How to vacuum a pool with a skimmer? [Comprehensive Guide] (2023)

Storms can bring all kinds of debris and debris into your pool. Most pool owners use hand skimmers to get rid of these twigs, leaves, and other garden debris. And of course nobody can ignore this algae infestation.

To cope with such weather events and pests, you mustrequire a full power system to skim your poolWaste. But what if the skimming system does not do its job? Well, it's about timeManually vacuum your pool.

This comprehensive guide will show you how to vacuum a pool using a skimmer other than the skimming system.

What does a pool skimmer do?

These pool skimmers are very useful. They suck the water right off the surface and suck it through your pool's filtration system. These skimmers can suck in up to 0.125 inches of pool water from the surface.

it pretendsClean up all of that debris and debris on the poolPop up. This includes hair, leaves, sunscreen. This entire process is complete before everything begins to sink in and settle to the ground.

You may think of using this skimmer all the time, but it is not recommended. If you want to save on your energy bills and maintenance costs, leave these skimmers for heavy duty work after some significant weather events or algae infestation instead. Instead, use a hand skimmer or manual pool vacuum to manually clean the pool for the rest of the work.

How to vacuum a pool with a skimmer? [Comprehensive Guide] (1)

How do I connect the pool vacuum to the skimmer?

Set up

(Video) How To VACUUM A POOL (Above Ground and Inground) | Swim University

beforevacuuming your pool, assemble all parts for your skimmer. First connect this telescopic rod to your vacuum head. Now take the open vacuum hose and attach one end to the outlet fitting on the pool vacuum head.

After that, submerge the pool vacuum head on the bottom of your pool at the deeper end. Make sure you slide it underwater the full length of your vacuum hose and continue until your vacuum hose fills with water.

They do this to remove the air from these vacuum components. If the vacuum hose is filled with water, this is an indication that all the air has been removed. If these air pockets get into the suction line of the pump, your pump will be subjected to unnecessary wear and you will have to bear unwanted maintenance costs.

Connect it to the suction port

You're still not ready to vacuum your pool. After you have assembled your suction head, it's time to connect it to the skimmer suction.

  • Place the skimmer on one side of your pool.
  • Remove the skimmer lid and skimmer basket (pump strainer basket).
  • You now need to thread the house and carefully do it right through that skimmer inlet. Keep the open end of the vacuum hose submerged at all times.
  • You will need to insert the open end of the vacuum hose directly into the suction port on your skimmer. This suction port is located right at the bottom of the fountain.

The process

when you startvacuuming your poolOn the shallower end, you need to do it in long but slow strokes. Make sure the strokes overlap to ensure you vacuum everything at the bottom of your pool.

Do it slowly for better results, because haste only lengthens your work. Because you drive too fast and kick up the dirt that settles after a while.

If you see the water getting cloudy, wait for the dirt to settle and start vacuuming.

When finished, detach the suction head from the pole and drain all the water. Now connect the cleaning brush to the pole and scrub away any materials as materials build up on the pool walls.

You can test your pool chemistry and make some adjustments. Now clean the device with a hose. You're done here and it's time to swim. Just make sure to keep the pool clean before you swim in it.

How to vacuum a pool with a skimmer? [Comprehensive Guide] (2)

(Video) Pool - Using the manual vacuum and Cleaning the skimmer basket

How does a pool skimmer work?

Pool skimmers are an essential part of cleaning and maintaining your pool. These skimmers are essentially the gateway to your pool's filtration system. Get rid of debris and keep your pool's circulation system working at all times. And this applies to all types of automatic pool cleaner skimmer.

Skimmers use suction cups to catch debris and debris in a pool just before it sinks and lands on the bottom. This litter can include dead bugs, flower petals, dirt, leaves, twigs, sunscreen oil, and anything else.

Skimmers have a lot more to do than collect the bad stuff from your pool. It also makes life yoursHalf filtermuch easier. A skimmer collects all of the larger debris, while the pool filter takes care of the smaller debris. Together they improve the cleanliness of your pool.

Some skimmers also come with built-in chlorinators, making the pool even more hygienic. Therefore, skimmers are very important to improve the overall life of your pool filter and pool circulation pump.

types of skimmers

There are also different types of skimmers, which we will detail below for your guidance.

