Just dug up and repoured the deck around my inground pool (concrete bottom with fiberglass wall panels, 21K gal). In the process of digging up the old concrete deck, they knocked my skimmer loose, so I am replacing it now.
The pool is probably around 40 years old, everything underground was plumbed in black poly pipe. Any inground pool skimmer I have been able to find is too big to install without interfering with one of the return lines. A local contractor has suggested cutting the return line in order to re-route it out of the way, but I am hesitant as I do not trust any method of connecting to black poly long term. My idea was to use a front access spa skimmer (SP1099S). The mouth opening looks like the same size as my old skimmer, and the extremely short throat length should enable it to fit into the old hole without interfering with the return line.
Is this a better option than cutting the return line? I am assuming the flow rate would be the same (max system rate of ~40 GPM, based on one 1.5 in. intake). Is there any reason I need the hole in the deck for access through the top, or should front access only be fine? Am I overstating the risk of trying to connect to black poly pipe on the pressure side?