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Everything You Need to Know About Pool Skimmer Diverters

Everything You Need to Know About Pool Skimmer Diverters

Because a skimmer is an essential pool accessory, we must talk about it, most especially about this accessory’s important piece, which is the diverter. Many people do not put much effort into familiarizing their pool equipment and accessories as long as they do their job correctly. 

As a part of understanding your pool skimmer better, we will talk about the diverters in this article. You might be asking, What is a diverter? How does it work? Is it necessary to know about this? Continue reading for you to get the right answer to that question. 

Skimmer Diverter’s Main Function

pool skimmer diverter

When you closely inspect your pool skimmer, you will notice two holes. One hole goes directly to your pump. The other hole goes down to the floor drain, usually located in the middle of your pool. 

The diverter’s primary function is to divert water suction from the skimmer to the floor drain. It will let you choose where the water goes whether it will be sent to the pool filter or the main drain line. 

A skimmer diverter regulates how much water is distributed between the main drain and the filtration system. As a rule of thumb, the swimming pool’s main drain must circulate at about 75% to 80% of the pool’s water. 

The swimming pool skimmer is only capable of circulating 25% of your pool’s water. And, without the skimmer diverter, your swimming pool will only be partially filtered. Thus, leaving debris and dirt on the swimming pool’s bottom. 

If this happens, your pool water will become cloudy, and algae will grow rapidly at the bottom of your pool. 

How Skimmer Diverter Works

The skimmer diverter has a float inside, which allows it to stay afloat inside the skimmer. If the diverter gets too much suction, it closes, shutting off the skimmer preventing it from sucking more air. The skimmer diverter also has a flap that slides open and close. 

This flap is the one that allows you to divert suction from the skimmer to the main drain on the swimming pool floor. 

The skimmer diverter should be placed at the bottom of the skimmer. If you use it right by closing the flap of the diverter, the diversion of the suction will become more effective. 

Swimming pools that have an in-floor pop-up cleaning system should have a diverter in their skimmer. An in-floor pop-up cleaning system uses a cleaner that pops out of the floor when cleaning and retracts back after when done. 

Having a skimmer diverter helps your in-floor pool pop-up cleaning system achieve its full cleaning potential by regulating the water circulation. 

Does A Diverter Work? 

Yes, the skimmer diverter is an effective way to create suction to the floor drain of the swimming pool. However, you have to keep in mind that you will reduce its effectiveness when you start to take away the suction from the skimmer. 

Another thing you need to remember is that water always seeks the path of least resistance. Take note that the pool drain is on the bottom of the swimming pool while the equipment sits at the swimming pool surface level.  

Therefore, you will need to divert enough suction from the skimmer to create sufficient pull to suck the water up from your swimming pool. This helps the water fight the gravity and adequately flow upstream. 

When this happens, the water will find the path of least resistance. Thus your skimmer will continuously get a lot of suction. So unless you completely close your diverter flap, you will lose a lot of the effectiveness of the skimmer. 

Other Benefits Of Skimmer Diverter

pool skimmer diverter

Aside from helping to achieve a proper circulation of your pool water, the skimmer diverter can potentially help you save money too. Plus, it can also work as a safety device for your swimming pool pump

Some believe that when the water level on your skimmer gets too low, the diverter will shut down the skimmer, which allows it only to pull the water from the drain. 

If this happens, the pump will not suck air and prevent it from overheating which can result in melting pipes, and burning your pump. You do not want this to happen as this will cost you a lot of money for repairs and replacements. 

The Drawback of Skimmer Diverts

The float inside your diverter will eventually wear out and will stick to the bottom of the diverter. This will result in an ineffective suction of your skimmer. Overall, A skimmer diverter tends to only work on pools that have a pop-up cleaning system. 

If you do not have a pop-up cleaning system, it is unnecessary to have a swimming pool skimmer diverter. 

How Much Does A Skimmer Diverter Cost?

A diverter costs around $40 to $50, which can be a small price to pay for the long-term benefit it provides. You can purchase a skimmer online or at a local pool supply store, whichever is more convenient and practical for you.

You might hear some pool guy who disagrees with the benefits of the skimmer diverter. But, at the same time, others will swear by its efficiency and effectiveness. But, the best solution for this confusion is to try it for yourself and see how it goes for you. 

Your experience will always be the one that matters the most. So if you think that it works, you continue using it. But if not, you can either get rid of it or just let it stay on your skimmer as it will not harm your swimming pool and its equipment at all. 


Whether a pool owner or a pool expert, people in the swimming pool industry have a different take on this matter. If you think that having a skimmer diverter will help you in the long run, you should own one without hesitaition.

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