How to install and prime a pool pump

Before we start with our pool pump installation guide, we’d like to put out there that many pool pump manufacturers require that their pool pumps be professionally installed in order to avail of their warranties. If you’re installing a Water TechniX series pool pump then you have nothing to worry about, they’re extremely DIY-friendly and your pool pump is still covered by Mr Pool Man’s warranty. With that being said, on to the guide!

Steps to Installing a Pool Pump

RTFM or Read the F… Fine Manual

Teams of professionals have spent countless hours in creating a manual for your pool pump and there might be some information there that’s specific to your pump that we might not have included. Turn to the installation section and have a thorough look at the manual for some guidance.

Determine the Placement of the Pool Pump

If you’re replacing a busted pool pump with the same model then you’ll have nothing to worry about and installing the new pump is as simple as swapping out the old pump with the new one. If you’re upgrading to a newer model, you’re probably going to have a smaller, sleeker model which means that it’s probably going to sit lower than your existing pump.

This is not a problem, many pumps have adjustable bases that you can raise so that you can easily align it with your current fittings. If it still sits too low then use something stable like paving blocks or bricks (just make sure they’re stable!) to prop up your new pump.

What to do if your pool pump is too low

If your new pump is too low, then there’s a quick fix for that. Simply cut the incoming vertical pipes for the skimmers and the drains and attach some couplings (so you can adjust in the future) to raise the manifold about an inch or two and you should be good to go. Another way to go about this is to use two 45-degree elbows on the horizontal pipe to raise it up by two to three inches. Whichever way you go about it, just make sure that it’s sealed properly with some silicone sealant and PVC glue.

Removing the Old Pool Pump

Important Note: We’re going to start tinkering with the pump now so turn of the mains that lead to your pool system to eliminate the risk of shock.

If your pump is hard-plumbed into the system (a lot of pool builders do it that way for some reason) cut the pipes coming in and out of the pump. Be sure to leave a couple of inches to attach unions for future use.

Once the plumbing has been removed, it’s now time to remove the wiring. Double check if the mains are off, we can’t stress that enough.

Remove the rear cover plate. (For more information on where this is, check out our pool pump parts guide) Once this has been removed, you should see three wires (or four if you have a variable speed pump) connected to the pump motor. Gently loosen the wires from their fittings with a flathead screwdriver to disconnect them from the pump. Once this has been done, look for the conduit fitting, this looks like a steel elbow fitting that brings the wires into the motor, locate the nut that holds the conduit in place and loosen/remove it. Once this has been fully loosened or removed, gently pull out the conduit and the wires should be free of the pump.

Installing the New Pool Pump

After you’ve removed the old pump, position the new pump in place but don’t attach anything yet. Align all of the pipes and the couplings first, adjust the height and everything but don’t do the plumbing first. The first thing you should do is to reattach the wiring. The reason for this is you may need to move the pump around to get easier access to the electrical parts and you can’t do this if your pump is already attached to the pipes!

Attach the conduit from the old pump into the threaded port of the new pump and refer to the wiring diagram (it’s usually bolted on or printed on the pump cover) on how to attach the wires properly. If it’s not on the pump’s body, then refer to your owner’s manual. Once the wires have been attached and the pump closed up, it’s now to proceed with the plumbing.

Pool Plumbing Tips

Here are some tips to remember before attaching your pool pump’s plumbing. In fact, these tips are true for any plumbing job around the house!

  • Measure twice, cut once – Always, measure twice before cutting anything! If possible, measure three times. Once a pipe or fitting is cut, there’s no coming back.
  • Use new PVC glue, sealant, and primer – These are pretty cheap, ensure that there are no solid particles in your glue and sealant which may cause plumbing issues down the line.
  • Prime, glue, connect fast! – When they say “quick dry” they’re not kidding. Once you’ve applied the primer and glue, connect the fittings with a twisting motion within 15 seconds or you’ll end up with solid bits of glue that you’ll have to remove and start again.
  • Hold the connection in place – Allow the glue to set for 15-30 seconds. Just hold it in place and it should set properly

Once everything is plumbed in, DON’T turn on the mains and the pump yet, it’s time to prime your pump.

How to Prime your pool pump

Priming your pool pump allows it to function optimally and prevents damage from heat. The impeller and the pump motor generates a lot of heat and it relies on the water to take the heat out and on new water to bring the temperature down. Many newer pumps are self-priming so you don’t have to worry about this step, but if it’s not, then this is a very important step.

  • If your system isn’t already off, then turn it off (turn off other connected accessories as well like salt water chlorinators, heat pumps, and heaters)
  • Open the relief valve found on top of your filter to assist in relieving air in the system once powered up (If you have a sand or media filter, turn the handle to re-circulate)
  • Clean the pump basket of any debris and clean it up (skip for new pumps)
  • With a garden hose, fill the pump basket compartment up with water until full then close and hand tighten the lid.
  • Turn on the system
  • Observe the water flow through the pump lid, within 30-45 seconds, the water should be consistently flowing. If the water flow isn’t consistent then turn off the system and refill the pump basket compartment with water again then repeat the step.
  • Once the water is consistently flowing, shift your attention to the air relief valve on your cartridge filter or sand filter. You should hear air coming out from the valve, this is the air being pushed out of your system.
  • Once water starts to come out from the relief valve, close the valve up and allow to run for a few seconds.
  • Turn off the system.
  • Open up the relief valve once again to vent out the final bits of trapped air and close it back up.
  • You have successfully primed your pool pump!

Troubleshooting: Why won't my pool pump prime

There are a number of reasons why your pool pump won't prime and it's hard to pinpoint exactly one reason. The best way is to systematically go over the steps one by one, starting from the most common reason.

  • Low water levels - make sure that the water level in your pool is high enough to reach the skimmers, the level should be halfway above the opening to provide unimpeded water flow.
  • Stuck weir doors or skimmer doors - If you have skimmer doors, make sure that they aren't stuck to allow water to flow in properly.
  • If the pump doesn't "sound" right or if it doesn't turn on, there might be a capacitor or electrical problem. Reach out to your retailer or to 
  • Check unions and other connections to see if there are any leaks that may be causing your pump to not prime properly


There you have it! Installing and priming your pool pump couldn’t get much simpler than that! Remember to re-prime your system if you haven’t been using your pool pump for extended periods of time or if the water level of your pool has dropped below the skimmer line as this may have introduced air into your system. Keeping your pump primed allows it to run cooler, quieter and much more efficiently, not to mention extending its lifespan by years.  

For more information on pool pumps, check our articles like How long to run the pump each day and our reviews on the Best Energy Efficient Pool Pumps.

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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