How to Get Air Out of Pool Pump [8-Step Guide]

Published Categorized as Pool Care, Pool Troubleshooting
Pool Technician letting air out of swimming pool water pump.
Technician fixing swimming pool water pump. Service and maintenance for swimming pool.

It’s summertime, so it’s time for a nice swim to cool off!

But you can’t enjoy a swim if your pool is dirty and murky!

To ensure your swimming pool is free from dirt and other external factors, it is important to bleed air out of the pool pump system.

But how exactly do you do that?

In this pool maintenance guide, you will learn how to properly get air leaks out of your pool pump to keep your swimming pool clear and clean for your next swim!

8 Steps on How to Get Air Out of Pool Pump

If your pool lines are allowing air inside, it could affect your pool’s cleanliness and water level.

Here is a step-by-step guide to keeping air leaks out of your pool pump system.

1. Power OFF

First thing’s first, turn OFF your pool pump.

Turn off any other mechanical equipment your pool is running on, such as the pool cleaning pump or pool heater.

2. Prime Your Pool Pump

Priming means adding water to something. In this case, it is your pool pump!

Once you have turned everything off, take a garden hose or a bucket of water and fill up your pump basket with water.

Fill it to the TOP!

After if pump basket is filled, put the pump lid back on.

3. Open the Air Relief Valve

Turn the air relief valve knob counterclockwise to open it. Afterward, leave the main drain valve open and close the skimmer valves.

If you can’t find your air relief valve, it is usually on top of your main filter pump or filter canister.

Once you have turned the air relief valve knob, water should shoot out. Close the valve once all the air has come out.

4. Remove the Strainer Box Cover

The strainer box (a.k.a strainer basket or pool pump basket) filters out debris or dirt from entering the pool.

Unsecure the two knurled knobs, take this box out and clean out any debris or dirt.

Take out the strainer housing and check if it is filled with water. If there is little or no water, use a garden hose to fill it to the brim.

Secure the pump lid & O-ring, turn the pump on and let it run for a few minutes.

You should hear a bunch of noises; that’s just the air being sucked out of the system and clean water flow being recirculated.

Pro Tip

Pay attention to any unusual sounds! Any weird sounds are a sign that your pump is not running smoothly.

5. Check For Damage in the Pump Lid or O-Ring

A damaged pump lid or O-ring (or pump cover gasket) could be a reason for air getting into the system.

You can use a lubricant or petroleum jelly to smoothen your gasket and prevent air leaks. Tighten the cover knobs afterward.

More often than not, the O-rings are more prone to damage, so you should probably replace them frequently.

6. Set the Multiport Valve to Filter

The filter multiport valve or MPV directs the water to do different functions, such as filter, recirculate, or backwash.

Setting the MPV to Filter setting removes dirt, other debris, and air found in the pool lines or pool pump system.

The Filter setting, whether a sand filter or DE filter, ensures your pool water is CLEAN and free from any foreign matter.

7. Turn On the Pump Again

We emphasize that you must SLOWLY open your main drain and skimmer valves to prevent a large amount of air from coming.

Slowly turn the main drain valve as you leave your pool pump running.

Similarly, you should notice air bubbles and hear noise, the air escaping the pool system.

Eventually, you will get only water flowing in the pump.

Continue doing this step on the pool skimmer valve. Remember to SLOWLY open it! Water should fill in once the skimmer valve is open.

That way, your valves are fully functional with minimal airflow in the pool lines!

8. Check Air Relief Valve Again

In this step, the system fills up with water as air escapes.

Once all valves are opened, check the air relief valve on the filter canister to see if it is releasing air. You should hear the sound of air escaping as well!

Similar to Step 3, open the air-release valve to shoot out water. Once that is done, restore power to your pool heater and pool cleaning pump again.

And you’re done! With a little monitoring, your pool pump should be air-free in no time!

How To: Bleed air out of your Pool Filter by Chlorine King Pool Service on YouTube.

Pump Air Leak in the Pool: Troubleshooting Tips

It is best to do a test run if you are unsure if what you did was right. Here are a few ways to check if there is air in the pool pump.

1. Air Bubbles

You might have noticed your pool lines return jets of air bubbles out of a hole. You might have even played with them as a kid!

Those bubbles are just air coming out of the system. Those air bubbles are a sign of a poor air filtration system.

This could be a sign that your filter system has an air leak.

The air is probably entering from the suction side of your pool.

2. Check Skimmers

Water enters your skimmer box and enters the filter system.

You can check if your skimmer is operating correctly by checking your water level. If you have a low water level, your skimmer will probably suck air instead.

Ensure you do not have a super low water level; the water line should be up to the middle of the skimmer.

Additionally, check if the skimmer basket is seated correctly.

Make sure this door is not jammed so your pool water flows better and prevents debris buildup.

Pro Tip

You can install a skimmer weir if you don’t have one yet, like a flapping door inside the skimmer.

3. Check Drain Plugs and Unions

Ensure the drain plug is TIGHT to prevent an air or water leak.

A good application of plumber’s tape should better seal the plug and put it back in place!

Unions allow you to access the plumbing without cutting your pipes. Check if the O-rings on these unions are damaged and replace them if so.

Additionally, check if the O-ring of the union is secured in its slot.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Get Air Out of Your Pool Pump

If you are a first-time owner of an above-ground pool, check out these questions to further understand proper pool care!

What Does a Pool Pump Do?

A pool pump is responsible for cleaning, sanitizing, filtering, and heating your pool water. It essentially works like a pool filter.

Most people would compare the pool pump to the human heart!

There is no pool filter without a pool pump, and you would be swimming in dirty, debris-filled water!

There are two types of pool pumps: Single-Speed and Variable-Speed.

As the names suggest, single-speed pumps operate at a fixed speed, while variable-speed pumps allow you to control the speed to your liking.

What Happens if Air Gets in Pool Pump?

An air leak in your pool pump can affect its overall performance, so it could not work its magic on the water as efficiently.

An air leak caused by cracks or loose valve compartments could be a gateway for debris or other foreign matter in your system and, eventually, into your pool water!

Remember to do a quality check every so often on your pump.

Check if any cracks or damages have formed over time and make the necessary replacements or adjustments.

Why Does My Pool Pump Always Have Air in It?

The most common reasons for air in the pump could be:

  • Damaged or loose pump components
  • Low-water levels
  • Back pressure due to buildup of debris

Either way, these pump problems might have happened over time or while you were fiddling with your pool’s inner workings.

Don’t be alarmed; the air in your pool pump is nothing out of the ordinary!

It is normal to have a little air, but too much of it can be a problem for the pump and pool filter.

Is Bleeding the Same as Priming?

Bleeding and priming have different definitions.

  • On the one hand, bleeding means removing the air from something.
  • Priming means adding water to something.

However, priming a pool pump with water removes the air, so doing both removes air from pool pumps.

You can use both interchangeably in the context of pool pumps!


As mentioned earlier, the air in your pool pump is no real cause for alarm.

It is only worth worrying if it affects your swimming pool’s cleanliness and, eventually, your swimming experience!

Remember to be a responsible pool owner by frequently checking your pool pump for air to prevent dirt buildup and ensure clean water with every swim!

By Kate Conlan

Hi! I’m Kate and I love spending time in the pool. In fact, I’ve never really been talented at anything, a part from finding ways of spending as much time as possible on inflatable things in a pool. So I guess that’s a talent? Swimming is one of my favorite mother-daughter activities. We can both get some exercise and spend some quality time together!

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