New Pool Owners: How To Winterize Your New Pool’s Skimmers

Installing a new swimming pool in the summer can keep your family cool and happy in the heat. But as the cold season quickly approaches, you need to protect your new pool by winterizing it. Some of the parts you may protect on your own are the pool's skimmers. If you don't winterize or protect them, you may place your pool at risk for ice and snow damage. Here's what you should do to avoid this.

What Are Skimmers?

Your inground pool has several types of drains and cleaners that require protection before the cold season hits. Some of the easiest parts to winterize are the skimmers. Your inground swimming pool may feature multiple skimmers that "skim" or clean the surface of your pool to remove water, suntan lotion, dirt, and other debris. All of these things flow into holding baskets until you remove them.

If you don't empty the baskets before you close down your pool for the winter, the debris may clog up the drainage lines. The clog or ice may spread to the main drain, which may break down your water pump and motor. Because the water pump and motor are the main operational parts of the pool and lie beneath the pool's foundation, they require the services of a trained pool professional to fix.

What Do Your Pool's Skimmers Look Like?

If you're unfamiliar with what the skimmers look like, you may have problems locating them. Here are two common types of skimming parts you might have on your inground swimming pool:

Wall Skimmer

A wall skimmer attaches directly to your inground pool's wall. This type of skimmer typically has a grilled or plated cover that you can remove when you need to clean it. The basket sits inside the wall of the pool, but you can pull it out to empty and clean it.

You should clean your wall skimmers with caution. Because they sit inside the pool's walls, they may touch or lie close to electrical wiring. If you feel uncomfortable with cleaning these types of skimmers, schedule an appointment with your pool supplier instead.

Floating Skimmer

This type of skimmer floats on the surface of your pool. It typically looks similar to a wastebasket but has a thick, wide brim. A floating skimmer attaches to the pool's interior wall with a long drainage pipe. The pipe leads to the main drain, which catches and holds any debris the skimmer missed.

You normally have at least two floating skimmers attached to the pool, depending on the pool's size. For instance, large pools feature one skimmer on each of its sides. This helps to keep your pool clean throughout the summer.

Floating skimmers are easier to clean than wall skimmers because they're easy to reach. If you want to clean or winterize them yourself, follow the steps below:

  1. Turn off the power supply to your pool to prevent accidental electrical shocks, or injuries to your hands.
  2. Locate the skimmers and remove their covers or flaps. Place them on the pool's foundation to keep it safe.
  3. Pull out the skimmer baskets and empty the contents into a garbage bin or bag.
  4. Repeat the steps above with each skimmer.
  5. Be sure to replace the flaps or covers securely.

You can also keep out winter debris, such as leaves and snow, from your skimmers by placing a protective cover over them. If you need to purchase some, contact your pool supplier to help you choose the right covers for your skimmers.

When Should You Call in a Professional?

If your pool skimmers break down at the pipelines, you should contact a professional pool serivce to fix them. Damaged pipelines may create a back up in the main drain. When this happens, winter ice can form inside it and crack the pipes and lines that keep it functioning.

To enjoy your new pool every summer, be sure to winterize it in the fall. If you can't perform the necessary winterizing steps, be sure to schedule an appointment with your pool suppliers before it gets cold.