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How to Prime a Lawn Sprinkler Pump

prime a lawn sprinkler

Lawn sprinkler pumps are centrifugal. This means they are designed to pump water using an impeller to draw water in through a larger pipe, and force it out through a smaller pipe. Centrifugal pumps must be primed before operating at initial start-up or whenever the prime goes away. This usually happens after long periods of disuse when air gradually enters the pump and causes a loss of pressure. This usually happens on older water pumps. By the time the pump has run long enough to draw water back into the line, the pump motor could burn out, causing major damage.

It is a good idea to prime your lawn sprinkler pump at the beginning of each season to ensure there is enough water flowing through the pump as the motor is running.

You will need the following items to prime a lawn sprinkler pump:

  • Wrench
  • Bucket or pail
  • Funnel
  • Source of water

Follow these steps to prime a lawn sprinkler pump:

Open the Priming Opening

  1. Turn the power to the pump on.
  2. Using the wrench, close the drain valve on the bottom of the pump. Not all pumps are equipped with a drain valve.

Fill the Pump with Water

  1. Insert the funnel into the priming opening and fill the pump housing with water.

Start the Pump

  1. Once the pump housing is filled with water, put the priming plug back into place.
  2. Open the discharge valve if your pump has one.
  3. Turn on the pump switch. You should see water flowing from the irrigation system within five minutes.
  4. If there is lots of air in the inlet line, you may need to fill the pump housing with water several times until all air has flowed out.
  5. Once you have properly installed and primed your lawn sprinkler pump, the pump should not need to be primed again unless air is allowed to re-enter the lines.
  6. Close the primining opening and the pump housing.