How to Replace a Skimmer Basket

If your pool has a broken skimmer basket, it’s relatively simple to replace it yourself. The only skills required are locating the basket and learning how to turn off the power to your pool. While it’s not a daily pool maintenance task, replacing the skimmer basket falls under the category of “once in a while” tasks that you should know how to do.

Before we go over the step-by-step process of replacing the skimmer basket, let’s look at what a skimmer basket is and how to find it. Then we will give you a simple process for replacing the basket. If you’re not handy, don’t fret. We’ll give you eleven easy steps to navigate the process.

How to Replace a Skimmer Basket

What is a Skimmer Basket?

Your pool’s filtration system employs a skimmer basket as its first line of defense against dirt and debris.

Your pump sucks water in through the skimmer by first sucking it through the skimmer basket to catch any leaves or large chunks of debris that could break the filter system. Unfortunately, the skimmer basket sometimes catches small frogs or insects as well.

The purpose of a skimmer basket in your pool is to keep large debris from clogging up the pipes in your pool.

How Does it Work?

There is a pump beneath the skimmer basket the creates suction. This sucking action pulls floating objects into the basket before they are allowed to sink to the pool bottom.

When should the Skimmer Basket be Replaced?

Skimmer baskets are incredibly long-lasting. Most of them last for years, if not decades. But if your skimmer basket has become cracked or broken, you need to replace it as soon as possible.

Do You have to have a Skimmer Basket in your Pool?

If you have a broken skimmer basket or remove it entirely, dirt and debris will be sucked into your pool’s filtration system. Leaves, dirt, insects, and hair can all result in clogged pipes, pumps, and filters.

Not replacing your skimmer basket will mean you will end up spending a ton of money replacing other, more expensive parts of your filtration system in the near future.

While you can replace a skimmer basket yourself, it’s likely you will need to hire a professional to replace other parts, costing you significantly more time and money than it will to replace the basket in the first place.

Where is Your Pool’s Skimmer Basket Located?

If you are relatively new to pool maintenance, you may not know how to find your pool’s skimmer basket. It’s important to know where it’s located, as it should be cleaned out on a regular basis.

During this regular cleaning of the skimmer basket, you may find it has become damaged. If you didn’t know you should be cleaning the skimmer basket, now you do! So, let’s show you how to find it.

Locating your pool weir will help you to find the skimmer basket. The weir door is the opening in your pool where the pump sucks water into the skimmer system. There should be access to the weir through a hole above the door. Most have a cover, but some may not.

How to Replace a Skimmer Basket

Follow these steps to replace your pool’s skimmer basket:

  • Shut off the power to your pool
  • Before touching any part of your pool’s filtration or pump system, first, ensure you have turned off all power to your pool. Not doing so can result in an electric shock. To take extra precautions, consider wearing rubber-soled shoes and don’t stand in water while working with the system.
  • To turn off your pool’s power:
  • Locate the power box for your pool and turn the timer off.
  • Locate the breaker for your pump and turn it off.
  • Relieve all built-up pressure in your pump system.
  • Find the skimmer basket
  • If you have located the hole above the skimmer weir door, you should be able to find and gain access to the skimmer basket. If there is a lid on top of the basket, you will need to remove it first.
  • Remove the skimmer basket’s cover
  • There is usually a white, circular cover on your skimmer weir. To remove the skimmer basket lid on your pool pump, you will need to:
  • Unscrew any screws with a screwdriver
  • Twist the cover off
  • Pull off the cover. If the lid seems to be stuck after you’ve removed the screws, you can use a flathead screwdriver to pry it off.
  • Remove the skimmer basket
  • The skimmer basket for your pool can be removed simply by pulling it out. Some models of skimmer baskets even come with a handle attached for easy removal.
  • Assess what type of skimmer basket you have in your pool
  • Not all pool skimmer baskets are created equal. There should be a manufacturer’s name and model number located somewhere on your basket. Alternatively, if you cannot find this information, you can measure the diameter of the basket to determine the size.
  • Locations where the manufacturer and model number may be located:
  • The weir door cover
  • The skimmer basket cover
  • The skimmer basket itself
  • The base of the skimmer basket, the bottom, or the rim of the basket

If you are unable to locate a model number for your skimmer basket, you will need to measure it. These are the measurements you need to take to ensure you buy the correct replacement basket:

  • The outside diameter
  • The inside diameter (it won’t be the same as the outside diameter, depending on the rim width of your basket)
  • The base diameter, as some baskets are narrower on the top or bottom
  • The height of the basket

When replacing your skimmer basket, it’s advisable to also measure the hole the basket sits in inside your pool. Sometimes you can’t find an exact match of the basket, but you know the maximum size that will fit into your pool if you know the hole size.

  • Use a skimmer plug while the basket is not in place.
  • If you are removing your skimmer basket for any period of time (taking it with you to find a replacement basket, for example), make sure you replace it with a skimmer plug. These plugs snap onto the entrance of the skimmer and make sure that no large debris enters the filtration system while the basket is removed. Skimmer plugs can be purchased online or at your local pool supply store.
  • You can also drain your water level below the level of the skimmer opening to make the process a bit simpler.
  • Purchase a replacement skimmer basket
  • Most pool supply stores stock a variety of replacement skimmer baskets. You can also sometimes find them in hardware stores, though there aren’t as many options. Skimmer baskets can also be easily ordered online.
  • If you weren’t able to find a manufacturer name and model number, it’s best to take the old basket with you to make sure your purchase the correct size of replacement basket. If you do this, don’t forget to cover the opening to your skimmer with a plug!
  • Replace the skimmer basket
  • This is the easiest step of the process. You simply drop the new skimmer basket into the hole.
  • Replace the skimmer cover
  • When you put the skimmer cover back on, push it down until you hear it click into place. If you remove screws to take the cover off, replace them now.
  • Remove your skimmer plug
  • If you put a skimmer plug in place when removing the basket, remove it and store it in a safe place.
  • Turn the power back on to your pool
  • Anything you turn off in step 1 will now need to be turned back on. This includes:
  • The pool timer
  • The pump breaker
  • Restoring pressure to your pool filtration system

Differences for Replacing the Skimmer Basket with an Above Ground Pool

While the process is very similar, there are a few differences in the process of replacing a skimmer basket in an above-ground pool. Let’s look at a quick overview of the step-by-step process.

  • Lower the water level in the pool to about 2 inches below the skimmer.
  • Remove the hose from the skimmer.
  • Remove the skimmer faceplate.
  • Replace the screws into the poolside to prevent the pool liner from being pulled down.
  • Put the replacement skimmer in place.
  • Remove the screws again, put the faceplate back on and screw into place.
  • Re-connect the hose from the pump to the skimmer.
  • Fill the pool back up with water. Then, run the filter system to make sure there are no leaks.

Conclusion

Replacing your pool’s skimmer baskets is one of the easiest DIY pool maintenance jobs there is. Replacing a broken skimmer basket will prevent further damage that could be costly to fix. Unfortunately, the hardest part of replacing your skimmer basket is often finding which replacement basket you need. If you have difficulty finding a replacement, contact your local pool supply store.

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