How to install a skimmer on an above-ground pool

If you’ve got an old skimmer, you may not know how to install a skimmer on an above-ground pool. Perhaps the company that installed your pool in the first place also installed the skimmer. Either way, you’ve taken a look at your current skimmer and know that you’ve got to replace it.

The truth is that skimmers can crack easily when it gets cold. That means even in winters with relatively mild temperatures, your skimmer might have taken enough damage that you need to replace it. Another reason to get a new skimmer is if you’re already planning to replace your pool liner and want a brand new skimmer to accompany it.

No matter the reason, you need to know how to install it once purchased. There are a few different models. To know the right one for you, just look at your old one and note the model number and the manufacturer’s name. After you’ve ordered the new skimmer and it arrives, installing it is relatively easy.

Below, we’ll show you the right way to get it done.

Cleaning swimming pool with blue skimmer

Remove the old skimmer

Of course, before you can install your new skimmer and before replacing the liner (if that’s what you also intend), you have to remove the old one. You’ll also need to remove the gaskets. Use a drill to remove and replace the necessary screws. Clean the sides of the pool wall of any debris and remove any signs of calcium or rust. If it’s super rusty, you may need to sand and then paint over the area with rust-proof paint.

Begin the new skimmer installation

Once the rust-proof paint has dried is, it’s time to position the skimmer. Ensure that when extended, the skimmer can reach all areas of the pool. Be sure you get it right because moving it to a different location after installing it can be a challenge.

Therefore, check to see that the skimmer reaches all over the pool a few times before committing. (If you’re installing it in the same place as your old one this really shouldn’t be an issue.) Once you’ve chose the location, you should drain the pool a bit so that you can easily install the skimmer without touching the water.

Install the face plate

Once you’ve chosen the right location and drained the water to an appropriate level, you need to install the skimmer’s faceplate. You need to place it into the position you’ve chosen. Ideally, this should be as close to the skimmer’s opening as possible. Use a marker pen and mark the holes in the wall. Then, drill holes on those marks into the side of the pool. Following that, add caulk to the plate and press it firmly to the pool’s side.

Add the Skimmer

Once you’ve installed the plate, it’s time to add the skimmer itself. You’ll need to take the caulk and put a layer on the edge of the gaskets. Place these into the pool’s side. Next, take the skimmer and place it on the top. Push the screws for the skimmer into the face place until they hit the gaskets on the pool’s side. On the opposite side, use the screw’s nuts and tighten with pliers. Be sure not to overly tighten them, however, as doing so could break the faceplate.

Adding a second skimmer

Sometimes it’s wise to install a second skimmer on an above-ground pool. This is particularly true if you have a lot of trees around your pool. Having more than one skimmer can definitely help to keep your pool more clean.

Above ground swimming pool

Finishing everything up

After you’ve installed the skimmer, you need to cut an opening in the pool’s liner. You should cut the hole at the top of the faceplate. Take the skimmer’s plumbing, add it and then connect it to the pool pump. It’s possible that you’ll also need to join the pump with clamps and hoses. Refill the pool to its former levels. (Remember that you partially drained it for the skimmer installation.) Get the pump set up and start it. Skim the water to make sure all the tubes and pipes are clear, and then leave the skimmer in the water until needed further.

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