Also Known As: Surface Skimmer, Floating Skimmer, Ball Skimmer

Also known as a surface skimmer, floating skimmer or ball skimmer, a skimmer’s job is to pull water from the surface of the pool into the filtration system. Much of the pool’s debris — including leaves and oils — collects on the surface of the water before it sinks to the bottom. Large pieces of debris are caught in the skimmer basket, while smaller particles are trapped by the filtration medium.

Typically, skimmers are built into the sides of the pool, at about water level. When the pool pump is on, a floating weir inside the skimmer gently sucks the top ¼ inch of water into the filtration system. The suction power is so slight that swimmers do not even notice. The skimmer basket is generally accessible through a trap in the pool deck. It should be checked and cleaned regularly. After storms or high-capacity swim days, these baskets should be monitored even more closely.

Some pool vacuums can be attached to the skimmer, using the pool pump to operate the vacuum. Any debris that has been allowed to sink to the floor or has attached to the sides can be removed using the vacuum and filtered through the pool’s filtering system.

In above-ground pools, floating skimmers are often more appropriate than built-in skimmers. These hang over the side of the pool at the water’s edge, floating on the surface of the water.