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    A Well Owner's Guide to Water Pump Priming

    Water pump
    If you turn on the tap at your kitchen sink and no water comes out of the spout, your pump may have lost its prime. Check to ensure your pump's circuit breaker hasn't tripped and caused the well to lose power.

    If the pump's breaker isn't tripped, you may need to prime your pump to make the water start flowing again. Prime pumping is simply adding water to the fill valve. Here's what you need to know to prime your pump the right way.

    Causes of Pump Losing Prime

    Your well pump and intake lines must be full of water for suction to happen. If there's no water in the line, air gaps cause suction to stop. Your well pump begins cycling air instead of water.

    Well pumps can lose their prime for several reasons. If your well water level is too low, you may have pulled too much water from the system. There isn't enough water in the well to be drawn up by the pump.

    Other causes of well pump prime loss include the following:
    • A leak somewhere in water lines
    • Failure of check valves
    • Air gaps in intake pipes
    • Drawdown from hose or tap left running
    During a power outage, household members may drain all of the water out of the plumbing lines. This will also cause the pump to lose its prime.

    Shut off Power to the Pump

    Water and electricity don't mix. Your well pump operates with high voltage, so shut off the breaker to your pump before adding water to the system. Use insulated tools to remove the fill valve plug from your well pump.

    Every pump system has a pressure switch. The switch is covered by a small black or gray box. Most pressure switch boxes are watertight, but you should be especially careful not to spill water on or near your pressure switch box. Cover the pressure switch with plastic if it's located very close to the fill valve, but remove the plastic protection before you restart the pump.

    Check the Taps

    All of your plumbing system's lines must be shut tight to maintain pressure when priming the pump. If a tap is left open during priming, the water you add to the pump will just flow out of the system.

    Since there may be a small amount of water in the pump when you open the fill valve, it may spurt on you or your pressure switch. Before priming the pump, open a tap for a moment to let some of the water out of the lines. Close the tap before you prime the pump.

    Use Clean Water

    Prime your pump with the cleanest water you can find. In an emergency, you may have to use pond or stream water, but the water may contain sediments that could harm the pump. It's wise to keep a few gallons of clean water on hand strictly for priming purposes.

    Purchase water at the store or ask a neighbor for potable water if possible. Use water from your toilet tanks or water heater (let water cool before priming) if they still contain water.

    Use a Funnel

    Fill valves on pumps are notoriously small. Use a funnel to add water to the pump. Take your time to avoid spilling water on the pressure switch or other electrical components in the well house.

    When the water rises to the top of the fill valve, replace the plug and restore power to the pump. If the pump still doesn't produce enough water pressure, turn off the power and repeat the process. It may take several priming attempts before the lines contain enough water to develop suction.

    When there's a leak in your pipes or other problems in your system, priming won't restore your water flow. Hire a well-pump repair specialist to help you get your pump running again.

    If you can't restore the prime to your well pump, contact Henry Plumbing LLC today and schedule an inspection of your pump and pipes. We have 70 years of experience servicing water pumps and wells.

    Henry Drilling LLC

    1401 Adams Street
    Franklin, TN 37064
    Franklin: 615-794-1784
    Nashville: 615-383-5523
    Columbia: 931-388-4173

    Business Hours

    Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

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    Henry Drilling LLC

    1401 Adams Street
    Franklin, TN 37064
    Franklin: 615-794-1784
    615-794-5446

    Nashville: 615-383-5523

    Business Hours

    Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

    Social Media

    FaceBook Twitter Google Plus
    Follow Us On Twitter

    Payment Options

    Credit Cards

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