How to Prime a Pump?

Priming a Pump

In order to operate a water pump, it has to be well primed, This issue regards surface pumps and borehole pumps. Priming a pump is not always an easy job, it depends on the pump’s model, the design of the installation and pipes.

A pump is primed when the water is flushed into the pump and forced through. This condition will create a necessary pressure making the pump pumping again.

A pump can loose its prime for a number reason such as: The pump is not often used, there is not a non return valve in the system, there is a leaking pipe, there is a lots of gas in the water ect… .

If there is not a no returning valve for example, the all system will empty every time the pump turns off.

In regards of surface pumps (jet pumps or multistage pumps), Jet pumps are called “self priming”, they are easy to prime, multistage pumps on the other end, they have to be primed manually, flushing water inside the pump. Multistage pump and Jet pump are very similar from the outside but they are quite different inside.

Looking at borehole pumps, they normally do not loose their prime, however you can face an air lock, if for example there is gas in the borehole. Most borehole pump struggle to prime when an airlock happen. ZDS borehole pumps have an innovative internal design that eliminate the air and prime automatically. This is a tremendous advantage especially if the pump is installed very deep.

How to prime a pump ?

The procedure

Time needed: 8 hours

However, how can we prime a pump?

  1. Power off

    The first thing to do is to make sure the power is off. This is very important, we do not want the electrical power on while we are operating on the pump. Unplugged the pump or simple disconnect by checking the breaker panel to make sure there is not electricity.

  2. Check the prime lost reason

    It could be useful to verify the reason why the pump lost its prime. It could be a crack in the pipes, or a clogged no returning valve or some other reason. It is a good idea to fix the problem (if there is a problem) before priming the pump again. Check also all hardware like nuts and bolts, inspect belts, pulleys and safety guards.

  3. Fix the issue and turn on

    Once the problem is fixed, start priming the pump, letting the air lock away. If you have a surface pump, the best way of priming it is to open the nut in the main pump body, feel it with water, close it and start the pump again

Priming a Borehole pump, as mentioned before could be harder, sometimes the low pressure produced by the air lock, is not enough to open the no returning valve. In this situation, you could solve the problem moving the pump  within the well, opening the no returning valve, and running the pump for one or 2 minutes until it primes properly.  

Safety first, remember always to power the pump on, only after operating on it.

If there is a gouge in the system, keep on eye on it, to verify the increasing of the pression In the system.

For further advise do not hesitate to contact us.




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