What Is A Pool Skimmer? How does A Pool Skimmer Work?

There are essentially two types of pool skimmers. One type has a net attached with a long pole which is used to manually remove leaves and debris out of a pool. The other type is built-in as part of the pool filtering system to remove debris and leaves.

They are both important and have similar functions for keeping a swimming pool clean. I will be explaining how they work, how to use them and how to care for them.

What Is A Pool Skimmer?

Pool skimmers are rectangular plastic inserts, that fit into the upper side of a pool wall. They contain a weir and a basket which has lots of small holes in it. A pool skimmer stops and traps large leaves and debris from reaching the pool pump and filter. This is the first stage of filtering in a swimming pool filtering system.

Pool Skimmer


On top of the skimmer, there is a hatch or lid where you can gain access to the basket. Within the skimmer on top of the basket, there is a detachable lid with a hole in the middle that allows you to connect a hose for manual and automatic vacuuming.


The other type of pool skimmer is the one that floats and moves around on top of the water and has the same function as the built-in pool skimmer.

How Does A Pool Skimmer Work?

A Pool Skimmer is the starting point of a swimming pool filtration and circulation system. There is a suction pipe located at the bottom of the skimmer underneath the basket. When the pool pump is on the pool water is drawn through the skimmer towards the pool pump causing a suction.

The skimmer uses a mechanical skimming action that works with the pool water level and the flow of water over the weir. Water is drawn into the skimmer which moves over the skimmer flap (weir). The skimmer flap (weir) adjusts its self automatically according to the pool water level and suction of the water. As the water moves over the weir the speed of the water increases causing a skimming action, thus pulling any debris and leaves with it.

Diagram Of How A Pool Skimmer Works

From there the water passes through the basket on its way to the pump and filter. The basket has holes in it which trap leaves and debris that are bigger than the holes of the basket.

This is the pool filtering system’s first line of defense to trap bigger debris before it enters the pump and main filter. Therefore allowing the main filter to filter only the smaller contaminants from the water. Without a pool skimmer, the main filter will get blocked very quickly.

When the pool pump is off, the skimmer flap (weir) moves vertically and closes off the skimmer inlet hole thus preventing any debris and leaves from reentering the pool.

Another helpful addition to the skimmer basket is a pool skimmer sock.

Pool Skimmer Sock

A Pool Skimmer Sock allows the skimmer basket to trap even finer debris. A pool skimmer sock comes in handy when you have a green pool full of algae. The sock traps the algae before it blocks the main filter.

When you are filtering a green algae pool, you will need to replace the skimmer sock a couple of times depending on the severity of the algae bloom.

What happens is that the skimmer filter sock has small holes and will get clogged very quickly. Therefore causing a restriction on pool pump flow which creates air in the system. There will be no movement of water, therefore, no filtration and pump damage can occur. Be present when using skimmer filter socks with a green, yellow or black algae pool. If your pool has a skimmer equalizer line built-in then you won’t have this problem

These filter socks stretch over the top of the skimmer basket. They are made from a strong flexible ultra-fine mesh material.
The filter socks are designed to trap small debris like hair, pollen, algae, oil, grass, bugs and any other debris before it reaches the pump and filter.

Giving longer service life to the pump and filter. When the socks become blocked they are designed to be washed out and reused many times over.

Do not dissolve chlorine tablets in the skimmer basket when the sock is on as they erode the sock.

Types Of Pool Skimmers

In-Ground Pool Skimmer

In-ground pool, skimmers are surface skimmers made from durable plastic (or PVC) or precast concrete. The skimmer is built with a tank and an opening on the upper side. They are placed on the upper part of the pool wall. The swimming pool water level usually fluctuates between half and the bottom of the skimmer opening. More than one skimmer can be added to a pool depending on its water capacity.

The positioning of in-ground pool skimmers in relation to the return jets is critical for pool circulation.
In-ground pool skimmers have a movable flap called a weir. The weir opens or closes according to the pool’s water level and flow of water. The weir will open when the pool pump is on.

In-Ground Pool Skimmer

The weir creates a skimming action ( increase in water speed) as a thin layer of water flows over it, pulling floating leaves and debris into the skimmer basket.

