Placement Of Pool Waterfall..Too Close To Skimmers

by Don
(Islip, NY)

I am having a new inground pool installed. A straight backed kidney 20x36.

The waterfall is going on the straight backed side. The skimmers are also on the straight backed side. The return lines are opposite the skimmers.

The waterfall will be right in the middle of the skimmers. The skimmers are about 12 feet apart. The waterfall is going to be a decent size.

My question is will the skimmers perform correctly on the same side as the waterfall, or will debris always be pushed away from the skimmer while the waterfall is operating. I would like my pool to filter while the waterfall is on. I do not want to shut it off to have the pool filter correctly.

I should also add there is no bottom drain.

Thanks for the question Don, and I hope I answered your other question completely and to your satisfaction

I have taken care of many pools in Arizona with waterfalls/water features, and they had similar set-ups as yours. This is what I have personally experienced.

When the pool waterfall is too close, and with too much pressure, to the skimmers, it will create a "whirlpool" effect, pushing the water down, around, and from the skimmers. The debris might by-pass the skimmers and either float on top of the water or sink to the bottom.

To compensate for that loss of suction from the skimmers, I've known people to up the horse-power on their pool pumps, but this creates another issue. A higher HP pool motor will move the dirt around the pool too quickly, not allowing it to settle to the bottom for the pool cleaner
to do its job. There are pools with pop-ups mounted on the floor of the pool to push the dirt towards to deep end. With too much pressure, the water moves too quickly and again, the dirt just floats around.

You might be in a good situation in that your pool doesn't have a bottom drain, so more suction will come from the skimmers. You can have a motor that is designated for the waterfall, but tied in to the pool cleaning cycle.

I'm not sure of the exact measurements of how far the waterfall needs to be away from the skimmers, or the gallons per minute (GPM) the waterfall should flow, in order to get the proper amount of suction through the skimmers while the waterfall is on.

If I were you, I would consider having alternate skimmers placed on the opposite side of the waterfall, if you can.

I wonder if the pool contractor mentioned this to you when the pool was in the design phase?

If you don't have enough suction through the skimmers when the waterfall is on, and there's no way the contractor can add a couple of skimmers to the opposite side of the pool, you might need to turn the waterfall off during the cleaning cycle.

This is a swimming pool detail that is sometimes overlooked.

Another method is to lessen the HP of the waterfall motor, but this might effect the water coming off the fall, and could disrupt the ascetics of the pool.

I hope this helps and I'd like to have some pictures of your finished pool to put on the website.

Best of luck


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What's The Best Maintenance Practice For A Large Patio Fountain?

(Cardiff, CA)

Large front patio fountain, 7 ft diameter & 3 ft deep.

What chemicals should I use to keep water clear (or blue) and free of algae?

Thanks for the question.

First you want to clean out the water fountain pump. Take it out and wipe any debris, slimy algae, or build-up with a clean cloth. Take off the cover and clean the inside of the pump.

You can use an old toothbrush to get any of those hard to reach areas.

Siphon out of the water and replace it with clean water. If it's used for a bird bath, it’s important to change out the water often, maybe every other day or so.

If there is mold or algae, you can use a very diluted mixutre of water and bleach or water and chlorine.

Maybe 1 tablespoon per gallon should do it. You'll need to scrub a bit to get any algae or slime off. Be sure to rinse well with clean water and refill.

You can use products like White Scale Control to prevent scale and calcium build up. Products like No More Foam and Algae Control can help keep the fountain water clean.

Clean water will keep your water fountain running well and will improve the longevity of it.

You need to remember to keep the water pump completely submersed. I've known people to use distilled water whenever they can.

Check the pump regularly and remove and debris and/or build-up.

Some other products you can look into are Fountain Fresh Care Free Enzymes and Care Free Birdbath Protector.

When buying any products for your water fountain be sure they are safe for birds and children.

No harsh chemicals.

Pond Keeper Kit is also good and sells for about $20

If you already have a slimy build up or algae, you can use a tablet of Fountain Block.

A white scale is a calcium buildup that comes from using hard tap water. You can try to use white vinegar to remove any build up. This is one reason why many fountain owners use distilled water.

If that doesn't work a couple of good products are No More White Scale and Care Free Enzyme Fountain Protector.

Hope this helps. Have a great Summer.


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