Pool skimmer diverters are not always necessary, and many swimming pool owners may not even know they exist. But they can be beneficial for keeping the water clean and controlling the water temperature through circulation. You may ask yourself, “should I use a pool skimmer diverter in my pool?” The answer depends on a few things.
A pool skimmer diverter is a beneficial tool to attach to your pool skimmer. It is essentially a disc that you place in your skimmer, and once connected, it changes how the water flows. It gives you more control over your water flow and diverts the water to the pump from the floor drain or skimmer.
What Are Pool Skimmer Diverters?
When water is pumped into the skimmer, it can either come from the top or bottom of the pool. Under your skimmer basket, there are usually two holes. One hole leads to the filter and pump line, and the other leads to the main drain at the bottom of the water. Both of these holes regulate the suction and circulation of the pool water.
The pool skimmer valve (also known as a mushroom diverter) is a circular device that sits on top of these two holes. It is generally a small pipe with three openings that sits under the skimmer on above-ground pools. It has its own hole that can be fully or partially covered. Here’s my illustration of what it looks like.
Pool skimmer diverters have a lever or switch that controls which flow is open. Most of the time, you will have all of the piping opened. But it can be switched off or partially closed, depending on your goal.
Although they are often forgotten, pool skimmer diverters are an important part of your pool system. You can purchase them at your local pool store for about $40-$50.
What Do Pool Skimmer Diverters Do?
Without proper circulation, your pool water will become a cesspool of algae and debris. The primary purpose of a pool skimmer diverter is to direct pool water flow to different areas of the pool system. A pool skimmer diverter allows you to suck water from the bottom or top of the pool, depending on your goal.
For example, if there are lots of leaves floating on the top of the water, you should set most of the suction from the top. On the other hand, if you use a pool flocculant, set the suction to come from the bottom of the pool to pick up all of the clumped particles sitting at the bottom of the pool.
As you can see in my illustration below, the skimmer diverter controls where water flows in the pool system.
Some pool skimmer diverters will allow you to fully or partially close and open the valve, while others have less functionality. They also come in 2 or 3-way valves.
Pool skimmer valves have a lot of valuable functions, and I highly recommend them for most pools. They are especially useful if there is constantly algae growing in your water.
2-Way Valve Pool Skimmer Diverters
A 2-way pool skimmer diverter is a simple version you will see at pool stores. They will connect to the pool skimmer and direct water flow between the skimmer, main drain, and pool pump. The downside of 2-way valves is that you cannot customize how much water is being pumped from each source.
3-Way Valve Pool Skimmer Diverters
A 3-way pool skimmer diverter valve works very similarly to a 2-way valve, but an actual connection port attaches to both the main drain and skimmer piping. These are much more useful because you can change the water flow to come from the skimmer or the drain. I recommend using a 3-way port in your pool rather than a 2-way port unless your pool does not have a bottom drain.
Who Should Use a Pool Skimmer Diverter?
You can use pool skimmer diverters in inground and above-ground pools. Above-ground pools do not often have a bottom drain, so you will use a 2-way valve in this case. Conversely, inground pools will almost always utilize a 3-way valve.
I recommend using a pool skimmer diverter in any swimming pool. They are cheap and easy to use. Although you may not use their functions often, having the option to direct the circulation of your pool water is a beneficial tool.
Take a look at your pool water. If the flow at the top of the water is not strong enough to remove all floating debris, you can change the circulation to strengthen the skimmer pump. And if dirt and algae are hanging out on the pool floor, you can change the water flow to suck water from the main drain.
Any pool owner that struggles with algae infestations in specific areas of the pool should try using a pool diverter valve. They will help you manage your contaminants and give you more control over your pool water. And that is something that can constantly be improved.
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There have been countless times in my career that I have encountered pool owners that have never even heard of a pool skimmer diverter. So don’t worry if you don’t know how to use one! The device itself is super simple to use. And it is an incredibly helpful tool that will only make pool maintenance easier for you. For more on skimmers, check out my article on pool skimmer basics.
Would you like to know more? Reach out to me, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.