When the pool pump is off the weir closes and traps the debris in the skimmer. Debris cannot flow back into the pool.

It is good practice to remove and clean the skimmer basket of debris at least once a day. Being blocked it can put an unnecessary strain on the pool pump.

An in-ground skimmer should have an equalizer line installed. This helps to prevent air from entering the system if the water level drops too low or the skimmer basket gets blocked.

Above Ground Pool Skimmer

Above-ground pool skimmers either hang off the side of the pool frame with a bracket or they are free to float on top of the water.

Above Ground Pool Skimmer

Depending on the above ground pool brand, there might be a precut opening in the pool liner for an integrated pool skimmer to be fitted. It is now becoming popular to fit these integrated skimmers to above ground pools.

The only thing here is you would need to cut the hole in the liner correctly otherwise the whole pool liner will have to be replaced. This is either a DIY job or if you are not confident have a pool specialist to install the skimmer for you.

Automatic And Solar-Powered Pool Cleaners

The automatic and solar-powered pool cleaners are becoming increasingly popular with pool owners.
The automatic cleaner works with the return jets of the pool.

An automatic cleaner is connected with a pipe to the return jets and how it works is that as the water gets returned from the pump back to the pool it first enters into the automatic cleaner basket where the water is forced to rotate like a whirlpool. Then sucks the surrounding water and debris into the top and down into the filter bag. The debris gets trapped in the filter bag and the water returns back into the pool.

Automatic Pool Skimmer

This helps to reduce the load on the suction skimmer and weir, which in turn cuts down on the load of the main filter. Unfortunately, it only works when your pool pump is switched on.

A solar-powered pool cleaner works on solar power and internal rechargeable batteries. The batteries are charged by the sun’s energy during the day which powers the cleaner. The solar-powered cleaner can be used for in-ground and above ground swimming pools.

Solar Powered Pool Skimmer

A small electric motor drives a rear paddlewheel to move the cleaner through the water, while a front paddlewheel scoops the surface debris into a collection tray. The rechargeable batteries allow the solar-powered pool cleaner to work in overcast weather conditions, in the shade and even after sundown. The cleaner shuts down automatically when its charge reaches a certain level. The cleaner stays like this until it gets enough sunlight to power up again.

Certain solar pool cleaners have a chemical dispenser built-in to take pool chemical tablets. This disperses the chlorine or clarifier chemicals more evenly in the pool. Thus being more effective.

When To Clean A Pool Skimmer Basket

Your pool skimmer is the first line of defense within the pool filtration system. You don’t want the skimmer basket to get to full and then not cope with the debris it has inside it. Eventually, that debris will get soft and broken up into smaller pieces and sucked into the main filter.

How often you need to clean out the skimmer basket also depends on weather conditions and what type of plants and trees you have close to the pool. Neglecting skimmer basket cleaning will give you more work in the long run.

The big question is how often should you clean out the skimmer basket. My answer is once a day. If you have two skimmers clean both out daily. When you clean the basket out you will be able to keep track of what debris is in your pool.

When the skimmer basket gets cleaned daily there is less chance of debris getting to the pump and main filter as well as extending the life of the pool pump as it won’t have to work so hard when the skimmer basket is full and restricting pump flow.

How To Clean A Pool Skimmer

  1. Firstly turn the pool pump off.
  2. Then remove the cover of the skimmer to gain access to the skimmer basket.
  3. Either your skimmer will have a turn-lock so remember to turn the basket counter-clockwise before removing. Or the basket just pulls straight up.
  4. Empty the skimmer basket and it is advisable to spray all the small debris that sticks in the holes out with a garden hose.
  5. Replace the basket back into the skimmer and turn the basket clockwise if you have the turn-lock type.
  6. Replace the skimmer lid and turn the pool pump on.

How To Clean A Pool Pump Basket

Firstly turn off the pool pump.

