How Do Pool Skimmers Work?

Written by dale devries
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How Do Pool Skimmers Work?
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Definition

Swimming pool skimmers are an important accessory for your pool. They are found on both above-ground and inground pools. Made of plastic, the skimmer is in the upper part of the side of the pool, and catches floating debris before it gets saturated and sinks to the bottom. The parts of the skimmer are a basket, a lid and a weir. Above-ground pool skimmers have a faceplate that attaches to the wall of the pool, whereas an inground pool does not. Inground pool skimmers are set into a beam in the concrete or gunite, which makes them difficult to remove.

How the Above-Ground Pool Skimmer Works

A skimmer in an above-ground pool is attached to the wall of the pool by installing a faceplate on the inside of the pool and the skimmer on the outside of the pool. The liner and pool wall are sealed between the faceplate and skimmer, so there is no leaking. A pipe comes from the bottom of the skimmer to the pool filter pump. The water is pulled through the skimmer by the pump. Inside the skimmer is a basket, and on the front of the skimmer is a weir, or floating door. As the water is pulled into the skimmer, the floating debris is also pulled in. The debris gets stuck in the basket as the water goes into the filter and is cycled back into the pool. The pool owner must take the basket out and discard of the debris before it builds up to the point where the water cannot filter through. The basket is accessed through a lid on top of the skimmer on the outside of the pool. The weir floats at the water level, causing the suction to be sped up and to pull in more of the debris. When the pump is shut off, the weir closes off the skimmer and keeps debris from coming out of the basket and back into the pool.

How the Inground Pool Skimmer Works

Although the actions of the skimmer are much the same for an inground pool as an above-ground pool, installation is somewhat different. There are usually two pipes at the bottom of an inground skimmer. One may be used for a low-water suction or a second skimmer, or it may be plugged for future use. The second pipe is the pipe that carries the water to the filter pump. Plastic skimmers sometimes have a difficult task holding up to the concrete pool. Their sides may bow in from the weight of the concrete, which may cause a leak or cause the weir to lose its fit. These problems can be remedied with pool putty and taking the weir off and sanding it down to fit again. Another difference in the skimmer is the location of the basket and lid. Normally, they are set back farther, and the lid will be in the concrete. There will be a small space to insert your finger or the flat head of a screwdriver to pull it up. These lids must be put back on flat and tightly. Otherwise, they can cause someone to trip or step into the basket area and get hurt. The skimmer on your pool is the first defence for keeping your pool clean and free of debris. If the basket is cleaned out frequently, your pool will stay cleaner and free of algae-building debris.

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