The Importance and Function of a Skimmer Box

The skimmer box is an essential element in every pool. It helps clean water of the pool and catches the debris like leaves, gunk, and algae from entering the pool pump. Usually, the skimmer box is integrated into the pool to protect users from stepping into it. And although many people may think that the skimmer box is just a hole on the side of the pool where the water leaves and goes to the pump and filter, there’s a lot more to the swimming pool skimmer. Let’s dive deeper into its parts and how they work together to keep your pool clean.

skimmer box vacuum plate

Skimmer Vac plate

Protecting the basket that sits on top of it and the pump system form getting clogged when a vacuum is connected, the skimmer box vacuum plate is an essential part of this system. The vac plate serves as a form of protection that prevents air from getting in the pump and the lower part of the skimmer box where the pipes are. Although it is quite small in comparison to all the other parts, the vac plate helps maintain a steady flow of air for the vacuum pool cleaner so you can avoid a skimmer that can barely draw water. Make sure to connect the vacuum through the plate and not directly to the opening below the basket.


The opening of the skimmer has a door like part called a ‘weir’ which basically creates a small waterfall that lures the water to enter the skimmer box easily. That way the debris doesn’t hit the ground of the pool which would make cleaning more difficult. If you happen to turn off the pump – the weir serves as a door and automatically closes so the debris doesn’t float back into the pool. Like the skimmer box vacuum plate, the weir also helps prevent large amounts of air from getting into your pump and filtration system.

Skimmer Basket

If it’s not emptied regularly, the skimmer basket can reduce the water flow which will cause the pump to work harder. This, in turn, will eventually shorten its lifespan, because the skimmer basket is considered to be the first line of defense for the debris. So the only thing you’ll need to do here is to make sure the basket isn’t full of gunk and whether it is damaged or stuck (which is pretty common). If you encounter a broken basket stuck inside the skimmer box make sure to take it out as soon as possible using some plyers or, preferably, replace it with a heavy duty basket.

Skimmer Lid

The lid is what makes the skimmer box blend in its surroundings, and it also protects you from breaking a bone or two. A skimmer lid is easy to install – all you need to do is just screw it. Just be sure to get the right one as they can be very specific sometimes. A bit of a downside with skimmer lids is that despite the screws, they can unbolt during extreme winds, so keep in mind to put something heavy on top of it to keep it in place.