How and When to Prime Your Pumps

Did you know that not priming a pump, or priming a pump incorrectly, are the two main causes of pump malfunction? This can be a costly endeavour due to system downtime while you wait for your pump to be repaired or replaced. Priming your pump is the first and most important step for any centrifugal pump, as this type of pump is not self-priming, and therefore must be primed before operation. Indeed, priming gets the pump ready for use.

So, how do I prime a pump?

To prime a pump, you need to fill it with fluid before starting it up. The pump won’t be able to function without this important first step. If vapor or gas gets inside the casing, the pump won’t work. Priming maintains the pump’s functionality because water, or the pumped fluid, acts as a coolant which prevents the pump from overheating. If you don’t fill the pump with fluid, it will run dry, which leads to mechanical seal failure or damage to the pump’s components. For more insights how to make pump run for long time, check out this helpful guide on pump maintenance.

A pump might not need manual priming depending on various factors. Should the suction port of the pump be lower than the level of the pumped liquid, the pump would already be filled with fluid (and is therefore primed).

Should the suction port be higher than the level of the pumped liquid, priming becomes more difficult and a pump with suction lift is important. Positive displacement pumps are often useful in this case as these are generally self-priming and have suction lift capabilities. Moreover, they allow flexibility in the system layout that eliminates the need for suction priming systems

In any pump operation whether you’re running centrifugal pumps that must be primed before starting or positive displacement pumps that are self-priming with suction lift capability, rather be safe than sorry and check your operation manual to make sure that the pump will operate without priming first.

If you want to make sure you understand how and when to prime your pumps, call our toll-free number 1-800- 367-4180. We have experts on hand to help you choose, install, and maintain a variety of equipment.