What Is Pool Pump Priming?

Published on August 31, 2018 by Duncan
What Is Pool Pump Priming?

The first thing that you will notice in your swimming pool that informs it needs to be primed is when the pool water is moving, but the pump is on. It can be scary if this is your first time to own a swimming pool.

Your next question would be, “why is the water not moving?”

Your pump will need priming because air has gotten into the Pump. Priming is the act of releasing the trapped air by putting water into your Pump so that it can start pulling from the pool again.

The next step is priming your pool. We are going to describe some simple steps that you can use at home to prime your pump.

How Do I Prime My Pool Pump?

Find out how the air got in

  • Air can get into your pump when you remove it during winter. Ensure that all the seals are correctly in place.
  • You will also need to check that there are no leaves or debris in the pump strainer basket. Also, ensure that your pool water is at the recommended height and that water is flowing into the skimmer inlets.

Shut off the pool equipment

  • Once you are ready to prime, shut off the filter unit, pump, and the pool heater. Look for the air relief and open it – this is found at the top of the pool pump.
  • Close the skimmer inlets and then open the drain primary drain valve. You can recheck that all the O-ring seal for any damage; replace if broken but avoid applying grease as this will cause particles to contaminate the pump. You can, however, use some petroleum jelly on the O-ring.
  • Ensure that the pump basket has sufficient water.

Priming the Pump

  • Turn on your pool pump and let it run for 2 to 3 minutes. Try the process again if water does not flow after 5 minutes.
  • Once your pump has started running efficiently, you can open the skimmer inlets while checking for loss of suction by the pump. Close the lid; it is advised to close it by hand to avoid over-tightening it.
  • Close the pump air relief valve after you have ensured that all the skimmer inlets are open. It is now time to restart the pool filter unit.
  • Keep an eye on the air relief valve; you should see air coming out of the pump while the water starts to spray. If this does not work, you can repeat the process.
  • As noted above, you will need to keep your pump filter basket free from leaves and debris.

How To: Prime a Pool Pump Video


Air often does get into the pump, and this causes it not to operate efficiently. From the article, you can see that priming is a simple process that you can carry out by yourself. Once the air has been expelled your pump should start operating like before. As stated, if you do not see results immediately, you can repeat the process until you see results. If this still does not work, you can talk to an electrician to see whether the pump could be having other problems.