How to prime a swimming pool

Prime is the term we use to state that the air has been mostly purged from the swimming pool water pump and that the filter pump is moving pool water. When you have lost the pump’s prime, your pump is no longer pumping water through it. Sometimes it can be very difficult to regain the prime on the pump. These tips will help you get the prime back in your swimming pool water pump and filter system.

The first step is to turn off the pump.

  • Now, close any and all valves on the suction side of the pump. This includes the Main Drain, Skimmer, and Vacuum lines.
  • Now, if you have an air relief valve on your filter, open it to release any built-up pressure.
  • Slowly open the strainer lid of the pump.
  • NOTE: If you did not have an air relief valve, open the strainer lid a little to let the pressure bleed off.
  • Inspect the Hair/Lint Strainer Basket for debris and clean out if necessary.
    Make sure that the basket is in good shape and is not distorted or broken. If it is damaged, you may need to check the impeller of the pump to make sure that there is no debris in it. Also, you should replace the basket before damage might occur to the pump.
  1. Now, inspect the gasket or O-Ring for the strainer top to make sure that it is clean and in good shape so that it will make a good seal.
  2. Replace the basket and fill the strainer with water using a bucket or garden hose.
  3. Replace the strainer lid making sure that it makes a good seal.
  4. If you have knobs to tighten, you should tighten them evenly using only your hands. Do not use a wrench or other tool as you may over-tighten causing it to distort or break. If your lid screws down, the same thing applies; hand tighten only. Don’t use a tool or you may over-tighten.

Now turn on your pump

  1. Very important – turn on the pump first, then slowly open one suction side valve only.
  2. Wait for the pump to catch its prime and get a good flow of water going.

If the pump does not catch its prime

  • Give it about 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Close the valve first, and then turn off the pump.
  1. Reopen the strainer, being sure to bleed off pressure by opening the air relief on the filter or slowly opening the strainer lid to allow the pressure to escape.
  2. Refill the strainer with water, close lid, turn on pump, and open the same valve.
  3. You may have to repeat these steps several times until you finally purge the air from that line and get the water moving.

Once you have the water flowing through one line, SLOWLY open the next valve on the suction side.

  1. Listen for the air to be pulled out of the line.
  2. If the pump starts to lose it’s prime, close down the valve quickly.
  3. You are trying to slowly bleed the air out of the line without losing the prime.
  4. Repeat this with any other lines.
    If you often lose the prime when turning off your pump, release the air in the filter first (if you have an air relief valve) before turning off the pump. Also, close your suction side valves before opening the strainer lid. This will help to hold the water up to the valve and make re priming easier.

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