Should Skimmer Basket Float? (newbie here...)

graffsterApril 16, 2008

OK, we're 2 months into new pool ownership...the newbie questions should be coming fast and plenty!

My skimmer basket "floats" when the skimmer is not on. I know the suction keeps it in place when it's on, but should it stay in it's place when the skimmer is not on? We only have one skimmer, and it doesn't seem to do a great's an uncaged pool, but there's a lot of surface stuff I have to "scoop" that I thought the skimmer would get.

Also, is there a recommended water level? (Like how far up the water-line tile?) We have an auto-fill that seems to run a LOT...should it be mid-tile, or is it a personal preference?

BTW...hubby was the contractor on the build, so 'check with your PB' won't help me...LOL

You guys were great with my previous dirt problem...


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The skimmer basket definitely should not float. It should twist-lock into place. With the water off, looks closely at the skimmer and you should see tabs in it. You line up the basket so that the tabs on the basket align with the slots between the skimmer tabs. Push it down and turn it to lock it in.

The recommended water level is midway up the waterline tile. A little more or less is OK, but you definitely don't want the water to go below the tile (scumline will form on the plaster which is a lot harder to clean off than tile) or above the tile (skimmers become ineffective).

This time of year you shouldn't have to fill too much. We haven't added a drop to our pool in 2 months. If you have autofill and an overflow drain, the autofill float may be set too high and the water is just going right out through the drain.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 3:17PM
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I also have the same problem. Sometimes the Skimmer floats up, including the white plate on which it sits. I will try what Tres suggested above. In general, I have also noticed that the Skimmer does not really catch much. I have to do lot of manual skimming. I have a 2 speed 1.5 HP whisperflow pump , that runs 2 hrs at high speed and 6 hrs at low speed everyday.

In So cal, at this time of the year, I have to add about an inch of water everyweek.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 4:51PM
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OK, I just checked my basket, and I see no tabs. I reached in and tried it all different ways, and nothing "snaps" or "locks". Since I don't really know what I'm looking at, I don't think I saw a place where tabs would go, either. I could be wrong, though.

Are there all different kinds of skimmers? This is a Hayward, and I'd have to go back outside and see what the model number on the lid is...if that makes a difference to anyone, I will. ( I could snap a digital picture in the morning, too...)


    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 6:58PM
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sandradee skimmer is like tabs or locking mechanisms. Mine would float when the pump's not running, but I added a large rock to the basket - bigger than the diameter of the pipe located below the basket (so it won't get sucked into the pipe if I should happen to drop it out of the basket) but not so big it would seriously affect the suction.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 7:44PM
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There are different types of skimmer baskets. Some are intended to float and others are not. If your skimmer has a flapper door that lays down when the filter is running and closes when the filter is not running, then your skimmer basket should not float.

However, if your skimmer does not have the flapper door, then the basket is intended to float within the skimmer when the filter is not running. This is to trap any leaf or bugs, etc. caught in the skimmer basket from floating back into the pool when the filter is not running.

We had an option for skimmer type when we built our pool. Both have their pros and cons. Check yours out-- it may in fact be operating as intended.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 8:52AM
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Mine has the flapper door and the basket floats. So I put a heavy plastic alligator (Florida tourist item, you know) in the bottom to weight it down. It makes it more fun to empty...

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 9:23AM
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Simple fix is to drop a rock in it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 10:08AM
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Oops, sorry I didn't realize there were different types when I posted my earlier response. The only ones I've seen are the flapper door and locking basket type. Sorry for any confusion.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 11:35AM
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The only in-ground ground skimmer in use today on a wide basis that has a locking basket is the Waterway. Actually, pretty junky as the basket handle snaps when you try to loosen the basket.

Skimmer baskets are not supposed to float. How would they work if stuff got under them. The StaRite and Hayward skimmers have handles that serve as the weight for the basket. The simple idea of that missing handle is enough to float the basket. Most builders lose the handle in construction. A replacement basket for the StaRite/Hayward is the generic B9 basket. These baskets come with a porcelain weight that serves the purpose. A rock does work but there is a danger here. Baskets break, kids play in there and you run the risk of this rock blocking a suction line. A new B9 is under $10 and it's worth it. You can buy a
StaRite U3 basket handle #08650-0067 but it's more than a B9 basket.

The "flapper" door is a weir. It is there for one purpose. To trap the skimmed debris when the pump goes off. The weir can get stuck which will cause a pump to suck air and lose prime. If your weir is missing, the above mentioned skimmers use an 8 3/8" weir but if your tile guy did not clean the skimmer out well, you may find an 8" weir fits better.

The float valve (flying saucer thing" is also a vital part and should not be used as a basket weight. It goes under the basket and serves as a means for the pump to continue water flow in the event the water level were to drop too low. This valve rarely works in the absence of the float valve o-ring.
That o-ring is also often lost by builders and when you go to replace it, the channel is often full of concrete/plaster as it was also neglected at time of construction. Turn the pump off, use a small screwdriver to clean out the mess (being careful not to break the channel) and then re-position the o-ring so it is flush. This o-ring does expand in time and should be replaced annually.

Other skimmers such as the Admiral S15/S20 use similar parts. The S15 and it's basket/floating weir are unique to that model.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:02PM
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Following is a link to Leslie Pool store-- it gives shows the many types of skimmer baskets, both floating and set-in design.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Kathy - your basket may be like mine. Mine used to have a swinging metal handle going across the top which you use to pull it out, but it also weighed the basket down. My husband "lost" the handle last year while emptying the basket contents into the woods. Ever since, it floats.

I keep a rock in the basket now to keep it down. We have a lot of frogs and I'd hate for one to get under and sucked into the pump. At least get a rock in there for now.

I measured my basket and was looking online for a replacement one. I found a neat one which I think will work great since it has an above water part for frogs to cling onto and maybe even climb out.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Replacement Skimmer Basket

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:24PM
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