How to Prime a Pool Pump


It’s summer and you’re ready to take a dip in your pool, but when you go to turn on the pump, nothing happens. You check to make sure it’s plugged in and that the breaker hasn’t been flipped off, but still no luck. So what do you do?

It’s no secret that keeping a swimming pool clean and functioning properly requires regular maintenance. One of the most important steps in maintaining your pool is priming the pump.

This process ensures that the water is being circulated correctly and that all the debris and dirt is being sucked up and eliminated from the system. In fact, most pool pumps won’t function at full capacity if it’s not properly primed.

So how do you prime a pool pump? It’s actually a relatively simple process that only takes a few minutes to complete.

1. What is meant by ‘Priming a Pool Pump’ and why is it important?

Priming a pool pump is simply the process of adding water to the pump at start-up, so that it circulates at full capacity. This is usually done by adding water to the skimmer basket, which is the large basket that sits next to the pump. The skimmer basket is where the water enters the pump, and without enough water, the pump won’t be able to function properly.

2. How do you know your pool pump needs priming?

With the pump running, when you hold your hand at the pump inlet (where the water enters the pool from the pump), you will feel the water force is very weak.

Now, this can also mean that your filter is dirty and you need to backwash it, but if backwashing the filter does not resolve the issue, it’s most likely the pump that has a leak or somehow got in air.

It is very common for a pump to get in air when the pool water level drops below the pool outlet end (the hole that goes to the pump), causing it to get an air lock. Most of the time you can hear the pump making funny sounds and not running as smoothly as normal.

3. How to prime a pool pump

To prime a pool pump, start by making sure that there is enough water in the skimmer basket. The basket should be about half full. If it’s not, add more water until it reaches that level. Once the basket is half full, turn on the pool pump and let it run for a few minutes. You’ll know it’s primed and working properly when you see water flowing out of the discharge pipe full force.

4. Trouble priming your pool pump

clean pool filtration system when priming the pump

If you’re having trouble priming your pool pump, don’t worry – it’s a common problem and we’re here to help. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be up and running in no time:


Step 1: Check the skimmer basket


The first thing you’ll want to do is check the skimmer basket. If it’s full of debris, that could be why the pump isn’t working. Empty out the basket and try again.


Step 3: Check the strainer basket


If the skimmer basket is clean, the next step is to check the strainer basket. This is located inside the pump itself and can also become clogged with debris. If it is, simply remove it and clean it out.


Step 4: Bleed the air from the pump


If both baskets are clear, there may be air in the pump itself. To bleed the air out, start by turning off the pump. Then, open the bleeder valve (this is usually located on the side of the pump) and turn on the pump. Once the air has been bled out, you should see water coming out of the valve. Close the valve and you’re good to go! 

Step 5: It’s Possibly a leak

Check for leaks when struggling to prime a pool pump

If your pump still isn’t working after adding water to the pump basket and skimmers, a leak in the system might be to blame. Check for wear or damaged components on your pump. It’s probably time for a replacement if the housing is cracked or there is another visible damage. The average lifespan of a pool pump is three to five years.

If you’re still having trouble, we recommend contacting a pool professional for assistance. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and get your pool up and running in no time.

Once you’ve successfully primed your pool pump, you can move on to other maintenance tasks, such as the cleaning tips below:

5. Tips for keeping your pool clean and functioning properly

It’s important to keep your pool clean and functioning properly in order to enjoy it during the summer months. Here are a few tips for keeping your pool looking great:


Clean the filter regularly. The filter is responsible for trapping debris and dirt before it enters the pool. If it’s not cleaned regularly, the pool will become dirty and cloudy.


Vacuum the pool floor regularly. Debris and dirt can build up on the bottom of the pool over time, so it’s important to vacuum it up regularly. This will help keep the water clean and clear.


Keep the skimmer basket full of water. The skimmer basket is where the water enters the pump, and if there isn’t enough water, the pump won’t be able to function properly. Make sure to add water to the basket whenever necessary.


Inspect the pump for debris. Debris can clog up the impeller and prevent the pump from circulating water correctly. If you notice any debris inside the pump, clean it out and try again.


Contact your local pool professional for assistance. If you have any questions or problems with your pool, contact your local pool professional for help. They will be happy


A pump is vital but often expensive pool equipment that circulates the water through the filtration system to remove debris. It is required for providing a clean and sanitary swimming environment. Although this equipment may be pricey, it is critical for pool ownership.

Before turning on your pool pump, you must prime it. The process of de-pressurizing your pool pump and filling it with water before switching it on is known as priming. It’s really important that pool owners properly and safely prime their pumps before using them.

To begin, turn off the pump and remove as much air as possible. To replace the air, fill the system with water. If you’re having trouble priming the pump, start by adding more water. The most efficient and recommended method of adding water is to put it directly into the pump basket (which is located in the back of your aquarium).

If you tried all the tips in this article and still can’t get your pool pump to circulate water at full capacity, it’s time to call a pool professional to make sure you did everything right or to check if it’s maybe time for a new pump.


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