An Informative Guide To Skimmers For Your Pool!

Your pool’s equipment is made up of many components that work cohesively together to keep your pool looking crystal clear and safe to swim in. Learning about all of them may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. You may or may not know what skimmers are if you don’t, this is for you. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are pool skimmers?

A pool skimmer is a key part of your pool circulation system. Without it, your pool would turn green very quickly. You will recognise them as the rectangle opening at one end of your pool, these are called built-in skimmers and almost every inground pool will have one, sometimes more depending on the capacity of the pool. Inside the skimmer, you will see a removable basket. This is used to collect leaves and other debris from the pool. You can simply remove the basket to empty the contents. Other types of pool skimmers include floating skimmers, automatic skimmers and robotic skimmers.

So, how do they work?

The skimmer is the first part of your pool’s filtration and circulation system. A suction pipe is located underneath the skimmer basket and it draws the surface water of your pool into the skimmer. The water is sucked through the skimmer basket and this picks up contaminants before sending the water to the filter. The filter picks up finer particles of dirt left behind by the skimmer. The filtered water is then returned to your pool via your return jets. This limits the amount of debris that can sink to the bottom of the pool and disrupt your chemical levels, giving you cleaner water.

Your pool skimmer is made of the following components:

Skimmer Lid

Built-in skimmers have a lid to cover the hole where the skimmer is. This prevents people from accidentally stepping in it and injuring themselves and stops additional leaves and debris from falling into the skimmer. The skimmer lid is usually round and made of plastic. You will find it on the outside of your pool above where the skimmer is.

Skimmer Door (Weir)

The skimmer door which is known as a weir is a flap that covers the skimmer mouth. It swings with the motion of the water and its main objective is to stop leaf litter and other contaminants from floating out of the skimmer and back into the pool. The weir remains closed when the pump is switched off to keep the debris in the skimmer.

Skimmer Mouth

The skimmer mouth is the rectangle-shaped hole in the side of your pool wall. Water is drawn in the mouth bringing with it leaf litter and other contaminants. They will then get trapped in the skimmer basket.

Skimmer Basket

Your skimmer basket is scattered with many small holes that essentially strain leaves, sticks and other unwanted nasties from your pool water before it gets sucked into your pump. Your skimmer basket should be intact and have no broken bits or cracks otherwise, the debris can escape and choke up the filtration system or worse cause costly damage. 

Skimmers Suction Line

Water is sucked into the skimmer via the suction line. Its what draws the water past the weir, into the mouth, through the basket and to the filter pump. Your suction line mustn’t be clogged at any point to ensure it doesn’t interfere with your equipment or compromise the efficiency of your circulation system.

Skimmer Equalizer Line

The skimmer equalizer line prevents damage to the pump if the water has dropped below its normal level which should be around halfway up the skimmer mouth. It stops the pump from sucking in air.

Skimmer Extras

Skimmer Plate

A skimmer plate is an accessory that you will need if you have an automatic or manual pool cleaner. It attaches above your skimmer basket and the dirt and debris picked up from the cleaner are disposed of in the skimmer basket.

Skimmer Sock

Skimmer socks are designed to filter your water further. They work by picking up small pieces of dirt and debris that normally get through the skimmer basket holes. This gives you higher-quality water and improves your pool’s filtration. They are made of fine mesh nylon that is stretchy and durable. Skimmer socks are placed over your skimmer basket and are designed to withstand exposure to chemicals without wear. They are reusable and easy to clean, they’re simply rinsed with water and replaced into position.

Tips to help you maintain your skimmer

Pool care goes hand in hand with pool ownership and maintenance of your skimmer is no exception. Looking after your skimmer will see it work to its full potential and can help to avoid unnecessary damage due to poor upkeep. Not only that, if your skimmer isn’t cleared out and looked after properly it will force the pump to work harder to do its job, meaning it will chew more electricity.

Here's How To Clean Your Skimmer:

Before you do anything, you need to switch the pump off. You can then lift the skimmer lid, if you have a skimmer plate in place, you will have to remove it. Lift your skimmer basket out and empty the debris inside, rinse with a garden hose to remove smaller particles that may be stuck on the sides and difficult to shift. Make sure you don’t do this over your pool water. Put your skimmer basket back into position and then your lid. You can now turn your pump back on. To keep your pool and equipment in tip-top shape, we recommended doing this at least once a week and more if you have dense foliage around your pool that sheds excessive leaf litter or if there have been strong winds.

Adding Chlorine To Your Skimmer

Adding chlorine tablets to you skimmer is an effective way to sanitise your pool and saves you from having to buy a floating chlorine dispenser. The benefit of adding chlorine to your skimmer rather than directly in the pool or in a dispenser is that the suction of the water from the skimmer dissolves the tablets faster. This produces cleaner water that is free from impurities. If you have a skimmer sock over your skimmer basket, make sure you take it off if you put chlorine tablets in as it can prematurely wear the material. Ensure you remove any remaining chlorine tablet fragments that are left in your basket when the pump is turned off. Leaving highly concentrated chlorine in your skimmer can damage your equipment over time.

Without a skimmer in your pool, it would be difficult to stop your water from going green and it would place a significant strain on your pump which would likely lead to malfunctions at some point. We hope this post has given you an understanding of what skimmers are all about and how they work. If you have any questions, feel free to get in contact with our friendly team here at Newcastle Swimming Pools. We specialise in award-winning fibreglass pools and can tell you everything you need to know about skimmers and swimming pools in general.