Attempted Opening-Pump Won't Prime

bigevilgrape

Well-known member
Mar 5, 2016
96
Central CT
I tried to open my pool yesterday, and my pump won't prime. When it's turned on it looks like its starting to draw water but then then the water all drains out faster then it comes in. The pump was in a detached garage all winter, and I realized yesterday that I missed one of the drain plugs and there was some water in there. If it froze and cracked something where would I have to look to figure that part out? I tried resetting all the o-rings in the pumps and unions. It was pretty dark by the time I got enough water in the pool to fire the pump up, so I might have missed something. That said I'd like to go home from work today with some trouble shooting suggestions.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,407
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
I tried to open my pool yesterday, and my pump won't prime. When it's turned on it looks like its starting to draw water but then then the water all drains out faster then it comes in. The pump was in a detached garage all winter, and I realized yesterday that I missed one of the drain plugs and there was some water in there. If it froze and cracked something where would I have to look to figure that part out? I tried resetting all the o-rings in the pumps and unions. It was pretty dark by the time I got enough water in the pool to fire the pump up, so I might have missed something. That said I'd like to go home from work today with some trouble shooting suggestions.
Let's make sure we have the scenario correct. Everything is hooked up, and you filled the pump strainer basket and put the lid on. So far, so good. Water just sits there, it's not leaking out. Then you turn on the pump, the basket empties, and then nothing. Is this correct?

If so, you're sucking air from somewhere. The pump is indeed priming, because it pumped the water from the strainer into the filter. It didn't leak out.

It could be that the pipes are empty. Is the pool full, and all the plugs have been removed? If so, then you need to revisit each connection, starting with the pump strainer lid gasket. Make sure it isn't pinched or cracked and that it has plenty of lube on it. Then recheck each union to be sure you didn't lose an O-ring and that they're all in good shape and lubed.

How long did you run the pump? I know that even when all I did was clean out the strainer basket that it can take what seems an agonizing long time to reprime, although if I timed it I'm sure it would only be 15 or 20 seconds.
 

bigevilgrape

Well-known member
Mar 5, 2016
96
Central CT
Let's make sure we have the scenario correct. Everything is hooked up, and you filled the pump strainer basket and put the lid on. So far, so good. Water just sits there, it's not leaking out. Then you turn on the pump, the basket empties, and then nothing. Is this correct?
That is correct, I filled up the pump and, the bottom half of the filter.

If so, you're sucking air from somewhere. The pump is indeed priming, because it pumped the water from the strainer into the filter. It didn't leak out.
It could be that the pipes are empty. Is the pool full, and all the plugs have been removed? If so, then you need to revisit each connection, starting with the pump strainer lid gasket. Make sure it isn't pinched or cracked and that it has plenty of lube on it. Then recheck each union to be sure you didn't lose an O-ring and that they're all in good shape and lubed.
Everything is out. Return lines are unpluged with eyeballs back in, skimmer is gizmo free, and the plugs from the pipes by the pad are out. I will go back tonight and recheck the lid and the o-rings in the unions. There should be better light when I get home from work, so I'll be able to see any damage on the o-rings. If i had to guess I think its probably a problem with the unions.

How long did you run the pump? I know that even when all I did was clean out the strainer basket that it can take what seems an agonizing long time to reprime, although if I timed it I'm sure it would only be 15 or 20 seconds.
I let it run for at least a minute, which is much longer then it would take if I had cleaned out the basket and restarted the pump.
 

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