pool equipment is always smart when it comes to spending money. Installing a new pool pump doesn't necessarily mean that it will give better filtration; if anything, what you are probably doing is exchanging one problem for another by trading up from something old to something modern. Unless there was a good reason why you needed to get rid of your old pool pump in the first place, it is usually best to maintain what you have rather than dump all of your money into something that may end up being a downgrade.