How to Prime a Water Pump

Last Updated on by Anthony Brown

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    Most water pump need to be primed in order to work efficiently and create pressure inside the motor. Without proper priming after a few months of in use the pump will need to be primed and flushed. In this article we will show you how to prime a water pump with a step by step guide – keep reading to learn more

    Required Gear and Tools

    Priming a pump is easy but it will require a few items from around the house.

    You will need:

    • A 5 gallon bucket of water
    • A garden hose
    • A timer

    Follow these step by step instructions to prime your pump and get it started pumping water. The longer the pump has set unused in a garage, shed or basement the more likely it will need to be primed.

    1. Get Water for Priming

      Next, you will need a bucket with a few gallons of water to simulate water running through the system as you are priming they pump. You can also use a long hose if you have one that reaches from an outside faucet. This water will be used to run through the system while you are priming the pump. Remember to never ‘dry run’ your pump or it could damage the motor. If there are any active water lines feeding a pool or water well make sure to turn off the water before starting.

    2. Find the Relief Valve or Primer

      Locate the primer or relief valve by searching near the pump control panel. If you cant find the priming switch check the owners manual so you know you get the right switch and are not cycling the on/off switch without knowing it.

      Make sure that you are flipping the primer pump and not cycling the power switch or turning the flow rate up and down. Also be on the lookout for a pressure gauge so you know exactly how many times to prime the pump to get the perfect amount of water pressure.

    3. Pump the Primer and Add Water

      Now it is time to get started priming the pump. Start pouring water from your bucket or turn on the hose and start to prime the pump. It usually requires 3 to 5 gallons of water to fully prime most water pumps.

      You will know everything is working correctly if the water starts to drain at a steady rate. Repeat the priming process as many times as needed on your plumbing fixture.

    4. Test Pump System

      After you are done priming the pump and everything seems to be working correctly get another bucket full of water and do a full test run to stimulate extended  pump runtime. You don’t want your pump to fail after just a few minutes resulting in a flood.

      If you notice a large amount of water flow reentering the basin you may have something wrong with your check valve.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What does it mean to prime a water pump?

    Priming a water pump means pumping the primer while running water through the system. It is important to do this to establish the needed pressure to run the motor. Without it it will have no suction and be unable to lift and drain water.

    What causes a pump to lose its prime?

    Water pumps lose their prime overtime due to in-use, in-activity, and normal wear and tear. There is no one specific cause but the longer your pump has gone without running the more likely it will need to be primed before running again.

    Our Final Say

    Priming your water pump is an important part of regular pump maintenance routine. Without priming the pump you risk damaging the motor and decreasing the lifespan of your pump plus it might not provide enough suction and water pressure to drain the water tank.

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