Pump Basics: How and Why to Prime a Pump

Pumps are among the oldest systems a man used to transport energy from one place to another. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of designs, leading to confusion when generic identification of specific pumps is attempted.

If you turn your pump off during the winter months, chances are it will run out of pressure. To make it work again, you need to prime it.

What Pump Priming Is

It refers to an automatic or manual process where you need to remove the suction line and air present in the pump by filling liquid. This liquid helps to remove vapor, air, or gas present in the pump.

Except for several self-primed pumps, mostly every pump at Pumpbiz is primed. Before you start your pump, priming will be the most important step and helps to avoid major problems.

How to Prime Pumps

To prime your pumps, you must fill them with a liquid before starting. These pumps will not work without the priming process.

Usually, priming maintains the functionality of pumps because pumped fluid or water serves as a coolant that prevents them from overheating. Failure to fill your pumps with a liquid, they will run dry, resulting in mechanical damage to their components.

In every pump operation, whether you run a positive displacement pump, which is a self-priming or centrifugal pump, you would rather be safe than sorry. So, check the operation manual to ensure your pump will work without priming it first.


If your pump is situated beneath the liquid level pump, air pressure and gravity ensure that it’s constantly filled with the fluid, and there will be no ingress of air in the suction line or pump.

In most applications, you have to place your pump above the level of the fluid. At the startup, you will find air in the suction line, and before your pump discharges the fluid, you must displace or evacuate the air.

How Self-Priming Works

Different kinds of pumps are engineered to self-prime automatically. Pumps of this type have close working parts, which traps liquids, preventing them from going back to the discharge side.

In such pumps, the presence of liquid will allow the system to handle ‘air-pockets’ properly. Air pockets refer to the accumulation of air bubbles that may impair pumps’ normal and proper operation.

Why Prime Pumps?

Unless you don’t have a problem wasting cash, it is important to prime your pumps before operation. Equipment damage and breakdowns may happen, leading to costly repairs and downtime.

Properly primed pumps work dependently, regardless of the application. However, to most people, priming a pump is a complicated affair. This is why many prefer self-primed pumps.

You can operate self-primed pumps and automatically overcome every problem when air mixes with the liquid, saving you time to prime your pump.

The Bottom Line!

Priming your pump is necessary, especially if you have to locate it above the fluid level. However, it can be more suitable if you get a self-prime pump capable of evacuating air from a suction line, drawing liquid into your pump. By achieving this, you will be able the pump to its usual pumping mode.

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