How to Replace Above-Ground Swimming Pool Skimmers

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If you have an above-ground swimming pool, you may also have a handy little piece of equipment called a swimming pool skimmer that's affixed to the wall of your pool and works in concert with your filtration system to collect surface debris so you don't have to do it manually. It's not tough to replace a pool skimmer that's developed structural cracks, stripped screw holes, or other issues, provided you use the same make and model as the unit you're replacing, but it can still be a little tricky.

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How to Replace an Above-Ground Pool Skimmer

The trickiest part of replacing a wall skimmer is keeping the liner intact. It only takes one person to replace a pool skimmer, but having another person to quickly hand you the necessary tools and parts can be a big help.

Step 1: Lower the Water Level

Lower the pool water level to approximately 2 inches below the skimmer level. This makes it easier to remove the old skimmer and install the new one. It also prevents water from seeping in between the liner and the pool wall.

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Step 2: Detach the Hose From the Skimmer

Detach the filter pump hose from the existing skimmer. Place the open end of the hose in the pool to keep water that may flow back from the filter in the pool.

Step 3: Remove the Faceplate Screws

Loosen and remove the screws on the skimmer faceplate using a Phillips screwdriver. The faceplate is the decorative cover that hides the not-so-attractive screws that fasten the skimmer to the pool wall. Loosen and remove the screws that attach the skimmer.

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Step 4: Insert Holding Screws

Place screws in a few of the holes that attached the faceplate to the pool wall. It is especially important that you put the screws in the holes located at the bottom of the faceplate quickly. This is a trick to prevent the weight of the water in the pool from pulling the liner down. Do this as soon as you remove the old skimmer. It only takes a few minutes for the weight of the water to start tugging on the vinyl liner. The time it takes for you to put the old skimmer down and align the new one is enough time for the water to shift the liner. Putting the screws in a few of the bottom screw holes helps to keep the liner in place.

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Step 5: Align the Replacement Skimmer and Gasket

Align the replacement skimmer and the gasket (the gasket comes in the replacement skimmer kit) over the existing holes. Insert but do not tighten the screws to attach it to the pool wall.

Step 6: Attach the Faceplate and Tighten the Screws

Remove the holding screws starting at the bottom of the skimmer. Position the faceplate over the holes and reinsert the screws. Once you have the bottom part of the faceplate attached, insert the screws in the remaining holes and tighten all of them to affix the faceplate to the wall.

Step 7: Connect the Filter Pump Hose

Connect the hose from the filter pump to the new skimmer.

Step 8: Raise the Water Level

Add water to the pool so that the water level reaches at least the middle of the skimmer. Run the pool filter and check for leaks.

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