How do I winterize my skimmer?

Contrary to what many people try to tell you, I feel most pond skimmers will winter over without a problem if water freezes inside the unit. The reason most skimmers have tapered sides is so that when water freezes inside the skimmer, it will expand and travel up the sides. As long as there is enough space for the water to expand inside, which for most skimmers there should be, then you’ll be fine. Two examples of skimmers with tapered sides are ones from Atlantic Water Garden skimmers and Easypro Pond Skimmers.

While I don’t feel like you need to remove the skimmer, everything inside definitely should be. Remove filter media and everything else from the skimmer, and make sure you drain any plumbing of water so the hoses won’t burst.

If you house your water pump in your skimmer, the freezing ice may cause damage to it. Submerge your mechanical pump into a deep section of your pond where the water won’t freeze. Alternatively, you can submerge it in a bucket of water in a warm location. If you have a magnetic drive pump, clean and store it in a dry place.

While we are on the subject of skimmers, if you are thinking about installing one on your pond, make sure that you place two to three inches of sand underneath the skimmer as well as about two to three inches of sands along the sides of the skimmer. Believe it or not, frozen moisture in the ground can make it expand, even if just by a little. Sand can help your skimmer remain level when the ground thaws and freezes over again and again.

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