How to prime a well pump after a power outage

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A common consequence of a power outage is your pump losing its prime for the simple reason that it could have drained the plumbing lines completely, depressurizing it.

As a result, your well pump’s operation is affected and it may no longer draw water (or it experiences very low pressure) because it’s incapable of pumping as required.

Below we educate you on how to prime a well pump after a power outage.

Follow the procedures to restore your pump’s regular functioning and get the water flowing again from your home well system.

How to prime a well pump after a power outage

Priming your well pump can be relatively quick and fairly easy (or a bit complex) depending on the type of well and depth.

Of course, priming means you’re dislodging the air stuck in there (causing the suction to stop) and refilling the pump with enough water to make it run properly. 

Here’s is how to prime a well pump after a power outage the right way.

Preparing for the task:

The basic precautions to take are:

  • Shut off the unit’s electrical power (at the breaker). You don’t want the pump to automatically activate. The other important thing to do here is make people that may turn the breaker back on aware that you’re currently working on your unit.
  • You might also want to shut tight all of your plumbing lines (and taps) to maintain maximum pressure when priming.

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Method 1: Add water through the priming plug

If you own a deep well pump, locate the hole in its casing – on the top side – made for easy priming. It’s typically covered by a rubber or plastic priming plug.

You then follow these steps:

  1. Remove the prime plug.
  2. Connect a water hose to the now exposed hole.
  3. Now run water through your hose connection right into the pump’s casing. You will let the water run until you notice water run out of the pump casing meaning it’s full.
  4. Next, disconnect the hose and partially install the prime plug back into the ‘priming’ hole.
  5. Run the well pump system until there are no air bubbles coming from the plug (the bottom).

For the most part, you have to repeat the above steps until water bleeds out of your pump rather than air bubbles.

And so:

  • Again remove the plug and refill the pump’s casing with water as explained earlier.
  • Plug the hole in part and run the water pump up to the time the air bubbles disappear.
  • Go through the water filling and running procedure and only mount the prime plug fully when water comes out (not air bubbles).

It should take a while but it’s going to be very worthy of your time if you successfully re-prime it.

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Method 2: Use this for shallow well jet pumps

To prime this type of well pump:

  1. Use a hose to fill both the pump casing and suction line with water.
  2. Turn off the control valve.
  3. Run the pump whilst the priming plug is fitted loosely.
  4. Stop the pump as soon as the air bubbles stop bubbling out in the area surrounding the priming plug.
  5. Once again fill the pump’s casing with water, insert the priming plug partially, and restart the pump.
  6. Halt it when the air bubbles cease.
  7. Repeat this until water flows smoothly around the priming plug. It will have rediscovered the prime and you can now fully reinstall the prime plug.

Pro-Tip: Consider pre-charging the pressure tank now that it’s re-primed.

how to get rid of water that ends up in the air lines.

Method 3: Use this to prime one/two line well pumps

For these, first, connect a hose (should be safe -for drinking water-and lead free) to your neighboring building’s hose connection.


  1. Flush out the garden hose by having the water coming from the donor building’s run through it.
  2. You will now connect the ‘free’ end of the garden hose to a faucet near the problematic well pump.
  3. Next, eject the air from the water faucet by momentarily opening your building’s water shutoff valve.
  4. You then allow water to run through it.
  5. Next, you shut the faucet. The idea is to raise the pump pressure up to 40 psi (recommended for the process).
  6. Now turn off all the water tap connections on the two hose ends.
  7. You are now ready to test for priming so switch the pump motor on.
  8. Congratulations if it comes on, pumps water, and then switches itself off.  Water flow has been restored and the priming successful.

On the other hand, it may not and of course, it’s not a nice feeling. But don’t fret- it just means you need to repeat the steps.

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That’s how to prime a well pump after a power outage and as you can see, it needs some patience.

If your well pump won’t prime no matter the number of repetitions, it could be suffering other serious issues such as broken pipes or faulty valves.

Check each of these or call a pump technician to help.

Also, confirm that the circuit breaker is switched on and reset the low-pressure switch (if your model is the type that requires a reset after a power outage).

And, of course, you need to ensure that the pump is correctly plugged in.

Otherwise, everything should run smoothly in the aftermath of a power loss with the above steps.

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