How to Replace Above Ground Pool Skimmer

The investment in an above ground swimming pool is one that will hopefully last many years. It’s the most cost-effective way to install a pool and carries a relatively long life of more than 10 years if properly maintained.

There will come a time, however, when certain parts of the pool will have to be replaced. One such replacement is your pool skimmer. Made entirely of plastic, the skimmer body is subject to brittleness, discoloration, and eventual cracking. The gasket which creates an airtight seal behind the skimmer faceplate can also lose it effectiveness.

But changing the skimmer isn’t as intimidating as you may think. With a few household supplies and a new skimmer assembly from you local pool store, it can be done in less than an hour. First, you must shut down your filter and lower the water level below the skimmer. This can be done with a simple siphon method or a submersible pump. To siphon water out, drop one end of a hose into the water and run water through the other end of your garden hose until it fills with water. Drop the end of the hose near a drain and the water will automatically begin siphoning from the pool through the hose.

Once the water is below the skimmer, start disassembling the skimmer by removing its silicon caulking located around the edges of the skimmer’s exterior side. This can be done with a basic caulk softening product and a paint scraper. Be careful and patient to not scratch pool walls. On the inside of the pool wall remove the faceplate screws and set aside. Remove and discard the skimmer faceplate and gasket. If the faceplate doesn’t appear to move, pry off carefully with the paint scraper. Remove additional screws that hold the skimmer body in place and also set aside.

To apply the new skimmer it may be easier to have someone hold the exterior skimmer body in place while you screw the aforementioned screws into place to assemble the new skimmer body. Make sure you purchase the same shape skimmer. Skimmers come in several sizes that include wide mouth rectangles and standard square shapes.

Next, assemble the new gasket and faceplate. The gasket should be flush behind the faceplate. Place the faceplate in its former location and reapply the screws into the housing. Purchase a caulk gun and waterproof silicone caulking. Apply the silicone around the edges of the skimmer’s exterior body to prevent water from seeping behind the skimmer. Spread the silicone with a caulking tool to ensure a smooth edge. Allow 24 hours for the caulking to dry before refilling the pool and turning on the filter.

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