A Guide To Pool Skimmers

Pool skimmers are a vital cleaning element used for the pools to keep the water fresh and healthy. They are like a gutter i.e. it helps in capturing debris in water before they sink to the bottom of the pool. They have no moving or motor parts. Thus, they require very little maintenance except just regular cleaning. Let us now understand more about pool skimmers.


What Are Pool Skimmers

All pools need a skimmer. Whether they are inground pools or spas or above ground pool, a skimmer is a piece of must-have pool equipment to keep the pool water fresh and healthy. In fact, according to the regulations, a minimum of one skimmer for every 400 square feet of pool surface should be there. The shape of a pool skimmer changes depending upon what type of pool you have. Let us understand the differences:

Inground Skimmers: For an inground pool, skimmers are rectangular-shaped little buckets that are built into the pool side. It is made of a kind of white plastic with some having a weir door in its front that can open and close according to water movement and water level. When the pump is turned off, this door closes so that any debris collected do not float back in the pool again.

Above Ground Skimmers: These skimmers can be a floating model or mounted on the pool side. Those mounted on the side require an opening that is precut on the wall of the pool for installation. However, if you want to avoid cutting, you can get a floating one.

What Do Skimmers Do?

When explained in a very basic sense, skimmers skim the surface of the pool. When elaborated, pool skimmers have the following main functions:

Filtration and Circulation: The skimmers act as the start point for the pool filtration and circulation system. When the pool water is sucked by the pump, it passes through skimmers which clear the large debris present in it. This helps in clearing up the contaminants that would have otherwise made their way to the filter or pump. This helps the filter in doing its own job of clearing the smaller debris. This makes the returning water cleaner and fresher.

Cleaning: When the pool is used by different people, there are many foreign contaminants which are left in the pool water. Skimmers help in taking care of this smaller debris. If you further want to increase the effectiveness of your pool skimmer, you can cover it with a pantyhose to catch the small contaminants that may otherwise be hard to catch.

Add Chlorine Tablets: If you want to save some money by buying a floating dispenser for chlorine, you can just add the chlorine tablets to the skimmer basket. This will help in the better dissolving of chlorine in the pool water when the same pass through the basket. This, in turn, translates into clean and sanitary water. Do ensure to remove the tablets that are partially dissolved when the pump is off to ensure minimal damage to the equipment from high chlorine concentration water.

Pool Vacuum: if you have an automatic pool cleaner, it is great but there are times when you need to manually do so. During this time, you can start by inserting the vacuum hose in the suction hole of the skimmer or you can use a vacuum plate in the skimmer. This results in a cleaner and fresher water.

Types Of Pool Skimmers

Depending upon what pool you have, you can decide which pool skimmer you need. Let us discuss the different kinds of pool skimmers available:

Inground Skimmers: As discussed earlier, inground pool skimmers are built right into the pool. They are placed near the top of the wall of the pool where the bottom half is covered by the pool water.

Above-Ground Pool Skimmers: These skimmers can be both- floating in the pool or mounted right on the wall. The mounted ones hang on the pool side on a plastic arm. Floating ones are attached to the pool vacuum gliding on the water collecting the debris.

Robotic Pool Skimmers: These skimmers offer a different alternative to the regular stationary skimmer that is mounted on the wall. These automatic robotic versions are available in two varieties- solar powered and battery. They glide on the pool surface siphoning off the debris that comes in its way. A robotic skimmer can work independently to save energy costs or can be connected to the pool cleaner to vacuum the surface debris.

Hot Tub Skimmers: These are equally important as the pool skimmers as hot tubs too need cleaning of the surface. With a poor filtration system, you can face cloudy water or green water problems in the hot tub. Not only is it unhealthy, but it also requires more maintenance costs too. Another variety of hot tub skimmers are spa skimmers with built-in cartridge filters. All the debris is drawn into a plastic screen. The basket removes the bigger debris and the micro filter catches the smaller particulates.

Pool Skimmer Nets: These are a low-tech and low costs solution used by many pool owners. They are used to scoop the floor of the pool, surface of the pool, pool steps, or any attached spas. They resemble a big flat fishing net where the fine mesh captures the surface debris while letting the water move easily. They are portable handheld devices whose reach can be extended by attaching them to a telescopic pole. In addition to skimming, these can be used for removing leaves from the pool covers in winters.

Cleaning Pool Skimmers

Cleaning a skimmer is one of the easiest pool maintenance tasks. Just remove the cover and pull the skimmer basket out. Discard the debris that has been collected in the basket. Afterward, put the skimmer back, replace back the skimmer cover, and you are done. In case there are some yucky things in the basket, you can clean it by spraying it with a hose and then replace it on the skimmer. One important thing that you need to keep in mind is to clean the basket of the cleaner liquid completely. If this is not done properly, you will end up with a large number of foamy bubbles in the water. This will present you with a much bigger problem than debris.


Pool skimmers are vital to keeping the water in your pool clean and looking great!

Winterisation Of A Pool

In case you are winterizing a pool, do not skip prepping the skimmer for the same otherwise there will be a big mess waiting for you in the next season. Taking care of the skimmer will help you in further taking care of the pool when it is time to finally use it again. There are different procedures involved in the winter prep for both inground and above ground pools.


Remember, pool skimmers are one of the most unassuming yet an important part of the pool. They keep the circulation of the pool going and the pool clean of any debris. Keeping the skimmers clean makes the job of keeping the pool clean easier and better. If you understand their importance and know the right way of caring for them, skimmers can help you in keeping the pool water clean and fresh for years to come.

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