Imagine, it’s a sweltering summer afternoon, and all you want to do is take a refreshing plunge into your pool. You rush outside, only to find your pool water looking less than inviting. Your heart sinks. What could be wrong? You head over to your pool pump, and alas, it’s lost its prime. Don’t worry, you’re not the first pool owner to encounter this issue, and you certainly won’t be the last.
A pool pump’s mission is to keep your pool clean, but what if the very tool meant for cleanliness isn’t functioning correctly? Don’t fret. This guide will walk you through the process of how to prime a pool pump, offering easy-to-understand steps that can save your summer afternoon. But, before we jump into the ‘how,’ let’s first understand ‘what’ and ‘why’ of priming a pool pump. So let’s dive right in!
What is Priming a Pool Pump?
When you first hear about it, the term “priming” might sound like a complex technical jargon that belongs to the lexicon of professional pool maintenance experts. But in reality, it’s a simple yet vital process that every pool owner should be familiar with, especially if you wish to keep your swimming pool sparkling clean and functional for years to come. So let’s dive into what it means to prime a pool pump.
The process of priming refers to preparing your pool pump for its fundamental task – water circulation. But how exactly is that accomplished? Let’s imagine that your pool pump is an athlete, and water is its lifeblood. Before a game or a race, an athlete needs to warm up their muscles. Similarly, a pool pump needs to be “warmed up” with water, and this is what we call ‘priming’. In essence, priming a pool pump is all about ensuring the pump is full of water and ready to function efficiently.
At times, you might notice that the pool pump, instead of water, is filled with air. This is a common occurrence, especially during winter months or when the pool has been unused for a certain period. Wind and natural air flow can introduce air into the plumbing lines, replacing water with pockets of air. A dry pump, or one filled with air, isn’t conducive for effective operation. Thus, it’s crucial to expel this air, which is done through the process of priming.
Now, let’s take a step further into the specifics of the process. Priming essentially involves directing a steady stream of water through your pool pump. This rush of water expels the trapped air, effectively clearing the air pockets in the lines and replacing them with water. By doing this, you are priming the pump, preparing it to function at its best.
Why Do I Have to Prime a Pool Pump
So you may be wondering, why exactly do I need to prime a pool pump? Well, I’m here to tell you that priming your pool pump is a lot more critical than you might initially think. By understanding the importance of this process, you will ensure your pool remains a refreshing and safe environment for everyone to enjoy.
Avoiding Damage to the Pump
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that your pool pump craves water. It yearns for it, needs it to operate correctly, and can suffer severe consequences if it runs dry. If a pool pump operates without water, it results in increased friction and heat. This surplus heat may cause the pump’s seal to overheat and eventually melt, leading to potential damage that can become a costly affair.
Additionally, running a pool pump dry for an extended period can cause damage not only to the pump itself but also to the PVC pipes and other vital components of the pool’s plumbing system. This can lead to unfortunate scenarios such as the pump seizing up or becoming irreparable. Therefore, the simple act of priming your pool pump could save you from a hefty replacement bill.
Preventing Overheating and PVC Damage
Just like any other machine, your pool pump needs to stay cool to function properly. Operating without water can cause it to overheat, leading to possible damage to the pump’s seal, the PVC pipes, and even a premature failure of the pump itself. Priming your pool pump helps keep everything cool and running smoothly, thus enhancing the longevity of your pool equipment.
Ensuring Proper Functioning During Winter
You might also be surprised to learn that air can enter your pool pump naturally. This often happens during winter when water is blown out of the plumbing lines due to strong winds or extremely cold temperatures. Priming your pool pump is a proactive way to ensure it doesn’t run with only air inside, which could potentially result in overheating issues.
Maintaining an Effective Filtration System
Your pool pump is more than just a machine; it’s the heart of your pool’s filtration system. It keeps the water moving, allowing the filter to do its job of removing dirt and debris. It also ensures that the pool chemicals circulate effectively, keeping your pool water clean and safe. If a pool pump runs dry, it could lead to mechanical failure, and damage not only to the pump but also to the surrounding fixtures.
Avoiding the Growth of Algae and Other Water Pests
Without a properly primed pool pump, your pool water could stagnate, inviting unwanted guests such as water bugs, mosquitoes, and algae. Stagnant water can quickly turn your crystal clear pool into a green, murky breeding ground for these pests, making it unappealing to swimmers and unsightly to look at.
Reducing the Risk of Costly Repairs or Replacements
Priming your pool pump is also an essential preventative measure that can save you money. A pool pump is a significant investment, and constantly running it dry can lead to frequent replacements. By priming your pump, you reduce the risk of mechanical failure and damage to the surrounding fixtures, keeping your wallet happy.
