How to Prime your Swimming Pool Pump in 5 Easy Steps  

by Pool Builders on 09-28-2010 in Articles

Swimming pool pumps have a reservoir pot with a clear lid
on the front of them so they can prime themselves on a daily
basis. A perfectly primed pump will be so full of water that
they appear empty...not even one bubble floating around. If you
just took your pump or filter apart, or you are having poor water
flow from your return jets this article is for you.

1. Make sure that everything is put together tightly (except for
the pump lid). If there are clamps on the pump or filter, tap
around on the clamp with a hammer as you tighten the handnut.
Check the O-ring on the pump lid. It should fit tightly and
not be dry or cracked. Inexpensive replacements can be found
on my website.

2.Unless one of your hobbies is playing with water and electricity
simultaneously this step should have two people. One person with
a garden hose and another at the pump on/off switch. Start filling
the front reservoir pot with water, when the water doesn't seem to
be getting any higher or starts overflowing out of the pot, quickly
put the clear lid on and have the other person turn on the pump
as soon as it's tight.

3. The water inside should look violent at first but gradually
rise to the clear lid in 30 to 60 seconds. If the water doesn't
rise fully to the top and dispel all the air inside, you have a
priming issue that we need to troubleshoot.

4. Troubleshooting. Fill a five gallon bucket with water (the garden
hose won't give us enough water fast enough for this step). The
front half of the pump with the clear lid, the pipe connected to
the front, and any valves or other pipes connected to the pipe
coming out of the front is called the "suction side" of your
circulation system. A leak somewhere in the suction side doesn't
drip sucks in air. Suction leaks cause your pump to work
harder than normal and will eventually burn out your motor pre-
maturely. We search for a suction leak by dumping large amounts of
water on the suction side while the pump is running. 90% of suction
leaks are caused by the lid O-ring. Dump water from your bucket on
the clear lid, did the water level rise, did all the air go away?
If so the O-ring needs to be replaced.

5. If it wasn't that, dump water on other components of the suction
side. Couplings and elbows, or three way valves can leak, watch for
the prime to get better while pouring water on them. Guilty couplings
or elbows or Tee's would need to be replaced as would one way valves.
Two and three way valves have O-rings that can be found on my website.
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