How to Prime a Pool Pump in 3 Easy Steps

Usually at the beginning of the pool season, when you open your pool, your pump might need a bit of priming. Priming is the act of giving your pump enough water so it will start pulling from the pool. Basically, it’s like giving your pump a motivational pep talk to get it in gear.

And now, let’s get started on how to prime a pool pump with these 3 easy steps!

1. Turn Your Multiport Valve to Circulate

This will bypass the filter system, so that the water comes into the pump, through ONLY your multiport valve, and right back into the pool — never touching the inside of your filter.

Important: Remove any plugs you have in your skimmer(s) or return jet(s) so that water can flow into your pump.

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2. Fill The Pump With Water

Open up the pool pump by removing the lid (make sure all the drain plugs are in place so that your pump doesn’t leak water).

Take your garden hose If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. and fill up the pump housing where the basket is. This is priming in a nutshell. What we’re doing is filling the lines from the skimmer to the pump so that there’s enough water to create suction into the pump.

I recommend filling for at least 2 minutes to ensure the water is entering the lines. You can also use a hose nozzle If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. and spray water into the pipe directly by pointing the nozzle into the opening inside the pump housing.

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3. Turn On The Filter System

Once you’ve finished filling up the pool pump with water, put the lid back on the pump housing and fire up the system. Hopefully, you’ve added enough water to get the pump running. You’ll know you’ve achieved this when the pump housing starts filling up with water, and there are no visible air bubbles in the lid.

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It’s Prime Time!

To be honest, it might take a few tries to prime the pump, but if you’re lucky, you’ll nail it on the first try.

You may need to prime the pump during the season too, so this is not just a spring startup thing. Sometimes your pump will run dry (but you should NEVER let this happen). Perhaps the water level will dip down below the skimmer, or something blocks the skimmer from pulling in water.

No matter what the cause, you should do your best to keep it from happening. Running a pump with no water can cause damage to the pump and motor.

Happy Swimming!

Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?

We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!

Click here to learn more
The Pool Care Handbook