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How To Prime A Well Pump How To Prime A Well Pump

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How To Prime A Well Pump

Written by: Reeva Hofmann

Learn how to prime a well pump and ensure your home and garden water supply is always flowing smoothly. Follow these simple steps for a reliable water system.

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Priming a well pump is a crucial maintenance task for homeowners who rely on well water for their daily needs. Whether it's for drinking, cooking, or bathing, a properly functioning well pump ensures a steady supply of clean water. However, over time, air can infiltrate the system, causing the pump to lose its prime, leading to reduced water pressure or even a complete loss of water flow. Understanding how to prime a well pump and troubleshoot common issues is essential for ensuring a continuous and reliable water supply.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of well pump priming, providing step-by-step instructions and valuable insights to help you maintain your well pump effectively. From understanding the components of a well pump to troubleshooting common issues, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to address well pump priming with confidence.

A well pump is a vital component of a well water system, responsible for drawing water from the well and delivering it to the household. Whether it's a submersible pump located deep within the well or a jet pump situated above ground, the priming process is essential for ensuring optimal pump performance. By familiarizing yourself with the inner workings of the well pump and mastering the art of priming, you can mitigate potential disruptions to your water supply and maintain the efficiency of your well system.

Now, let's embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries of well pump priming, empowering you to tackle this essential task with ease and expertise. Whether you're a seasoned homeowner or a novice well owner, this guide will serve as your trusted companion in navigating the intricacies of well pump maintenance. Let's dive in and discover the art of priming a well pump to safeguard your access to clean, reliable water.


Understanding the Well Pump

A well pump is a fundamental component of a well water system, responsible for extracting water from the well and delivering it to the household. There are two primary types of well pumps: submersible pumps and jet pumps. Submersible pumps are typically located deep within the well, submerged in water, while jet pumps are situated above ground. Understanding the key elements of these pumps is essential for comprehending the priming process and effectively maintaining the system.

Submersible Pumps

Submersible pumps are designed to operate in submerged conditions, allowing them to draw water from significant depths. These pumps consist of a sealed motor that is waterproof and hermetically sealed to prevent water from entering. The pump is connected to a power source through a series of wires, enabling it to efficiently draw water from the well and propel it to the surface. Submersible pumps are known for their durability and reliability, making them a popular choice for deep well applications.

Jet Pumps

Jet pumps, on the other hand, are positioned above ground and are commonly used in shallow well systems. These pumps utilize suction to draw water from the well, and they are equipped with impellers to propel the water to the surface. Jet pumps can be further categorized into shallow well jet pumps and deep well jet pumps, each designed to accommodate specific well depths. While shallow well jet pumps are suitable for wells with a maximum depth of 25 feet, deep well jet pumps are capable of drawing water from greater depths.

Components of a Well Pump

Regardless of the type, all well pumps share common components essential for their operation. These include the pump housing, impellers, motor, pressure switch, check valve, and pressure tank. The pump housing encases the impellers and motor, providing protection and support. The impellers are responsible for generating the necessary force to move water through the system, while the motor powers the pump's operation. The pressure switch regulates the pump's activation and deactivation based on water demand, ensuring efficient water delivery. Additionally, the check valve prevents water from flowing back into the well, while the pressure tank helps maintain consistent water pressure within the household plumbing system.

By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the well pump and its components, homeowners can effectively grasp the intricacies of the priming process and troubleshoot potential issues. This knowledge forms the foundation for maintaining a reliable and efficient well water system, ensuring a continuous supply of clean water for household needs.


Steps to Prime a Well Pump

Priming a well pump is a vital maintenance task that ensures the continuous and efficient delivery of water from the well to the household. Whether you have a submersible pump or a jet pump, the priming process is essential for removing air from the system and establishing a steady flow of water. Here are the essential steps to prime a well pump effectively:

  1. Turn Off the Power: Before initiating the priming process, it is crucial to turn off the power supply to the well pump. This ensures safety and prevents the pump from running dry during the priming procedure.

  2. Locate the Priming Port: Identify the priming port on the pump. This port is typically located near the top of the pump and is used to introduce water into the system to remove air and create suction.

  3. Prepare the Water Source: Fill a bucket or container with clean water. This water will be used to prime the pump and facilitate the removal of air from the system.

  4. Open the Priming Port: Remove the cap or plug from the priming port to access the opening. This will allow you to introduce water into the pump to initiate the priming process.

  5. Fill the Pump: Carefully pour water into the priming port, ensuring that it fills the pump housing. As the water enters the pump, it displaces the air, creating a vacuum and establishing the necessary suction for water delivery.

