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A river often has a weir – a barrier that controls its flow. Swimming pools feature that similar barrier as a part of their skimmers. The floating weir goes up and down to match the level of the water in a spa or swimming pool. Another type of weir is barrel-shaped and bobbles up and down within the skimmer basket.
Pool’s Plumbing System
When you understand the basics of how a pool’s plumbing system works, you are better equipped to take care of any problems that might happen.
With a pool, the water comes into the pool via a skimmer, a primary drain, or both. From there it travels to a three-port valve before entering the pump. Pool pumps are powered by a motor. The pump propels the water through a filtering system. After the leaving the filter, if the pool is heated, the water passes through a heater or by the solar panels. The water returns to the pool through the valves.
Function of the Skimmer
The next step in the pool’s plumbing system is the skimmer (or skimmers as some pools have multiple skimmers). The skimmer draws in the surface water of the pool and traps trash and debris. Leaves, twigs, dirt, and oil are just a few of the things caught by the skimmers. The goal is to collect this trash before it settles to the pool’s bottom. Most skimmers also provide access to a suction line useful for vacuuming the pool.
Some pools feature two or more skimmers. These skimmers are attached to the pool’s pump. Depending of the type of pool and skimmer, the skimmer may be built into the pool or may hang on the side.
Most pool skimmers are made from plastic; however, some older pools may have skimmers made from concrete. The ratio of skimmer to pool water is: 1 skimmer to 500 square feet of surface water.
Some newer models include robotic or automatic skimmers that are often powered by solar energy.
The solar powered models float along the surface independently and collect trash and debris. Regardless of the type of skimmer, all serve the purpose of maintaining a clean pool, reducing the time and energy required to clean the pool, and to reduce the strain on the pump thus saving money and energy.
The Weir and the Skimmer
A skimmer usually looks like a tank with a pipe extending from the top side. Along the top side, the weir regulates how much water actually enters the skimmer. The weir regulates the water so that just a thin layer of water runs over. So in this case velocity is more important than volume to give provide adequate pool skimming. All pools must have an equalizer line that keeps air from being drawn into the skimmer system if the water level gets too low. This equalizer line is simply a pipe or conduit that goes from the skimmer’s underside extending about 12 – 18 inches. The pipe then goes through the pool’s wall before entering the water. When considering skimmer placement, ideally they are on the downwind side. When placed in this position, the wind will aid in pushing the debris toward the skimmer.
When the water runs over the weir, debris enters the skimmer. When the suction stops, the weir moves upward. This keeps trash from floating out of the skimmer and being released back into the pool.
Not all skimmers have a weir that is made this way. Others have a floating barrel in the skimmer basket. Leaves and other large debris collect in the basket for easy removal.
Pool Skimmer Weir Replacement
The average pool owner will find a weir very easy to replace. Just take some plier, take out the old, damaged weir and insert the new one in the skimmer. When removing the weir, notice the placement so that the new one can go in the same way. All you need to do is pull out the pins. The spring loaded retaining rods are then released. Popular weirs include Pentair, Blue Devil, and Waterways.