Floating skimmer

Some pools have floating skimmers that attach directly to the pool vacuum. These skimmers continue to swim around the pool, randomly collecting debris from the pool's surface. This skimmer is commonly used for an above ground pool.

Robot cleaner/Skimmer

Most swimming pools in the States are stationary. Despite this, these skimmers are being replaced by robotic skimmers fairly quickly. A cleaning robot is either a semi-automatic or a fully automatic pool cleaner. A semi or fully automatic cleaner runs on either battery or solar power. This robotic cleaner also floats on the surface of the water and moves around while collecting dirt and debris in your pool. A semi or fully automatic cleaner will work best for your in-ground pool.


Wall pool skimmers are very similar to rectangular baskets that are built right into the walls of your pool where they meet the landscape around them. These work well with an in-ground pool. This skimmer is accessed through the hatch, or there is a trap door in the deck area of ​​your pool.

These parts are made of prefabricated parts or PVC concrete. Inside this skimmer is a basket that collects leaves and other debris from the pool. Also, there will be a door at the front called the Weir.

This weir performs the skimming and attracts a thin layer of water from the surface. Water movement and water level determine how this weir closes and opens. It closes when the pool's circulation pump is off, preventing debris from the skimmer basket from floating back into the pool.

(Video) Ask the Pool Guy - How to Vacuum Your Pool

You must attach an equalizing line to all skimmers in your pool. This line runs from the skimmer basket through the pool wall into the water. This line prevents air bubbles from entering the pool's filtration system when the pool's water level falls below the level of the weir.

How to vacuum a pool with a skimmer? [Comprehensive Guide] (3)

Do you leave the skimmer basket behind when vacuuming the pool?

Now you won't leave the skimmer basket when vacuuming the pool. You must remove the skimmer basket before attaching the inlet fitting with the open vacuum hose. These skimmer baskets are part of your pool's filtration system.

They allow water to overflow from the surface to the suction pipe. This pipe leads to your pool's filter. These skimmer baskets can easily collect bugs, leaves, twigs and toys. Sometimes small animals like lizards and frogs are caught by gliders. These skimmers are available with different equipment from different manufacturers, but sometimes also with universal equipment.

How to adjust the suction of the pool skimmer?

Sometimes the pool vacuum system may not work and there can be various reasons why. In most cases, excess air bubbles in your system can be the culprit. There could be a blockage or even a leak in your vacuum system.

The first thing you need to do is empty your skimmer basket into your vacuum system. Next you need to make sure you don't have any debris. The next step is to check the pool pump basket for dirt or clogs. After verification and confirmation, you need to insert it again.

When replacing the basket, you must ensure that the hole faces the in-tube. Also check that the O-ring is in good condition when reassembling the pool pump. Finally, securely close the pump lid and check for leaks entering or exiting the pump.

Now turn to the filter system. First, it helps if you examine all of these connections for leaks or wear. Next, check the gate valve and its adjustment. Finally, if everything looks good, do the backwash.

The pressure should be around 75 PSI if you are looking for a properly working suction. If you still find a problem, there is a leak in your system. They must be repaired by a professional pool technician.

Pool skimmer not working properly

Your skimmer relies on the pump system to suck up the water. The water goes through your pool's circulation system. A non-working skimmer means something else might be causing the problem. And you may have to opt for a technical maintenance operation or even a repair.

However, your pool skimmer can also stop working when it is clogged, when residue is required and when the skimmer basket is too dirty. Maybe your pool doesn't have much water or too much water in your pool.

(Video) How to Vacuum an In-Ground Pool!

This happens when it has rained. So keep an eye on these skimmers and make sure they are working; otherwise your filtration system will fail.

Pool circulation problems, skimmers and more

Maintaining clear water in your pool requires several things. First you need to maintain a proper balance in the pool chemistry. Apart from that, you also need to ensure proper circulation in your pool.

Maintaining an optimal circulatory system in your pool is a multi-phase process. There's a lot more to sleeping than those simmer baskets and weirs.

You need to identify and clean any dead spots and optimize kickback placement and angles. You also need to choose the right pump for the pool and of course there are various other components in the pool if your vacuum is losing suction.

If all this seems a bit much to you, you can always hire technical support. But you cannot ignore the timely maintenance and repair of your pool. By doing so, you are not only endangering your health, but also the health and well-being of your family. Therefore, it is extremely important that you keep your pool's entire circulatory system in top condition.

