How To Prime A Well Pump After A Power Outage | Build a Stash

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • Properly priming your well pump after a power outage is essential for maintaining water flow and avoiding further complications with your system.
  • Priming a well pump after a power outage requires you to add water through the priming plug to air out of the system to restore the water pumps pressure.
  • To prime your well pump after an outage, you need to disconnect it from its power source, open the priming port, flush out debris, and pour water into the pump before restoring power.
  • Investing in backup power solutions, performing regular maintenance, and taking measures to reduce damage from lightning strikes can prevent complications with your well pump down the line.

Power outages have notoriously affected well pumps. If you’ve just had an outage, you’re probably wondering how to get your water supply up and running again.

Priming a well pump after a power outage involves adding water through the priming plug to air out of the system to restore the pump's pressure. This process is generally required for both shallow and deep well pumps, and the steps may slightly vary depending on the type of pump you own.

You can trust the information provided in this article since we've gathered it from reliable sources and experts in the field of well pumps. It's important to have accurate and up-to-date information when dealing with water systems, and we're dedicated to helping you tackle this task with confidence and ease. So, let's dive into the process of priming your well pump to restore your water supply!

Table of contents


Why Prime a Well Pump After a Power Outage?

Priming a well pump after a power outage is essential because it fills the pump and suction line with water to create the internal pressure needed for the pump to function. Priming is especially important for non-submersible shallow-well pumps, as they rely on a strong suction to draw water from the well or other water sources.

When a power outage occurs, your water supply is interrupted, which can lead to air entering the pipes and a loss of pressure in the system. This makes it difficult for the pump to draw water from the well when the power is restored.

Primed well pumps work efficiently and prevent the risk of damage to the pump from running dry. The priming process is quite simple and can be easily done by following some basic steps.

Generally, it involves using a hose to fill both the pump casing and suction line with water, and running the pump until air bubbles stop bubbling out in the area surrounding the priming plug.

Essentially, priming a well pump after a power outage helps restore the pump's normal functioning and ensures that your water supply is not disrupted for extended periods. A well-primed pump is also more energy-efficient, reducing the cost of electricity and promoting the overall longevity of your pump system.

Preparation Before Priming Your Well Pump

Before a power outage occurs, it's essential to prepare yourself for the process of priming your well pump. In this section, we'll cover the tools and materials needed to complete the job.

In addition, we’ll go over your well pump’s location and the basics of understanding its components.

Tools And Materials Required

Having the right tools and materials on hand will make priming your well pump much easier. Here is a list of items you should gather before a power outage:

  • A water hose
  • A bucket or container for water
  • Plumber's tape
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Priming port plug (if not already on your pump)

Locating Your Well Pump

In order to prime your well pump after a power outage, you'll first need to locate it. Most well pumps are installed either in a basement, a crawl space, or a dedicated well house.

If you're unsure where your well pump is located, you can try following the pipes from your pressure tank or searching around your property for a small, standalone building.

Understanding Your Well Pump's Components

Before you attempt to prime your well pump, it's essential to familiarize yourself with its components. There are two main types of well pumps:

  • Deep well pumps
  • Shallow well pumps.

Each type may have slightly different priming procedures and components to be aware of. For both pump types, you'll need to identify the priming port.

This is typically a rubber or plastic plug located on the top side of the pump casing. You'll also need to locate any pressure relief valves, air vents, or isolation valves.

A deep well pump may also have a hole in its casing for easy priming, while a shallow well pump may have a priming tee or a priming plug on its pressure tank.

As you familiarize yourself with your well pump's components, make sure to review the user manual or seek professional advice if necessary.

Now that you have an understanding of the tools, materials, and pump components, you're better prepared for priming your well pump after a power outage. Remember, being proactive with your priming preparedness can save you time and headaches in the future.

How To Prime a Well Pump After A Power Outage

Step 1: Disconnect The Pump From Power Source

First things first, let's turn off the power supply to your well pump. Doing this will prevent the pump from activating automatically once the pressure is restored.

Step 2: Open The Priming Port

Once the power source is off and you have confirmed the pump motor is not running, locate the prime plug (typically found on the head of the pump) and remove it. If you are having trouble locating your prime plug, don’t worry, you can find it using this guide.

