How to Fix Or Prime an Older Water Pump When it Stops Pumping Water

The other day the electricity to our 60 year old house here in Florida went out for the first time in all those years thanks to Mother Nature. In due course our water pump decided to take a break from us as well. So, I decided to share a gem of knowledge with the world on how to fix an older water pump before you pay the plumber.

The problem with our water pump occurred when our electricity was reinstated to the house. The pump was not functioning though electricity had been restored to it. We called our uncle nearby to help restore the pump and thus began a learning process: priming a water pump.

This is what I learned:

First, My uncle could not fix the pump. Instead, we had an old hand down the street come show us how to do it:

There are apparently two ways to prime a pump and several things you should watch for.

First turn off the pump, whether there is a switch or you need to unplug the pump.

1. Unscrew the top bolt on the water tank itself and pour water into the hole until it either reaches the top of the hole or begins to gush back out of the water tank.

If you are not able to successfully unscrew the top bolt of your older water tank due to the age and rusting of the water tank proceed to step 2.

2. Unscrew the Pressure Meter or valve from the water pump machine itself and pour water into the opening until it can be seen at the top of the hole.

Note: Only do step 1 or 2, not both together. There should be only one opening exposed.

3. After performing steps 1 or 2, restart the pump.

Water should gush from the opening that you unscrewed. This is called priming the pump, when you put water back into the pump to get rid of the air in the pump so that the pump can function properly: pumping water and not air.

Should this method not work then you may have an additional problem, one that I encountered.

According to our neighbor when electricity goes out at a house it may disrupt the “air valve” on the water tank.

To check for this, what you need to do is find the air valve. Unscrew the air valve only from the small pipe. Clearly stated: the small pipe needs to remain connected to the water pump itself but not to the air valve.

Next, block the opening of that small pipe by placing your finger over it where the air valve used to be and try priming the pump again with water and turning it on to see if it works.

If the pump does gush water out of the hole from step 1 or 2 this means that your air valve is the problem and it needs to be replaced.

Air valves are not expensive. So, do not fret. They are about 10 to 15 dollars at any local hardware store.

Replace your air valve entirely and voila! prime the pump and you are back in business!

Hope this Helps!