Pond Skimmer Replacement Project In Maryland For A Cleaner Pond

See How A Pond Skimmer Should Be Replaced For Ponds In Maryland, DC, And Northern Virginia

Pond Skimmer in need of replacement

On a warm winter day just before spring maintenance kicks in our Premier Pond team was called upon to make some Pond upgrades and repairs to a pond in Fulton, Maryland – Montgomery County.  A homeowner who has a well-established ecosystem pond is getting ready to put their home on the market and knows there are some maintenance problems and repairs that are needed. They don’t want to pass along these pond problems to the next owners.

Pond Leaking and Maintenance Problems

For several years the pond was losing water and the pond owner needs to fill the pond frequently.  The two skimmers on the pond are also hard to keep clean.  At one time the pond system worked very well, but due to the overgrowth of the aquatic plants and the large pond fish (big fish = big waste) cleaning the skimmers is a chore.  These old skimmers are constantly getting filled with debris which would result in poor water flow to the motors.  The constant water loss isn’t helping matters either. As it turned out that the hardware on the skimmer face plates had long corroded away and water was leaking through and going right underneath the liner of the pond.  Instead of repairing the seals on the old skimmers the pond owner opted to replace them with new top of the line Aquascape Signature Series skimmers.  Some of the benefits of these skimmers are: big baskets to collect debris, a larger opening for water to pass through to the submersible pump, and even a more realistic faux stone lid.  So by replacing the old skimmers with the new ones both the skimmer leaks and the skimmer maintenance issues would be solved.

Removing The Old Pond Skimmer

When we got there we first took a measurement of the ponds water level.  We then set up a large holding tub (1600 gallon) and drained the pond to a workable level.  We stored 1600 gallons of the pond water temporarily as we would also use this water to refill the pond when we finished.  All the fish remained in the pond while we were working. Once the water was about a foot below the openings of the old skimmers we stopped pumping water out and begun to remove the skimmers.

Pond Skimmer remover using shovel

First we moved all the rocks and gravel from around each skimmer in order to have room to work.  These were all set aside as they would be placed back after the new skimmers are in.  We disconnected the motors, cut the plumbing lines and dug out each skimmer.  Before lifting the old skimmers out of the ground we carefully removed the liner away from the skimmer openings.  We would later use this same liner to attach to the new skimmers so it’s very important not to damage it.  Dirt from the excavation was saved on a tarp as we would need the same dirt for back filling around the newly installed skimmers.  Since the new skimmers are a little bigger and will actually sit a little deeper in the ground a good bit of dirt was generated.  Once the skimmer holes were big enough and allowed for a little wiggle room during the new install we were ready to go! Check out the video below to see how a new skimmer installation works, start to finish:

Installing The New Pond Skimmer

With the new holes ready we set in the new skimmers at the correct height, leveled them up, and backfilled around them (the overflow fitting in the skimmer is set with a transit to the maximum water level.  This measurement was taken when we first arrived). Once each skimmer was set, backfilled, and tamped solid the liner was then attached. During the attachment excess liner was trimmed away as needed to fit the new larger opening and faceplate.  The existing plumbing lines were then attached to the skimmers and the motors were installed.  Rocks were placed back at the front of and around the skimmer where they had been removed.   While the pond water was being pumped back into the pond we added some mulch on the work area and cleaned up.  When the pond water was finished pumping back into the pond the motors were plugged back in and the waterfalls back on.

Replacement Pond Skimmer in place

Job Challenges

Our crew has repaired and replaced lots of skimmers.  We found these skimmer replacements to be a little more challenging than normal due to very muddy conditions. It was early spring and the ground was saturated from melted snow and rain.  The skimmer leaks also put so much water underneath the liner the ground kept pouring water into the skimmer holes and we were continuously bailing them out.  The backfill dirt was really mud and hard to work with.  Since the new skimmers sit lower in the ground we had a tough time fastening the bottom row of screws on one.  We could have removed more rocks and pulled the liner back and did more excavating to prevent this, but in this case that would have required disassembling and rebuilding a lot more of the pond.

Hiding the Replacement Pond Skimmer

A Satisfied Customer

When the customer came home and saw the new skimmers and how the debris baskets worked he knew that the new home owners would have a much easier time maintaining his pond.  He also had the peace of mind that the leaks at the skimmers were gone and would no longer pose a problem.

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