Pool Skimmers: Why Are They Important, and What Do They Do?

Pool Skimmers do more than simply keep your pool’s surface clean. Its main purpose is to remove the waste from your pool, which is known as junk or debris. With a built-in skimmer, you don’t have to worry about collecting waste yourself. Find out more here.

Pool skimmers are a fundamental part of your pool’s cleanliness and health. However, like any pool equipment, it’s essential to know what the skimmer is supposed to be doing and how it should be operating.

So the first question that comes to mind is, “what are pool skimmers, and what do they do?” Well, there’s a lot of information available about them because they can be pretty complex.

And although we have talked about them in general terms so far, the following explanations will bring you all the details you need to know:

What Are Pool Skimmers?

Pool skimmer filters are designed to trap floating waste before it can fall to the pool’s bottom.

Skimmers for In-Ground Pools

Skimmers for In-Ground Pools

Surface pool skimmers are usually PVC or precast concrete and feature an upper side with a projecting throat. The weir performs the skimming process by regulating the quantity of water entering the skimmer. The weir functions to make sure only a thin amount of water can be pulled over. Then, water swiftly pulls off the surface, leaving a considerable portion of the pool clean.

It only takes one skimmer placed in the right location to maintain a 500 square feet pool surface clean. However, make sure not to let debris accumulate for some time because this can put additional strain on your pool’s pump. To avoid this, it’s best to clean out the basket daily, especially during swim seasons.

A skimmer has to come with an equalizer line that attaches from the bottom of the skimmer, the pool wall, and straight into the water. The equalization helps avoid air from being pulled into the system when the water level drops below the weir level due to evaporation. Assure that no air enters the system since this might cause the pump to stall.

Many pool skimmers have automated water level controls as well as automatic chlorinators.

Robotic Pool Skimmers

Robotic pool skimmer in the swimming pool

Robotic pool skimmers are like regular pool skimmers in that they help skim the surface of your pool. They are, however, more different from common pool skimmers because they require minimal maintenance. The automatic robot skimmer operates on a timer to control the flow of water into the basket. Also, this pool skimmer does not require any installation and can be easily placed in the water.

The only upkeep you need is changing the filter or vacuum cleaner bag, depending on which model you get. It’s important to note that robotic pool skimmers are ideal for smaller pools.

Above-Ground Skimmers

An above ground skimmer and hose

Above-ground skimmers are mechanical skimmers capable of collecting water from a pond or reservoir via suction and can then pump the collected water up to the surface. The capacity of these systems depends on the design, but they range in size from 200 gallons to 2,500 gallons per day. 

Skimmers for Spas and Hot Tubs

Skimmers are also used in hot tubs, spas, ponds, and other areas that require the removal of dirt and debris from the water. These skimmers are often smaller than their above-ground counterparts. These skimmers are powered by either a motor or a pump. 

Why Skimming Your Pool Is So Important for Pool Maintenance?

A skimmer is an essential component of your pool equipment. They are designed to separate the water from the debris that you have accumulated on the bottom of your pool. This allows for a clearer, safer, and more efficient swimming experience.

Their design also helps to eliminate any bacterial growth, which helps keep your pool safe for swimmers and children around it and yourself. 

Pool Skimmer Parts

Pool skimmers come in a range of sizes and work differently depending on the type you pick. Regardless of the kind of skimmer you install, they all have the following components:

Leaves on pool skimmer

The lid: In addition to being an easily visible component of the skimmer, the lid also serves to prevent heavier material such as twigs from being dragged into the pool’s circulation system.

The mouth: This is the opening through which water is drawn into the device. You can select skimmers that come with a fixed and larger opening, or you can choose those that come with a slide mechanism for width adjustments.

The weir: This is the component that catches debris as water is filtered through. As this component fills, it will raise the basket attached to it. This can be clogged up with debris, so you should always manually empty it. 

The basket: The basket has a filter for trapping even the tiniest pieces of material. If you don’t have a basket, debris can build up and harm your filtration system, which is why it is such an essential part of the skimmer.

The suction line: This is the component that connects to the skimmer basket and provides electricity.

The equalizer line: This line is connected to the skimmer basket and helps maintain a steady pressure, which is crucial when the water decreases below the main inlet.

How to Keep Your Skimmer in Good Condition?

Removing the lid of pool skimmer

To keep your skimmer in good working order, you must take the proper steps to maintain a pool skimmer. For instance, you should have a regular pool maintenance routine that includes periodic checks on your equipment so that it keeps running smoothly and effectively each time you use it. And remember to wear appropriate safety gear when handling these parts.

Keeping your skimmer in good condition is easy to do by following these steps:

Step 1. Turn off the swimming pool’s pump.

Step 2. Remove the lid from the skimmer.

Step 3. Remove the skimmer basket and empty the accumulated debris.

Step 4. Put back the skimmer basket.

Step 5. Replace the skimmer basket and do this for other skimmers as well.

Step 6. Once everything is good, power back the pool pump.

“If you don’t properly rinse the cleaner off, you’ll wind up with frothy bubbles in your pool water which can lead to greater problems.”

Matt, founder of Swim University

It’s best to keep your skimmer basket at least four times a month to keep your pool healthy and your pool equipment functioning efficiently. 

Author’s Note

Pool skimmers are an essential part of your pool’s maintenance. You should make sure to maintain them regularly by replacing the skimmer every quarter or more. It will lengthen the life of your equipment and keep bacteria out of your water, keeping you and everyone around you safe.

Additionally, you can see more pool-related articles below that you might find useful. Feel free to browse them! Check out our pool articles here.

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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