How to Prime a Well Tank

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Homes that use well water have either a submersible water pump or an above-ground water pump. Submersible water pumps do not lose their prime. Above-ground water pumps will lose their prime from time to time, especially during power outages. The water should not be turned on during power outages, as this causes the water pump to lose pressure. If the prime is lost, you can re-prime the water pump after the power comes back on.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • 2 jugs of drinking water, gallon-size
  • Turn off the electrical switch to the water pump or unplug the water pump from the wall outlet. Open up a nearby faucet to relieve any remaining water or air pressure in the system, then turn the faucet off.

  • Locate the water prime opening on the mechanical body of the water pump. The prime opening is near the pressure gauge on most water pumps. Some models have the pressure gauge inserted into the prime opening.

  • Use a wrench to loosen and remove the water prime opening plug. If you have to remove the pressure gauge, be sure to remove the gauge at the base of the pump. Twisting on the gauge itself will cause the gauge to break.

  • Pour water into the prime opening until the housing is full with water. Quickly reattach the primer plug into the pump body. The plug does not have to be tightened down yet. Turn the power to the water pump back on.

  • Listen to the water pump and watch the pressure gauge. The pump will make an awful noise when it first starts up, but should quiet down after a few seconds. The pressure gauge should start to climb as well.

  • Turn the power to the water pump off if the pressure did not climb. Repeat the priming process until the pump takes the prime. This could take several attempts, so be patient. After the water pump has taken the prime, tighten the prime opening plug with the wrench.

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