A crucial part of pool maintenance is ensuring all equipment runs smoothly, including the pool pump.

A damaged pump can be expensive to repair or replace, but with a functioning pump, the pool becomes usable as the water cannot circulate and run through the filter, causing it to become dirty and stagnant.

Priming the pool pump is essential to keeping the pool in good working order. The pump is designed to function only with water inside it. If it runs without water, the motor will build up friction, creating heat and causing the seal to overheat and melt.

If it runs without water for too long, the pump itself can overheat, damaging PVC pipes and other components in the plumbing system. Eventually, the pump will seize up and possibly break beyond repair.

Fortunately, priming the pump is a simple process that pool owners can quickly learn. This article will guide you through how to prime a pool pump.

How Do I Prime a Pool Pump?

Step 1: Turn the Multiport Valve to Recirculate

The first step is to turn the multiport valve to recirculate. This will direct the water into the filter head and back to the pool.

Step 2: Remove Pool Plugs

You’ll need water to flow into the pump, so remove any plugs in the skimmer(s) or return jets before you turn any equipment on.

Step 3: Fill the Pump With Water

Remove the pump’s lid and check the inside. If it’s dry, you’ll need to add some water before you turn it on. Ensure all the drain plugs are in place, then use a garden hose to pre-fill the pump housing.

Allow water to run into the pump housing for at least two minutes. This will allow some water to seep into the pipes extending from the skimmer to the pumps, o there’ll be enough water to create suction.

Step 4: Turn the Pump On

Replace the lid and turn the pump on. It may gurgle and sputter a little and take a little time, but eventually, you should see water filling the pump housing. Once the housing is full of water, the pump is primed, and you’re ready to go.

Why Prime a Pool Pump?

Priming a pool pump is essential in maintaining your swimming pool’s health. A pool pump is responsible for circulating water through the pool’s filtration system, which removes contaminants, debris, and other unwanted substances. However, if the pump is not primed properly, it cannot function effectively.

Priming a pool pump means removing any air trapped in the pump and its plumbing system and filling it with water to ensure it can function correctly. When a pool pump is not primed perfectly, it can cause several problems, including:

  1. Poor circulation: A pool pump needs to be primed correctly to circulate the water effectively. This means that the water in the pool may not be filtered properly, leading to a buildup of debris and contaminants.
  2. Damage to the pump: When a pool pump is not primed correctly, it can cause damage to the pump’s motor. This can lead to costly repairs or even replacing the entire pump.
  3. Reduced efficiency: A pool pump that needs to be primed correctly will have to work harder to circulate the water, which can increase its energy consumption and reduce its overall efficiency.
  4. Shorter lifespan: A pool pump that is not primed correctly can be subjected to more wear and tear, which can shorten its lifespan.

In short, priming your pool pump is essential for maintaining a healthy, clean pool and ensuring that your pool pump functions effectively and efficiently.

So, if you notice that your pool pump needs to be fixed, it may be due to a lack of proper priming. By taking the time to prime your pool pump, you can prevent a range of potential problems and keep your pool clean and healthy for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a pool pump take to prime?

The amount of time it takes for a pool pump to prime can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size of the pump, the size of the pool, and the condition of the plumbing and equipment. In general, it can take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes for a pool pump to prime.

A properly functioning pool pump should be able to prime quickly, within a matter of seconds. However, if the pump is struggling to prime or is taking longer than usual to do so, this could be a sign of an issue with the pump or the pool’s plumbing system. Some common causes of slow or difficult priming include clogged filters, air leaks in the plumbing, or a malfunctioning pump.

If you find that your pool pump is taking an unusually long time to prime, it’s important to investigate the cause of the issue and address it as soon as possible. In some cases, a slow or difficult prime can cause the pump to run dry, which can lead to overheating and damage to the pump’s motor. In extreme cases, this could even result in the need for costly repairs or replacement of the entire pump.

What do you do if your pool pump won’t prime?

If your pool pump doesn’t prime, there are several things you can try:

  1. Check the pump basket: The basket may be clogged with debris, preventing water from flowing into the pump. Remove the basket and clean it thoroughly before replacing it.
  2. Check the pool filter: If it is dirty or clogged, it can prevent the pump from priming. Make sure to clean or backwash the filter to remove any debris or buildup.
  3. Check the pool water level: If it is too low, it can also prevent the pump from priming. Make sure the water level is at the appropriate level, usually about halfway up the skimmer.
  4. Check the pump lid O-ring: The pump lid O-ring creates a seal that keeps air from entering the pump. If the O-ring is damaged or dirty, it may not create a tight seal. Remove the lid, clean the O-ring, and apply silicone lubricant before replacing the lid.
  5. Check for leaks: If there are any leaks in the plumbing or fittings leading to the pump, air can enter the system and prevent it from priming. Check for leaks and repair any that you find.
  6. Use a priming tool: If none of the above steps work, you may need a priming tool to help you force water through the system and remove air pockets. You can purchase a priming tool from your local pool supply store.

If you are still having issues priming your pool pump, it may be best to call a professional pool service technician to diagnose and fix the problem.

Are pool pumps self-priming?

Some pool pumps are self-priming, while others are not. The self-priming feature is typically advertised in the product description or manual.

A self-priming pump can pull water from the pool through the filtration system without manual priming. This is because the pump housing and impeller are designed to hold a small amount of water, which creates a vacuum that helps to pull water into the pump.

On the other hand, a non-self-priming pump requires manual priming, which involves adding water to the pump housing and suction line to create the necessary vacuum to pull water from the pool. This process must be repeated every time the pump loses its prime due to air entering the system.

If you are still determining whether your pool pump is self-priming, you can check the product manual or consult with a pool professional. It’s also important to note that even self-priming pumps may lose their prime if the system develops a leak or air enters the system, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your pool’s water flow to ensure proper filtration.

About the Author

stefan schulzStefan Schulz is the founder and owner of PV Pool Cleaner. He spent his college years working at Niagara Pools and Spas, one of the largest Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Dealers in the Eastern United States.

Today, he utilizes his background, experience as a pool owner, and the resources of his digital marketing agency, Orpical Group, to generate informative and engaging content for pool owners everywhere.