  1. If your pool pump is below the pool water level. Turn the multivalve position to CLOSED.
  2. Block the return jets with a plug.
  3. Remove the skimmer basket and block the hole with a plug.
  4. Now no water can gravity feed from the pool to the pump.
  5. If your pool pump is above the water level then skip step 2.
  6. Remove the pool pump lid turning it counter-clockwise.
  7. Take out the basket and clean it thoroughly with a garden hose.
  8. Inspect the basket for cracks and holes as they are plastic and become brittle over time. (Replace Basket If Necessary.)
  9. Inspect the pump lid o-ring for cracks or tears. (Replace If Necessary)
  10. Replace the basket into the pump. You may add petroleum jelly to the o-ring to ensure a good seal.
  11. Refit the pump lid turning it clockwise. Do not overtighten. Only hand tight.
  12. Remove the skimmer basket plug and replace the skimmer basket.
  13. Remove the return jet plugs.
  14. Turn the multivalve position back to FILTER.
  15. Open the AIR RELIEF valve on the main filter if you have on.
  16. Turn the pool pump back on.
  17. When only water is coming out of the air relief valve, then close it.
  18. The pool pump should now be primed and circulating the water throughout the system with now air.

Why Should You Keep Your Pool Skimmers Clean?

A pool skimmer is extremely important for the filtration of any swimming pool. It is the first stage of the filtration process in the pool system. Keeping your skimmers clean is half the battle won when you want a sparkling pool.

Remember cleaning out the skimmer baskets daily will keep them free of excess debris and the pool pump will be able to circulate the correct amount of water all the time resulting in a cleaner healthier pool.

There will be less strain on the pool pump, less debris moving through the main filter and less time will be spent adding unnecessary chemicals to your pool. Resulting in a cleaner pool.

The 3 Best Aqua Walkers For Rehabilitation

A Pool Walker is the solution for people who need to exercise after an illness or operation. A pool walker helps with independent mobility within the water. It’s excellent for rehabilitation, aquatic therapy, and enjoying the benefits of a swimming pool.

The Benefits Of Pool Walkers

Pool Walkers improve balance and lessen the weight on the hips, legs, and feet mainly due to the buoyancy of water. Walkers provide a base to support the person’s lateral and vertical support while exercising.

The person’s body weight is distributed evenly within the body because of the walker and buoyancy of the water. The viscosity and pressure of the water also provide postural support for people with balance problems. It gives them the confidence to walk and less fear of falling in a pool.

When a person uses a pool walker they have increased motivation to walk on land and it speeds up the healing time.

Studies have shown that aquatic therapy provides motor and sensory stimulation that improves the static and dynamic balance of the body.

Water exercises with a walker improve the walking ability in people more than treadmill-walking. The fear of falling in elderly people limits their movement. Therefore a pool walker helps with exercise and mobility to enhance balance for the elderly.

Who Needs To Use Pool Walkers

The elderly with balance problems.

The elderly with mobility issues.

The elderly who want to exercise in water.

Any person that needs rehabilitation for walking.

Any person that has suffered a stroke and needs rehabilitation for walking.

Any person that has had back surgery and needs rehabilitation for walking.

Any person that has had hip surgery and needs rehabilitation for walking.

Any person that has had knee surgery and needs rehabilitation for walking.

Any person that has had foot surgery and needs rehabilitation for walking.

Any person that has the fear of falling when walking.

Any person who uses crutches.

Any person who uses a cane.

THE AQUA WALKER

The Aqua Walker is a mobility device used in swimming pools to provide independent free walking. This walker is made from durable PVC tubing. It has stainless steel swivel casters that have solid rubber wheels to provide exceptional maneuverability. The Aqua walker is made with non-corrosive materials for long life and low maintenance. The height of this Aqua Pool Walker is adjustable with locking pins to ensure once the height is set, it’s locked into place. The walker comes with removable armrest cradles, which provide extra support and come in two different sizes. The cradles can be removed and fitted without the use of any tools.

Aqua Walker Features And Benefits

  • Adjustable height.
  • Removable armrest cradles.
  • Armrest cradles provide extra support and come in two different sizes.
  • Cradles can be attached and removed without the use of tools.
  • Tool-free conversion from standard walker to armrest walker.
  • Durable PVC construction.

