I have an in ground pool which has been losing water too fast recently (about an inch a day). The water level will drop until it is below the skimmer basket, and then it's a more reasonable loss rate (closer to an inch a week).

After poking around online for ideas we found the suggestion to tighten the screws that hold the basket to see if that would help (cheaper than calling the pool company and easy to do). I found the to be quite loose, and hand tightened them a half-turn to a full turn, but not as far as I am able to turn them. It has helped, but the pool it still loses water at about 1/4 inch a day.

How tight should those screws be? Is there a risk that I'll over tighten them and damage the liner or require some other more expensive repair.

  • The screws themselves are not indestructible, over tightening them could snap off the head. Which would leave the screw in the material, with no way to remove it. The material around the screw could also fail, causing the screw to lose the ability to grab hold. I'm not sure what the max torque for these screws is, but you may be able to find the recommended torque in the documentation or by contacting the manufacturer. – Tester101 Jun 18 '14 at 10:24
  • Looked through a bunch of skimmer manuals, and couldn't find any recommended torque values. Most just say "tighten screw", or "tightly fasten", etc. So maybe 1/4 turn past hand tight. Or you could contact the manufacturer, and see if they can define "tight". – Tester101 Jun 18 '14 at 11:56
  • @Tester101 thanks for trying. I know their are physical limits to the screws themselves, but I am more worried about hitting limits before that point that'll do damage to the other structures. If the descriptions are just "tighten" I'll crank them down by hand a bit more and see what happens. – acrosman Jun 18 '14 at 12:42

I ended up speaking with a pool leak detection company, and they answered this question for me.

Basically, yes you can over tighten the screws, but not if you're careful. Their suggestion was to always hand-tighten the screws until they are "wrist tight" (as noted in the comments above, formal measurements are not available). The screws should be good and snug, but don't push too hard. The screws and threads are designed to hold up to a bit of pressure so they are not likely to strip easily. Do not use power tools (not that most people have waterproof power screw drivers but still), a torque bar, or other things in an attempt to gain lots of pressure.

It's also worth noting that local pool companies (in South Carolina, US) rarely remember to check to screws on the basket, and it's one of the most common sources of leaks around here. An easy way to save water, and a couple hundred bucks in a leak detection fee, is to check the screws on the skimmer at the start of each season.

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  • Unless there is a formal torque specification, getting out any sort of tool to add leverage is generally a bad idea. – Julie in Austin May 25 '15 at 6:48

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