A good practice is to do daily hand skimming and run your pool skimmer immediately after a storm or algae infestation to keep the water contaminant free. Also, regularly check the chemical composition of the pool to ensure its safety.

Wrap - Up

Vacuuming a pool is easy, especially with the right tools. For example, your filter can only handle smaller contaminants. If you want to control those twigs or algae or leaves after a weather event, use a skimmer.

Of course, hand skimmers work well, but after a storm or a seaweed infestation, you have to do a lot more than just hand skimming. Therefore, you need to choose the right type of skimmer for your pool.

Your skimmer will easily take care of the larger contaminants and improve the overall performance of the filter. As such, your skimmer plays an important role in the pool's overall circulation system and you must keep it in tip-top condition.

(Video) How to Vacuum a Pool: Vacuuming your Pool: Cleaning your Pool for Beginners: Vacuum inground pool


What setting should my pool pump be on to vacuum? ›

For routine vacuuming, the filter valve is left in the normal “Filter” position. This directs dirty vacuum water through the pool filter to remove the contaminants, then conveys filtered water through return lines back to the pool. The "Filter" setting is used for light to moderate levels of pool sediment.

Do I leave the skimmer basket in when I vacuum? ›

Now, here answers the question earlier: do you leave skimmer basket in when vacuuming pool? YES, you need to remove the skimmer or strainer basket before attaching the open end of the hose to the inlet. Finally, plug the open vacuum hose into the suction port.

Do you need skimmer basket in when vacuuming pool? ›

You may want to use a skimmer vacuum plate, sometimes also called skim vac. This allows you to use the skimmer basket. Without it, vacuuming will still work, but you'll have to use the pump strainer basket.

Do you shock a pool before vacuuming? ›

Although vacuuming should be combined with pool shocking, it's better to vacuum the pool before you shock the water. A good scrubbing and vacuuming of the pool walls and floor will ensure that dirt and debris that can affect the water chemistry is removed before the chlorine is added.

How do you remove sediment from the bottom of a pool without a vacuum? ›

Use a rake to gather the debris pieces into a pile, and then remove the pile by hand. Bag it and dump it in a garbage. If the debris is floating and not in the bottom of the pool, you can opt for a leaf net to trap the debris along the water's surface.

Do you close any valves when vacuuming a pool? ›


Water is now being taken out of the pool. If you have more than one skimmer, slowly close the valves. Ensure that the valve to the skimmer that the vacuum hose is connected to, is fully open. Slowly close the Main Drain valve about halfway, this is the optimal setting for vacuuming.

Do you vacuum a pool on backwash or filter? ›

The "Filter" position is the correct multi-port valve setting for vacuuming a relatively clean pool.

What speed should my pool pump be on for vacuum? ›

The pump must be set at a speed that produces 17 to 25 psi at the water valve gauge(s) and cleans the pool.

How do I vacuum heavy debris from the bottom of my pool? ›

I would recommend using a deep leaf net to get out the majority of the leaves. Using a pool vacuum and sending that much debris into your filter will just immediately clog it. Once the majority of the debris is scooped out manually with a leaf net, then I would use your automatic pool cleaner to finish the job.

How do I get more suction when vacuuming a pool? ›

Solution. The fix is quite simple. Open the valve that fills your pool and make sure it reaches the recommended levels for the size of your pool and your skimmer. The water level must be at around half of the opening of the skimmer to ensure a steady state of water pressure.

Should you put shock in the skimmer? ›

Never pour pool shock into the skimmer. For vinyl liner pools, it's recommended to pre-dissolve your chlorine shock before adding to the water.

Why dont you put shock in a skimmer? ›

Adding Pool Shock Through Your Skimmer

But since making this one can literally blow up your pool's filter system, we recommend avoiding it at all costs. Combining calcium hypochlorite or dichlor pool shock and chlorine creates a deadly gas.

Should main drain and skimmer be open when vacuuming? ›

When you want to vacuum make sure you close the main drain side so that all of the suction is coming from the skimmer line.

Can you run a pool vacuum and a skimmer at the same time? ›

It follows the water surface, so you no longer have to constantly add water to your pool to ensure that the wall skimmer stays full. You can also attach your skim-a-round to any suction-side vacuum and create a moving skimmer!

