Photo Courtesy: Antti T. Nissinen
For every gust of wind, every elm tree, and every coming of fall, a swimming pool bears the consequences of debris. Every iota of debris has the potential to dirty the water, clog the pump, and create an unsanitary, unmemorable swimming experience. This is why a pool skimmer is a crucial attribute that any pool can have. In addition, it is perhaps one of the most helpful ‘workers’ that a pool owner has.
What’s a Skimmer?
A pool skimmer being installed in an under-construction swimming pool – Photo Courtesy: Jeremy Miles
A skimmer consists of a basket, a weir and a lid. The basket is built into the upper side walls of the pool; generally there is a hatch that is located near the deck where the skimmer can be located. An in-ground pool skimmer generally has two pipes coming out of it, one pipe carries the water to the filter pump while the other is utilized for either high or low suction. In other words, the purpose of the pool skimmer ultimately is to rile up the debris that wants to sink to the bottom of the pool. It utilizes the first pipe to loosen the debris, then the second hose sucks the debris into the basket and the smaller debris gets sent off to the filter.
Replacing the Skimmer Plastic Basket
Common problems that occur with pool skimmers are the insertion of the plastic basket into the side of the concrete pool wall. From time to time, this plastic may warp; however, this can be corrected by removing the weir, sanding it down, and using pool putty to re-fit the skimmer back into place. Over time, the pool skimmer may crack and if it cannot be puttied then it is recommended you replace the skimmer.
Although maintaining your pool skimmer is one of the most simplistic jobs in your pool, it is also the most commonly overlooked. The key is to remove the lid from the pool skimmer basket, remove the basket, and clean the debris from the basket.
In addition, there are various other types of skimmers that one can utilize. If desired, a floating skimmer may also be purchased; this device basically acts as a vacuum cleaner on the top of the water. For example, any debris that may land on top of the water is consumed by the surface skimmer. A top skimmer could potentially be a beneficial attribute to add to your pool considering that it will contribute to cutting back on the amount of debris.
The ultimate goal is to prevent as much debris as possible from entering your filtration system, which in turn will keep the larger particles out of your filters and salvage your pump in the long run. One can think of the skimmer as the human liver, capturing the impurities and contributing to a clean toxic free environment.