How to install pond skimmers

Written by emily patterson
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How to install pond skimmers
Pond waterfall (Pond image by Arlene Dicks from Fotolia.com)

Pond skimmers are installed between the pond and the pump. They pull water from the surface of the pond to remove floating debris. Some models have the filter built in behind the skimmer door. The water coming into the pond after filtering is clean, so locate the skimmer as far away from the water inlet, such as a waterfall, as possible.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Pond skimmer
  • Tape measure
  • Hose
  • Hose clamp
  • Tin snips
  • Screwdriver
  • Squeeze tube of silicone caulk
  • Utility knife

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn off all pond equipment. Disconnect from power source if needed or turn off electrical supply from the main power source. Drain approximately six inches of water out of the pond if it's already filled.

  2. 2

    Use a shovel to dig out the area behind the pond liner where the pump will be located. Dig as deep as needed so the filter unit will be situated with the water level midway on the skimmer opening.

  3. 3

    Place the skimmer in position behind the pond liner.

  4. 4

    Dig a trench between the pump inlet and the skimmer outlet pipes with a shovel.

  5. 5

    Measure the distance between the pond skimmer outlet pipe and the pump inlet pipe. Purchase a hose that is six or more inches longer than this to be sure it will fit in position.

  6. 6

    Attach a hose that is the appropriate diameter to fit on the pump inlet to the pump with a hose clamp. Put the hose clamp on the hose. Push the hose over the pump inlet pipe. Move the hose clamp into position above the area where the hose and pump pipe overlap. Use a screwdriver to tighten the hose clamp.

  7. 7

    Position the hose in the trench between the pump and the pond skimmer. Cut the hose with tin snips where there will be enough hose to connect the hose to the pond skimmer. Attach the hose to the pond skimmer outlet pipe with a hose clamp. Put the hose clamp on the hose. Push the hose over the pond skimmer outlet pipe. Move the hose clamp into position above the area where the hose and skimmer outlet pipe overlap. Use a screwdriver to tighten the hose clamp.

  8. 8

    Use a screwdriver to remove the front plate on the pond skimmer at the opening for the water to flow into the skimmer for the pond.

  9. 9

    Squeeze silicone caulk around the opening where the front plate attaches to the pond skimmer. Squeeze silicone caulk around the back of the face plate.

  10. 10

    Move the liner into position over the opening on the skimmer. Place the face plate over the liner and use an awl to make the first hole in the pond liner where it overlaps a screw hole. Insert a screw into the face plate, through the hole in the liner, into the skimmer and tighten with a screwdriver.

  11. 11

    Use the awl to make holes in the liner at each addition screw location. Insert the screws in the corner locations first and then the screw locations between the corners. Tighten all securely, but not so tightly that they crack the face plate.

  12. 12

    Cut the liner close to the edges at the opening for the pond skimmer with a utility knife.

  13. 13

    Fill the pond with water until the water line is approximately halfway up the pond skimmer opening.

  14. 14

    Plug the pond skimmer into a ground fault interrupt (GFI) equipped electrical supply. Turn on power to the pump and other pond accessories in the same manner that they were turned off.

  15. 15

    Check the connections at the pump and skimmer for leaks. Tighten the hose clamp if needed.

  16. 16

    Replace the soil over the hose in the trench.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not cover the top of the skimmer with soil because it will need to be accessed regularly for cleaning. Place a grate over the top and cover the grate with landscaping stones or garden accessories to hide the skimmer tank.
  • Pond equipment must have a GFI-equipped electrical source for safe operation.

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