Abnormal Skimmer - is this dangerous? How to hook up hose?

Draddy

Member
Apr 11, 2019
23
Boca raton
Hello! A house I just purchased has a small 10,000 gallon pool. It is old, but appears to have been well maintained.

There’s one piece that is odd to me, that I’ve never seen before:

There is not a traditional slot skimmer, with access from the pool deck. The skimmer is located inside the pool, on a pvc line, with a floating element at water level. Have you ever seen one like this? I’ve verified that this is a suction line, not an exhaust vortex skimmer.

(The attached picture is of the base with the floating cover removed to better show the contraption)


Is this dangerous? There’s a lot of suction right there that I’m scared of hairs or fingers getting into.


Usually I’ve attached a vacuum hose through a skimmer basket, but this one seems to have a little tiny 1 inch hole. Any idea where i would attach the pool hose? The house came with a hose and vacuum, so it seems possible. I’m just not sure how.

Thanks for the help!
 

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cfherrman

TFP Guide
May 10, 2017
2,328
Hays, Kansas
Reminds me of the intex skimmer style. It might be a retro fit style that you can screw into a suction port so you don't have to tear into a pool to add a skimmer.

See if the whole thing will screw out the wall, don't break anything.
 
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kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
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Tallahassee, FL
??? Well I never!! I am also going throw @Pool Clown into the mix. The more eyes the better for this one!

Do you have kids? If so we might need to come up with something to make sure they cannot get any where near that!

Kim:kim:
 
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Draddy

Member
Apr 11, 2019
23
Boca raton
Thanks all for viewing and helping find solutions!

No kids, but young nieces and nephews I want to protect. Definitely seems like an odd design
 

PoolGate

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TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,670
Damascus, MD
That seems very dangerous. You should not have any open suction ports like that in the pool. Are there any other drains or skimmers in the pool to where you could simply cap that off? Does that have a valve that shuts it off at the equipment pad? Perhaps it is a vacuum port but if so it should have a valve somewhere to turn it on/off as needed.
 

jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,166
Morris Cnty NJ
Super dangerous. If you could, take some pics and list what you have for suction and returns in the pool. Looks to be a concrete pool I'm on a phone hard to tell. The other thing that jumps out at me is all the fittings at the equipment are dwv PVC fittings not schedule 40 pool fittings. When I see that I know harry the homeowner was plumbing and playing with this pool before you so I think a checkout of everything electrical included would be wise. You would be amazed at what people do to fix things they think are no big deal but could kill someone
 
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Draddy

Member
Apr 11, 2019
23
Boca raton
That seems very dangerous. You should not have any open suction ports like that in the pool. Are there any other drains or skimmers in the pool to where you could simply cap that off? Does that have a valve that shuts it off at the equipment pad? Perhaps it is a vacuum port but if so it should have a valve somewhere to turn it on/off as needed.
Thanks for the help! This is the only skimmer, and there is a drain at the bottom of the deep end.

Based on what I can see going into the pump, there are only 2 suction lines, both have an old twist valve contraption (see picture).

8266247C-46C5-41F5-90BE-604E549B97BF.jpeg
 

PoolGate

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TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,670
Damascus, MD
That is really Mickey Mouse! I agree a previous homeowner did not have a clue what they were doing. Did you get a home inspection?

That is not a skimmer so you actually have no skimmer. Where is the actual intake hole? On the bottom or on the side? Seeing that the pool is covered probably ok not to have a skimmer. I wonder if you could have that port recovered with a safety drain shield? Is your actual drain a safety drain?
 

Draddy

Member
Apr 11, 2019
23
Boca raton
That is really Mickey Mouse! I agree a previous homeowner did not have a clue what they were doing. Did you get a home inspection?

That is not a skimmer so you actually have no skimmer. Where is the actual intake hole? On the bottom or on the side? Seeing that the pool is covered probably ok not to have a skimmer. I wonder if you could have that port recovered with a safety drain shield? Is your actual drain a safety drain?
We did have an inspection. I considered paying a pool company to come out as well, but it was 300 bucks and we were going to buy the house anyways. The actual drain is a safety drain, we verified that.