In essence, priming your pool pump is a small task that plays a crucial role in maintaining your pool’s cleanliness and your equipment’s longevity. It’s not just about ensuring your pool pump works correctly, it’s about keeping your pool in the best possible condition for you and your family to enjoy. So next time you think about skipping the priming process, remember the benefits it provides.
How to Prime a Pool Pump
For many pool owners, the idea of priming a pool pump might seem a bit daunting at first. However, with the right guidance and a bit of patience, you’ll soon realize that it’s not as complicated as it appears. Today, I’m going to simplify the process and guide you on how to prime a pool pump effectively.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. Before initiating the priming process, ensure that your pool’s water level is sufficiently high to cover the skimmer. A lower water level might cause the pump to struggle to draw in water, making the priming process difficult.
Next, take a closer look at your pump and filter’s unions. These should be tightly secured and remember not to remove the Union O Rings. They are essential for ensuring a proper seal. The Pump Lid O Ring plays a pivotal role as well. It’s advisable to lubricate it with Silicon Grease rather than a petroleum-based variant. The Silicon grease provides the right slipperiness, allowing for better sealing.
Before we embark on the actual steps of priming, remember to disconnect any automatic cleaner from the skimmer box. It’s a simple precaution that can save you from unnecessary complications later.
Steps to Prime a Pool Pump
Ready to get started? Follow these steps meticulously to prime your pool pump:
- Switch off the Pump and the Cell: Before you start, ensure that both the pump and the cell are turned off. This is vital for your safety.
- Adjust the Sand Filter: If your pool uses a sand filter, adjust its handle to the “Re-Circulate” position.
- Prepare the Skimmer Basket: Remove the skimmer basket for the next steps.
- Garden Hose Preparation: Disconnect all fittings from your garden hose. Then, place the bare end of the hose deep into the Suction Line in the skimmer box. This is where the priming happens, so ensure the hose reaches as far as possible.
- Fill the Pump Basket: Remove the pump lid, and pour 4-5 buckets of water directly into the pump basket. Once you’ve filled the basket, quickly replace the lid and turn the pump on. You may need to repeat this step a few times for the best results.
- Check for Successful Priming: If you have done everything correctly, your pump should now be primed. You can confirm this by checking whether water is flowing consistently and smoothly. If so, remove the garden hose and replace the skimmer basket.
- Allow the Pump to Run: Let the pump operate for about five minutes before switching it off.
Final Adjustments: After the five-minute period, turn the filter handle back to “Filter”, turn the cell back on, reconnect the automatic cleaner if you have one, and turn your pump back on. If your chlorinator has an “Auto” setting, ensure that you set it to this position.
Pump Priming Troubleshooting
Although priming your pool pump might seem like a breeze on paper, real-life situations can sometimes throw a wrench in the works. But fear not, because we’ve got the perfect troubleshooting guide for you. We’ll help you navigate the challenges that may arise while trying to prime your pool pump, ensuring you keep your swimming haven in top shape.
When the Pool Pump Doesn’t Prime
Are you trying to prime your pool pump, but it just won’t cooperate? Don’t fret, it happens more often than you’d think. One possible cause is a leak in the suction line, which can prevent the pump from creating a vacuum. In this case, look for signs of water leaks or listen for hissing sounds near the pump to identify a leak in the suction line. If there’s no noticeable leak, you could also try checking for air in the pump basket or debris clogging the impeller.
Issues with the Impeller
The impeller is a vital part of your pool pump and can sometimes cause hiccups during the priming process. If your pump fails to prime, it’s worth checking whether the impeller is clogged or not. Clearing any debris that might have found its way into the impeller can make the priming process smoother. It’s a simple fix that can save you a lot of stress!
Pool Pump Prime Lost After Shut Off
Did you successfully prime your pool pump only to find that it lost its prime when you switched it off? That’s likely due to a leak in the suction line, letting air enter the pump and break the vacuum. Consider inspecting the pump and suction line for potential leaks and resolving them to maintain the pump’s prime.
Priming a Pool Pump That’s Located Above Pool Water Level
If your pool pump is situated above the level of your pool water, you might find that priming becomes a more complex process. In such a case, you might need to manually fill the pump with water before starting it to help it achieve a prime. Remember, your pump needs water to function effectively and avoid damage, so a little extra work in this scenario goes a long way.
Water Not Flowing into the Pump
If water isn’t flowing into your pool pump, don’t be too quick to panic. The cause could be as simple as a closed valve. Check all valves in the suction line to make sure they’re open and allowing water to reach the pump. Also, be sure to look for any blockages that might be preventing water flow.
Pool Pump Loses Prime When Vacuuming
Does your pool pump lose its prime when you start vacuuming? If so, there might be a leak in the vacuum hose, which allows air to enter the system, breaking the vacuum and causing the pump to lose its prime. Inspect your vacuum hose for any potential leaks or holes, and replace it if necessary.