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Thread: Priming uphill pump

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    mikergibson's Avatar
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    Priming uphill pump

    My pump is up a hill from my pool approx 20 feet away, 6 feet higher than the pool itself.
    I have only had the pool 2 yrs and the first year I had it opened by someone else. Is there a
    secret to getting a pump primed in this configuration?
    When opening the pool, should I attempt to fill the filter up with water from the hose before starting pump?
    How long can I leave the pump running "dry" trying to get it to prime itself before I am causing damage to it?
    any simple procedures that would help?
    Thanks for any tips you can give, can't wait to open this spring,,
    winter sucks
    My Pool:
    12K gal Fiberglass. Pentair DE Filter, Aqua Logic SWG, GoldLine Controls, Kreepy Krauley pool cleaner, MiniMax 250 Heater, Pentair FiberWorks Fiber optic lighting, Pentair 1 1/2HP Pump, a new shiny TF100 test kit, a clear pool and 3 happy kids

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    When priming a pump you always want to fill up the pump strainer basket area with water before turning it on. Also make sure the strainer basket lid seals are clean and the lid is on properly. Any air leaks on the suction side will generally prevent priming with that much elevation. It ought to prime on the first attempt though it might take a little while to really get going.

    You can run the pump dry for a couple of minutes without worrying about it. If trying several times in a row you might need to give the pump a good while to cool down in between attempts.

    Adding extra water, beyond what the pump strainer basket will hold, won't help. Any extra water will simply run down to the pool.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Mike,

    I have a similar situation but I'm only about 4' higher than the pool. Any solution is gonna' be tough.

    I find it helps to pour a high volume of water into the pump basket. Of course it will all try to run into the pool but, if you're quick or especially if you can enlist an assistant, you can quickly seal the pump strainer basket with the lid before all the water has dropped down to pool level. Then, your pump will only have to pull from whatever level you were able to stop the water. With an assistant, I can prime almost immediately. By myself, it takes about 1 minute to prime from the level the water has dropped to.

    If I don't do this, it's difficult for me to prime at all. I agree with Jason that a minute or two does no harm to a dry pump but I sure wouldn't go any longer.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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  4. Back To Top    #4
    Guest
    i dont have an issue of hight, but mine is VERY far away from the pool, so it can take 1-2 minutes to prime, ENLESS,

    i stick a gargen hose IN THE SKIMMER, and wait till i see trickles of water in the pump, i fill that with water, and put the lit on and start the pump, once i start to see water flow more freely i quickly pull the hose out, and BAM DONE.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    I put my gizmo in the skimmer and turn off the main drain. Then I can fill the skimmer line from the strainer basket. I pull the gizmo and have one of the kids hit the breaker for the pump.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  6. Back To Top    #6
    mikergibson's Avatar
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    opening for the first time does it matter if the filter is empty of water? (de filter)
    would it help if I filled it up with water?
    Thanks for all the replies!
    My Pool:
    12K gal Fiberglass. Pentair DE Filter, Aqua Logic SWG, GoldLine Controls, Kreepy Krauley pool cleaner, MiniMax 250 Heater, Pentair FiberWorks Fiber optic lighting, Pentair 1 1/2HP Pump, a new shiny TF100 test kit, a clear pool and 3 happy kids

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikergibson
    opening for the first time does it matter if the filter is empty of water? (de filter)
    would it help if I filled it up with water?
    Thanks for all the replies!
    The filter is on the outlet side of the pump, so it won't affect priming.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    The best solution is a check valve in front of the suction side of the pump. Each end should have unions.

    The check valve should have one male end and female end from the unions so you can turn it around when blowing the lines for winterizing or blowing out a clog.

    Then you can fill the pump basket and start the pump. It will prime fairly quickly assuming there are no air leaks. Start with main drain only, then slowly open your skimmers, one at a time. Once you have full prime, it should stay that way .
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
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    Pool guy,

    While I agree with you and know they work, I'm just not a big fan of check valves. I had them on my pool just for that purpose. They instantly clogged on startup from junk in the pipes and I spent a few days trying to figure out why my system was only running 2 psi.

    I know the skimmers baskets are supposed to catch anything that could lodge in the check valves but they often don't. A week or so after I cleaned the valves, I pulled the skimmer basket out to clean it (pump running) and a mid-size frog decided it was a great time to explore up the pipe from the skimmer to the pump.....his curiosity, of course, was quickly "checked" and I had another clean-out to do. I removed the check valves and haven't looked back.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  10. Back To Top    #10
    No P in my ool's Avatar
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    I used to service a pool with an uphill pump and used a garden hose with an expandable "blow bag" that attached to the hose. What i did was put the bag in the skimmer and when you turned the water on the bag expanded and sealed the hole in the skimmer. When the basket filled with water I turned the pump on. Worked pretty good.
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    What works great in these situations although it is expensive is an Intelliflo like pump, Jandy and Hayward are making them now. The idea is to set it to run at a very low rpm 24 hrs a day, this way the pump doesn't shut off and then lose prime, and then run dry next time it starts up. I did this for a pool I was taking care of and the owner loves it, and they say they are saving 50+ a month on electric also. The Jandy one would be a good one because it has a large pump basket so it shouldn't need to be emptied as often. This is not ideal for a de filter if it isn't set up properly.

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