How to Prime a Pool Pump | To Keep Your Water Circulating Effectively

Swimming pool

This time of year, swimming pools are the place to be. If you have a swimming pool of your own, you probably find yourself having more friends this time of year than the rest.

You are also just as familiar with the maintenance that goes into keeping your swimming pool clean, functional, and long-lasting. One of the most important elements to care for is the swimming pool pump.

The swimming pool pump is essential for circulating water to filter dirt, hair and other debris from reentering the pool. Before the swimming season begins, you will want to make sure you know how to prime a pool pump. Priming a pool pump removes air from the water lines and ensures that your pump is working effectively, giving swimmers clean and circulated water all summer long.

The method for how to prime a pool pump is the same whether you have an in-ground or above ground swimming pool: cut the power, fill the housing basket, and turn it on. Pretty simple, right? Before you begin to prime your pool pump, carefully read this step-by-step guide that describes how to perform a successful prime. A successful prime is key for a successful swimming pool with the help of pool chemicals

How to Prime a Pool Pump – Step by Step Guide

It does not have to be a springtime routine for you to prime your pool pump. This is a practice that can be performed any time of the year. In fact, a properly primed pool pump (say that three times fast!) will extend the lifespan and longevity of your pool pump.

It does not have to be a springtime routine for you to prime your pool pump. This is a practice that can be performed any time of the year. In fact, a properly primed pool pump (say that three times fast!) will extend the lifespan and longevity of your pool pump.

The best way to prime a pool pump is to go in the following respective steps. Following these steps will ensure that you that you don’t move too fast or do a step too soon. An incorrectly performed step, or a step completed in the wrong order, increases the risk of your pool pump functioning undamaged. While there are not many total steps, each step is respectively important and needs to be done correctly so that you have a properly primed pool pump.

Below is the ordered list of steps and their direct instructions for you to follow in order to successfully prime your pool pump for the season.

Turning Off Power to the Pump

The very first thing you will need to do is turn the power off to the pump. This step is imperative. It is important to remember that any time you are working with a combination of water and electricity, there needs to be no electrical current near. 

You can make sure there is no electrical current to your pool pump by turning off the breaker(s) that feed power to your pool. Once the power supply feeding the pool pump has been turned off, it is safe to begin the next step to prime your pool pump. 

Turn Your Multiport Valve to Recirculation

After the power has been turned off to your pump, you will need to find the multiport valve located on the pump. Turn the handle on the multiport valve to the recirculation setting.

This setting is important because you do not want the water to go through the filter prior to entering the pump. Instead, with the multiport valve in the recirculation setting, the water will enter directly into the pump without going through the filter.
This is important because the main goal to productively prime your pool pump is to circulate water into the pump to remove air and pump successfully for the season. 

Fill the PUMP with Water

Once your multiport valve is set to the recirculation setting, you are now ready to fill the pump with water. Located in the housing of the pump is the basket. This basket will need to be filled with water from a constant water supply, such as a garden hose.

As there are several pump lines within a pool pump, it is important to fill the basket slowly so you can make certain the water is being distributed into the lines and filling sufficiently.
Water lines that are filled with adequate water will produce enough suction for the water to be pulled through the lines when the pump system is turned back on. This is an essential element in conducting a successful prime of your pool pump.

Turn on the Filter System

With the bucket of the pump and water lines finally filled with water, it is now time to prime your pool pump. Make sure you close the basket lid in the pump housing, restore power to your pool pump, and turn the pump filter system on.

The way to know you have successfully filled the basket and water lines with an adequate water amount needed for proper pumping is by seeing the water begin flowing in less than a minute after turning the pool pump system on. Additionally, you will no longer see air bubbles through the lid of the pump basket. This will confirm the pool pump has successfully regained its prime.

Troubleshooting Your Pump

One of the most common reasons for an unsuccessful prime is an inadequate water amount within the water lines and basket of the pump. If you see that water is not consistently flowing by looking through the lid of the basket, you will need to turn the system off, turn the power off to the pump, and start over. If you are still unsuccessful after several repeated attempts, it is possible you could have a leak in one of the lines or O-rings. Check the pump housing for any cracks or leaks that might be contributing to an unsuccessful prime.

To prevent extended wear and tear on your swimming pool pump, there are some proactive options to choose from to get the most longevity out of your swimming pool pump. 

One way to assure the lifespan of your pool pump is by investing in a pool pump timer.
A pool pump timer ensures that you do not leave the pump on for long periods of time or overnight.

Any use of a pool pump creates natural wear and tear, but prolonged use exacerbates that natural deterioration. There are many affordable options to choose from, and the reward is worth the investment.

Should your pool pump need replacing altogether but you are unsure where to begin, there are many options available that do not have to break the bank. You will want to select the right size for properly circulating and filtering your water. After all, the most important part of pool maintenance is to make sure your swimmers are swimming in clean water.

In addition to instructions for how to prime a pool pump, the following list includes the most common questions that people also search for:

  • How to prime a pool pump sand filter
  • How to prime a pool pump and filter
  • How to prime a pool pump for the first time
  • How to prime a pool pump above ground
  • How to prime a pool pump without valves

Should you accurately follow these steps for a successful prime of your pool pump, you should be well on your way to a clean and circulated pool that you and your friends can enjoy all summer long!

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