I've come to the conclusion that whoever came up with the idea of putting a knee high pantyhose over your skimmer basket was in fact brilliant.
This thread is to explain how to safely use a knee high pantyhose over your skimmer basket, what I suggest you do and don't do while it is on there, and how well it helps catch small particles that would have otherwise gone through the skimmer basket, to the filter, and had to be either backwashed out, or gone right back into the pool.
Knee highs- (preferably white because of the white ones don't have the dye in them that the other ones do, but any color will work), over the skimmer basket work great anytime you are pumping your pool. They are especially helpful 1st thing in the morning to trap all those little tiny bugs that get into the pool at night, and are floating dead on top everywhere in the morning which saves you from having to hand skim the top as often, if at all.
(Note: I am referring to the SKIMMER BASKET, NOT the FILTER/PUMP BASKET: Please be sure you know the difference in the 2 before attempting to use this little trick at all).
***The Skimmer basket is the one inside the wide square opening of your pool that the water flows into. There is a little flap door (called a Weir door) on it that opens, and closes to let water/debris in, or out. This is the basket you want to do this on, not the basket down inside of your filter/pump itself.**
****** Please be sure to Use caution if you decide to use knee high pantyhose in your skimmer basket because:*****
1) If not secured properly the pantyhose can possibly get loose, and travel into your filter. (I put mine over the skimmer basket, with the pantyhose inside, and bring the elastic band of the knee high up, and over to the outside part of the skimmer basket. I then get it positioned the way I like it, (you will have to work that one out yourself over time). I then roll any excess elastic on the outside, up under the underside rim of the skimmer basket, and this seems to firmly hold it in place once the skimmer basket is back in it's position in the skimmer. A lot of people tie them on the skimmer basket with strings or whatever, but I don't. I just see the string tied on the underside of the skimmer basket as one more thing that could get loose, and migrate to the pump.
2) Before the pump is started the pantyhose can float up, causing the skimmer basket to float up, and shut your Weir door therefore stopping adequate water flow to your pump. (Note: the hose Not the skimmer basket, will initially float up a little before you start your pump anyway, but this little amount will be pulled back down when the pump is started. But if the pantyhose have a balloon like effect towards the toes of the pantyhose, (the toes of the knee highs should be positioned in the center of your skimmer basket, and you will know what I mean by ballooning should it happen to you).
I'll try to get mine to do it, and take a picture to post later of what the balloon effect I'm talking about looks like.
If when the basket is put firmly back into place, should it balloon up in the center, then the panty hose needs to be repositioned with more of the pantyhose to the outside of the skimmer basket making the center pantyhose contents not as thickly bunched up, so water can pass through more easily.
If the knee highs should happen to balloon up, and cut off/decrease your water flow to the pump. If this is going to happen, it usually happens at the very beginning of starting your pump up,(of course that includes every time the pantyhose are changed out too), and can also occur if you allow the pantyhose to get too dirty for water to pass through.
Should this occur: You will then need to stop the pump, remove the knee high off the skimmer basket, prime the pump again on recirculate because of the air which can be a royal pain.
So your best, and safest bet is to make sure there is NO BALLOONING at start up, and you clean/change the knee highs out after no more than 1-3 hours depending on how dirty your pool is. This little point will make your life much easier both by having the knee high catching tiny particles for you, and also by not ruining your pump in the process. If the no water flow/decline isn't noticed quickly, it can burn up your pump. So please beware of this, position the knee highs in there correctly, and ensure there is no ballooning when you initially start your pump, or anytime while they are in there.
The best way to quickly catch it trying to balloon and float the basket on start up is to not put the cover over your skimmer hole until after you start the pump, and are 100% sure all is well/safe in your basket because it can tear up your pump, and will, if not properly primed and flowing.
Once the pump is started I also like to press the pantyhose to the bottom of the skimmer basket and around with my hand, and spread the opening in the center of the pantyhose out wider with my fingers, so it can catch more in the center, and it helps give it a less of a chance of ballooning later.
I also personally do Not recommend using knee highs in your skimmer basket while you will be away from it for an extended length of time because they can fill up quickly, especially if the pool has a lot of algae, and debris in it, and this too can prevent adequate water from getting to your pump and possibly burning it up.
Only use them when you can monitor them closely.
Be sure to change the knee highs out frequently about every 1 to 3 hours, (depending on how dirty your pool is).
Do NOT add any dry chemicals through the skimmer with knee highs on it, including baking soda. (which you shouldn't be adding dry chemical through there anyway) but the dry chemicals, borax, powder shock, baking soda, etc., Will clog up and form a big clump inside the knee high, and not allow whatever you added to be properly dissolved, and it can also decrease water flow to your pump.
When the knee highs get dirty, and you remove them, they can be washed by spraying them clean with a garden hose, dipping them in a bucket with diluted bleach water, rinsed again, and reused. If, however, they get grossly covered in algae, or the elastic at the top or the hose itself appears to be getting weak or torn, it is better to throw them away, and use a new one the next time around to prevent resubmitting any algae lurking on the used pantyhose from getting returned back into your filter/pool, or preventing them possibly not holding firmly enough to your skimmer basket, becoming dislodged, and migrating into your pump.
Do Not leave the knee high pantyhose on the skimmer basket during backwash/rinse/recirculation/waste pump cycles. Use them on Filter cycle ONLY.
Some people use them when vacuuming the pool too, but I personally do Not. I have tried it but didn't like it plus it made me nervous too because I couldn't see it under my vac plate to know if it was in place still or not.
The reasons I don't recommend leaving the hose on the skimmer basket while vacuuming is 1) The suction is greater during this time, and the hose are more likely to get sucked into the pump, plus they have a tendency to fill up, get clogged, preventing the water from passing through correctly causing you to lose prime to your filter because of air, which could burn up your pump.
I'd like to take the time to again thank the wonderful people on TFP, who have been there to help me every step of the way. I have learned so much since I arrived, and I have you ALL, and this wonderful site to thank for it.
I hope this information helps someone who is researching whether, or not, to try this little helpful trick.
Here is a picture of my Yucky gross skimmer basket after 1 hour of pumping the pool with the knee high in it. I'm posting it so you can see just how many small particles them being in there can trap, and also what would have been sent through your filter, having to be backwashed out later, or possibly been sent right back into your pool.
I have also rigged up on my handheld skimmer, a full set of pantyhose-NOT Knee highs, and placed them over top of the hand held skimmer head. I then tied the legs of the pantyhose to the skimmer pole preventing them from falling off the skimmer head while skimming in the pool. I did this for the same reason as the knee highs in the skimmer basket, to be able to capture even smaller particles that would usually go through the actual skimmer netting. Although I don't have to use it very often because the knee highs over the skimmer basket usually do the trick, it too seemed to help capture a lot more tiny particles that otherwise would have been left in your pool.
LOL I'm still trying to come up with something to alter the leaf rakes so they too can contain the smaller debris, but haven't figured that one out yet. If I do come up with something I'll let you know, and if you know of something, please let me know.
I hope you found this information useful, and have learned how to safely use pantyhose to help keep your pool even cleaner.
Have a wonderful day, and enjoy your clean pool.