What are pool skimmers

Pool skimmers are found in every pool and are considered one of the most important features. The rectangular openings located on the side of an in-ground pool are referred to as built-in skimmers. There are also robotic skimmers available or automatic skimmers hung from the sides of an above ground pool. Depending on the size of the pool, you may have one or more skimmers installed.

Pool skimmers are designed to draw water from the surface and suck it through the pool’s filtration system. About the top 1/8 inch of water is drawn into the skimmer helping remove the contaminants and debris such as sunscreen, hair and leaves from the pool before they sink to the bottom. This occurs without most swimmers even noticing as the suction power is so discrete.

Without a working skimmer, debris and chemicals will not be removed properly from your pool. This will increase your chances of a cloudy pool and algae growth. Additionally, your pool pump will be prone to wear and tear, and will likely need replacing well before the manufacturer’s recommended date. This can be a costly exercise to replace a pool pump, so maintaining your pool skimmer is essential.

Pool skimmer components

Pool Skimmer 01

Pool skimmers are available in different sizes and will vary in performance depending on the model you choose. However, regardless of which skimmer brand you install, they all feature the following parts:

The Lid: the lid is a visible component of the skimmer and works to keep larger debris such as twigs from being sucked into the pool’s circulation system. They also prevent you from steeping into the skimmer basket.

The mouth: the mouth is the opening on the interior side of the pool. It is through the mouth the water and debris get sucked into to be filtered.

The weir: the weir is the swinging flap located inside the skimmer mouth and will pivot with the flow of the water. The main purpose of the weir is to prevent the debris from escaping back into the pool. When the pool pump is turned off, the weir cleverly moves into a closed position which prevents debris from reentering the pool.

The skimmer basket: the skimmer or strainer basket collects the debris before it is pulled into your pump. This is an essential component of the skimmer as without the basket, debris will clog and damage your filtration system.

The suction line: the suction line is connected to the skimmer basket and is what drives the power of the skimmer.

The equaliser line: the equaliser line prevents the skimmer from sucking in air in the event the water level has dropped below the main inlet.

How to maintain your skimmer

Cleaning out your skimmer can help ensure it works optimally and will prevent unnecessary damage to your pool’s filtration system. A clogged skimmer basket will also require your pump to work harder to cycle the water which ultimately decreases the lifespan of the seals and the pump itself.

Maintaining your skimmer is simple to do by following these steps:

  1. Turn off the pool pump.
  2. Remove the skimmer lid
  3. Take out the skimmer basket and empty out the contents.
  4. Return the basket back into the skimmer.
  5. Replace the skimmer lid and repeat with the other skimmers if applicable.
  6. Once complete, turn the pool pump back on.

You should clean the skimmer basket at least once a week to keep your pool clean and your equipment functioning optimally.

For more pool tips and advice, visit the pool section of our Learning Library.