It is always a good idea to keep your yard clean when you have a pool. Dead leaves, flowers and loose trash [like styrofoam and plastic bags] lying on the ground will get into the pool when the wind kicks up. Debris like this will clog baskets and suction side cleaners, effectively stopping your pools ability to circulate water and keep itself clean. All debris when there is enough of it can cause problems, but flowers, like those from the Bogenvia bush, a lilac, or trumpet flowers for example, are like paper pulp when wet. Keeping Bogenvia bushes from getting too big will help a lot to control debris when it flowers. A small amount of these flowers can line a basket, clog the holes and effect water circulation. One plastic bag from a grocery store, or a sheet of newspaper can cause a loss of water circulation and shut a suction side cleaner down.
Even if your yard is spotless, remember that your pools cleaning system can easily be effected by a neighbours tree, or a city tree adjacent to your property. You should always check the baskets after a storm if you are able, even if you pay for pool service. I visit my accounts once per week and a lot can happen in just a few hours when a wind storm comes through. Trimming trees like Palms for example when they have dead fronds hanging and seed pods dropping onto the ground should be trimmed back.
A pump basket splitting open will allow debris to get past the basket and into the pumps impeller. When this happens, water circulation will be greatly effected and the system will lose filter pressure. Floor head systems will not have the pressure required for the pop ups to function and suction side cleaners, if not clogged themselves, will not have the water circulation required to keep them moving. Sometimes a pumps impeller can be cleaned once the basket has been removed, but, depending on the pump, the motor may have to be taken off to access the impeller.
Making the effort to keep your yard clean and check the baskets after a wind storm is important and will save you from a lot of unnecessary problems.
Inside of your skimmer, there is a plastic gate called the weir. The weir is a very small part that makes a very big difference in how clean your pool looks through out the week. Its amazing how often I see the skimmer missing its weir gate and how many people, including pool technicians who clean pools every week, that don't know what it is, or what it does.
The weir gate is simply a way to keep the debris that is sucked into the skimmer, from getting back out into the pool. While the pump is on, the weir gate will be pulled back as water comes into the skimmer and just like the name describes, the water skims over the top of the weir. Styrofoam makes the weir gate buoyant, so when the pump shuts off and there is no longer water pulling across the top of the weir, it stays upright in the skimmer trapping the leaves inside.
Here is a great example of the weir gate doing its job. This last week it has been breezy. Many trees in Arizona are flowering, or dropping leaves this time of year which can litter the surrounding yards for weeks at a time. What you see in the basket would have been floating on the surface of the water had the weir gate not held it back. Not only did the weir gate keep the pool looking cleaner during a breezy week and shedding trees, but the amount of time netting the pool has been reduced by a lot.
Weir gates can break when they become old and brittle, or from a lot of splashing when kids are swimming. If the weir gate is broken, or missing, it should be replaced. You will have a cleaner pool and reduce the time required to net each week as long as the weir is functional.