Identifying Common Pool Skimmer Problems

Your pool's filtration system relies on a few key components working together at all times. When one of these components fails to accomplish a certain task, you may start to notice a decline in the water quality in your swimming pool. Before water can be filtered, the pool pump must move it out of the pool and through the pool's filtration system. Pool water begins its journey to the filter and pool heater by running through a skimmer intake. Your pool may have multiple skimmers, but each one accomplishes essentially the same task at all times while the pump is running. Water is sucked into the skimmer, where large floating debris like leaves and twigs are filtered by the skimmer basket. Once the water enters the skimmer, it is transferred through pipes to your filter. If anything happens to impede the water passage or prevent the skimmer from taking on water in the first place, it can lead to bigger problems with your pool's filtration and circulation.

If you do find that your skimmer is clear of debris, and still isn't able to properly circulate water to the filter, there are a few things you can check that may be the cause.

Consult Filter Pressure Gauge
Every pool filter features a pressure gauge of some kind, usually located at the top of the filter attached to the control mechanism. This pressure gauge is a good indicator of the status of your pool's filtration system. Typically, an ideal pressure reading will land at around 20psi, meaning there is an adequate amount of water being moved through the system by your pool pump. If this pressure rises, it is likely caused by a disruption of the constant water flow from the skimmer to the pump and filter, meaning there is a blockage in the pipe or skimmer itself. If the pressure lowers significantly, it means the water itself is not reaching the pump at an adequate rate, which is likely due to a leak in the pool plumbing which will need to be immediately fixed. If you have access to the plumbing connections of your pool skimmer intake, turn off your pump and take a look to see if there is any leaking water coming from the pipe or connection to the skimmer.

Insufficient Water Level
A skimmer intake requires the pool water to remain at a certain height at all times to function properly. Typically, water should rise to cover about 2/3rds of the skimmer opening. This will ensure water is drawn in at an adequate rate to keep up with the pump. It will also prevent any air from being sucked in by the skimmer intake, which can lead to air pockets in your pool pump and plumbing, which have the potential to damage your pipes or the pump itself. If the water level drops below one half of the skimmer opening, it is important to raise the water level immediately. If you notice your pool water level is dropping frequently, you might want to contact a professional to inspect and repair any leaks in your pool plumbing.


Since the filtration cycle of your pool water starts with the skimmer intake, it is important to ensure this component of your pool equipment is well maintained at all times. You should always regularly clear out your skimmer basket, and be on the lookout for any drops or rises in water pressure as well as low water levels around your skimmer intake opening. For more information about pool plumbing repairs and skimmer repairs, feel free to contact Doug at Pool Problems? today!

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