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Thread: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

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    skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    I always worry about my skimmer baskets filling up and restricting flow if I leave the pool unattended for periods of time. Especially in the spring when there are lots of things falling into the pool. I have 2 skimmers and a bottom drain. If both skimmers fill up and have restricted flow, should I be concerned that the bottom drain would not provide enough flow to the pump? Is there anything I can do to prevent this? I also worry about the pump basket getting too much junk in it, which would be worse. Would skimmer socks help with that? I have a couple of vacations planned this year, one is only 4 days but the other is 10 days. I need to come up with a plan to keep the flow moving while I'm away. My last resort was to put the cover on the pool while I'm gone, but I'd rather not.

    Any other ideas out there?
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Skimmer socks help with the tiny stuff, but the poolside skimmer will still fill-up, perhaps even faster. If you don't have anyone to watch the pool, the good thing is you have a main drain. That should pull enough water for your pump as long as junk doesn't cover its opening too. You could always try it now below you leave. Flip your valves closed on the skimmers and see how your pump retains flow. Lastly, you might consider trying something to give a little protection further away from the skimmer(s). Below is a pic of something I made. No so much for leaves and surface debris. My DIY was to keep people from blocking my suction source. But you get the idea. I think I saw something on-line as well designed for skimmer protection from leaves.


    - - - Updated - - -

    HERE was another DIY I found.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Thanks Texas! I really like the skimmer protection idea.....I think I'll make it but with a finer netting. It's the oak strings that clog up my skimmer basket in the spring and they can get by a course netting.

    Great idea!
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Actually......along the same line of thinking...........why not just wrap a fiberglass mesh screen around the skimmer faceplate? Then when I snap the faceplate back on it will hold the mesh in place. I would think as long as I keep the water level high enough, even if leaves collect in front, the water should be always able to enter below the collection of leaves. Does this make sense or am I missing something?
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Quote Originally Posted by run53 View Post
    Actually......along the same line of thinking...........why not just wrap a fiberglass mesh screen around the skimmer faceplate? Then when I snap the faceplate back on it will hold the mesh in place. I would think as long as I keep the water level high enough, even if leaves collect in front, the water should be always able to enter below the collection of leaves. Does this make sense or am I missing something?
    I'll reply to my own seemingly bad idea after thinking about it.....I am thinking that suction would be to great with the netting that close to the skimmer (flush) and leaves might collect against the mesh even below the water level while the pump is on.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    I'll reply to my own seemingly bad idea after thinking about it.....I am thinking that suction would be to great with the netting that close to the skimmer (flush) and leaves might collect against the mesh even below the water level while the pump is on.
    I would tend to agree. Probably better to keep the debris further away form the opening so water can still pass through.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    I made a cover similar to the one above just doesnt stick out as far, I have had leaved sucked in around the sides but since the bottom side stays clear the skimmers are able to pull in enough water.
    18x36 Vinyl, sports depth, 8' Roman steps at each end. Hayward 1.5hp 2speed pump, catridge filter, 2 skimmers, no main drain, 3 SR Smith Treo LED lights

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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Well, I will definitely be making 2 covers (I have 2 skimmers) for when I go away, however I don't think I'll be able to make them in time for my next trip. I think I will just have to put the loop-lock cover on so as not to take any chances. Any potential issues with that...other than it's a PITA.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    We have lots of trees and our skimmers fill up with leaves to the lid. We also have a bottom drain with a 3way valve that splits water flow between the drain and the skimmers. I keep the valve set at about 25% drain and 75% skimmer. With a variable speed pump set to run at 1100 rpm the suction isn't that great and it runs 24x7 during spring and fall for maximum skimming time. The bottom drain provides plenty of flow when needed when the skimmers fill up with leaves and tree stuff. I've never had any issues with the pump losing prime.

    You might want to experiment with the mix between drain and skimmer to see what works best.
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    That seems like a good idea....however I don't believe I have any control over the water flow ratios between the main drain and the deep end skimmer. See picture below.......

    The main drain (has the red valve on it) and deep end skimmer come in to the Jandy valve together on the left in the picture, so I have no way to control the ratio of flow. The shallow end skimmer comes into the other side of the Jandy.

    The only experiment I can think of is putting gizzmos in my skimmers and see if the main drain can suck enough water to keep the pump primed. If that's the case, then I wouldn't need to worry about blocked skimmers.

    2012-09-21 22.45.25.jpg
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Oh, right, you can't control the flow. Your experiment sounds valid. Those red/black handled ball valves always break after a few years. My two skimmers are plumbed together so I have skimmers on one side of the valve and drain on the other.

    Someday when you run out of things to do you can do a little re-plumbing.
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post

    Someday when you run out of things to do you can do a little re-plumbing.
    Yes, I totally agree. I had no idea 10 years ago about how to plumb a pool, so I just let the pool builder do what they wanted. As you may be able to see from the picture, the red valve handles are broken off, but i can still operate it with a lock wrench
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    So, I've been running some experiments and found that the main drain appears to pull enough water to keep the pump primed, even when I plugged the 2 skimmers. I guess that is good news.

    Then we got a few inches of rain and the water level was over the top of both skimmers. I also found that very little debris gets sucked into the skimmers when the water level is that high. Stuff just seems to go right by. So as a safety backup, I'm thinking of keeping the water level right there while I am gone. One positive is that not only will it keep the skimmer baskets clear, but it also help to keep the pump basket pretty clear. I do have a poolskim attached to one of my returns that traps a good majority of the debris.

    Anyone see any potential issues with keeping the water level that high while I'm gone (only a few days)?
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    No issues, that will be fine.
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Thanks for the ideas! I was faced with the same situation where I only have one skimmer and no main drain, so it's either stop leaves from entering the skimmer or turn the pool off and chance it going green without use of the SWG when going on vacation. Here is my adaptation that took about 10 minutes to make and $15 in PVC. I decided to use the screw-together coupler so that it can be assembled in place and won't move afterwards. There is only about 1/2 inch clearance/wiggle room to the top of the skimmer, so even if it floats up a bit it will get sucked back down when the pump turns on. I found that my hose adapter that connects to the bottom of the skimmer isn't a perfect fit, so that works well. The other end is a shower drain... perhaps overkill but I didn't want a frog to swim in or anything like that.


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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: skimmer baskets fill up when I go on vacation

    Awesome idea CGDaveMac! Welcome to TFP by the way.

    Thanks for the ideas! I was faced with the same situation where I only have one skimmer and no main drain, so it's either stop leaves from entering the skimmer or turn the pool off and chance it going green without use of the SWG when going on vacation. Here is my adaptation that took about 10 minutes to make and $15 in PVC. I decided to use the screw-together coupler so that it can be assembled in place and won't move afterwards. There is only about 1/2 inch clearance/wiggle room to the top of the skimmer, so even if it floats up a bit it will get sucked back down when the pump turns on. I found that my hose adapter that connects to the bottom of the skimmer isn't a perfect fit, so that works well. The other end is a shower drain... perhaps overkill but I didn't want a frog to swim in or anything like that.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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