Pool skimmers are the first line of defense against a dirty pool. Their primary function is to collect debris floating along the top of the water before it saturates and sinks to the bottom.
The skimmer(s) are plumbed into the filter pump and are considered a suction port. It is this suction that enables the skimmer to pull debris into itself where it is collected in a skimmer basket. The season and number of trees around the pool determine how often the skimmer baskets should be emptied. It is a good idea to get into the habit of empting a minimum of once a week. When the trees bloom in spring or begin to dropout in fall it will be necessary to empty daily.
It is remarkable how effective pool skimmers are in maintaining the pool clear of debris when the baskets are emptied as often as necessary. On the other hand, if the skimmers are allowed to fill up with debris and not emptied the pool will quickly fill up with debris from the persistent trees.
When a skimmer basket fills up you also run the risk of breaking the basket which will in turn allow debris to get to the pump basket. If enough debris is allowed to enter the pump basket, you run the risk of losing the circulation for the pool and burning up your pump seal at best, melting your plumbing and burning up your motor at worst.
Replace a skimmer basket as soon as a handle breaks or you notice any stress fractures or tears. In doing so you would also be preventing a clogged skimmer line, which often requires a CO2 blast to clear. You would be saving yourself a lot of expense for the minimal price of the basket.
Skimmers in the Austin Metro area are susceptible to ground movement. When the soils shrink because of the lengthy droughts typical of the area, and swell after a rain event, skimmers and pool decking can shift just enough to cause a separation between the skimmer mouth and pool shell. A crack the width of a human hair is enough to lose a lot of water from a pool.
Skimmers are tied to the pool shell and if not separated from the pool decking, a shift in the deck can cause a skimmer to break. The plastics skimmers are made of are very durable, but rigid. When enough pressure is applied to the skimmer by a shifting deck, the skimmer always loses.
Replacing a skimmer can be expensive. A quick and temporary repair to a broken skimmer is using two-part pool putty. You simply mix two equal parts of putty and hardener, until you have a uniform color. Then, using your hand, roll and press the putty into the crack. Make sure to apply sufficient pressure as the goal isn’t to cover the crack, but instead to fill the crack. This type of pool skimmer repair is easy, cost effective and can last a good while.