I have around 4.5 metres of lift and 20 metres or more of PVC pipe from the river to my pump.

This is therefore not self-priming. I have a brass foot valve (check valve with debris screen) on the end of the pipe in the river.

It's possible that my local hardware store in Indonesia which mostly sells junk has sold me a bad foot valve. OTOH I read that maybe they just leak a lot (in my case: prime the pump, works, turn the pump on again three days later: empty), so replacing it might not solve the issue

Is there something I should usefully do, like add another check valve near the bottom of the pipe as a failsafe, replace the valve with a specific type, or whatever?

  • Put the pump in the river or below the water level then it is always primed and you push the water up.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 6:35
  • 2
    it would get stolen.....
    – thelawnet
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 10:19
  • PVC check valves are pretty common and cheap. If you think the culprit is the foot valve, it seems like gluing a check valve just above it would be worth a shot.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 22:29
  • Although, if the issue is sediment keeping the check valve from closing fully, you might find you end up in the same situation. Is the water muddy?
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


Option 1 - better foot valve, or better seal/gasket in the foot valve you have.

Option 2 - set up an easy priming solution, if 3 days between pump starts is typical. i.e. have a reserve tank (above the line) for priming with "more than enough" capacity to prime the line, separated from your main tank if you run your main tank empty before refilling, and provide it with convenient valves to prime the line before pump start. If your main tank is above the line and you don't wait until it's empty to refill, this could just be the lower part of your main tank; a separate tank is more certain, though.

Refill the priming tank whenever the pump runs, of course.


Replace the foot valve with another newer one and make sure that it is protected by an inlet screen. Some pumps will self prime. Post a picture of your pump so we can see just what kind of pump you have.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.