Low Cost Leaf Blocker

StanPearce

Member
Feb 20, 2011
12
NC RTP
THought I'd share my cheap quick solution to a problem last fall...Exsessive leaf fall getting into skimmer basket

My pool install was completed middle of last sept. Around October, as the leaves changes and prepared to fall, I realized with my small pool not having a bottom drain (I guess the current vogue with the lawsuits) that my skimmer could easily get clogged by leaves, possibly depriving my pump of water...had I thought of this issue in advance, I would have never used a single water pickup, I would have insisted on a pickup below the surface (I have to use a pump or downhill gravity suction to drain my pool)

And I didn't want my very busy wife to be tied down to the pool, cleaning the skimmer basket a dozen times a day during the Fall (I have leafy trees all around the pool)

So I needed a solution fast, as I was leaving town for a week the next morning...

Here is my 20-25 dollar soution. I attach it to my skimmer around the end of October and remove it when the leaves are down about 2 month later..

1 milkcrate (target/walmart 3 dollars?)
Hardware cloth (it is a roll of plastic gid with 1/2 inch squares- $10 home depot)
Zip ties to attach hardware cloth to the inside of the milkcrate $1
PVC pipe and fittings maybe 5-6 dollars
Small bungee to attach to my skimmer cover holes
PVC glue 3 bucks if you don't have it

Basically, when bushels of leaves are falling, this device prevents leaves from getting into the skimmer, they bunch around the milkcrate where you can skim them or ignore them if you are busy and they sink so you can use the leaf rake to scoop them up every couple of days...

I guess you could say its a tad unsightly, but it works well, takes just a minute to set up and break down, and reduces the number of daily leaf removals..one big one with the rake version a dozen skimmer basket pulls...

Its free to rotate and slide up/down on the pipe, and has a PVC tee (not glued) on the bottom that is removable. Just use the tiny bungee to strap it down...


 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,725
Houston, Texas
Very cool! I would add a little padding or something around the lip of the crate to keep it from scratching the plaster/liner over time.
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
10,589
East Texas
Leaving ours open for winter, and sneaking off for a week with leaves still falling.............made a quickie run to Wally World and bought one of those 4 dollar vegetable strainer with extendable arms on each end to fit over the sink. Couple pieces of aluminum wire I had lying around hookeed over my cap plates......and I was Leaf Proof! We're either very ingenious or VERY cheap!
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
I think that these are great ideas :-D

However, I DO want to remind folks that these aren't 'set and forget' :!:

If the 'strainer' you've put in front of the skimmer mouth becomes too congested, you'll have NO flow to the skimmer :evil: (I won't get into secondary suction ports nor bypasses on them at this point *)
 

StanPearce

Member
Feb 20, 2011
12
NC RTP
Actually waste, as far as leaves and skimmer flow, I designed mine to be set and forget..here how it works..

The leaf litter builds up all around the sides of the skimmer, but the skimmer is big enougn that the flow around the edges is low, so there isn't a huge pull on the leaves, anyway, the key is the bottom of the milk crate...

The skimmer sets maybe 8 inches down in the water, so the leaves gather around the sides, and then sink to the bottom of the pool when ready...I've yet to have one single leaf attach to the bottom of the milkcrate, they just sink to the bottom of the pool....

Now, I've never left it more than 3 or 4 days without it being checked, but thats pretty much set and forget as far as the skimmer basket..Of course there was a bushcel of leaves to rake on the bottom of the pool..

Now the rest of your pool certainly isn't set and forget...

It would be hard to image anyone getting more leaf fall into a pool as I do....I'm completely surrounded on 3 sides...still wish I had more than one drain in my pool....poor design AFAIK
 

AdmiralGrace

New member
Sep 9, 2013
3
StanPearce---I love the brilliant idea you posted about your leaf blocker. My eastTx back yard is heavy with Oaks and I'm literally running outside several times a day during their heavy fall days to rescue my skimmers. A few questions if you still look at this forum:

1. Do you have any updates on this idea?
2. I've assembled all the items to do the same, how specifically does the PVC pipe attach INSIDE the crate?
3. How does the crate keep from popping off the lid of the skimmer?

Thanks so much!
 

StanPearce

Member
Feb 20, 2011
12
NC RTP
StanPearce---I love the brilliant idea you posted about your leaf blocker. My eastTx back yard is heavy with Oaks and I'm literally running outside several times a day during their heavy fall days to rescue my skimmers. A few questions if you still look at this forum:

1. Do you have any updates on this idea?
2. I've assembled all the items to do the same, how specifically does the PVC pipe attach INSIDE the crate?
3. How does the crate keep from popping off the lid of the skimmer?

