It is important to know how to prime a pool vacuum hose before you start to vacuum a pool to get rid of any air in it that will then feed into the pool filter system and perhaps create an air lock. Priming is just a more technical way of saying removing air.
There are two ways to get air out of a pool vacuum hose to prevent air locks from occurring in the pool filter system. One is to feed the hose hand-over-hand into the pool and the other is to use the inlet jet to push the air out of the hose.
When I first got my pool I didn’t bother removing the air but got air locks in my pool filter and pump as a result. Then I started using the second method using the inlet jet described below but I soon found the “hand-over-hand feeding” method to be both the quickest and the easiest way to get the air out of a vacuum hose.
Why should you remove the air from a pool vacuum hose?
If you simply plug the vacuum hose onto the vacuum head at one end, and then into the hole in the skimmer, without first removing the air, then the air that is in the vacuum hose will be pumped into the system. This air will end up in the pool pump and also in the filter housing.
The air may clear itself in a few minutes without you having to so anything, but during this time you cannot start to vacuum as you will have no suction. But it may not clear on its own as it may become an air lock so you might have to bleed the air from the pump or filter to get rid of it.
How to prime a pool vacuum hose – my preferred method
Learning how to fill pool vacuum hose with water is important to avoid getting air in the system. Also know as priming a vacuum hose is easy if you follow theses steps:
Step 1 – lay out the hose
In order to remove the air from a vacuum hose I first lay out the hose to get rid of any twists or kinks.
Step 2 – attach to vacuum head
After fitting the pole to the vacuum head (most vacuum heads have a quick release system) I then attach vacuum hose to the fitting on the vacuum head.
Step 3 – lower vacuum head into pool
After the vacuum hose is attached securely, I lower the vacuum head to the bottom of the pool. I always give it a twist from side to side as it goes through the water to remove any air that may be trapped under the vacuum head.
Step 4 – feed hose into pool
Once it is securely on the bottom I start to feed the hose down into the water hand over hand. This pushes the air out of the hose as the hose fills with water, with the air leaving from the other, open, end of the hose obviously. The water in the hose naturally tries to stay at the same level as the pool water due to the water and air pressure.
Step 5 – stop when all hose in
I keep feeding the hose slowly hand over hand until all the hose is in the water apart from the top 6 inches or so. Do not go to quickly otherwise you may find air gets trapped in any curves in the hose.
Step 6 – water will flow out
At that point some water should flow out of the end of the hose, showing that all of the air has been expelled and it is completely full of water.
Step 7 – connect hose to skimmer port
I then feed the end of the pool vacuum hose past the skimmer weir door and push the end of the water filled hose into the rear hole of my pool skimmer. See my post Why are there two holes at the bottom of a pool skimmer?
Once it is securely fitted I switch the pool pump back on and start to vacuum the pool.
This I would normally do with the multiport valve on the filter setting, unless the pool is very dirty, in which case I would normally use the waste setting and work quickly.
The following is a video I made for my Easy Pool Cleaning Youtube Channel showing this method of priming a vacuum hose.
Pool Maintenance Course
When I first bought my house with a swimming pool, I knew nothing about cleaning and maintaining it. I was recommended Swim University’s Pool Care Handbook and video course so I bought it and have never regretted it.
It was probably the best money I spent that year as I have saved thousands by doing it myself.
Alternative method of removing air from a pool vacuum hose
The other most commonly used method of priming the pool vacuum hose is to use the return port/jet.
- The hose is been attached to the vacuum head and that is lowered into the water as above
- the other end of the hose is then held over the water return jet so that the water flows into the hose and expels it from the other end. You should see air bubbles coming up from the vacuum head on the bottom of the pool.
- Once no more air is seen coming from the vacuum head the whole hose should be full of water
- You now need to get the end you are holding into the skimmer port without letting air back in the system. You can do this by keeping the end below the water level or try and hold the palm of you hand over the end to stop air getting in.
Getting the open end to the skimmer is the part I have the problem with.
The skimmer is at the other end of my pool from the water return. To get the end of the hose to the skimmer using the method of keeping the end of the hose under the water I would need to crawl along the length of my pool on my hand (only one as the other is holding the hose under the water) and knees. Perhaps a young, fit, pool cleaner can do this but at my age that is not happening.
I have tried the other method of holding the palm of my hand over the end but inevitably some air gets in, or I trip and let lots of air in!
If you still end up with an air lock follow my guide – How to bleed air from a pool pump or filter.
My top 3 pool cleaning tools
These are the pool cleaning tools I have found the most useful since I have had my pool.
Step and corner vacuum brush
This is a really useful tool for getting into the areas that a standard vacuum head simply cannot reach. Aquatix Pro Pool Step & Corner Vacuum Brush
Leaf rake net
If, like me, you get plenty of leaves at the bottom of your pool then a good leaf rake/net is a must. The Stargoods Pool Skimmer Net gets under the leaves easily.
Robotic pool cleaner
These are quite expensive and it was a number of years before I bit the bullet and bought one. I have never regretted it. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is the most recommended pool cleaning robot on all of the pool forums. It not only cleans the bottom of the pool but also the sides and the waterline.
I have had hot tubs for many years and a pool for the last 9 years. I had to learn how to clean, maintain and fix them the hard way. Since then I have helped many friends and neighbors with their pools and now I want to share everything I have learned with you.