A Pool pump, which is a self-priming pump uses a water and air mixture in order to fully prime the pump.
The priming chamber has a built in filter basket, to catch large debris, such as leaves from the pool. For larger pumps, a separate priming chamber and filter system are available and may be required.
While called a self-priming pump, it is actually a centrifugal pump in principle. It uses centrifugal force to create a pumping action by using a pressure differential in a liquid, and a suction in the priming chamber. The impeller draws the fluid into the pump and displaces it out of the discharge port. The movement of this fluid creates a suction, lifting the water from the sump below into the pump, starting the pumping action.
What is priming: Priming is filling the intake with water/liquid to displace the air in the system, to create a vacuum, to suck up the fluid from beneath the pump. As all the air is displaced, the liquid continues to mix with the air that is coming up the suction line. This creates a vacuum on the suction line, and the liquid is forced up the suction line due to atmospheric pressure and enters the impeller. This continual process keeps the pump operating.
When the pump stops, a non return valve, within the pump maintains water within the priming chamber, keeping it primed and ready for operating again. Liquid must always be present in the priming chamber to allow the pump to work automatically. On initial install or after maintenance, this priming chamber has to be filled with the liquid to start the process. Maintenance is carried out above ground, due to no submerged parts, making it quick and easy.