Priming your Pool Pump
Most pools will need priming at the beginning of the pool season. Priming is when the pump is given enough water to enable it to start pulling from the pool. In a sense, its like encouraging your pump to get moving. The system that is used to for pumping has the air purged from it and the pump and the water lines are filled with water. THE length of time it takes to prime a pool pump will depend on how much water comes out of the lines with the suction and the water that comes from the pool to the pump. If the pool system you are installing is new, the lines won’t have any water in them which means you will have to go through the process more than once until it works. If you are making amendments to certain fittings into the system such as a heater, there might be water left over in the lines and priming won’t be as difficult. The procedure that you are about to go through assumes that there is little to no water in the pump and that the barometer is showing a low pressure reading. Priming a pool pump is a relatively easy process. These are the instructions you will need to follow.
1. Turn the Power off: Turn all power off, this includes the power connected to the motor’s breaker. This step is essential, it will ensure that you are kept safe during the process.
2. Shut off Water From the Skimmers: You can shut the water off from the skimmers using the valves suction diverter, or you can do so from the top drain. It is not possible to shut them both off. To prime the system in stages, point the diverter valve towards the top drain side, it should be facing the off side. This will ensure that water is only able to flow from the skimmer lines of the pool. It is important to mention that if you are adding something to the system, there will be water in the lines and there is a possibility that you will be able to prime the system by taking apart the top drain lines and the skimmer at the same time.
3. Relieve Pressure: If there is any pressure left in the water lines and pool pump, you will need to relieve it. To do this, move the air relief valve backwards, you will find it just above the pool filter. As the air is released, you hear a hissing sound and you will see the barometer go down to 0 psi. This relieve valve should be left open.
4. Open the Lid: The pump strainer box has got a lid, you will need to open this. You can do so by turning both knobs backwards, you will find them just above the strainer lid. You can also do this by swivelling the knobs downwards so that they come away from the lid. In these instances, you will need to get the lid off the top of the strainer box by twisting it in a counter clockwise direction.
5. Clean out the Basket: There is likely to be a lot of debris that has accumulated in the strainer basket. Remove it, clean it and then put the basket back.
6. Recirculate by Turning Your Multiport Valve: You need the water to come into the pump through the multiport valve only, you don’t want it to go through the filter system. You can achieve this by turning the multiport valve. It is important to mention that you will need to take the plugs out of the return jet or skimmer to allow the water to flow into the pump.
7. Put Water Into the Pump: Remove the lid and open the pool pump; before doing this, you will need to make sure that you have secured all the drain plugs so that the pump doesn’t start leaking. Use your garden hose to fill the pump housing with water. This is basically what priming is, you are filling up the lines so that there is sufficient water to enable suction into the pump. It is advised that you fill the pump for at least two minutes to make sure that the water enters the lines. You can also spray the water directly into the pump housing using a hose nozzle.
8. Turn the Filter System on: After you have filled the pool pump with water, secure the lid onto the pump housing and turn the system on. You should have filled it with enough water so get the pump to start running again. Once water starts filling the pump housing and you can’t see any air bubbles, you will know that it has enough water.
9. Put the strainer lid back on carefully and ensure that it is sealed properly. Don’t use a tool to tighten it or you will find it difficult to remove it again. Tighten the knobs by hand if your pool pump has them.
10. Make sure that the pool returns diverter valve is left open so that the pool pump can pump water out into the pool. Failing to open it will lead to high levels of water pressure building up when the pump is operating. Not only is this dangerous, but it will cause damage to the pool pump.
11. Turn the power back on.
12. Check how the water flows through the strainer box. You should expect to see a free flow of water within 30-60 seconds of turning it on.
13. You should have left the air relief valve open, the relief valve will release air as the pressure builds. Close the valve by turning it in a clockwise direction when the valve begins to spray water.
14. If after waiting 30-60 seconds there is no water flowing, you will have to go over steps 1-13. Turn the pump off, bleed the pressure off, open the strainer again, fill the strainer and then shut the lid. Turn the pump on. If there is still air in the line, you may have to go over these steps a number of times to get rid of it.
15. When water starts flowing through the pool skimmer lines, lift up the top drain line slowly at the diverter valve. Let the air out from the top drain by opening the relief valve. The water should start flowing freely within 30-60 seconds. Once the water starts flowing, shut the relief valve, if the pressure on the pressure gauge does not start building up, you will have to go over steps 1-13.
16. When the pump has been properly primed, change the position of the diverter valve so that its halfway between the main drain and the skimmer for normal operation.
17. If you have done this several times and you are still not able to prime the system properly, there is a high chance that there is something else going on and you will probably need an expert to come and take a look at it. When priming is unsuccessful, the main issue is typically a major blockage or a leak, you will need to have this problem fixed before priming your swimming pool system.
18. After several unsuccessful attempts, it is essential that you get the help of a professional; if not, you run the risk of causing further damage to your system which will end up being even more costly to fix. We recommend that you enlist the help of a professional after three attempts.