Thanks so much!
Sorry I haven't checked in for quite some time, probably because thanks to this website I'm in my 4-5th season of a trouble free pool.

1> The leaf blocker. Its almost idiot proof for blocking leaf flow into the skimmer. The leaves build around the edge of the device, and in theory leave the bottom open to maintain water flow IF leaf BUILD UP become great. -IN THEORY-

During long periods without care, with high winds and peak leaf fall, you can get enough leaf litter building up around the device to where the water flow up and though the bottom of the device can potentially suck leaves UNDER and UP to the bottom of the box... This has only happened to me once when after the pool was alone for a week I returned to find an extra large helping of leaves around the box and head a sucking noise as the pump had drawn a tiny bit of air. This was peak fall and after a really windy spell. Even if the leaf box was not installed, my skimmer would have probably gotten plugged with leaves anyway. It really works as designed- It means instead of checking the skimmers several times a day, you can do it less frequently, but the price you pay is having to skim out the leaves around the box and rake those that sink to the bottom.

I really find it a handy tool and use it from Nov-January, as I have many large oak type trees of different species around my pool ( and one darn tree holds some of its leaves all the way into January)

2> The PVC pipe just fits though a hole in the box, all the way though the bottom of the box and I put a PVC elbow joint on the bottom so it can't fall off. It rotates freely around the PVC pipe..so it can fit anywhere on a pool side.

3> My Skimmer cover is a tight "pop in out" type fit. It has a bit of holding power. I just bungy the pvc to the lid. You could just use a brick or something as a weight to hold the PVC if yours are not 'press fit' Perhaps uses some sore of decorative concrete yard item....what ever works!

My small pool has only ONE skimmer and no other path for water to get to the pump, so this thing has been a real life saver for me.

HTH Stan :D
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
This is very creative and I like the concept. Twice this season my kids have inadvertently blocked the skimmer intake (probably with the baggy swim trunks) just long enough to starve the suction line and pump, thereby running it dry for an extended period. I would've never known if it weren't' for the fact that on both occasions I had our waterfall going, so when the waterfall stopped, I knew my pump was dry. Yikes! I need something that will have a small stand-off distance from the Skimmer plate so when a visitor (who doesn't know any better), gets near the skimmer (my only suction), they don't block water and prime to the pump. Nice idea!
 

inatae

Member
Sep 18, 2018
19
Kennesaw, GA
Hi Stan ( Or anyone who may know the answer to this ) , This is such a brilliant idea.... My husband made something similar from your idea here. Is there a reason the crate needs to float up and down within the PVC pipe? My husband attached pool noodles to the rim of the crate to avoid scratching the vinyl, and attached the crate to the skimmer lid with a bungee which he says the hook is rubber coated. The crate seems to be staying in place..... But I am wondering ( and feel confident the PVC was used purposely ) why was the PVC used, and is it necessary for the crate to move freely? Thanks so much for your help.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
11,651
Evans, Georgia
I imagine the advantage of the crate not being "fixed" in place is that it adapts to differing water levels. If it were fixed in place and the water level dropped, leaves could probably float right under the crate and into the skimmer.

That's *my* take on it. :)

Maddie :flower:
 
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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
11,651
Evans, Georgia
While that would stop the floating toys and thermometer from entering the skimmer, I can still see a mess of leaves passing thru there while it did catch some. But you're sure right about keeping an eye on that skimmer basket.

Our nemesis here in Georgia year round is pine needles. Ugh!

Maddie :flower:
 
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inatae

Member
Sep 18, 2018
19
Kennesaw, GA
Great Suggestions..... So far the Milk Crate is helping .... We are definitely checking the skimmer basket daily as the leaves see our pool and make a dive bomb for it .... I would swear leaves are coming from the complete other side of the neighborhood just to take a dip in our pool.... ;-)
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,186
NY
.. I would swear leaves are coming from the complete other side of the neighborhood just to take a dip in our pool.... ;-)
I literally watch mine float dead sideways up to 200 ft. When they get to my backyard it is wind protected on 3 of the 4 sides so they drop like bricks into the pool.
 
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wogster

In The Industry
Apr 30, 2018
83
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
One way to keep the leaves from plugging the skimmer, don't run the pump continually, if you run the pump for say 8 hours per day, run 4 hours, then off for an hour, then on for 4 more, Once the pressure is off, the leaves will float away or sink.
 
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inatae

Member
Sep 18, 2018
19
Kennesaw, GA
One way to keep the leaves from plugging the skimmer, don't run the pump continually, if you run the pump for say 8 hours per day, run 4 hours, then off for an hour, then on for 4 more, Once the pressure is off, the leaves will float away or sink.
This is a brilliant idea .... Thanks for this suggestion, We will certainly put this into our pool routine.