Rob Cox November 11, 2015
Swimming pools often compete with surrounding trees for sunlight and space, and at some point, some people just give up. I've had the pleasure of cleaning pools that are deep in jungle overgrowth and apathy.
There was a customer we had years ago that would call about now (mid-November) for their winterization. Nearly every time we showed up, the pool was 2 feet deep in leaves. We'd smile, roll-up our sleeves and in under 2 hours, we would have every leaf removed. No wonder why my back hurts.
You can't close a pool that's full of leaves. It can stain and damage the surface of a pool. Even if you plan to drain & clean the pool in the spring, it's always best to not let leaves sit all winter.
Here's some of the Heavy Duty Leaf Removal Tools that every pool service truck (and some pool owners) should own.
First clean off the pool deck, with leaf blower, or buckets full of pool water. The water also helps stop more leaves from blowing easily across the deck, and into the pool while you're trying to clean it. A clean deck is also much safer to walk around while you're working, so you don't slip on a leaf or step into a skimmer.
Set out one or two large trash cans on the deck to dump leaves into, saving steps while working. A few holes in the bottom of the trash can lets the water drain out. If not, tip over to drain before hauling and emptying.
Pool Leaf Rakes are the main tool that we would use every time to clean a pool that is filled with leaves. The large skimmer net bag holds a good amount of leaves and once you get skilled, you can snap it back without spilling any leaves on the back stroke.
Start on the water surface first, making several quick passes around the pool edge, net touching the tile line, going slower around steps, seats and shallow end to not stir-up floor debris. Then use the pool rake in a back and forth motion across the surface, emptying the leaf net bag as needed into a large Trash Can(s) on the deck.
After the surface is mostly clean, start to work on the bottom, pushing the Pool Leaf Rake along the floor slowly to scoop up the leaves. When you reach the other side, make a quick flip and sharply snap back on the pole to avoid losing any contents.
If you can't see the bottom of the pool, or it's very dark, you can still scoop it all up, moving slowly in rows across the pool, with overlapping strokes. When you get to the end of the pool, start back at the other end again and repeat, as needed, until 90% of the leaves are removed.
More tips on Leaf Raking a Pool.
A Leaf Master is the name of the original Jandy invention, which uses water pressure from a garden hose to suck up leaves into an oversized bag. The water pressure creates a venturi effect as you move the cleaner head around the pool, attached to your pool pole. The water is sprayed upwards into the bag, and this sucks up the leaves into the attached bag.
The standard bag is 18" tall, or also available are jumbo sized debris bags, up to 5 ft tall! (Rainbow Leaf Eater, pn R211430). The 60in mesh bag (or the 36in bag) is great for heavy duty leaf removal. If you use a smaller bag, use the mesh bag, not the fine mesh bag, which can clog up before the bag is really full of leaves.
If you have a lot of water pressure from a nearby garden hose, a Leaf Master type cleaner can do a good job. If your pressure is average, well then, the cleaning is much slower, or slower than just using a Pool Leaf Rake, bag type skimmer net.
For those that have a Polaris type pressure pool cleaner with a booster pump (or a Ray-Vac type cleaner line), you can use the booster pump to turbo charge a Leaf Master, for super-fast cleaning speeds. You still use a garden hose (not the pool cleaner hose), but use an adapter at the wall fitting.
You'll need to buy a 3/4 inch NPT x GHT threaded adapter, (National Pipe Threads on one side, Garden Hose Threads on the other), which you can find at Home or Hardware stores. If the wall cleaner line is 1.5in, you'll also need a 1.5in x 3/4in reducer bushing (MPTxFPT). Connect the garden hose to the adapter turn on the cleaner booster pump, and hold on! It's very powerful!
When you get most of the leaves scooped out of the pool, you can begin to finally vacuum the pool. Vacuuming through the pump basket means several trips and extra effort to empty the pump basket repeatedly. When you use a Skimmer Vacuum Plate, you can vacuum directly into the skimmer basket, which is much larger and much easier to clean than the pump basket. There isn't a Universal Skim Vac Plate, but they are made for specific skimmers. Find out the make/model of your skimmer and look in our skimmer parts department, or here's some short cuts. Hayward SP1082, SP1090, PacFab Bermuda, StaRite U3, American Admiral
A leaf trap is used when vacuuming large volumes of leaves, so many that even emptying the skimmer basket is becoming a pain! The Pool Leaf Trap connects to the end of your vacuum hose, and then another short vac hose, (our Leaf Trap comes with 9 ft of hose) is used to connect from the bottom of the leaf trap into the skimmer. The super-sized debris bag can hold as much as 5 skimmer baskets full of leaves. Also, it's fairly simple to operate, disconnect it first from the skimmer, then twist open the lid and pull out the mesh debris bag. A real time saver, and definitely on every pool service truck.
Have you seen the Pool Blaster Leaf Vac? An interesting take on Andrew Pansini's original invention, the Jandy Leaf Master, but it adds a battery operated propeller to suck up debris into the bag. No hose to hook-up! Runs on 8 AA batteries to operate the venturi propeller. Ha Ha, just kidding! - you can't use this to clean up a pool full of leaves, but it might be good for a small indoor pool...
Thanks for Your Support!