Barry from Illinois


New member
Mar 23, 2017
Hi All,

I am Scottish, working in Chicago but living with the family out in the burbs and have been in the US since 2009. (Originally from Dundee, Scotland).

I am still new to home and pool owning (1 year so far) , and inherited an OLD pool from the previous owners, (still have some issues with the pipes and bubbles... but more on that later)

I have approx 16,000 gallon pool, and have an OLD pump (not sure on the make or model), but it still seems to be going so i will replace that when i have to, I have a new Pentair 320SQ st Cartridge filter (4 cartridges) and a RayPak 266 E.I Heater.

My main issue is i have several trees including a big Locust (i think?) tree that provides some nice shade during the heat of the summer, but dumps Millions of small leaves and ANTS! that my skimmer and Pool Skim (add on to one of my returns) struggle to manage... a lot fall to the bottom of the pool and go through my main drain and directly into the pump basket. The Pump basket fills up often and i have found myself having to clean my cartridge filter several times in my 1st pool season. I also find leaves and stems from the leaves that make it through into my filter (is this damaging my pump?)

I have read the forums, and think the hairnet trick would be great but it doesn't fit on my pump basket. It has one of the side entrances for the waterflow.
Has anyone had any luck in putting some kind of pre-filter / leaf catcher on the main return line before the pump, or after the pump but before the filter?

Thanks in advance

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Hello Barry and welcome to TFP! Many of us use a net product in our poolside skimmer(s). They may also be called skimmer socks. I personally use a 1 gal paint strainer the from the local hardware store, but many others use nylon stockings. They work great to catch small debris before it can make it to the pump basket. You might consider adjusting your surface water movement and skimmer suction if you are able to do so. Getting that debris to the poolside skimmer (and skimmer sock) before sinking and/or getting to the pump will help quite a bit. Hope that helps.
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