For anyone who either has a pool or wants to install one, the question often comes up of how does a pool skimmer work? The basic function of a skimmer is to remove any debris such as leaves from the surface of the pool and remove them. The pool skimmer functions similar to a drain and collects the debris in a secure basket that can then be emptied as needed.

How Does a Pool Skimmer Work
How Does a Pool Skimmer Work

How Does a Pool Skimmer Work?

As mentioned above, the basic function of a skimmer is to remove any debris such as leaves from the surface of the pool and remove them. Read on to learn more about how this sort of pool technology works and some pool cleaning hacks to try. 

In Ground Versus Above Ground

Inground pool skimmers are usually rectangular shaped and are placed around the edges of the pool at the top of the water. The level of the water will cover about the bottom half of the skimmer. This type of skimmer is usually white plastic and some have a small door that will open and close depending on water levels and movement. When the pump is turned off for the skimmer, the door closes to prevent any collected debris from floating back into the pool.

Above-ground skimmers are mounted on the side of the pool or may be floating pieces that attach to the pool vacuum and can float around the pool to collect debris.

Circulation and Filtration

These are the two primary functions of a pool skimmer. It acts as the primary area of circulation in addition to serving as a gateway to the filtration system for the pool. The pump in the pool starts the process by sucking water into the skimmers where it passes through the baskets. As it does this, the basket filters out any large debris that would cause a blockage if it was able to pass through to the pool pump or filter. The skimmer also allows the filter to do its function of pulling smaller contaminants from the water. Hence why it’s a great way to clean your pool after the winter over time.

In addition to collecting leaves, twigs, and other debris from the pool water, the skimmer also helps to keep the pump and the filter in good condition by ensuring that the water which passes through the area is clear of things that could damage the equipment.

Make sure to clean the pool skimmer at least once a week. If there have been storms that result in more leaves and debris in the pool though, it may be a good idea to clean it more often. Check the skimmer basket to monitor for when it needs to be cleaned out.

Pro Tip: If you’re building a pool, make sure you use low debris plants to make your pool cleaning a little lighter. This will save on the pool skimming equipment over the life of the pool.

Skimmers and Vacuums

Although the pool skimmer is a great tool on its own, it likely won’t replace the need to vacuum the pool manually at times. When this happens, you can use the vacuum in addition to the pool skimmer to ensure that the water stays clean. Once the vacuum has been assembled, insert the hose into the skimmer’s suction hole. This will allow even more water to pass through the filter system in the pool which will result in cleaner water. You might also need to use a manual skimmer or a bag skimmer to get larger debris off the bottom of the pool. Otherwise you could find yourself in need of draining your pool to remove stains from organic matter breaking down. There are also different types of vacuums and cleaners for different types of pools, so you can keep that in mind as well. 

Bottom Line

If you’re one of the many pool owners who has wondered, how does a pool skimmer work? You’re certainly not alone. This essential part of a pool works to circulate and filter out larger contaminants in the water. When working as directed, the skimmer keeps water clean and fresh. If you need your pool additionally cleaned, it might be a good idea to reach out to professionals for help as well.