Be sure to set this plug aside and do not lose it, as you'll need it later!

Step 3: Flush Out Debris

With the prime plug removed, it's time to flush out any debris that may be affecting your pump's performance.

Opening the faucet connected to your pump system works as a pressure switch that briefly releases any residual water pressure, clearing potential obstructions from the system. Once you do this, the water pressure gauge should indicate that that pressure was released from the system.

Step 4: Pour Water Into The Pump

Fill both the pump casing and suction line with water using a hose. After that, loosely fit the prime plug back in but leave a small opening for air to escape.

Run your pump while ensuring air bubbles stop bubbling out in the area surrounding the priming plug. Then, remove the plug and refill the pump casing with water.

Step 5: Restore Power And Check For Proper Function

Once the air bubbles disappear, you can fully reattach the priming plug. After that, restore power to the well pump and check if it's functioning correctly.

Once these steps are complete, you'll have successfully primed your well pump after an outage!

Troubleshooting Priming Issues

Priming a well pump after a power outage can sometimes come with a few obstacles. In this section, we will explore common issues that can arise during the priming process, such as leaks, air locks, and pump failures.


Leaks can be a common problem when priming a pump. They can occur in various parts of the system like the pipes, joints, or even the pump itself. To fix this issue, first, identify the source of the leak.

If the leak is coming from the joints or connections, try tightening them. However, if the issue persists or if leaks are found in the pipes or the pump, consider replacing the damaged parts. This can prevent more significant problems and ensure better pump performance.

Air Locks

Air locks can occur during the priming process and can prevent water from flowing through the system. An air lock happens when air is trapped in the pipes, blocking water flow. To resolve this issue, open the release valves to allow the trapped air to escape.

Once the air has been released, you may need to re-prime the pump. Remember to follow proper priming steps such as opening the priming port, filling it with water, and opening the suction isolation valve and air vents.

Pump Failures

Pump failures can occur for a variety of reasons, such as mechanical or electrical issues, and insufficient water supply. To determine if the pump has failed, you can try the following steps:

  • Checking the power supply to ensure it is connected and functioning correctly.
  • Examining the pump components for any signs of damage or wear.
  • Inspecting the water level in the well to confirm there is enough water available.

If you've identified a pump failure, consult a professional to examine and possibly repair or replace the pump.

Addressing these issues promptly can help you succeed in priming your well pump and restoring the water supply after a power outage. As a well owner, it's essential to be proactive and prepared to tackle any of these common obstacles on your path to a fully functional well water system.

Preventive Measures for Future Power Outages

As a well pump owner, I like to focus on preventive maintenance to ensure smooth functionality, even during power outages. Let's explore some preventive measures you can take for a worry-free experience.

Invest In Backup Power Solutions

Investing in backup power solutions like generators is an excellent idea to keep your well pump running during power outages. While a quality well hand pump can act as a fallback, having an automatic standby generator provides peace of mind and seamless operation.

Make sure to research different generator types, sizes, and fuel options to find one that best suits your needs, budget, and local regulations. A licensed electrician can help you choose, install, and maintain the right backup power solution.

Perform Regular Maintenance

I find regular maintenance is a great way to prevent well pump issues after a power outage. Start by regularly inspecting your well pump for signs of damage, such as cracks or leaks, and timely address any issues you discover.

Periodic checkups by a well pump professional can also further help to identify and fix issues before they become severe.

Maintaining your well’s water level is another crucial aspect of preventive maintenance. One way to achieve this is by turning off your water supply as soon as a power outage occurs, which helps maintain higher water levels in the system and prevents air from entering the pipes. This simple step can eliminate the need to prime your well pump after a power outage.

Protect Your Well Pump From Lightning Strikes

Lightning strikes can damage well pumps and lead to costly repairs or replacements. To prevent such damage, it's essential to employ a lightning protection system for your well pump.

Consider measures like installing arresters or surge protectors to keep your pump safe from voltage surges caused by lightning strikes or power surges.

When it comes to installations, always opt for a licensed electrician and follow their guidance for regular inspections and replacements of your lightning protection system. Taking these steps will not only protect your well water pump during power outages but also save you money on repairs and replacements in the long run.