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Otter Otter
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  • Posted on: 31/10/2007 10:00
Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #1
About two years ago we bought the house next door for my mother complete with a two or there year old liner pond. Though the previous owner was a landscaper, he didn't have any experience with ponds, and between his ignorance and my own, I've had quite a bit of trouble. I do love having the pond, though, and I'd like to put it right. Currently it's leaking at both the waterfall and the skimmer, and I have many questions before I go on with the repair. Unfortunately, the weather usually turns here in early November, and I'm running out of time. I suspect I've got less than a week to get this repair done if I don't want to work in the cold and set up some sort of tent if I use sealants that won't cure at low temperatures.

I'm not sure what caused the leak at the skimmer. There was not enough slack in the liner, hence some of the weight of the water was hanging from the inlet. Also, the inlet is warped (perhaps from over-tightening the screws?). The body of the skimmer is bowed in one side as well, so perhaps shifting earth warped the whole thing badly enough to break the seal. And one of the the aluminum thread inserts came out when I disassembled the inlet. This was directly below the inlet where it's hard to see the inside wall with the plate installed, and for all I know, it was loose before I took a wrench to it. There was some evidence of erosion down the front of the skimmer below the inlet, but I'm not sure if that was from the leak or from rain water washing down the hill behind the skimmer. The pond has always had a very slow leak, and the previous owner installed a float valve filler to compensate. It's gotten worse now, though, and letting filler run produces frightening water bills. How do I fix this mess?

The more I think about it, the more I think I must get more slack at the skimmer. Am I making too much of this?

By adding some earth under the liner, I was able to get about one cm of slack at the inlet. I don't really like this, though, because it makes working with the bottom row of screws awkward and may impede flow a bit when the surface is frozen. Also, if there is any further settling, the liner will start pulling on the seal again.

The only ways I can think of to get the slack is to move the skimmer inward (in which case, I'd replace it), or add a new piece of liner. I've been advised against adding a seam because the old and new liner might expand or stretch differently and break the seam, and because I won't be able to lay the pieces out on a flat surface to join them. But perhaps I could join old and new liner with a system of plates. I'm envisioning three plates:
Plate>Liner>Sealant>Plate>Sealant>Liner>Plate

Two experienced ponders on another forum suggested that I use polyurethane roof and flashing sealer instead of aquarium silicone to make the seal between the skimmer and liner. Does that make sense? Would it really make a better seal, and would it be safe for the fish and other pondlife?

Do I need to be concerned about what alloy aluminum fasteners are made of, or will anything from the hardware store do? Though the rest of the screws seem to be in fair shape, the head of the screw next to the one with the bad insert was so thin I had to use an extractor to get it out. I'm not sure if it once matched the others or not, and I wonder if it was made of an inferior alloy.

If I don't replace the skimmer, I'll need something for the hole where the thread insert ripped out. I have a new aluminum machine screw and nut, but aluminum washers don't seem to be available locally and I've only got a week or so before the season turns. I also have an appropriate the screw, nut, and washer in stainless steel, but do I need to be concerned about galvanic corrosion of the adjacent aluminum screws and inserts?. The steel hardware wouldn't touch anything that's made of aluminum, but it would be much closer than steel and brass on the pump.

It's been suggested that I drill out all the old inserts and go with all stainless steel hardware? Is aluminum really that bad in ponds?

Or should I dig up the old skimmer and replace it? Because of the time crunch, I'd really rather not, but I do want this to stay fixed. If I can find a sturdier skimmer with a larger inlet and install it slightly inward to get some slack, it would solve a lot of problems. I would have quite a bit of digging to do, though, and maybe some large rocks to move in order to get the slack around the edge of the pond to move the skimmer forward.

Please lend me the benefit of your experience. I know just enough to know that I don't know what I'm doing.
Coralline Coralline
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  • Posted on: 31/10/2007 10:34
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #2
hi otter, welcome to the forum, sorry i cant help you, i dont do the technicalities of pond equipment! but one of our pondies should be along and share their practical expertise with you soon..
Gill

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fredrick_more fredrick_more
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  • Posted on: 31/10/2007 21:07
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #3
Hey otto, welcome to the site,

excess me if i dont answear all your questions, but theres alot to read through so i might miss bits

As far as i see it, you can do a few different things;

Replace the liner with a new liner (i wouldnt put any joins/seams unless you can get it flat to seal it, which u say you cant??, unless you double sealed it using two strips of a repair tape)

Take out the skimmer and inlet and replace the inlet so it doesnt have to go through the liner if thats possible, then just patch the holes up with a patch and a product called innotec.

The only other thing i can think of is to use innotec, which will cure under water, and seal around the skimmer and inlet for a quick fix and do a proper job next spring.

In terms of metal in water, brass is ok, steel isnt and alumium, i ahve no idea im afraid. Stainless steel would be your best bet if you could get hold of the parts, which i wouldnt of thought should be a problem.

I think you can either do a really good job now but might last too long, for do a quick fix and do it properly when you have more time on your hands.

I have my missed anything at all?
Otter Otter
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  • Posted on: 1/11/2007 1:02
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #4
Quote:
Replace the liner with a new liner (i wouldnt put any joins/seams unless you can get it flat to seal it, which u say you cant??, unless you double sealed it using two strips of a repair tape)

Replacing the liner would involve moving some very large rocks. I'd need a lot of help, and probably a tractor for the big boulder in the center. Moving a smaller number of rocks, I might be able to flip the liner over backward enough to do a simple patch.

Quote:
Take out the skimmer and inlet and replace the inlet so it doesnt have to go through the liner if thats possible, then just patch the holes up with a patch and a product called innotec.

