how to prime a pool pump with sand filter
Pool Knowledge

How to Prime a Pool Pump with Sand Filter

A pool pump is meant to prime itself under normal circumstances. But, what if detached your faulty sand filter for repair? After fixing it back, the vacuum effect shall be completely lost. In this case, aside from knowing how to prime a pool pump with sand filter, you need a manual prime to kick start the vacuum effect of your pump. If you’re not familiar with priming, it is simply purging your pool water system to create a vacuum effect. This is what enables the pump to pull water from the pool into your sand filter and later pump it back to the pool. 

How to Prime a Pool Pump with Sand Filter – Why Is Priming So Important?

Within your pump loses its prime, it cannot pump pool water in and out of your circulation system. Therefore, you shall experience unfiltered water with stubborn dirt and debris. This might later cause the formation of algae which leads to the cloudy pool water effect. It is very important that your pool water circulates for the safety of swimmers and also easier maintenance.

The Process   

Troubleshoot the entry point of the air  

By your plumbing system losing the vacuum effect, then air must have found an entry point. Sometimes, it is obvious, like when you remove your sand filter from the system, the air gets into your plumbing. Also, in case you are re-starting your pool for summer after winter, you might have considered removing your pump during winter, this is also a possible cause of your system losing its prime.

Other than the above installations, a piping system problem might be the cause. Therefore, inspect your whole piping system for a problem. Check your filter for any cracks, your valves, and skimmer inlet. Check your pump strainer basket for any accumulated debris. Check your piping joints and connections for any loose joints or washers.

Cut out power to your pool system at the circuit breaker  

Cut out the power supply to your pool. Ensure that all the systems of your pool that use energy are shut down. That is your pump, heaters, and such. This shall prevent any possible shock from such systems.

Check your pool water level and skimmer 

Your pool water level should be optimum for priming. It should preferably be above the skimmer. Also, check your skimmer’s strainer basket for any accumulated debris and do away with it. 

Concentrate the pull to a single line 

For effective priming, the pull should be set to affect a single line rather than both. That is the line from the skimmer and that of the main drain. To easily shut one side, use your system function side diverter. Switch the function so that it happens from one side for a maximum priming effect.

Let your sand filter’s air relief tube release pressure to enable air loss for effective priming. 

Now check your pump’s strainer

When your pump strainer to check for any debris that might be affecting your priming cycle. To open the strainer, you might have to turn knobs or open screws depending on the type of your pump. Clear out all the debris from the pump filter. Then fill your strainer with water manually to remove any air spaces within. After this, close your strainer again. When closing your pump’s trainer, it is important that you ensure it is airtight. Check if the washer or O-ring is worn out, for more reinforcement, apply a coat of lube before closing.

Counter-check the main return   

Your main return has to be open all the way. If there is any blockage at any point, it shall lead to an accumulation of pressure which might destroy other parts of your water circulation system. Open closed valves in the main return to ensure swift water flow into the pool.

Turn on the pump to check whether your priming is 

Open the circuit breaker and turn on your pool pump. It is now time to observe your pump’s strainer. Check whether water is flowing or not. If water is flowing, then the priming was successful. 

After all the water that you earlier put manually is pumped, your pump should be able to pull more water, pass it through your sand filter, and back into the pool. In case water is not flowing, then priming did not go through and you shall have to restart afresh. Repeat this process until water starts flowing in your system.

Now, reset everything to normal  

If your priming went through, you shall have to reset everything to normal. Start with the function side diverter. Reset it so that suction happens from both ends for normal water distribution. Again, observe whether the whole system is working and water is flowing. If you realize that water is not glowing, start the whole process once again until it does. 

Sometimes, the problem shall persist and take multiple rounds before normalizing.

If even with multiple attempts your purging process fails, then you might be having a major problem within your water circulation system. There might be a major blockage or crack on your piping system. You shall, therefore, have to check and correct this problem before you try priming your pool. If you cannot find the problem, or maybe you found it but cannot handle it, it is advisable that you call in a professional pool service to help you out.

How to Prime a Pool Pump with Sand Filter – Conclusion  

Priming a pool that uses a sand filter is the same as priming those with other kinds of filters. The only difference here is that your sand filter shall not have an air relief valve. However, this is compensated for by the inbuilt air relief valve. When your water isn’t flowing, start the flow again by enabling the vacuum effect as guided above. 

Sometimes this shall not work even after a number of trials, in case of such an event, check for possible major causes. Sometimes it is advisable that you call a professional pool repair service to get it done. This is how to prime a pool pump with sand filter.