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How and Why to Prime Your Pump

Keeping Your Pool Pump Happy

Keeping your pool working like a well-oiled machine takes a little research and a basic understanding of why each step needs to be completed when doing weekly/monthly maintenance. Priming your pump is one of those steps that most people don’t do and have no idea why it needs to be done in the first place. To be perfectly honest, a pool owner who isn’t familiar with their pool pump mechanics can end up potentially damaging their system which will be a lot of money down the drain.

The biggest part of pool maintenance is keeping the pump running and in tip-top shape. The pool pump keeps your water circulating, helps to filter the water and makes sure the pool water is not sitting stagnant, which helps to prevent bacterial growth.

Why Prime the Pool Pump?

It is easy to understand that everything in your pool revolves around water. Pool equipment is meant to get wet or be completely submerged at all times, and your pool pump is no different. In fact, your pool pump needs to have water inside, or else you run the risk of damage. If the pool pump runs without water for an extended period of time, serious damage can occur, and replacing the pump can be extremely expensive. Without water, there is a risk that the unit will overheat, melt the seal, damage the PVC plumbing or simply cause the pump to stop working.

What Happens When Priming the Pump?

When working with your pool equipment or turning the unit off for maintenance, there is a chance that air will make its way into the pool plumbing. Let’s say you turned off your pool unit to clean out the pump basket or stopped the system to clean the pool filters. During these regular maintenance situations, you have replaced pool water with air and invited in a potential hazard for the pool pump. Priming the pump eliminates the air in a manner that keeps your pool pump working correctly and introduces water to the system safely.

How to Prime a Pool Pump

It is safe to say that priming your pool pump is never a step that should be skipped. No matter the time restraints or other things going on with your pool, priming the pump is vital to the proper maintenance of your pool and to keep pool costs down.

  1. Turn the pool system off. (Your pump may already be turned off…hence why you need to prime the pump)
  2. Turn the diverter valve (multi-port valve) so that all of the water is coming from one location. The water will now go directly to the pump instead of going through the filters first.
  3. Open the air relief valve on the top of the filter to release air pressure.

Helpful Hint: This is a great time to clean out the pump basket and check for any potential leaks, cracks, or damage. 

  1. With a garden hose or bucket, fill the pump basket to the top with water and hand tighten the lid.
  2. With the air valve open and the pump basket lid tightly secured, turn the system back on. Water should start to flow freely in 30-60 seconds.
  3. Check to make sure that water is flowing through the pump basket. As the pressure builds, air and then water should start coming out of the air relief valve.
  4. Once the water comes out of the air relief valve, close the valve and slowly open the main drain line at the diverter valve.

Following these steps will help prolong the life of your pool pump and reduce any major issues when it comes to the unit. While priming the pump happens most often when opening a pool, it may need to be completed during weekly maintenance.

Need Help?

At Parnell Pool and Spa, we know that pool maintenance and care can be a daunting task. If you have a question about the proper running of your pool or any questions about priming the pool pump, stop by our Fayetteville or Lumberton location. Visit us online at parnellpoolandspa.com or take a look at our Facebook page.

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4206 Cumberland Rd Fayetteville, NC 28306

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