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Essential Skimmer Maintenance

Your skimmer keeps your pool swimmable by catching leaves, twigs, oils (like sunblock), flower petals, dead insects, and any other nasty stuff floating around the surface. Maintaining your skimmer is an important step to keeping your pool clean and functional. Keep reading to learn the ins and out of proper skimmer maintenance.

Cleaning Debris Out of the Skimmer Basket

It’s important to clean out the debris that your skimmer has collected. If it gets too backed up it can stop your filtration system from working.

Also from time to time small animals may get trapped and drown in your pool. Unpleasant as it is to find them, it’s better to remove them before bacteria has a chance to spread.

How Often Should You Clean the Skimmer Basket?

Some sources suggest cleaning your skimmer basket daily or at least once a week. The frequency partly depends on the size of your pool area and whether it has a lot of surrounding trees or other sources of debris.

How to Clean Your Skimmer Basket

You may want to use gloves, but it isn’t always necessary. Follow these steps to clean the skimmer baskets:

  1. Turn off your pool’s pump.
  2. Access the skimmer by taking off the lid. Then remove the basket by lifting it straight out of the skimmer cylinder.
  3. Dump out all debris from the basket.
  4. Use a hose to remove any remaining debris. Do not risk damaging the basket by using anything else to dislodge debris.
  5. Replace the basket in the cylinder and return the cover to its original position.

Check the Operation of the Weir

The weir is like a little flapping door leading in to your skimmer. It allows water and debris to flow over it, into the skimmer, but stops the debris from going back out.

Since the weir’s job is to prevent debris from flowing back into the pool, excess debris may be a sign that the weir isn’t working.

How to Check the Weir

The weir should move back and forth easily. To remove the weir, push the top of it forward toward the pool and lift one side off of its peg. From there you should be able to remove it.

To replace a weir, lay it flat, place the lower corners over the pegs, and rotate the weir upwards.

Unclogging the Skimmer

Every now and then your skimmer might get too full. An overflowing skimmer can lead to problems with your filtration system and pump.

A clog will stop your skimmer from operating, so you will notice a build-up of debris along your pool’s surface water.

How to Unclog the Skimmer

  1. Turn off the pump. If possible you should also consider disconnecting it to eliminate the chance of it starting by accident while you work.
  2. Remove the skimmer lid.
  3. For a clog, we recommend using gloves and checking for any potentially dangerous objects.
  4. Pull out the skimmer basket and throw out all the debris.
  5. Check the basket holder for debris.
  6. Run a plumbing snake into the skimmer’s piping until you start to feel resistance. If you can’t push through the debris after a few attempts you have found a clog.
  7. Wind the snake to break up the clog.
  8. Once the clog has been broken up pull the plumbing snake out and discard debris.
  9. Return the skimmer basket and lid.
  10. Reconnect the pump (if unplugged earlier), turn it on, and filter the pool.
  11. Let the pump run for a short time, then turn it off to clean the pump basket or backwash the filter. Debris causing the clog will probably have reached these systems after this short time.

How Do You Prevent Big Problems?

The golden rule of maintenance is to keep on top of the small jobs so you won’t need to do the big jobs. Find time to take care of these smaller skimmer issues on a regular basis and you can enjoy a clean, inviting pool.

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