How to Choose a Proper Pool Skimmer


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Making the correct selection of a pool skimmer can help make life easier when maintaining your pool. A skimmer is meant to preserve a clean pool surface; ridding it of floating leaves, twigs and bugs.

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Step by Step


Step 1

The first step is knowing what type of pool you are dealing with. Answer this question. Is your pool above ground or in-ground?

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Step 2

If you answered yes to above ground pool then we must determine the scenario for this skimmer installation. Is this a new installation or a replacement? If you are replacing a skimmer, attempt to use the exact model that came with your pool. If that skimmer is no long available we suggest replacing it with a skimmer with a larger mouth. You will need to cut the wall of the skimmer for it to fit properly. But if done right it will secure the installation. Using a skimmer smaller than the original skimmer is not an option as there will be no way to secure it safely into the wall section.

Step 3

If you are planning an installation of a new skimmer check the dimensions of the product and the skimmer wall panel. Most above ground pools these days are going with a widemouth skimmer like the SP1091WM which comes with a lot of good accessories like the return and roses.

Step 4

If you answered yes to the in ground skimmer part of step one then there are a few more steps to follow to ensure the proper selection.

Step 5

There are three major types of in ground pools; they are Vinyl, Fiberglas, and Gunite. The key difference between vinyl/fiberglass and gunite is the face of the skimmer. A skimmer made for vinyl/fiberglass pools you will notice that the face of the skimmer has gaskets that are meant to act as a seal between the face plate and the liner or shell of the pool. These gaskets are made of rubber or cork. A gunite skimmer does not require this gasket. The vinyl/fiberglass pool skimmer also contains a faceplate that must be screwed into place as to ensure a proper seal of the liner and gasket.

Step 6

Once the type of pool is settled we must determine your pipe size. The standard for pool piping is either 1.5" or 2" PVC. We do not want to mix and match pipe size to ensure a proper flow through your system. When the pipe size is determined be sure to use a skimmer with a corresponding pipe size.

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Step 7

Depending on the state in which you reside you may be required to use a dual port skimmer. The requirement for this type of skimmer is a part of the Virginia Graeme-Baker Act. The dual pipe reduces the pull of the drain ports which lessens the chance of someone being injured by being strong suction from either the drains or skimmer. If no requirement is necessary then you can use the single pipe. But if you have small children we would suggest looking into the dual pipe.

Step 8

How many skimmers will be installed? The advantage of using multiple skimmers is belter coverage over the surface of your pool. This helps eliminate a blind spot where debris may settle in one corner because the skimmer is out of reach. 

Step 9

Some skimmers provide an option of customizing a color whether it is Black, Gray or Tan. Most skimmers are based in the color white but if your pool has an earth tone then these shades made be a better stylistic fit.

Step 10

Now we must determine the throat length needed for your application. The throat is the length of the opening from the front face of the skimmer to the body of the skimmer that houses the basket. Most skimmers have a standard length throat but a few have options for an extended throat. An extended throat is for pools that require the skimmer be set further back from the edge of the pool than a standard installation. This is sometimes due to the design of the pool; for example ones with brick block.

Step 11

If you are attempting to replace a skimmer and want to keep it simple use the same skimmer model if possible.

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Step 12

There are also some helpful accessories you can add to your skimmer system to improve its performance.

Step 13

The Scumsock is a fine fabric cover for your skimmer basket meant to catch debris not normally trapped in the basket. The Scumsock is great for families with dogs that like to swim. The product is able to trap animal fur so it does not clog your system's pump basket or filter.

Step 14

If you are worried about those pesky twigs and leaves that always manage to slip by your skimmer without being gobbled up, try Skim-Eeze. This skimmer extension net gives your skimmer a longer reach and keeps your pool looking clutter-free.

Step 15

Try our Flo Pro Skimmer Baskets if your pool is in an area with heavy foliage. The basket features an extended arm handle which not only makes it easier to access but also acts a flow relief when your basket is full. The handle is perforated like your basket allowing water to flow freely through it.

Step 16

Our last last useful add-on for a new skimmer installation is a Float Valve and Equalizer Kit (Part Number: SP1070EFVKIT). It is recommended for commercial pools but also a great accessory on residential installations. The Float Valve is a great safeguard for your pool pump. If your pool water level was to drop below an acceptable level this valve would prevent the skimmer from drawing air. If your pump runs dry of water for a prolonged time it will damage the pump.

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(1 to 8 of 8)

 Posted: 8/14/2018 

Hello Danny - feel free to browse our pool skimmer section.

 Posted: 8/8/2018 

How much is a new skimmer cost for in ground pool

 Posted: 11/25/2017 

dorsey - If your galvanized panel pool is a version of an above ground metal wall pool with a vinyl liner, the answer is yes. See our guide on How to Install a Skimmer.

 Posted: 11/19/2017 

By vinyl do you mean galvanized panel pool with a vinyl liner? Is it possible to replace a skimmer in this type of pool?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 1/31/2017 

Anonymous - Unfortunately, we do not have information on installing a skimmer in an in-ground pool. You might contact a pool builder and ask him.

Anonymous  Posted: 1/29/2017 

when installing new skimmer in existing concrete pool how much bigger than skimmer should you cut concrete opening ?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/7/2016 

edweebo - The pump does not shut off. It gets water from a source other than the skimmer. If the pool water level falls below the skimmer opening, the float will automatically snap shut and the equalizer valve to an equalizer line will open. This assumes that you installed a separate equalizer line below the pool surface when you built the pool. See the bottom of page four in this Hayward Automatic Surface Skimmer Owner's Manual.

 Posted: 3/6/2016 

I am wondering what happens after the valve closes on step 16. Does the pump cut itself off or what?