New To Pools: Cant Figure Out How To Prime My Pump

campbmic

Active member
Jun 9, 2019
34
Houston
My pools has been running fine for the past 2 years or so. In the last few weeks I noticed my automatic pool cleaner wasnt moving. I checked it out and found there was no water coming from the port on the side of the pool (where the automatically cleaner attaches via a long tube).

I thought it might be the filter at the pool pump. I turned the pump off and cleaned out the basket, now I cant seem to get the pump to prime well. The filter basket is about half full of water and I can see the water going from the skimmer/main drain and flowing into the basket. The flow just isnt very strong (ie reaches the top clear plastic lid of the filter basket). I noticed the jets on the side of the pool aren't flowing anymore either. Is this level sufficent for the main pool pump? Or do I need to prime it better?

I tried searching online for instructions on how to prime the pump and found two which I tried:

#1.
Turn pump off
Set multiport to recirculate
Fill filter basket with water & close
Turn pump back on
---I tried this about 5 times, each time the water just drained from the filter basket. I also noticed the air relief valve started sucking in air when I opened it

#2
Turn off pump
Keep multiport on filter
Turn of main valve and one skimmer valve (I have a main valve and two skimmer valves)
Fill filter basket with water & close
Open air relief valve
Turn pump on
When water comes out of air relief valve close valve and the pump is primed slowly open main and skimmer valve
---I tried this about 10 time today. It at least got the filter basket to remain filled 1/2 way and pump water from the skimmers/main. Most of the time the air pressure valve would shoot out air.

So Im not sure what I'm doing wrong or if I even have the right instructions for priming the pump. I've attached images of my setup if anyone could help me out!

Thanks for your time!
Michael
 

Attachments

Arizonarob

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
TFP Guide
Mar 25, 2018
2,695
Chandler Arizona
Michael, did you lube up the rubber gasket on the pump lid when you emptied the pump basket? That would be the first place to check. Also, there is a link to a video in my signature to check for a suction side air leak. :cheers:
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Michael, welcome! :wave: It sounds like you have an air leak somewhere. Keep in mind just because you have an air leak doesn't mean you will see water coming out of that area, so they can be tricky to find. Pump baskets that don't fill and water leaving the pump basket when the system is off means air is allowing water to move elsewhere. Try the link Rob provided above. Also take note of the filter pressure relief valve. Some have O-rings that can go bad and let air in on the pressure side when you turn the system off. Don't forget the basics as well ... water level high enough in the pool up the skimmer, and the skimmer weir door operating properly and not stuck closed to ensure water can move freely.
 

campbmic

Active member
Jun 9, 2019
34
Houston
Thanks guys for the reply! Its been running fine for the past 2-3 years. A couple of weeks ago I cleaned out the pump filter and was able to prime it using method #2 after a few tries. Earlier today the pump was running full (at the filter) too. So I would be surprised it would be an air leak. I will try to lube the gasket tomorrow when I get out there again. The pool water is definitely high enough, I don't believe I have doors on the skimmers unless it is somewhere under the basket of the skimmer?

Could either of you recommend steps to priming the pump. Should I use method #1 or method #2 or something else?

Thanks for the help Arizonarob and Texas Splash (Im in NW Houston btw and its prime pool time here!)
 
Last edited:

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Normally something close to Opt 2 should work. When the system is off for, the plumbing "should" retain the water and not allow it to leave the pipes. If it does, there's a tiny air leak somewhere causing the equalization. Even if minimal water backs-out of the suction line, the pump should self-prime without having to remove the lid each & every time. So I would pay close attention to any areas that have seals and O-rings, even on the filter pressure gauge.
 

campbmic

Active member
Jun 9, 2019
34
Houston
As of right now I have water flowing from the main valve and 2 skimmers into the pump filter chamber, and being sucked up by the pump. I was just worried that it wasnt washing up to the top of the clear plastic lid of the filter.

If I did have an air leak would the water in the filter eventually run lower and lower? To the point where water wouldnt be coming from the main valve/skimmers? If so I could test it that way.

Thanks Texas Splash!
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
470
Alamo, CA
Here’s something else you can try to prime the pump. Get a female-to-female garden hose adapter. Connect your hose to the hose bibb above the pump and push water into the pump while priming.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
470
Alamo, CA
PS, your pump lid doesn’t look completely tightened. Those 2 ears on the sides should be perpendicular to the intake pipe. If you can’t hand-tighten it any further, tap it with a rubber mallet.
 

campbmic

Active member
Jun 9, 2019
34
Houston
Last night I turned on the water feature and saw some bubbles coming out of the side of the pool (where the jet port things are). After that it looks like the filter is almost to the top. Should be fine now. Im going to post a new topic about the original issue (pool cleaner)