Repair a Non-Priming Pool Pump Today to Save Summer

Pool pumps are necessary for keeping your pool clean and free of debris, but they occasionally experience issues. When a pool pump fails to prime, leaving unclean, stagnant water in the pool, this is one of the most frequent problems pool owners deal with. In this post, we’ll go over some of the possible causes of a pool pump that won’t prime, as well as some advice on how to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

Describe the priming

Priming involves emptying the pool pump of air and then filling it with water. The pump must function effectively and keep the water flowing continuously. A primed pool pump produces suction that takes water out of the pool, runs it through the filter, and returns it to the pool.

Reasons why a pool pump won’t prime

There are a number of reasons why your pool pump does not prime. Some of the most typical causes are listed below:

Suction lines or fittings that are leaking air

Your pool’s suction pipes or fittings may have air leaks that prevent your pool pump from priming. Any of the suction lines leading to the pump, the union fittings, or the pump lid may experience these leaks. You may do a quick test to look for air leaks by using a garden hose and a pail of water. Place the hose into the water-filled bucket, leaving only the end of the hose visible. Place the hose over each suction line and fitting while the pump is running to check for bubbles. Before your pump can prime effectively, any air leaks that you uncover must be fixed.

clogged pump basket or impeller

Your swimming pool pump may be unable to prime due to a clogged impeller or pump basket. Water won’t be able to flow through the pump if the impeller or basket is clogged, which will cause the pump to lose its prime. Turn off the pump and clean the impeller housing and basket to resolve this problem.

The pool’s low water level

Your pool’s low water level may also make it difficult for your pump to prime. If the water level is too low, the pump won’t be able to suck in enough water to prime, and your pool pump needs a particular amount of water to keep its prime. If you see that the water level is low, fill the container with extra water until it is at the proper level.

O-ring or gasket damage

Your pump may be unable to prime as a result of air leaks caused by a damaged o-ring or gasket. Look for evidence of wear or damage on the o-ring and gasket and replace them if necessary.

Shut-off valves

The pump may not prime if there are any closed valves in the suction or discharge lines. Verify that each valve is open and working correctly.

Defective capacitor or motor

Your pool pump may not prime due to a bad motor or capacitor. Your pump motor will lose its prime if it is unable to move water through the system due to improper operation. To make sure the motor and capacitor are working properly, test them.

Other root reasons for the priming problem

An obstruction in the suction line, a cracked or broken pump housing, or a broken check valve is a few additional potential explanations for your pool pump not priming in addition to the ones mentioned above. To identify the underlying cause of the priming issue, a complete examination of your pool pump and its parts is essential.

pool pump not priming

Your pool pump might not be priming. What you must do is as follows:

The following are various fixes for a pool pump that won’t prime:

Air leak testing

Air leaks in the suction lines or fittings, as was previously noted, can prevent your pool pump from priming. Find the air leak’s source and rectify it in order to resolve this problem. This could entail fixing a fitting, changing a gasket, or caulking a crack in the pump housing.

Unclogging impellers or pump baskets

It’s crucial to properly clean out your pump’s impeller or basket if they are blocked with debris. After stopping the pump and removing the basket, clear any debris that might be obstructing the impeller using a hose or brush.

Watering down the pool

More water can be added to your pool if the water level is too low to allow the pump to prime. Add water until it reaches the proper level using a hose or bucket.

inspecting and changing gaskets or o-rings

The o-ring or gasket needs to be changed if the damage is discovered. Then, carefully install it in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions after purchasing a replacement gasket or o-ring that is the same size and shape as the previous one.

Motor/capacitor testing

It’s crucial to test the motor or capacitor with a multimeter or voltmeter if you have any reason to believe they may be defective. It will be necessary to replace the motor or capacitor if you discover that they are not operating properly.

Additional priming fixes:

  • Pool pump maintenance prevents problems.
  • To avoid impeller and pump basket obstructions, clean the pool.
  • Inspect and refill the pool as needed.
  • Replace worn or damaged gaskets, o-rings, and fittings.
  • Consult a pool technician for priming problems.

Pool pump losing prime while off: Prevention

Backflow causes pool pumps to lose their prime when switched off. The suction pipe and pump housing flow back into the pool when the pool pump is turned off. The pump loses its prime if air enters the suction line or pump housing.

The suction line or pump housing may not be filled with water after the pump is switched off for several reasons:

  1. Air leaks in the suction line: Air leaks in the suction line might cause water to drain from the pump housing when the pump is switched off. Broken suction line fittings, valves, or seals can cause this.
  2. Low pool water level: When the pump is switched off, water from the suction line and pump housing may drain back into the pool.
  3. Incorrectly sized pump: If the pump is too large for the pool, it may drain the water back into it when switched off.

Suction line check valves prevent backflow and sustain prime. A one-way check valve stops water from going back into the pool while the pump is off. To prevent the pump from losing its prime when turned off, check the pool’s water level and suction line for air leaks.

The Reasons for the Pool Pump Losing Prime Overnight

Many different things can cause a pool pump to lose its prime overnight. Instances of the following are the most typical:

  • When the air gets into the suction line, the pool pump can lose its prime and stop working. This can occur if the suction line’s fittings, valves, or seals are broken or not functioning properly.
  • A blocked or dirty pool filter might prevent enough water from reaching the pump, causing the pump to dry out and stop working. This can occur if the filter hasn’t been maintained in some time and has to be cleaned or replaced.
  • The impeller generates the suction that draws water into the pump, and if it becomes damaged or blocked, this suction will be compromised. A lack of suction might stop the water flow if the impeller was broken or obstructed.
  • If the pool’s water level drops too low, the pump might not be able to draw in enough water to keep its prime.
  • Clogs or leaks in the plumbing system can prevent water from freely flowing through the system, causing the pump to lose its prime.


Why won’t my pool pump prime?

A clogged skimmer or pump basket, air leaks in the suction line, low water level, closed valves, a blocked impeller, a dirty or clogged filter, or problems with the pump motor could all prevent your pool pump from priming.

How frequently should I clean the pump basket and skimmer?

During the busiest swimming season, you should frequently inspect and clean the pump basket and skimmer.

Can a filthy filter prevent the pool pump from priming?

Absolutely, a dirty or clogged filter can stop the passage of water through the pump and make it incapable of priming effectively.

Can I swap the pump motor out on my own?

When replacing the pump motor, it is advised to obtain professional assistance because it requires electrical work and can be harmful if done incorrectly.

How can I stop my pool pump from failing to prime?

A pool pump that won’t prime can be avoided with regular maintenance and cleaning of the skimmer, pump basket, and filter. This problem can also be avoided by maintaining the right water level and checking for air leaks in the suction line.


Pool owners may experience frustration with a pool pump that isn’t priming, but in order to resolve the issue, it’s critical to pinpoint the underlying cause. You may investigate and fix priming problems with your pool pump by looking for air leaks, removing obstructions, filling the pool with water, examining and replacing parts, and testing the motor and capacitor. Additionally, regular maintenance and upkeep can aid in avoiding the emergence of these problems in the first place.

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