I asked the inspector about it, they said they’ve seen it before and it looked to be working fine. But I can tell they really were just looking for cracks in the pool and that’s it.

I feel like cutting it down to flush against the wall, and putting a safety grate over it would be safer than the current setup.

It is about 6 inches below the water line, parallel to the water exhaust (water going into the pool from the filter, whatever that’s called)

So the pool is rectangular, it has 2 ports and a drain. The two ports are on the same face of the pool but on opposing sides, about 12 inches from the wall, and 6 inches under water. One port is water into the pool, one port is suction, and the drain at the bottom of the deep end.


I will definitely take better pictures this afternoon and post. Hugely appreciative of the help.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,072
You have to have the underwater suction properly covered with a certified main drain grate.

You probably need to get an expert to design the modified intake so that it's safe.
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
There's definitely some secrets which this pool is holding. The clues are the raised coping and large mortar space between the tile and coping. I think there was an issue at the previous level of the coping/skimmer. When they raised the coping they also nixed the skimmer, as it was probably cracked or something. So they used a line to the pool, probably initially a return, and re-purposed it to a jury-rigged totally unsafe skimmer.
 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,072
I suspect that the pool originally had a skimmer but it got eliminated during a renovation because it was damaged.

The owners probably didn't want to spend the money and just rigged a cheap solution.

You're probably going to need to have an expert help you solve this.
 
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Arizonarob

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TFP Guide
Mar 25, 2018
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Chandler Arizona
I suspect that the pool originally had a skimmer but it got eliminated during a renovation because it was damaged.

The owners probably didn't want to spend the money and just rigged a cheap solution.

You're probably going to need to have an expert help you solve this.
James, the plumbing looks like its threaded into the wall, couldn't that be turned into a suction side port with the spring loaded safety cap?
That way the OP could use a suction cleaning bot in the pool. :scratch:
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
40,728
Tallahassee, FL
Draddy what you are seeing on this thread is what TFP does best.....Fixing things so they are better than before......follow along and share any info they ask for. Your pics so far have been VERY helpful. These guys will point you in the correct direction to get this pool safe and easy to use. There will be some back and forth but in the end it will be worth it.

That is such a pretty pool and area!

Kim:kim:
 
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Draddy

Member
Apr 11, 2019
23
Boca raton
There's definitely some secrets which this pool is holding. The clues are the raised coping and large mortar space between the tile and coping. I think there was an issue at the previous level of the coping/skimmer. When they raised the coping they also nixed the skimmer, as it was probably cracked or something. So they used a line to the pool, probably initially a return, and re-purposed it to a jury-rigged totally unsafe skimmer.
I suspect that the pool originally had a skimmer but it got eliminated during a renovation because it was damaged.

The owners probably didn't want to spend the money and just rigged a cheap solution.

You're probably going to need to have an expert help you solve this.


Now that’s something I didn’t consider. I assumed it was built this way. Did skimmers exist in 1964? This doesn’t seem like a cheaper option than fixing a skimmer.

Interesting situation here.

Is there any situation where I can install something like they use in above ground pools?


Or is cutting in a skimmer the only option?
 
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Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
1,974
Silicon Valley, CA
I am not completely versed on lilypad skimmers, but that one looks broke! The flat piece should be the base to the "can" that is in the other picture on the deck. Or at least, it shouldn't be easy to disassemble (making it hazardous) Why dont you do a search for lillypad skimmers, so you can get a look at what kind you have, or perhaps purchase a different type. I like this one

Amazon.com: Aladdin Skimmer Complete, No-Niche, White: Gateway

It has kind of a small opening but the can is one piece which i like. And you will more than likely have to adjust the elevation so it weirs correctly. I had the best luck "dry fitting" the plumbing between the wall and the skimmer to get the elevation correct. You could probably get any type since the connection is standardized (1", 1 1/2", or 2" pipe size) You dont want to get rid of it since it is your only means of skimming the surface (short of you doing it manually). I would also leave both of those gate valves open all the time to reduce entrapment, Or shut off the pump while anyone uses the pool.
 
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