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Thread: Can't get pump to prime

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    Can't get pump to prime

    I opened my pool easily last year, but did one additional thing this year, I removed and power washed all of the filter membranes from my Triton FNSP 60 and put everything back together. I removed all return plugs, inserted the plug into my pentair pump, ran a hose backwards from my pump to fill the skimmer lines and observed the water bubbling up from the skimmers, so I know those lines are pretty full. But I can't get the pump to pull any water other than a trickle. I've poured a bucket full into the pump's basket 10 times but no go. Do I have to fill the filter up with water before I close it? Do I have to use the air relief valve at the top of the filter to help purge out that air?

    Anybody got suggestions?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Re: Can't get pump to prime

    You will want to purge air out of the filter, but only after the pump is primed. Until then the filter doesn't matter.

    If you have multiple sources of water with separate valves, try turning off all but one and see if you can prime with just one. If that doesn't work, try each of the others.

    It is also very important to make sure there aren't any air leaks, especially in the pump strainer basket lid seal.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Join Date
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    Re: Can't get pump to prime

    I had a similar issue last year. It was, as JasonLion pointed out, the strainer basket lid seal which had gotten pinched and was not allowing the pump to create a vacuum to pull a prime. Hopefully that's it because that's a easy and cheap fix.

    If that's not it, I'd recommend putting the multiport on Recirc to take the filter out of the equation. If it still has problems, then you know it's not the filter. If it primes, then let it run for a bit and switch your multiport over to filter and then purge the air out of your filter.
    30,000 Gallon Inground, Vinyl Liner
    DE Filter & Pentair IC40 SWG
    Pentair Legend Platinum w/ PB4 Booster
    Pentair Kreepy Krawler Prowler Robot

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get pump to prime

    Try the valve trick. Close the skimmer valve(s) and pull from main only, starting with it closed, slowly open it as the pump is priming. Make sure pump basket full with water when you start. I agree about the recirc setting to prime.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Can't get pump to prime

    ok i think i have a problem. i don't have a skimmer isolation valve at the pump. so i replugged each skimmer, one at a time, just to see if that would isolate a clog or air leak and no go. then, just for kicks, something made me think to unscrew the 2 lower little plugs at the pump. the one in the front under the basket seemed normal, but the water coming out of the one closer to the pump, the water was warm. i'm wondering if my pump is shot.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get pump to prime

    That is normal. The pump will get hot when trying to prime. You shouldn't run it for more than about 5 minutes at a time before you achieve prime. If left too long trying to prime it can overheat and damage it's self.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Can't get pump to prime

    yesterday, I bought a new O-ring for the cover at the pump where the basket is. applied jack lube to it as well. No difference. I'm getting scared that perhaps the very cold winter may have cracked an underground line and I'm going to be digging up a concrete deck and losing the season. $$$, too. Pump sounds normal, but maybe I should buy a replacement motor, its a common WFE-6 1.5 hp Pentair. there was a suspicious incident near the end of last year where the removable basket at the pump had split and lots of leaves, etc., got through. I removed the motor end and after watching a few videos, removed, cleaned, and reinstalled the impeller. Subsequently, the replacement basket I bought online, melted down, like if it was in the dishwasher, so something over heated.

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