How To Prime A Pool Pump In 7 Easy Steps


Are you trying to figure how the best way to prime your pool pump?

While some newer pumps have self-priming functions, most pumps require priming before turning it on to get the air out of the system and get the water flowing through it.

For those types of pumps, there’s a little bit of a trick to getting them started.

Here’s what you need to do:


Step 1. Turn off the pump

As a safety precaution, any time you’re working with electricity and water, you need to make sure there is no electrical current present.

In fact, it’s a good idea to also turn off the breaker to the pool system.

>>Related: How to troubleshoot a pool pump

Step 2. Switch the multi-port valve to recirculate

Switching the multi-port valve will ensure your water goes directly to the pump instead of going through the filter first. 

Step 3. Remove excess air

Open the air relief valve located on top of the filter to release the air pressure.

Step 4. Clean out the pump basket

Remove any debris or silt that might have accumulated in the pump basket and rinse out with a hose if necessary.

Also check it for any cracks or damage to the O-ring.

Step 5. Fill the pump basket

With a garden hose, fill the pump basket and then tighten the lid back on top of the housing.

Fill it slowly so you can make sure the water is seeping into the pump lines.

What you want here is for the lines from the skimmer to the pump to be full of water in order to create suction. 

>>Read: How to choose the best variable speed pool pump

Step 6. Turn on the pump

Open up the air valve and turn the system back on.

This should have gotten the water flowing, but if you don’t see it flow through the basket within a minute or so, turn the pump off and repeat the process. 

Step 7. Close the air valve

Once the water seems to be flowing well, shut off the air valve and switch your multiport valve back to “filter”.

What if my pump won’t run?

These steps should get your pool water flowing and your system running right, but if they don’t, you might need to investigate for potential problems.

  • Check to make sure your pool is full enough to create suction.
  • Make sure there are no clogged pipes or obstructions.
  • Check for leaks anywhere in the system, like pipes, O-rings and return casings. (Read: A smart guide to pool leak repair).
  • Make sure there are no cracks in the pump basket.
  • Check the O-rings for dryness or cracks. Make sure it is properly lubed.
  • Listen to the pump for different noises than your used to. For example, does it sound like it’s humming without gears moving?
  • Tighten valves and fittings to make sure they have a tight seal.

Bottom line

Following these steps should have your pump up and running, but if you have any of the above problems you can’t seem to fix, you may need to call a pool expert.

If you just can’t seem to get it primed no matter what you do, it’s possible the problem is in the motor or the plumbing, both of which might require more expertise than you have or care to learn.

But don’t give up on the first try; sometimes it just takes a few times to get it right!

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top