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Most pool owners are unaware of just how important the pump system is to the health of your pool water. The pump’s responsible for ensuring proper water flow in the pool. It ensures all parts of the pool get sanitized and prevents bacteria and algae from growing in the water.

Priming your pool’s pump keeps the water moving and assists the filter in removing debris. if you just got a new pump, opened your pool, or otherwise neglected your pump, it’s time to prime it.

Getting your pool pump primed isn’t even that difficult and will save you money in the long run. If you’re curious on how to get all the air out of your system keep reading!

What’s the Best Way to Prime a Pool Pump? 

Pool pump priming varies slightly depending on which type you own. However, the general steps to properly priming pool pumps include the following:

  1. Turn off your pool pump
  2. Shift settings to re-circulate
  3. Open the air pressure relief valve
  4. Remove debris from the pump basket
  5. Rinse the pump basket with the hose if necessary
  6. Add water to the pump basket
  7. Put the lid back on the pool pump
  8. Check that the air relief valve is open
  9. Ensure water is consistently flowing from the pool pump
  10. If no water flow is coming out or it’s interrupted by air, turn off the pump and add water to the basket again
  11. Close the air relief valve and leave the pump running correctly

This step-by-step guide can apply to pretty much any pool filter. The main difference is whether or not you can switch your pool pump to recirculate. Some types of pool filters, including cartridge filters, don’t always have this setting.

You might need to move your pool pump to waste or backwash depending on the type of system you own.

How Long Does it Take to Prime Pool Pumps? 

Priming a pool pump doesn’t need to take a long time as long as you know what to do. While priming a pool pump only takes between 1-2 minutes for the air in the pipes to bleed out. However, the whole process of prepping your system and filling the pump basket could take between 10-20 minutes.

The time this takes varies depending on how dirty your pool pump and filtration system are and how much air is trapped. Trapped air should come out of the system after you let the pump run, but it’s possible some air will get trapped.

Continue letting the air bleed out until only water flows from the system. Ensure you always add water to the pump basket until the pump is no longer pushing out air.

What is the Importance of Priming Your Pool Pump? 

Priming a pool pump is important because it prevents your pool pump from overheating and drying out. If your pump has been sitting for a while or you haven’t been running the filtration system as you should it can cause air to build up in the pipes.

Priming a pool pump flushes the air out of the pipes and ensure all of the systems have water. Unprimed pool pumps can become overheated, damage your pipes, and cause your filter to break down.

Failing to prime pool pumps can cause a whole string of issues. Overheating the system can cause your PVC pipes to melt and other parts to break because of the heat and lack of lubrication. Damage like this could cause costly repairs or the need for a new pool pump!

Air in the pool pump can also disrupt the water flow in the system. You might notice your pool water looking cloudy or greener than usual thanks to the lack of water flow.

How Often Do You Have to Prime Your Swimming Pool Pump? 

Priming a pool pump isn’t like adding chlorine or brushing your pool’s walls and bottom. It’s not a standard form of maintenance, so there’s not a specific time frame where you should prime your pool pump.

Rather, the right time to prime a pool pump is when the system needs it. There are several tell-tale signs that it’s time to prime your pool pump:

  • Your pump’s making a sucking noise
  • You haven’t used your pump recently
  • You just opened your pool after winter (in regions where this applies)
  • The pump and filter aren’t working properly
  • Your pump’s overheating a lot

Debris in the skimmer basket, a clog in the pipes, or other disruptions can cause these air bubbles. Sometimes your pool simply needs more water. If you notice your pool water level is below the skimmer, use your garden hose to add more water. Check your pump to see if it’s working well after you add more water.


A pool’s pump system is an important part of your swimming pool safety and cleanliness. If you have air trapped inside you pipes it can damage the whole pump and filtration system, leading to more pool damage.

Just like any other piece of pool equipment, the pump keeps debris and bacteria out of pool water. It ensure large debris gets filtered out so the pool doesn’t become unbalanced, causing bacteria and algae to grow.

If you want to learn how important your pool’s filter system is to your pool, check out our article on how to clean different pool filters!


Can Pool Pump Priming Be Done Automatically?

Some pool pumps have an automatic priming system. These pool pumps don’t require the pool owner to add water to the pump basket and push the air through the system. Even if your pool is self-priming you should still pay attention to the sounds from your pool system.

If you hear gurgling or sucking sounds from your skimmer you might need to add water to your pump. If you pool water levels aren’t correct it can get air trapped in your pipes and damage the pump.

Do You Need to Use Your Garden Hose to Prime a Pool Pump?

Using a garden hose is the simplest way to priming a pool pump. It’s also the easiest way to add water to your swimming pool in case the levels are below the skimmer.

If you don’t have a hose in your yard, you can use a bucket to add water to your pump basket. Using a bucket is a good solution if you don’t have a hose, but it would be very time consuming if your swimming pool needs more water.

How Do You Clean the Pool Pump Basket?

Cleaning your pump basket is fairly simple. Just remove the pump lid and lift the basket from the tank. You can use you hands to remove the debris, or tap the basket against the ground to loosen it. Finally, we recommend rinsing this basket with some clean water to remove any lingering particles.

After rinsing the basket return it to the pump and put the pump lid back on top. Some pumps have a screw on pump lid while others have hooks that hold it in place. Ensure that you tighten the pump lid back into place to avoid any unwater air flow.