Tips for Priming an Above-Ground Well Pump

If you've recently purchased a home with a well and an above-ground pump, it's important that you keep the pump primed for it to continue pumping water. If the pump loses the prime, then the suction that's necessary for water flow will be disrupted. In that case, you'll have to prime the pump to get the water flowing again.

Get Some Water Together

In order to restore the prime, you need to fill the pump with water. Most pumps require a couple of gallons, so make sure you have lots on hand. If you want to make use of what you have at home, you can turn off the hot water heater, attach a hose to the drain valve, and fill a couple of gallon jugs with water directly from the water heater. It's important that you use clean containers, though, because everything you pour into the pump then gets routed into your home.

Shut The Pump Off

Make sure the pump power is off before you add the water to it. That way, the pump doesn't suddenly engage unexpectedly. Once the power is off, turn on a faucet inside the house for a few minutes to get rid of any pressure that may be accumulated in the lines.

Add The Water To The Pump

Locate the priming plug on top of the pump. It's usually either square or hexagon-shaped and needs a combination wrench to remove it. Once the plug is removed, you can put a funnel in the hole to add the water to the pump. The well pipe and impeller chamber will be full when you see water coming out around the funnel. Then, remove the funnel and replace the priming plug. You can even wrap the plug with plumber's tape to help form the suction necessary for the pump.

Restore The Pump's Power

Once the pump is full and sealed, you can restore the power. Watch the pressure gauge on the pump to be sure that it's functioning properly and listen for any sounds of distress. If it sounds healthy and is maintaining pressure, that's a sign that the prime is holding. If not, you'll need to talk with a well pump technician or check out for more guidance.

A local well pump technician can help you troubleshoot the well pump priming issues and even offer tips to help you maintain that prime. An annual inspection may also help prevent some of these issues.