Aqua Walker Specifications

  • Width: 22 Inch.
  • Height: Adjustable 37.25 to 45 Inch (81 – 114cm).
  • Seat Height: 32 Inch.
  • Depth: 20 Inch.
  • Weight: 26 Pounds.
  • Frame: PVC.
  • Armrests: 3.5″ & 4.5″ removable PVC armrest cradles.
  • Swivel Casters: 3 Inch Solid Rubber, 2 non-locking, 2 lockings.
  • Lock Pins: 18-8 Stainless Steel, 5/16 x 2.25 Inch Round Loop.
  • Application: Pool Walker.
  • Warranty: 2 years on the frame, 6 months on all other components.

AQUA FLOAT WATER WALKER

The Aqua Float Water Walker is designed for people with good to normal head and body control that could use some assistance when walking or moving through a pool. The aqua float walker has four buoyant foam supports and easy-to-grip handrails. The Aqua Float provides support on all four sides. The Aqua Float Water Walker comes in two sizes. Adult and Children.

ADULT SIZE AQUA FLOAT WATER WALKER

  • 58″ L x 31″ W with a 24″ L x 24″ W Center Space
  • 4 Polyethylene Foam (Support Floats)
  • Fast Drying Mesh Material
  • Rustproof
  • Lightweight and Durable
  • Oversized Handrails for Better Balance
  • Weight Capacity: Up to 250 lbs.

CHILD SIZE AQUA FLOAT WATER WALKER

  • 52″ L x 25″ W with a 18″ L x 18″ W Center Space
  • 4 Polyethylene Foam (Support Floats)
  • Fast Drying Mesh Material
  • Rustproof
  • Lightweight and Durable
  • Oversized Handrails for Better Balance
  • Weight Capacity: Up to 100 lbs.

WATER WALKING ASSISTANT

The Water Walking Assistant improves balance and gait. It also increases leg strength and the confidence to walk in the water without the fear of falling. The Water Walking Assistant is a necessity for people who have balance problems or are recovering from surgery. High-quality PVC and oversized foam and padded handles provide comfort, buoyancy, and stability.

The water walking assistant is manufactured in various sizes to suit all body types. The inside size changes while the outer shape remains the same. The water walking assistant is also made for children.

The water walking assistant inside sizes are:

XSmall 11″ x 17″
Small 11″ x 22″
Medium 13″ x 24″
Large 15″ x 24″

22 Pool Safety Rules For Kids

Are safety rules important when using a swimming pool? The answer is most definitely yes.
I can clearly remember when I was 4yrs old (I am now 52) we were visiting my uncle Dudley. They had a pool. My father’s instructions to me were “DO NOT PLAY NEAR THE POOL“. Did I listen NO?

I got hold of a cardboard box a long piece of string and made a car. Guess what! I remember running around the pool pulling my so-called car behind me looking back at it every now and again.

I have forgotten to mention that I did not know how to swim nor understand the dangers of water yet. I think I had run around that pool maybe 3 times, each time getting brave and running close to the edge.

I looked back at my cardboard car and the next moment I was underneath the water. That was frightening for me as I am still today very wary of deep water and the sea. I obviously tried to breathe and took in water. I don’t remember how long I was under the water, but the next thing I was Yanked out. I was still conscious.

While gasping for breath, my father gave me a hiding. He shoved me in the car wet and all and took me home.
I was lucky that somebody heard me, or saw me fall into the pool. Or I might not have been here to tell the story.


The problem with my near-drowning is that it affected my association with swimming pools and water for a very long time.
I went through hell even trying to learn how to swim, putting my head underwater and general confidence in the water.

Besides me not listening to my father, there were no fences, gates, alarms, pool covers, or any safety devices at all by that swimming pool. I do understand why safety is paramount in a pool area.