Should I rinse after vacuuming pool? ›

Yes, we recommend backwashing after you vacuum your pool. This allows the filter to shoot out any dirt / debris you have vacuumed up. Don't forget to set your filter to “rinse” for 30 seconds after backwashing!

Can you put too much shock in a pool? ›

Can you put too much shock in a pool? SKIMMER NOTES: It's unlikely but it could happen. It would take a lot of shock to really make the water unsafe for swimming. The best way to make sure you're safe to swim is to test your pool water and make sure free chlorine levels are between 1-4ppm for healthy swimming.

Do you pour shock directly into pool? ›

Lithium Hypochlorite Shock

It dissolves much more quickly than calcium hypochlorite, so you can add it directly to your pool without dissolving it beforehand. Commercial versions contain 35% chlorine. It must be used after dusk. It will be roughly eight hours before you can safely swim again.

Can you vacuum algae from bottom of pool? ›

Vacuum green algae through the Waste Method (Easiest and Safest for Equipment) The easiest way to eliminate the algae that has settled on the bottom of your pool is to bypass the filter and vacuum from the pool to waste.

Why is the bottom of my pool always dirty? ›

While larger debris like leaves get sucked up and caught in your skimmer basket, dirt is too tiny to be caught by any netted filters. Instead, it usually falls to the bottom of your pool, and doesn't get circulated through your pool system. That's why you might see dirt piling up in the bottom of your pool.

What is the gray stuff on the bottom of my pool? ›

Calcium scaling is an unsightly white to white-grey stain, dust, or film that forms on pool sides or tile when a pool's calcium levels and pH are imbalanced. Not to worry though, calcium scaling is an easy thing to prevent with regular water testing and balancing.

How do you vacuum a pool with a lot of algae? ›

All you need to do is bypass the filter and pool vacuum for algae to the waste. However, this can only work if you have a multiport system or a waste line system in your cartridge filter. Vacuum the pool to waste after you have set up the waste, and the debris and algae will get out of your pool.

Do you vacuum a pool on backwash or waste? ›

8. Vacuuming pool with filter valve in "backwash" position. When a pool is vacuumed with the sand filter valve in the "filter" position, the dirt and debris that passes through the pump ends up inside the filter on top of the bed of sand which is where you want it.

How do you get dirt off the bottom of a pool without a vacuum? ›

Use a rake to gather the debris pieces into a pile, and then remove the pile by hand. Bag it and dump it in a garbage. If the debris is floating and not in the bottom of the pool, you can opt for a leaf net to trap the debris along the water's surface.

Should I brush the pool before vacuuming? ›

'To minimize the chances of algae, the walls and floor of the pool should be brushed weekly,' he says. 'Pay particular attention around the steps and in corners. After brushing, allow the water to settle, then vacuum the pool up.

Where does debris go when you vacuum a pool? ›

Dirt and debris will be transferred through the vacuum plate and into the pump. It will then move through the sand filter. Depending on the chosen settings, the filter should capture the excess particles. Make sure to backwash your sand filter after you've finished vacuuming the pool.

Should pool vacuum be left in the pool? ›

Cleaners aren't meant to stay in the pool 24/7. This is true for all cleaners. Pressure side cleaners run on a schedule every day so why take it out? Leaving the cleaner in the pool 24/7 increases its exposure to corrosive chemicals in the water, such as chlorine or shock.

How long do you leave vacuum in pool? ›

How Long to Run a Pool Vacuum. If you have a manual vacuum, you'll run it as long as it takes for your to vacuum your pool. If you have an automated vacuum, it will run anywhere between two and six hours depending on your pool size.

Is backwash the same as waste? ›

Drain/Waste: Opting the drain or waste setting will remove pool water without forcing it through the filter. Backwash: This clears out any debris, dirt and other contaminants that may have accumulated on the filter. Closed: if you choose this setting, then the flow of water to the pool and filter will be stopped.


1. How to Vacuum A Pool: How to Use a Pool Vacuum: Vacuuming a Pool: Pool Vacuuming: Cleaning Pool
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2. How to Vacuum an Above Ground Pool!
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3. Inground Swimming Pools: How to vacuum an inground pool.
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4. Tip 2 - How to improve your pool pump suction
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5. How to Connect Vac hose and head to your skimmer box on your swimming pool
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6. Pool Vac XL Basic Installation
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