Now here’s a problem that pool owners both new or old take for granted: Stuck pool vacuum plates and how to remove them. Don’t laugh! This problem is a lot more common than many owners care to admit.
Why do pool vacuum plates get stuck?
Due to their nature of creating a tight seal and the downward pressure exerted on the plate while creating a vacuum, it follows that it will get a little bit tight or stuck. Another reason for vacuum plates becoming stuck is chemical residue. Pool water gets in between the plate and the skimmer box and when they dry up, residues like calcium and salt can harden up and cause the plate to become stuck.
Another reason why pool vacuum plates get stuck is their exposure to the elements. Heating from the sun and cooling at night causes plastics to expand and contract causing your vacuum plates to have a very tight fit or even causing it to become stuck.
How do you remove a stuck pool vacuum plate?
The obvious way to remove a stuck vacuum plate is to stick your finger in the hole and try to pull it out. I mean, this is the standard way of removing a vacuum plate but just BE VERY careful. If it feels stuck, then don’t force it unless your finger is made out of steel. Trying to pull a stuck plate with just a finger can injure your finger or even worse, so just be careful.
Use pool water to remove a stuck pool vacuum plate
One of the best and most effective ways to remove a stuck vacuum plate is to get a bucket of pool water and just pour it all over the plate. What this does is it melts away the mineral and chemical deposits. If you’re fortunate enough to have a round vacuum plate then you can gently try and spin it to help in dislodging the residues that are causing it to become stuck. For square plates, they’re harder to get unstuck but it should help.
Use a hose or a high pressure hose to dislodge residues
If pouring water doesn’t work then it may need a little bit more or an “oomph’ to it with the use of a hose or a high-pressure hose to blast away those residues. Also try blasting the edges from under the lid if you can reach it by spraying through the skimmer box (if you can reach it).
Use hot water to melt away residues and loosen it up
Using hot water, carefully pour all around the edges and allow the water to melt away the residues. Aside from melting away the residues that might be causing your vacuum plate to become stuck, it also contracts/expands the plastic material causing it to shift its position and hopefully dislodge itself, making it easier to remove.
Use a rubber hand mallet
With a rubber hand mallet, gently tap your vacuum plate while pouring water / hosing it down. The vibrations may help dislodge any residues and allow water to get in between the seams for easier removal.
If your hand is small enough you can also try to tap it from UNDER the vacuum plate through the skimmer box, just be careful not to drop it or get stuck yourself! A golf putter can be used as well if you can't get your hand through the skimmer box, but just be careful and do not damage your putter (those things can be expensive!)
Use a hook or some other L-shaped tool
If you have a hook or any L-shaped tool that will fit in the hole in the middle so you can lift out the plate. This exerts equal force all around the plate and it should help remove the stuck pool vacuum plate.
Use a screwdriver to try and pry it out
IF ALL ELSE FAILS, you can try to use a screwdriver to pry out the stuck vacuum plate. Use this as a last resort as trying to pry out the stuck plate can damage it at the very least. And in extreme cases, damage the skimmer box itself which could lead to hundreds, if not thousands in damages and repair costs! I mean, replacing a skimmer box is no easy task and it’s not cheap.
Final option for stuck vacuum plates and damaged plates
Now if nothing works, you may have to destroy the plate. This requires finesse as well as you do not want to damage your skimmer box. The best way to do this is to take a hand saw blade and start cutting from the hole until you create a crack in your skimmer plate. Once it cracked, it should break off completely causing the entire thing to dislodge itself.
Need a replacement vacuum plate? Click the button below to see our collection of vacuum plates for all of the major skimmer box models in Australia.
Tips to preventing a stuck vacuum plate
At Mr Pool Man we got you covered. Here are some tips that you can follow to prevent your vacuum plate from becoming stuck in the future.
- Remove the plate after every use and use your skimmer covers - Well, if the plate’s not there, it can’t get stuck right?
- Add some silicon-based lubricant to the plate - Just a dab will do. With your finger, spread a very thin layer of lubricant around the plate to prevent pool water from drying out on the edges.
- Replace your vacuum plates at the first sign of damage - Not only will this increase the performance of your suction pool cleaners, but it will also prevent the plate from warping and becoming stuck.
Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.
Happy swimming :)