Built-in Concrete Skimmer Questions (equalizer valve? -- cement crack? -- vacuum?)

cmwerner

New member
Jun 7, 2020
3
San Jose, CA
Bought a house in San Jose CA a few months ago with an inground pool. Not sure when the pool was built, but house was built in 1957. Pool was replastered 1-2 years ago.

So I’m new to pool ownership and maintenance and trying to learn as I go along. The skimmer didn’t seem to be working well, there was always small debris floating on the pool. It didn’t have a weir flap. As I looked for a door, I realized that none of them would really fit (there were no pins or holes in the skimmer opening and there were remnants of an old plastic flap and screws, but they didn’t line up with any of the parts at the pool store (Leslie’s).

As I poked around and learned more, I realized that while most skimmers are plastic-bodied, mine is cement/concrete and built-in to the pool. I also learned that the skimmer basket I that’s included is from Pentair Admiral and it’s intended to have a floating weir tube. I just purchased one and installed, and the skimming improvement was immediately noticeable.

I also noticed that there was an additional port (I’ve since learned an equalizer) going from the bottom of the skimmer to the pool. There is a fair amount of water pulled through there. I’ve for now plugged it up with a bike horn bulb - skimming action improved even more. So I’m happy the I fixed the skimming.

Questions I’m hoping to get some help with:
  1. The "horn plug" is clearly not permanent. There are threads in the hole on the skimmer cavity side of the equalizer port (it’s the same size threads as the pool inlet port threads). I kind of like the idea of having the equalizer in there as a safety for water level dropping. Any suggestions for a valve I could install? Note that equalizer port is higher than the port to the pump, so the skimmer basket will get in the way of anything that sticks out. Also note that I have 2x main drains that are plumbed back to the pump separate from the skimmer.
  2. I’m seeing a crack on the back wall of the skimmer cavity. What is the collective opinion of experts on here with much more experience than I - am I losing water through there? How might a figure out if so? And how would I repair? (I put a few inches of water in last weekend and it seemed to lose that water quicker than I would have imagined - I know I need to do the bucket test).
  3. There is no vacuum port anywhere in the pool, nor do I have vacuum equipment. Been using a Polaris pressure-side pool cleaner. Inside the skimmer, the port to the pump seems to have the same threaded connection as the equalization port. Though I imagine it’s ill-advised to go through there directly since it will all go directly into the pump/filter? Any known attachments for my Admiral skimmer basket to vacuum through it?skimmer photos.001.jpegskimmer photos.002.jpeg

Thanks so much!
 

cmwerner

New member
Jun 7, 2020
3
San Jose, CA
Bumping again and also an update.

Regarding the slimmer crack - I do believe it is a leak point. I filled the pool yesterday to the top of the skimmer opening. About 18 hours later, with only about an hour of the pump running at the end of the day yesterday, I’ve measured about an inch of water loss. This is relative to a bucket I placed in the pool and filled to the same level.

So... any tips on how to go about patching the crack in the all-cement skimmer?

thanks!
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
2,015
Chapel Hill, NC
Glob some epoxy putty on/in the crack. It should stick to the cement and seal the crack. I don't think regular/silicone caulk would work as well.
 

cmwerner

New member
Jun 7, 2020
3
San Jose, CA
Glob some epoxy putty on/in the crack. It should stick to the cement and seal the crack. I don't think regular/silicone caulk would work as well.

Am I right to assume that I'd need to drain the water down below the crack and let it dry out before applying? Or is there a special kind of epoxy putty that can be applied under water that I get from my local pool store? Or even just the stuff at the hardware store?
 
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