How To Unblock A Pool Skimmer Line? A Complete Guide

A Pool Skimmer is one of the most important components of a pool’s circulatory system that keeps the pool water clean. A pool skimmer’s function is to remove the floating debris from the water surface and trap the debris in a storage basket before it reaches the pool pump.

Unfortunately, that debris can sometimes block the skimmer and line to the pump. This guide will explain how to unblock your pool skimmer line.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Blocked Pool Skimmer Line?

  1. If the filter pressure drops below 10psi
  2. A skimmer basket has no debris
  3. A Skimmer basket is not pulling water into itself.
  4. If you have two skimmers, one will be full of debris while the other one will have no debris.
  5. There will be a change in the noise from the pump. Higher pitch noise.
  6. There can be air bubbles going through the return jets in the pool.
  7. There can be no water going through the return jets in the pool.

If your pool has more than one skimmer, and you are suspecting there could be a blockage in one of the lines, then just remove the plastic cover that covers them and look to see if the water is flowing into the skimmer basket. Remember the pump must be running.
If you see no water flowing into the basket then that one is the blocked skimmer.

Equipment Needed To Unblock A Pool Skimmer Line

Skimmer plugs (If you have more than one skimmer)
Garden Hose and High-pressure Drain Jet
A Plumbing Snake
Drain Cleaning Bladder
Cleaning net

Unblocking A Pool Skimmer Line (Step By Step Instructions)

Step 1

For safety reasons, the pool pump motor must be switched off. Switch the pool pump timer off as well. There must be no possibility that the pump will start on its own. Put protective gloves on so you won’t get injured during the unblocking process.

Step 2

Remove all skimmer baskets and discard the debris. Even if your pool has more than one.

Step 3

Fit a skimmer plug into each skimmer line that you know is not blocked. It is very important to leave the blocked skimmer line open to allow water movement through that pipe.

Step 4

Remove the pool pump basket. Some pumps will have a cover that is held on by screws and other pumps will have a screw-on lid.
To remove the screw-on lid turn it counterclockwise.

Step 5

How To Unblock The Pool Skimmer Line using A Plumbing Snake

Push the end of the plumbing snake into the skimmer line until you feel resistance. If the end has not gone too far in it could be stuck in a bend of the skimmer pipe. keep on pushing and turning the plumber’s snake until it frees its self from the bend and goes deeper into the pipe until you hit the blockage or until you think you have reached the blockage.

Now rotate the plumbing snake against the blockage until you feel that the plumbing snake is going further down the pipe. This process might have to be repeated a couple of times to make sure that the blockage is totally broken up.

You will know it is working when you start to see small parts of debris floating in the pipe. You will know when the blockage is free when the plumber’s snake can move up and down the pipe freely with no restriction. Remove the plumbing snake. The plumbing snake can be inserted from either side of the skimmer pipe that is blocked.

How To Unblock The Pool Skimmer Line Using A Drain Cleaning Bladder

Attach the drain cleaning bladder to a garden hose that is connected to an outside water tap. Push the bladder down into the skimmer line. It should be inserted at least 6 inches down the pipe. Turn the water on slowly until it is at full pressure. After the bladder fils up it will force water pressure into the pipe and the blockage should clear.

Leave the water running for a few minutes and you should see debris and water coming out the other end of the skimmer pipe. If not then try the bladder again. Before removing the drain bladder switch the water off so that the bladder can deflate to facilitate easy removal.

Also, the drain cleaning bladder can be inserted from the opposite side of the skimmer pipe if the blockage persists or to make sure that the skimmer pipe is clear.

How To Unblock The Pool Skimmer Line Using A Garden Hose

Attach an adjustable high-pressure cleaning nozzle to a garden hose pipe. Connect the other end of the hose to an outside tap.
Switch the water on so that you can adjust the nozzle so that a solid high-pressure spray of water comes out. This is what is needed to unblock the skimmer line. Now insert the nozzle and garden hose as far as you can into the intake line of the pool pump.

Make sure the skimmer pipe plugs of the unblocked skimmers are secure. Turn on the outside tap. The water will flow back towards the pool. The water pressure should unblock and blow all the debris out into the pool. Another way is to push the garden hose by its self without the pressure nozzle into the skimmer line until you can feel it pushing against the blockage.

Then turn the water on and keep on moving the hose back and forth against the blockage vigorously until the blockage starts to break apart. You will see debris flowing back into the pool or into the pump. Switch the water off and remove the garden hose.

Step 6

Remove all the skimmer plugs that were inserted into the other skimmer pipes. Remove all debris that returned into the pool with a pool skimmer net.

Step 7

Clean and replace all the skimmer and pool pump baskets that were removed. Replace all the skimmer lids as well as the pool pump basket lid.

Step 8

Switch on your pool pump and make sure water is flowing into every skimmer. This is to make sure that there is no more blockage.
After about 5 minutes switch off the pump and clean out the pump basket. This is to make sure that whatever debris was left in the skimmer lines is now gone.