When and How to Prime a Pool Pump
To enjoy those cool dips in the heat of the summer, it’s essential that you keep your pool well maintained. Part of that maintenance is knowing how to prime a pool pump. When your pool’s pump is working properly, it keeps your swimming pool running efficiently and helps you avoid costly service calls.
Luckily, the process is simple. Here are the steps you should take when you need to prime a pool pump.
Why Prime a Pool Pump?
The pool pump is the nerve system of your pool—when it’s running properly, your pools systems will do what they need to keep your pool well maintained. But if your pump isn’t functioning like it should, it can cause issues. For instance, when the pump loses some of its prime, the filter doesn’t operate as efficiently as it needs to because air builds up in the pump. That can result in a dirty pool because if water can’t flow through the filter, the pool water will become stagnant and dirty. But when you prime the pump, it removes the air and allows the water to freely move through the filter.
Another reason for priming a pool pump is if you live in an area where it freezes during the winter. When you close your pool at the end of the season, you will have to blow the water out of the lines to keep it from freezing. That means when it comes time to open your pool, the pump will run dry unless you first prime it to get water running through the pipes.
Running a pool pump that isn’t primed can cause expensive damage to the pump and other systems in your pool. Luckily, priming the pump can eliminate many problems and help you keep your pool operating as it should.
Did You Know?
Most of the equipment in your pool is designed to be submerged in water, but the pool pump is different. This essential piece of equipment is meant to hold water—and if it goes dry, it could overheat and seize, damaging the pump’s motor, the PVC pipes leading to it, and other plumbing components.
How to Prime a Pool Pump
Now that you understand the importance of priming the pump, let’s talk about how to perform this essential pool maintenance task. Follow this easy 5-step process, and your pool will be ready for all the fun you have planned this summer!
Step One: Turn off the Pump
Before you begin priming, you should turn off the pump. Do so by closing all the valves on the side of the pump that suctions, including the skimmer lines, vacuum lines, and the main drain. If your pump has an air release valve, open it. If not, slowly remove the strainer lid to release the pressure. If you have to remove the strainer lid, be sure to remove all debris from the strainer. Then, check that the O-ring on the strainer is clean so it will seal properly and prevent air from entering the line.
Step Two: Direct the Water
Next, make sure the diverter valve only allows the water to come from one direction—the main drain or the skimmer. Then, turn the multiport valve to the “recirculate” setting to ensure that water is directed into the filter head and then back into the pool.
Step Three: Unblock the Flow
Water will need to flow into the pump, so remove any skimmer or return jet plugs so it can move freely.
Step Four: Make Sure the Pump Is Full of Water
Before you turn on the pump, it’s important to check that it’s filled with water. If it’s not, you’ll have to add some before you turn it on. Start by checking to see if the pump drain plugs are inserted, and if so, use a garden hose to fill the pump housing. Let the hose run for at least two minutes because the excess water will seep into the skimmer-to-pump pipes which will help to create suction.
Step Five: Turn on the Pump
The final step in the process is to replace the pump lid and turn on the pump. You will hear some gurgling sounds and maybe a sputter or two, but this is normal. Soon, you will see the water fill the pump housing, and once it’s full, your pump is primed.