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How To Prime A Well Pump In 4 Easy Ways?

Well And Well Pump

Are you having recurring problems with your well pump? It is an essential part of your well system. When I moved to a house with a well, I was happy about getting clean water and lower water bills.

Soon, I started having problems and had to replace pumps a couple of times despite regular maintenance. That is when I learned about priming.

Sometimes, the air gets stuck in the pipe, causing the stoppage of water delivery. Priming a well pump means removing air from the pump and filling it with water to properly work.

Without priming, you will end up with low water pressure or no water at all. If you have a well, then you must learn how to prime a well pump.

How To Prime A Well Pump

What Are the Main Causes Of Loss Of Well Pump Prime?

A leak anywhere in the system can cause a stoppage and even damage the pump. Even a small leak in the pipe inside the well can cause a reverse flow of water.

  • Air Leak: air leaks anywhere in the pump, pipes, or connectors can allow water to flow out and air to come in. This is the most common cause of losing prime.
  • Check Valve: a bad check valve at the pump or anywhere in between if you are using more than one check valves can cause losing prime.
  • Foot Valve: foot valve at the bottom of the well could be the culprit for losing prime. It is better to check other factors before checking the foot valve.
  • Well Piping: a leak in the piping between the foot valve and the pump and even in the pipes above ground could be causing the loss of prime.

Types of Pumps And Priming Them

There are many types of well pumps , and they all need to be primed. Read on to find how you can take care of this problem in different well pumps.

1. Shallow Well Pump

This pump is meant for shallow wells that don’t require more than 18 feet of pumping. You should install a foot valve or check valve in the pump’s suction line to maintain prime longer.

To remove the air or gas from the pump, shut the control valve after filling the suction line with water. Now, run the pump while keeping the priming plug loose.

This will remove all the air which is trapped inside. If you still feel any obstruction, then repeat this process until you find the water flowing smoothly.

2. Well Pumps with One or Two Lines

This is slightly more complex but is an excellent priming method when dealing with pumps with more than one line.

The best thing is that you can do this without removing any pipes or plumbing, which reduces the chances of breakages and damages. You will need a garden hose and another water connection.

Connect one end of the hose to the other connection and the other end to the faucet near the well. Open this faucet, and first only air will come out.

Once the air is expelled, and water starts to flow, shut it off, and let the pressure build. Turn off the taps at both ends of the hose.

Switch on the well pump and check. If the priming is successful, then you will notice smooth water flow otherwise repeat the process.

3. Self-Priming Centrifugal Pumps

These pumps are great for shallow wells. They take a few minutes to prime themselves after they are filled with air. They send a charge of water into the casing meant for prime.

The rotating impeller creates a vacuum where the air and water get drawn into from the suction line. This mixture of air and water then goes to the air separation unit where the air is expelled out of the pump.

Meanwhile, the water goes back to the casing for prime. In just about 5 minutes, the pump is primed and ready to transfer water.

Self Priming Centrifugal Pumps - How To Prime A Well Pump

4. Self-Priming Submersible Pumps

These submersible self-priming pumps are meant for deeper wells. The centrifugal pumps are not suitable for deep wells. Generally, you will not have an issue with pumps.

These pumps function while being completely submerged, so priming problems don’t arise. The pump’s motor, with its turbine action, keeps churning the water.

The impeller area is always flooded with water, and there is no way air can get trapped inside. It generally leaks in the pipes, which can cause priming problems.

How To Prime A Well Pump?

As you have seen, there are many types of well pumps available. The first thing you should do when you get any well pump is to familiarize yourself with its working.

Though self-priming pumps will make your job easy but you still may have to do some little work manually. For other pumps, you can get either an automatic or manual priming system.

This equipment will create pressure on the suction line and help pull the water to the priming valve. It can push out any trapped air.

Once the priming is complete, the valve will shut off, and the water level will become normal. Understanding how to prime the pump will be a big help, and you will not have to call a plumber every time this happens.


Having a well has many long term benefits, including controlling your water supply, no water bills, and safer and better water.

A well pump is the heart of the well system, and investing in the right one is essential. However, even the best pumps need regular maintenance and priming from time to time. We have explained how priming for different types of well pumps can be done quickly.

If you find this information useful, please share it with people who are facing priming problems. We will be happy to answer your queries and clear your doubts if you have any.

Please feel free to contact us and let us know what you think. Enjoy uninterrupted water supply from your well.