How to Find and Replace a Skimmer Basket

Written by Michael Dean
August 31, 2023

skimmer basket next to a swimming pool

If you discover a broken pool skimmer basket, it’s not that difficult to replace it yourself. It doesn’t require any skills beyond learning how to turn off the pool power and find the basket.

I’ll explain the purpose of your skimmer basket, tell you how to find it, and provide you with 11 easy steps to use a new skimmer basket in no time. Don’t worry; most of the steps are no-brainers. Also, make sure to read my top picks for the best pool skimmer replacement baskets.

Main Takeaways

  • A pool skimmer basket is the first step of the filtration system; it catches large debris, such as leaves and even insects!
  • The pool skimmer basket is found by opening the weir door.
  • You should only need to replace a pool skimmer basket if it’s broken; skimmer baskets often last up to decades.

What is a Pool Skimmer Basket?

Pool skimmer baskets are the first step of your pool’s filtration system. As your pump pulls water into the skimmer, it first pulls water through the skimmer basket, which catches leaves and large debris. I’ve even found animals in them (usually frogs or insects).

A pool skimmer basket keeps trash (and animals) from clogging the pipes that lead to the pool filtration system. For that reason, you should clean your skimmer basket frequently!

How Does a Pool Skimmer Basket Work?

A pool uses a pump beneath the basket to create a suction action that pulls floating objects like leaves into the basket before they can sink to the pool’s bottom.

When Should I Replace My Pool Skimmer Basket?

Baskets usually last for years – decades even. But, as soon as I find out that I have a broken pool skimmer basket, I make sure to replace it right away.

Is a Pool Skimmer Basket Necessary?

I don’t want any more debris getting into my skimmer pipes than necessary. If I have a broken basket and allow leaves and debris through, it can result in a clogged pipe, pump, or filter.

If I don’t replace my basket, I will spend way more on repairing the rest of my filtration system down the line. For the common pool owner, that’s going to mean a service call rather than something you can do yourself. Nobody wants that.

Where is a Pool Skimmer Basket Located?

If you’re new to pool ownership, you need to know how pool skimmers work and how to find your pool skimmer basket. I clean mine out every week or so, and when I close my pool up for the winter.

I’ve heard horror stories about people who didn’t know they were supposed to clean out their skimmer baskets. Oops.

To find your pool skimmer basket, you will need to locate your pool weir. The weir door is the opening or flap inside the pool where the pump sucks water into the skimmer. You will find access to your weir from the hole above the weir door. Most have a cover, but yours may not.

Step-By-Step Process to Replace a Skimmer Basket

Replacing the skimmer basket isn’t complicated if you follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Turn Off The Power to Your Pool

The first thing you should do before doing anything related to your skimmer is turn off the power to your pool.

To avoid becoming a crispy critter, I always make sure that I’m wearing rubber-soled shoes and not standing in water when I work with a pool’s electrical system.

It’s not too difficult to turn off the power to your pool:

  1. Locate your pool’s timer box. Make sure the non-shock card is undamaged, and then turn the timer off.
  2. Locate the pool pump breaker and turn it off.
  3. Relieve the system pressure.

Step 2: Find Your Pool Skimmer Basket

You can find and gain access to your pool skimmer basket through the hole above the skimmer weir door flap. If it has a lid on top of it, you will need to remove it.

Step 3: Remove the Skimmer Basket Cover

Your skimmer weir usually has a white circular cover. To remove the skimmer basket lid to your pool pump, you should:

  1. Use a screwdriver to unscrew any screws
  2. Twist the cover
  3. Pull the skimmer basket cover off. You may need a flathead screwdriver to help pry it loose if it is stuck

Step 4: Remove the Basket

You can remove the basket by merely pulling it up. Some baskets even have a handle.

Step 6: Determine What Type of Skimmer Basket You Have

Not all skimmer baskets are the same size. To identify your skimmer basket, locate the manufacturer’s name and model number or measure your skimmer basket.

Possible locations of the manufacturer and model numbers include:

  • On the cover of the weir door
  • On your skimmer basket cover
  • The basket itself
  • Basket base, bottom, or rim

If you cannot find a model number, you will need to measure your basket. Measurements you should take include:

  • Outside diameters
  • Inside diameters
  • Base Diameter
  • Height

When I replace baskets, I like to measure the hole that the basket sits into just in case I find a replacement basket a little larger than the basket measurements.

Step 7: Use a Skimmer Plug

If you need to remove the entire basket for any amount of time (like if you plan to take it to a store to help find a replacement), be sure to use a skimmer plug. Skimmer plugs snap onto the faceplate of your skimmer entrance to prevent any debris from making its way into your pipes and pump.

If you don’t have a skimmer plug or if yours has a crack, you can buy one at your local pool supply store or online.

I like to drain the water below the skimmer opening before attaching my skimmer plug to make everything less complicated.

Step 7: Find a Replacement Basket

I’ve found that my local pool store has a wider variety of replacement skimmer baskets in stock than my hardware store. You can also find them online.

If I can’t find a model number, I like to take the old, broken basket into the store to ensure I’m getting the correct basket.

Don’t forget to cover the opening to your skimmer with a skimmer plug if you take the basket with you on your shopping trip (instructions in the step above).

Step 8: Replace Your Skimmer Basket

Replacing your straining basket is the easiest part of this whole process. Just drop it back into its hole.

Step 9: Return the Skimmer Cover

When you put the skimmer cover back on the hole, push it down until you hear it click into place. If it has screws, replace them.

Step 10: Remove the Skimmer Plug

If you used a skimmer plug, remove it.

Step 11: Restore Power to Your Pool

Turn everything on that you turned off in Step 1:

  • Turn the timer back on.
  • Turn the pool pump breaker back on.
  • Restore the system pressure.

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

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Replacing a Skimmer Basket Is Easy

Finding and replacing a skimmer basket is easy. The hardest part is turning off your power and finding the make and model of your basket. If you follow these easy steps, I think you’ll have no problem replacing it yourself. If you need a new skimmer, make sure to check out my research on the best pool skimmer as well.

Questions? Leave me a note.

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