prime-water-well-pump

How to Prime a Well Pump

If you turn on a faucet and no water is coming out or you have low water pressure, you may assume the worst – you need a new well pump installed, your pressure tank has malfunctioned, or a similar problem. In most cases, the issue could simply be a tripped breaker or, if you have a jet pump, your well pump has lost its prime. First, go check your breaker and make sure the pump and tank are getting power, and if those are working, you may need to prime your well pump. If you’re not sure how to do this or even what it means, don’t worry, we’re going to walk you through this process.

What Does It Mean to “Prime the Well Pump?”

Your well water pump pulls water out of the well and raises it into the supply pipe that brings water into your house. If air gets into the pump, the water won’t be suctioned upwards, so to prime the pump means you’re manually removing air and filling the pump with water so it can continue to draw water upwards.

Most well pumps are self-priming, meaning the pump is able to create a vacuum and release air from the intake hose and casing. In order to start this process, you’ll need to add water to the casing to get it going.

Knowing Your Well Water Pump

Above we said that if you have a jet pump, it may need to be primed. If you’re not sure what we mean by that, there are two main types of well pumps: submersible and jet. A jet pump is installed above the water line and pulls water upwards through suction and delivers it to the main well pipe. They can be used for shallow wells, or a convertible jet pump can be used for wells over 90 feet deep. It’s important to note that a convertible jet pump has two pipes, one to suction up water and one to push water up toward your outlet so it can be moved into your main water pipe.

A submersible pump (also called a deep well pump) is installed under the water line and pushes water to the surface. Because the submersible pump is already in water, it will never need to be primed. Priming is solely for jet pumps.

Priming Your Well Pump

In central North Carolina, wells are typically at least 100 feet deep, so if you have a jet pump, it’s a convertible. If it’s getting power, the next step is to prime it so we’re going to walk through what you need to do to get the air out and water back in so it will work properly.

Follow these steps:

  • Turn off the pump and disconnect it from any electrical outlets, or turn off it’s circuit.
  • Remove the water pump priming plug – it’s most likely on the head of the pump.
  • Open your release valves to make sure pressure doesn’t build up in the pipes.
  • Connect a clean hose to a fresh supply of drinking water. This is going directly to fill your tank so it needs to be potable. You can use a new or clean bucket or jug of bottled water if that’s what you have.
  • Fill the pump casing with water until it comes out of the plug and relief valves. Once it’s full, replace the prime plug.
  • Reconnect your pump and run through a cycle. If it’s starting and stopping without concern, close the valves.

Contact Us for Well Pump Repair and Replacement

If priming the pump isn’t working or your submersible well pump is malfunctioning, you’ll need an experienced well pump repair company to determine what the problem is. At A & T, we offer the expertise and knowledge you need to get your pump back up and running as soon as possible. Plus, we offer 24-hour emergency service. To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, contact us today at 919-291-4063 or fill out our contact form to get started.

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