Skimmer basket not holding prime


New member
Aug 2, 2020
South Carolina
I have a 18x36 inground salt water pool. It worked fine after having it vacuumed but suddenly stopped holding prime in skimmer basket. When I turn filter on to both skimmer and main drain line, I lose prime. It will hold prime on just main drain. I have tried clearing line with drain king and switching handle between settings with no luck! I feel like I am at the point of having a plumber come out to blow the line. Any ideas would be appreciated!


Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
Spring Valley, NY
Not sure what you mean by not holding prime. Is it sucking air then you don't have the water high enough in pool. Losing prime in the pump basket would mean low level water in the skimmer or pump basket cover not sealing well.


Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
Katy TX
One way I clear debris in my plumbing from the skimmer is as follows:
Note: I always have my skimmer basket in place but sometimes, when I pull the basket to clean it and the pump is on, a big leaf my go down the pipe. So I then do my surging process as below.
Ensure your pump is primed
Close off main drain and have all suction from your skimmer
Remove skimmer basket (at the pool)
Best to have 2 people if possible, Turn on pump after verifying your suction flow, then have second person place a tennis ball on the suction hole down in the skimmer. The pump should whine a little trying to suck water, then have person pull tennis ball. Then place tennis back in suction, then remove. Do this surging a couple of times then shut off pump and check pump basket if any big debris was caught.
Need to ensure tennis ball is larger than suction ID in skimmer and have person hold the tennis ball. You don't want that getting stuck.
Good luck


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX
Misplaced girl,

Note that you have a basket at the pool called the "Skimmer" and you have a basket inside the pump called the "Pump basket"... The pump is what holds prime, not the skimmer basket.

Let's think about this for a minute.. If the pump works on the main drain and will not work on the main drain and skimmer inputs, it is not because the skimmer line is plugged, as that would be identical to running the pool on just the main drain..

This means the problem is not that the skimmer line is plugged, but rather that skimmer line is allowing air into the pump. This could be for a couple of reasons..

1. The water is too low at the skimmer mouth.. It needs to be about in the middle of the skimmer's mouth.
2. The Weir door between the pool water and the skimmer is stuck up.. This will allow the pump to pull all the water out of the skimmer and then you suck air into the pump.
3. The pipe between the skimmer and the pump has a hole in it.
4. The valve that controls the skimmer has bad o-rings and has an air leak.


Jim R.