I'm not sure what you mean... Do you mean put the skimmer inside the pond? If I was doing this from scratch, I'd probably do that. Why bother with seals if you don't have to? But the side of the pond opposite the waterfall is too shallow, and I want a current running across the pond. Now that you mention it, though, why do people build ponds with external skimmers?

Quote:
The only other thing i can think of is to use innotec, which will cure under water, and seal around the skimmer and inlet for a quick fix and do a proper job next spring.

Innotec Adheseal looks interesting. Not sure if I can get that here in the States, though.

If I do try to reseal my current skimmer, my big worry is getting the machine screws through the existing holes in the liner before the sealant cures. When I dry fit the skimmer, this was incredibly fidly, and I really doubt I could do it in five minutes without messing up the bead of sealant.

One thought is to use sealant or some sort of glue to secure the liner to the weir plate with the screws in place. I'm not sure what problems this might create, though. Any thoughts on this?

The only other way I can think of is to patch the liner. But getting it flat might involve almost as much labor as putting in the new skimmer.

Quote:
I have my missed anything at all?

If you have, the questions have become obsolete. Currently I'm thinking of replacing the skimmer and putting the new one a bit inward to get some slack in the liner. This solves most of my problems, but I wonder what sealant I should use. A couple people are telling me to use a polyurethane roof and flashing sealant instead of silicone. Any opinions?

Thanks for the help.
fredrick_more fredrick_more
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2007 13:54
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #5
Quote:

Replacing the liner would involve moving some very large rocks. I'd need a lot of help, and probably a tractor for the big boulder in the center. Moving a smaller number of rocks, I might be able to flip the liner over backward enough to do a simple patch.


Sorry i must of missed that, if you know where the leaks are extactly then you could try and patch it.

Quote:

I'm not sure what you mean... Do you mean put the skimmer inside the pond? If I was doing this from scratch, I'd probably do that. Why bother with seals if you don't have to? But the side of the pond opposite the waterfall is too shallow, and I want a current running across the pond. Now that you mention it, though, why do people build ponds with external skimmers?


Sorry, im a bit confused now, with the skimmer, it is on the side on the pond?

Quote:

Innotec Adheseal looks interesting. Not sure if I can get that here in the States, though.


I think you can, if i rember correctly its a US company but not a 100%

Quote:

If I do try to reseal my current skimmer, my big worry is getting the machine screws through the existing holes in the liner before the sealant cures. When I dry fit the skimmer, this was incredibly fidly, and I really doubt I could do it in five minutes without messing up the bead of sealant.


Are you able to turn off the skimmer, glue of bit of liner over it so water doesnt get drawn in and sort it out when you have more time on your hands?

Quote:

One thought is to use sealant or some sort of glue to secure the liner to the weir plate with the screws in place. I'm not sure what problems this might create, though. Any thoughts on this?


A bit like what i said above (sorry read this afterwards)?

Quote:
If you have, the questions have become obsolete. Currently I'm thinking of replacing the skimmer and putting the new one a bit inward to get some slack in the liner. This solves most of my problems, but I wonder what sealant I should use. A couple people are telling me to use a polyurethane roof and flashing sealant instead of silicone. Any opinions?


So bascily you move the skimmer forward (into the pond)? You could do as long as you lower the water level to under the skimmer.

In terms of the silcone, silcone will crack in cold weather, it will proberly be alright for the first year but then you would proberly need to replace it.

Are you maybe to give me some pics of the problem areas, just so i can get my head around it a little better.
Otter Otter
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  • Posted on: 5/11/2007 22:34
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #6
Quote:
In terms of the silcone, silcone will crack in cold weather, it will proberly be alright for the first year but then you would proberly need to replace it.

Hmmmm. Are you sure that's true of silicone that's rated for outdoor use?


Quote:
Are you maybe to give me some pics of the problem areas, just so i can get my head around it a little better.

Sorry, I don't have a camera. Most of my questions are resolved by replacing the skimmer, though. I'm still trying to work out the best way to replace the aluminum hardware on the waterfall with stainless steel. I'd have to drill fairly large holes to get rid of all of the aluminum inserts, and there is a place on each side where I won't have very good access to hold a nut, but after finding two more screws with the heads corroded away, I want to get rid of all the aluminum below the waterline.
fredrick_more fredrick_more
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  • Posted on: 6/11/2007 17:55
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #7
Weather you can specialist out door silicone or not, i wouldnt know, i was on about aquarium silicone.

Are you able to get move the skimmer slighty, even if its enough just to cover the old screws and bolts with a peice of liner and glue?
jewi-lewi jewi-lewi
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  • Posted on: 6/11/2007 20:52
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #8
what are skimmers for and are they needed??

whats a good one and how much are they??

my dad keeps saying about one but i just think he likes spending money
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing!!!

Just Keep Swimming

Lewis
fredrick_more fredrick_more
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  • Posted on: 7/11/2007 22:57
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #9
Skimmers are extactly what they sound like, they skim the water, therefore any floating material will slowely to dragged into the skimmer which is caught in a basket and then cleaned every now and then.

Theres several different types you can get, the best ones are ones built into the pond during contruction however there are products that can be installed to the after, which usually are either floating or tubes. Off top of my head Oase do both types.
jewi-lewi jewi-lewi
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  • Posted on: 9/11/2007 20:59
Re: Skimmer was installed seven different kinds of wrong. How do I fix this? #10
how are skimmers connected into the filtration system

do u have a diagram or anything that could clear this up????

thanks
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing!!!

Just Keep Swimming

Lewis