One of the most important yet overlooked tasks in pool maintenance is cleaning the skimmer and pump baskets. These baskets prevent leaves, hair, insects and other debris from getting to the pump, but they do not clean themselves. Blocked skimmer or pump baskets can restrict the amount of water going into the pool, thereby decreasing the turnover rate for clean, filtered water in the pool. Over time, this may overwork the pump and cause the seals to fail.
In order for your pump to work at maximum efficiency, the skimmer and pump baskets need to be cleaned regularly (at least once per week). You should replace damaged baskets as soon as possible to prevent debris getting through and clogging the impeller, causing reduced water flow. Remember, a properly running pool pump will facilitate proper circulation of chemicals and leave you with a sparkling clear pool.
Follow the steps below at least once a week to clean both the skimmer and pump baskets:
Skimmer Basket Cleaning:
• Turn off the pool pump.
• Remove the skimmer lid.
• Remove the skimmer basket and empty it out.
• Check for damage and wash it with a hose if necessary to remove material that is trapped in the basket.
• Put the basket back into the skimmer.
• Replace the skimmer lid and turn the system back on.
Pump Basket Essentials:
• Switch off the heater; allow water in the heater to cool down for 5-10 minutes before turning off the pool pump.
• Turn off the booster pump, if one is installed.
• If the pump is below the water line: turn off the skimmer and main drain valves.
• Remove the pump lid.
• Reach into the pump basket and remove as much debris as possible before removing the basket.
• Remove the basket; use a garden hose to clean the basket if needed; inspect basket for cracks and damage. Replace the pump basket if necessary
• Reinstall the pump basket. If you have a basket that twists into place, don’t over-tighten it.
• Examine the pump lid & o-ring for signs of damage or cracks, and use a light coating of silicone to lubricate the o-ring if it seems dry. Make sure the o-ring is completely free of leaves and debris to ensure a secure seal.
• Put the lid back in place, and do not over tighten. If you have to tighten the lid to get the pump to prime, the o-ring might need replacement.
• Check the filter valve is in the “filter” position.
• Slowly open the main drain valve until it is fully open.
• Open the air relief valve on the pool filter.
• Use the filter air bleed valve to remove any trapped air.
• Turn on the pool pump and wait until it is primed.
• Open the remaining skimmer valves.
• Watch for a steady stream of water from the air relief valve, then close the valve.
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