Does a Submersible Well Pump Need to be Primed?

You might be wondering if a submersible well pump needs to be primed. Priming can be done automatically or manually. Bear in mind that not all pumps need priming, but most do. You can find a wide array of products in the market which includes self-priming pumps and also those that do not require priming. In this article, we will discuss if submersible belongs to those types of pumps that need priming or not.

Does a submersible well pump need to be primed? Submersible pumps have a suction intake that is submerged so priming is not required.  These types of pumps are usually used as a substitute wherein priming a standard end-suction centrifugal pump would be hard. Make sure that when you are using a submersible well pump, you should use a flow induction sleeve to keep it from overheating. This will force water to flow by the motor.

The first and the most important thing that you need to do before you operate a pump is to prime it. Take note that if you do not prime a pump, it can lead to a lot of issues and might also damage the water pump. The good thing is that by choosing to use a submersible well pump, there is no need for priming. Let us learn more about this topic below.

Does a submersible well pump need to be primed
Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay

Is Priming Necessary in Submersible Pump?

Priming is not necessary if your pump is submerged which includes the submersible or vertical pumps. Furthermore, there is no need to prime a pump when it is at a lower elevation than the supply. This is because the low elevation will make sure that the pump suction will be filled thoroughly with liquid all time which is also known as the Flooded Suction Condition.

Why Do Well Pumps Need to Be Primed?

Well pumps need to be primed because it lessens the risk of pump damage during start-up. Priming will prevent the pump impeller to be gas-bound and incapable of pumping the needed liquid. If you want to guarantee a reliable operation, see to it that the pumps must be primed so that air or gases are expelled from the suction and replaced with liquid. Bear in mind that the pump would not properly function when it is not filled with liquid. Furthermore, not priming the pump will lead to an overheated pump system and can cause damage to the internal components of the pump.

You can also check out this article that talks about why submersible pumps fail. We have shared the different reasons that cause the submersible pump to fail or get damaged.

When is Priming Not Needed?

Priming is not needed if you have a self-priming pump. This means that the pump is capable of removing air and gases from itself. You also do not need to prime a pump if it is located in an area where it will always be filled with liquid.

What Happens if a Pump is Not Primed?

If you do not prime the pump and provide the fluid that it needs, it will run dry and can cause damage to the component of the pump. Furthermore, not priming a pump or priming it incorrectly can cause malfunction. Pump repair is not only expensive but it can also be an inconvenience because you need to wait for some time for the pump to be repaired until you can use it again. We have also written this article titled; will a submersible pump run without water? Check out the article for more tips and information about the topic.

How to Prime a Deep Well Pump

There are a few steps that you need to do when priming a deep well pump. Deep well pumps usually combine the aspects of centrifugal pumps and injector pumps to move water from the well. Make sure that you properly prime a deep well pump so that proper water movement can be achieved. Below are the steps on how to prime a deep well pump.

Step 1 – Remove Plastic or Rubber

The first thing that you need to do when priming a deep well pump is to remove the plastic or rubber prime plug that is located at the top side of the pump.

Step 2 – Run Water

Place a water hose to the exposed hole located on the top of the pump and run the water into the pump casing. Make sure that the casing is full of water. We have also shared this article that discusses if a submersible pump needs a pressure tank. You can check out the article for more tips and information.

Step 3 – Run the Pump

Once the casing is full of water, remove the water hose and partially insert the prime plug into the hole located on the top of the pump. Next, run the pump system until you make sure that there are no air bubbles coming out from the bottom of the plug. We have also shared this article titled, can submersible pumps run horizontally? We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Step 4 – Repeat Steps

Repeat the steps by removing the plug and filling the casing with water. Plug the hole partially and run the pump until there are no air bubbles. Make sure to repeat the filling and running process until there are no air bubbles that leak out from the pump. Next, fully insert the prime plug into the pump.

✅ Video – How to Prime a Well Pump

Power Equipment Direct shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to prime a well pump. In the video, a pump expert explains why a pump needs to be primed and what to do if you need to prime it for the second time. Check out the video for more tips and information about well pump-priming,

Can a Submersible Pump Lose its Prime?

A submersible pump will not lose its priming because they are usually placed underwater and they are also self-priming. In case the submersible pump does not have water pressure, the issue might be with the pump itself.

How to Prime a Well Pump After a Power Outage

 A power outage can cause the well pump to malfunction. You might notice that even if the power has been restored, the well pump is still struggling to operate. To get it running once again, check the circuit breaker and the pressure switch. If both are properly functioning, you might need to prime your pump.

Shut off Power

The first step that you need to do is to shut off the breaker to your pump. Make sure that you use insulated tools when removing the fill valve plug from the well pump. Locate the pressure switch. While most pressure switch boxes are watertight, be extra careful not to spill water on or near the pressure switch box.

Double Check the Taps

Maintain pressure when priming the pump by shutting tight the lines of the plumbing system. Bear in mind that the water that you add to the pump will just flow out of the system if the tap is open. Before you start priming the pump, open the tap first to let some of the water out of the lines. Make sure to close the tap before you start priming the pump.

Make Use of Clean Water

It is recommended that you use clean water to prime the pump. Using stream or pond water can damage the pump because it contains sediments. Make sure that you have a few gallons of clean water for priming purposes. You can also use water from your toilet tanks or water heater.

Use a Funnel to Add Water

The fill valves on pumps are small so you can use a funnel when adding water. Be careful when adding water and make sure to avoid spilling water on the pressure switch or other electrical components. Replace the plug and restore power to the pump when the water rises to the top of the fill valve. If you have restored the power and the pump still does not produce the right water pressure, turn off the power and repeat the process. Take note that it can take several priming attempts before the lines can contain enough water and develop suction.

How to Prime a Well Pump for Sprinkler System

Pumps for lawn sprinklers are centrifugal which means that they are made to pump water with the use of an impeller. The impeller draws water in through a larger pipe and forces it out through a smaller pipe. Bear in mind that centrifugal pumps need to be primed before operating. Below are the steps that you can follow on how to prime a well pump for a sprinkler system.

Step 1: Turn off the power of the pump then close the drain valve located on the bottom of the pump with the use of a wrench. Take note that not all pumps have a drain valve.

Step 2: The next step is to fill the pump with water. To do this, insert the funnel into the priming opening and fill the housing of the pump with water. You can also check out this article that we have written that discusses why well water turns brown all of a sudden. We have shared the different reasons that cause the well water to turn brown.

Step 3: After filling the housing of the pump with water, place the priming plug back into place. Next, open the discharge valve and turn on the pump switch. Water should start flowing from the irrigation system within five minutes. In case there is air in the inlet line, you need to fill the pump housing with water several times until all of the air has flowed out. Close the prime opening and the pump housing.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses if a submersible pump needs to be primed. We have found out that submersible pumps do not need priming because they are submerged underwater. This is one of the benefits of having a submersible pump. We have also discussed how to prime a well pump after a power outage. We hope that the information that we have shared in this article has helped you learn more about submersible pumps. Thank you for reading!

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