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Priming a pool pump is a pretty simple task. If you are upgrading and installing a new pool pump or your pool has been pretty much idle through the winter season then you might find you’ll need to prime it to get it back up and running at maximum efficiency. 

What we’re looking to do is simply expel any air in the system pipework.

It’s easy enough. but it may take a few attempts to get it right. So don’t worry if your first attempt fails that happens to us professionals too.

Every pool plumbing set up is going to be a little different but these are going to be the basic steps for all systems.

Easy Steps To Prime A Pool Pump

  • Make sure the pump is turned off, pretty obvious but easily forgotten. There may be an on/off switch on the pump itself, but we always recommend to unplug it from the mains power. If it’s wired direct to a circuit breaker then flip to the off position.
  • Next we need to locate the multi-valve and turn it to the “recirculate” . On the image below that’s around the 8 o clock position. What we are doing here is bypassing the filter and pumping directly from pump to pool.
  • Open up the air relief valve located on top of your filter. You’ll see your pressure gauge drop down to zero.
  • Now open your pump debris basket container, remove basket and clean it up. Get your garden hose and fill the basket container with water. Keep the hose trickling in even when it appears full. What we are doing is filling the plumbing lines on the pool side of the pump. The reason many pump priming attempts fail first time is that this step is not done properly.
pool pump MULTIVALVE
  • Replace debris basket and and put the lid back on. Its always a good idea to inspect the “o-ring seals first to insure they are in good shape for the summer season.
  • With the pressure relief valve still open turn the system back on. After a few seconds you should see water running in the pump. There will be air coming through too at this point but that should get bled out quite quickly via the open pressure relief valve.
  • Check the pressure relief valve and when it starts spitting out a constant steam of water close it.Return the multi-valve back to circulate and the water is going to start running back through your filter.

If the pump continues to run smoothly and a constant pressure is maintained then your done. Well done, you can grab a beer from the cool box.

You’re still having problems getting the pump started ?   Forget the beer and go through the steps again. It’s not unusual to take a couple or three attempts so don’t worry.

If your pump is running but there is still a lot of trapped air then try running the backwash setting on the multi-valve for a minute or so depending on the length of your plumbing lines. This often helps to clear it up.

Still Having Problems? Troubleshoot The System

  • Check and tighten all plumbing fittings including all the valves.
  • Check for leaks or damage in the pipework. PVC can get damaged over a cold idle winter season.
  • Insure the debris basket lid is on securely. Take it back off, visually check it again. Carefully inspect the “o-ring” seal, clean it up and reinstall it applying some kind of ring lube or petroleum jelly. Then re-tighten lid.
  • Last, maybe this should have been first!! Make sure the pool water level is the correct height. If the pump is sucking on air, well you’re going to get air………

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