How To Prime a Pool Pump Quickly

A common problem and one that can be extremely aggravating to many are when their filtration equipment pumps won’t fully prime. Usually, this means there isn’t enough water running through the system to allow adequate filtration to occur. When this occurs it could be a variety of different things and we want to make you aware of them in this blog post. If you’re a pool professional walking into someone’s backyard and noticing that the pool hasn’t been filtering it can be frustrating because it can be anything from a simple fix (adding water) to something far more complicated like air in the line, a big leak, or faulty o-rings. In the end, it is imperative that troubleshooting occurs immediately to prevent the pool from turning green or burning out the motor because of lack of water in the system.

When you turn on a system, it is vital that the water fills up the pump basket all the way up to the lid. “All the way to the lid” is the only acceptable variation of this. When this happens you might see a small air bubble at the top but most importantly the water should be pushing up against the lid and not, “close to it” as many people will think is acceptable. When this happens, the pump isn’t fully primed and there is a problem that must be fixed. Other issues you might see is that the pump is half primed or not primed at all because of lack of water. As stated before, this should be addressed as soon as possible. With that said, the following are reasons why your pump isn’t priming and how to fix it:

  1. Pool water level is too low – if the water in the pool is below the skimmer and you can hear the system sucking in the air it isn’t going to prime. Be sure to add water to the pool as soon as possible. If you don’t have an automatic leveler make sure you check your water levels regularly. As stated above lack of water can burn out a motor and it’s is an expensive fix.
  2. No water in the pump basket – you might need to add water with a bucket or hose to get the system to fully prime.
  3. Clogged skimmer/pump basket – this is common and is simple to fix by just removing the debris. Make sure to remove debris especially after a storm.
  4. Pump cover is leaking – if you have a crack in the cover or an o-ring that is bad/cracked this can let air into the system which won’t allow it to prime. You might need to buy a new lid or o-ring. Keep in mind that you must use pool lube on the o-ring. Sometimes just adding lube to your current o-ring will do the trick!
  5. The impeller is clogged – If the pump’s impeller is clogged with any debris, water from the pool will not be able to flow out the side slots and generate a vacuum. Without a vacuum, the pump will not be able to suck water into the pump and it will not prime. Remove the impeller and clean out the debris. At Clark County Pool & Lawn we recommend buying a leaf catcher if you have a pool vacuum to prevent this from happening.

The above are the most common reasons why a pump won’t prime. Please keep in mind that when any of them are fixed you will need to add water to the pump basket to help it prime. Also, anytime you open the lid or allow air into the system you must bleed out the air near the pressure gauge.  If you’re still having issues or need help with any of the above, contact us today for help! Remember, the longer you wait to get your pump primed the better chance of having other issues like a green pool or burned out motor can occur!