How to Prime a Pool Pump

A common question our service department get asked is how do you prime a pump? A pump will need priming for many reasons. The pump may have been accidentally run dry or shut off for a long period of time. It may be that the pump is higher than the pool and needs a bit of help to get going. Priming involves adding water to the pump before it is switched on to give it a bit of help to pull the water from through your pipework. Imagine it like an old plane, having to spin the propeller to get it started.

Priming a pump is a simple task that you should be able to perform yourself without too much problem and doesn’t require any specialist equipment.

  1. Turn Your Multiport Valve to Recirculate

Turning your multiport valve to recirculate bypasses the sand filter which is a pressurised vessel. By bypassing this is relieves the need to pressurise the filter and gives the water less resistance.

  1. Fill the Pump With Water

Close all inlet valves to the pool and then open the pump lid and use a bucket or hose to fill the pump right up to the top so that it will not fill any more without overflowing. This will fill all of the pump but also any pipework leading to the valves.

  1. Turn on the pump

When the pump is full of water, screw the lid back on the pump and fire up the pump. At the same time, or as soon as possible, open one of the lines to the pool (ideally a skimmer). With any luck, the first time you do this water will start to rush from the pipework into the pump. You may have to try this 3-4 times before it does end up working. If you don’t have any success then shut off the valve, turn the pump off and fill the pump back up again.

  1. Open the valves back up.

When the water is flowing well through the one line, you will need to re-open the other lines. Do this very slowly and one at a time as air in the lines will likely be present and can cause the pump to lose prime. If you find the pump starting to loose power close the valve quickly and start slowly introducing it a bit at a time. With a bit of patience you will see this starting to pull water and not air.

And that’s it! There are some troubleshooting steps you may need to take if this process fails to work for you which we will link in this article. If you have any problems you can comment below and we will help as best we can.

Did you know that XL Pools offer a swimming pool cleaning service?

To find out costs for your area click on the button to enquire.

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About XL Pools

XL Pools are a team of dedicated professionals who have built a reputation for outstanding swimming pool design and construction. We are the leading suppliers and installers of Compass Pools.


XL Pools Ltd

t: 01233 840336


a: Unit 5 The Glenmore Centre, Moat Way, Orbital Park, Ashford, TN24 0TL

Award Winning Pool Installation

XL Pools is an award winning Swimming Pool Installation company.

Swimming Pool Contractor of the Year 2018 & 2015

11 x SPATA Gold Winner

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