22 Safety Rules When Using A Pool

  • Supervise children at all times.
  • Children must never be allowed to swim alone.
  • Teach children how to swim and float as soon as you can.
  • Always remove the entire pool net or cover before anyone wants to swim.
  • Nobody must consume nor be under the influence of alcohol while swimming and overseeing children.
  • Your pool area must be fenced and the gate locked. Also, install a gate alarm.
  • Close and lock all doors in the house which lead to the pool area.
  • You must teach swimming pool and water safety to children before they swim.
  • Do not swim during electrical storms.
  • Do not allow glass bottles or sharp objects around the pool area.
  • Always remember that common sense, awareness, and caution is the best prevention of pool accidents.
  • There should always be two adults that can swim nearby. Just in case you might need help.
  • Remember the pool is only safe when EVERYONE follows the rules. Please as an Adult set the example.
  • Make sure the children are only diving in the deep end. No DIVING in the shallow end of the pool.
  • No running around the edge of the pool. The child could slip or trip and hurt themselves and others.
  • No Child should swim alone.
  • Never push anyone into a pool.
  • Children should not play rough nor recklessly.
  • When using water slides, always go feet first.
  • Before using water slides and diving make sure other swimmers are not in the way.
  • Never swim after taking medication.
  • Teach children what to do in the case of an emergency.

How To Stay Safe When Swimming In A Pool

Always wear sunscreen. Without it, you could end up with a painful sunburn.
Apply sunscreen with an SPF of a least 15 and provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours even in cloudy weather. If you feel your shoulders and back getting warm or starting to burn, rather put a Tshirt on.

It is also advisable to wear sunglasses and a hat when not swimming.
Sitting under a Brolley or seeking shade from trees is another good way to keep your self out of the sun.

Too much sun can cause severe sunburn and blisters on a person’s shoulders and back. A person can suffer from heatstroke, dehydration, and fatigue.

Other serious health problems can be skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression.

Drink lots of water and fluids to keep yourself hydrated when in the sun.
If you are a beginner swimmer or scared of water then swim in the shallow end.

How To Make Your Pool Area Safer For Children.

Enclose the pool completely. Its recommend that a fence of at least four feet tall, with slats close enough together that kids can’t squeeze between them. Make sure there are no handhold or foothold points that children can use to climb over.

Nonslip materials should be used for the pool deck, ladders, and diving boards
Secure the gate with a lock. The best gates are self-closing and self-latching. Position the latches high and well out of the reach of children.

Install an audible gate alarm that will alert you inside the house if the gate is opened.

Fit an in the water pool alarm too — one that will alert you if anyone jumps or falls in the swimming pool.
In your house, secure doors and windows leading to the pool, so kids don’t have access from inside the house.

Have a pool net or pool cover installed over your pool. These are child and pet safety necessities.
Keep rescue and flotation devices and first aid supplies near the pool.
Keep electrical appliances away from the pool area because of the hazard of electrical shock.

Will Chlorine Kill Algae In a Pool?

Will Chlorine Kill Algae In A Swimming Pool?

Normally Yes. Chlorine kills algae and bacteria by a chemical action called oxidation.

Why Is Chlorine Used In Swimming Pools?

Chlorine is used in swimming pools to act as a disinfectant and to stop the growth of algae.
Without chlorine, most pools would be green within a few days.
It takes chlorine to kill algae. An algaecide is usually used in conjunction with a chlorine shock to kill algae.

Chlorine helps pools by killing off the algae microorganisms. It also helps in keeping down the growth of algae.

Warm pool water with a temperature over 80° F and chlorine levels below 1 ppm contribute to algae growth. If there is a high concentration of phosphates in a swimming pool, you can get algae growth even if the chlorine level is higher than 1 ppm. The pool temperature can be checked by a floating solar-powered pool temp thermometer.

What Causes Algae In A Swimming Pool?

The lack of proper swimming pool water filtration and when chlorine levels have been allowed to drop too low. Or when the chlorine is not acting effectively because the water is out of balance, or the pool water has high levels of stabilizer (cyanuric acid). Hot and humid sun conditions as well as if the pool has been used a lot for swimming.

Algae are spores that are blown into the pool or carried into the water in other ways, They then multiply into blooms when the conditions are ideal for them.

Algae are spores that are blown into the pool or carried into the water in other ways, They then multiply into blooms when the conditions are ideal for them.

These tiny microscopic plants feed on nutrients in swimming pool water.