  6. Monitor the Pressure Tank: While priming the pump, it is essential to monitor the pressure tank gauge. As the pump primes, the pressure in the tank should gradually increase, indicating that the system is effectively removing air and establishing water flow.

  7. Replace the Priming Port Cap: Once the pump is successfully primed and water flow is established, securely replace the cap or plug on the priming port to prevent water leakage and maintain the integrity of the system.

  8. Restore Power and Test: After completing the priming process, restore power to the well pump. Test the water flow at various fixtures in the household to ensure that the pump is delivering water effectively and that the system is operating optimally.

By following these steps, homeowners can effectively prime their well pumps, ensuring a consistent and reliable water supply for their daily needs. Regular maintenance and priming of the well pump contribute to the longevity and efficiency of the well water system, providing peace of mind and uninterrupted access to clean water.


Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with regular maintenance, well pumps may encounter common issues that can disrupt water flow and affect overall performance. Understanding these issues and knowing how to troubleshoot them is essential for ensuring the continuous operation of your well water system. Here are some common issues and troubleshooting steps to address them effectively:

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can be a frustrating issue that affects various household activities. If you notice a decrease in water pressure from your well system, several factors could be contributing to this issue. Start by checking the pressure gauge on the pressure tank to ensure it is within the recommended range. If the pressure is low, the following steps can help troubleshoot the problem:

  • Check for Leaks: Inspect the plumbing system for any leaks that may be causing a loss of pressure. Addressing leaks can help restore water pressure to the desired level.
  • Check the Pressure Switch: The pressure switch controls the activation and deactivation of the well pump based on water demand. Ensure that the pressure switch is functioning correctly and adjust the pressure settings if necessary.

Air in the System

The presence of air in the well pump system can lead to reduced water flow and potential pump priming issues. If you observe sputtering or intermittent water flow from your fixtures, air infiltration may be the culprit. To troubleshoot this issue:

  • Check for Leaks: Inspect the well pump and associated plumbing for any leaks that may be allowing air to enter the system. Addressing leaks can help eliminate air infiltration and restore optimal water flow.
  • Reprime the Pump: If air has entered the system, repriming the well pump following the previously outlined steps can help remove air and establish proper water flow.

Pump Cycling Frequently

Frequent cycling of the well pump, where it turns on and off rapidly, can indicate underlying issues that require attention. This rapid cycling not only affects the pump's efficiency but also increases wear and tear on the system. To troubleshoot frequent pump cycling:

  • Check for Waterlogged Pressure Tank: A waterlogged pressure tank can cause the pump to cycle frequently. Verify the condition of the pressure tank and, if necessary, drain and recharge it to restore proper functionality.
  • Inspect for Water Leaks: Leaks in the plumbing system can lead to rapid pump cycling as the system attempts to maintain water pressure. Thoroughly inspect the plumbing for leaks and address any identified issues.

By understanding these common issues and implementing the corresponding troubleshooting steps, homeowners can effectively address well pump-related challenges and maintain a reliable water supply. Regular monitoring and proactive troubleshooting can help mitigate potential issues, ensuring the longevity and efficiency of the well water system.



In conclusion, the proper maintenance and priming of a well pump are essential for ensuring a continuous and reliable water supply for households reliant on well water systems. By understanding the inner workings of well pumps, including submersible and jet pumps, homeowners can grasp the intricacies of the priming process and troubleshoot common issues effectively.

Priming a well pump involves a series of crucial steps, including turning off the power, locating the priming port, preparing a water source, filling the pump, monitoring the pressure tank, and testing the water flow. By following these steps, homeowners can maintain the efficiency of their well pumps and mitigate potential disruptions to their water supply.

Furthermore, troubleshooting common issues such as low water pressure, air infiltration, and frequent pump cycling is vital for addressing challenges that may arise within the well water system. By checking for leaks, inspecting the pressure switch, and repriming the pump, homeowners can effectively troubleshoot and resolve these issues, ensuring the optimal performance of their well pumps.

Regular maintenance, including priming the well pump and addressing common issues, contributes to the longevity and efficiency of the well water system. By staying proactive and vigilant, homeowners can safeguard their access to clean and reliable water, enhancing their overall quality of life.

In essence, the art of priming a well pump is not merely a maintenance task; it is a commitment to ensuring the well-being and comfort of households relying on well water. By mastering the priming process and troubleshooting common issues, homeowners can navigate the complexities of well pump maintenance with confidence and expertise, securing a continuous and dependable water supply for their daily needs.

As we conclude this guide, it is our hope that homeowners will approach well pump maintenance with a newfound sense of empowerment and understanding. By embracing the knowledge and skills shared in this guide, homeowners can embark on a journey of well pump maintenance with confidence, knowing that they hold the key to sustaining a reliable and efficient well water system for years to come.

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