Tricks For Priming a Shallow Well Pump

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Shallow Well PumpPublished on September 3, 2020

The wells have always been an important water source for common localities. Even today, many houses use a water well system for their aquatic needs. Ancient people used a bucket and a rope to draw water from a well. But science and technology have changed everything. A simple application of Newtonian mechanics has made aquatic enrichment easier. A water pump uses the primary forces of nature to push a liquid. By applying changes in the air pressure, a pump forces water to move in the desired direction. The pump’s nature depends upon the depth of the water stored in the earth’s crust. Let’s talk about the difference between a deep and a shallow well pump.

Shallow Well pumps

The key differences between a deep and a shallow well pump are apparent by their working structure. First, a shallow pump works for wells that are 25 ft deep. On the other hand, a deep pump draws water from depths ranging from 90 to 300 ft. A shallow pump isn’t submersible, and you place it on the ground. But a deep pump is submersible, and you immerse it inside your well. How does an above-ground shallow pump work? It consists of a jet pump. This jet pump creates a suction to draw water from the well. An electric motor produces a vacuum to help move the water.

You might be wondering why or how to install a shallow well pump. As for the how, that’s the job of the professionals who install and service water tanks and pumps. So, why is what we’re concerned with now. There are a few reasons to choose a shallow pump for your wells:

  • They are the optimum pumping choice when your water source is closer to the ground.
  • Drilling a shallow well pump is less expensive than a deep one.
  • It involves less labor and requires less material.
  • It’s above-ground, so it’s monitoring and service are more convenient.
  • It provides a steady PSI rating with constant water pressure.

Pump Priming Process

First of all, why is priming necessary for well pumps? It is a remarkable difference between a deep and a shallow well pump. Priming is the process of replacing the air inside the pump and the suction pipe with water. In ancient times, people used to prime their guns to stimulate projectile discharge. Nowadays, the process of priming prepares a pump for drawing water. Now, the well submerges deep pumps, and they operate without requiring constant priming. However, shallow pumps may lose their priming and require re-priming after a power outage. Priming serves to protect the pump from potential damage caused by high air pressure.

Let’s talk about tricks for successful priming:

  1. If your shallow pump has been unused for weeks/months, chances are it won’t work without priming. Make sure that the pump gets plugged out. Break any electrical supply to it before you start priming. Also, empty the water tank before you restart the shallow pump.
  2. Before you start priming, make sure that the piping doesn’t have any leaks or cracks. You can repair the damaged pipeline before priming the pump.
  3. If you live in areas marked with frequent freezing weather, you need to be careful about priming. The water inside the pump can freeze and cause it to crack. Therefore, either drain the pipe or provide some heat source to help melt the water.
  4. If you wish to maintain a lengthy prime, install a foot valve in the suction pipe. A foot valve is a check valve that permits one-way flow only. It protects water pumps from any injury.
  5. Successful priming ensures no gas is left entrapped inside the pump. After filling the pump with water, shut its control valve, and loosen the prime plug. Then run the pump, and it’ll get rid of unwanted air.
  6. Check all the valves by operating them manually. Make sure all nuts and bolts get fastened. Re-tighten them as a precautionary measure.
  7. Clean the hosepipe you’re going to use with freshwater. It would help if you flushed the hose to make sure it doesn’t have any harmful elements such as lead.
  8. Frequently check the PRV (pressure relief valve). Opening PRVs will prevent pressure from building up inside the pump.
  9. Make sure that no water enters the pump from the well supply. For this purpose, take a screw wrench and disconnect the offset line. You can leave this line unscrewed whenever the pump is sitting idle (probably during winter).
  10. If you have a deep well or a self-priming pump, they rarely need re-priming.

Why is priming necessary?

We can rephrase the question like this: When does priming become necessary? There are many reasons why you should consider re-priming your shallow well pump. Some of them we’ve mentioned above.

But here is a brief list of reasons that require you to prime the pump first:

  • If the impeller has some garbage blocking it from operating normally
  • If the pipe has a crack for air to leak out
  • If the nuts and bolts of the system aren’t well-fastened
  • If the well is dry or the pump has sustained some injury
  • If its check valves have malfunctioned and need replacing


Shallow pumps help you draw water from shallow underground aquatics sources. They are practically unworkable for reservoirs that require a pumping lift of more than 18 ft. It corresponds to more than five and a half meters. These pumps work perfectly well when all you need is a cheap, above-ground system. They aren’t high maintenance and provide the entire household with drinkable water. The priming process ensures the effective working of your shallow well pump.


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