We all like our swimming pools to look clean and inviting. But what about that pesky debris that falls in? If your backyard (Or your neighbor’s backyard) has a lot of trees, this may be a daily occurrence. So does this mean we need to vacuum our pool every single day? Ugh. That sounds awful. But if you don’t want the debris turning into what is known as phosphates, you may want to. Or if you want your pool spotless every day you may want to. Phosphates are anything organic: leaves, pollen, etc. Phosphates are food for algae. Phosphates are really only a problem when they are a problem. What I mean by this is that if you were to get an algae bloom, you don’t want a Las Vegas buffet laid out for the algae to consume.
Most people don’t have the time or the patience to manually vacuum their swimming pool every day. To solve this issue, I advise all of my customers to make a sound investment in an automatic pool cleaner. There are different types of automatic pool cleaners. Let’s go over them.
Pressure Side Automatic Pool Cleaners
These used to be all the rage back in the day. They are kind of a dying breed. This is mainly because they require a dedicated pressure line and a separate pump to operate. If you live in a region where electricity is quite costly, this could be a very unwanted extra expense. Pressure-side pool cleaners will hook up to your return jet and usually stay in the pool all the time. They utilize water pressure from the pump to push itself around, cleaning the swimming pool. This is accomplished by a water vortex that is created within the cleaner. The parts of a pressure side cleaner are as follows:
- A filter bag
- A sweep hose
- A return jet hose
They also have other wear and tear parts such as a backup valve. Because of the need for a separate pump and the cost of operation, these are going by way of the dinosaur. So what are your other options?
As we briefly discussed above, this can be an arduous task. To manually vacuum, you will need the following:
- A telescopic pole
- A vacuum head
- A manual vacuum hose
- A skimmer or designated suction line
Once all of these components are connected, you utilize your filter pump to vacuum up the dirt and debris. It is best to scoop out the debris as best as you can prior to vacuuming. The dirt and debris collected are caught in the cleaner’s filter bag, which you need to empty and rinse as it gets full.
Pro Tip: All vacuums are designed to keep a clean pool clean. Removing large debris can prevent you from clogging your plumbing lines and/or filter.
With a manual vacuum, guess who does the propulsion? That’s right. You. Depending on how large your swimming pool is and how much debris is present will determine exactly how long this will take. Does this really sound like something you want to be doing EVERY day? The dirt and debris you vacuum is transported into your swimming pool filter.
Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaners
Suction side automatic pool cleaners are probably the most widely used APC (automatic pool cleaner). These type of cleaners plug in via hose to either your skimmer or designated suction line, depending on how your swimming pool was built. If you only have one skimmer and plug in a suction cleaner, you lose the ability to skim the water’s surface. There is a contraption made by Pentair called a “Vac-Mate”. This is inserted into the skimmer and allows you to have the best of both worlds because your cleaner connects to it and it has a tiny weir blade (that flappy thing in your skimmer). Please note, the basket on the Vac-Mate will not fit in all skimmers.
Suction side cleaners may include the following:
- A cleaner head
- Hose pieces
- Hose Weights
- A regulator valve (to modify the suction)
- A skimmer or designated suction line
Suction cleaners utilize your swimming pool pump and are most often left in the pool at all times.
Pro Tip: It is safest to remove any automatic pool cleaner when the pool is being used to help avoid the risk of drowning by someone getting tangled in the sweep hose, suction hose or cord.
The fact that they stay in all the time can be a downside to pressure and suction cleaners. This is because you have many feet of unsightly hose in your swimming pool. How do they work? Well, when your pool pump kicks on, so does the vacuum as it uses your swimming pool pump to move around. The dirt and debris is then vacuumed up into your swimming pool filter.
Robotic Automatic Pool Cleaners
These are what I like to call, “The Hummers of the Sea”. They are considered top-of-the-line. That is because of all the features and benefits they offer. They can come with the following:
- A cleaner head
- A waterproof cord
- An E-box (Brain)
- A caddy
Robotic cleaners plug into a standard 110V outlet. NEVER use an extension cord with your robotic cleaner as this could cause a risk of electrocution as they are not designed to be around water. You then place your robotic cleaner into the swimming pool. Because of the electric cord versus a hose, you are not putting any additional strain on your pool pump. They are also completely self-contained with a debris canister inside. Some cleaners even notify you when the canister is full.
Robotic cleaners are the only type of automatic pool cleaners that will do the floors, walls, and even the tile line. Armed with brushes, they literally scrub your swimming pool’s surface. Cleaning cycles vary by cleaner but anticipate at least a two-hour cycle. After the cycle, you may remove your cleaner and put it out of sight and out of mind. This sounds awesome, right? Right! But what if you are thinking you can’t afford a robotic cleaner?I am here with some good news! You can get a name-brand, quality, reliable robotic automatic pool cleaner for about half of what you would see with other brands. Check them out here. See you at the poolside!