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Thread: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

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    chiefwej's Avatar
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    Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Background: my pool is a 36x16 play pool, so the depth goes from 3.5, 5 ,4. Not very much slope, basically a flat bottom. I have an A&A infloor cleaning system. The surface is pebbletec. I have to get out the manual vacuum about twice a week to get rid of the small leaves and debris from the bottom of the pool. It seems like the infloor system just blows the debris around. If it winds up in the drain it's just by accident. I have a neighbor who has the same setup installed by the same pool builder and he says his works great, but his pool has a deep end. My guess is that the deep well collects all the debris right at the main drain.

    So my questions are:

    1. Is it normal for infloor systems to be this much less effective in a play pool? (I feel like I wasted thousands of dollars on the cleaning system)

    2. Should I break down and buy a pool cleaner?

    3. If I do will it have issues with the pop ups?
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    (TAP,TAP,TAP)

    Hello, is thing on.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Over a hundred views and still no responses. Does no one have any comments?
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    chief, I wish I knew.. I dont think a lot of people have the system you have or one like it... I am not sure if a cleaner would get stuck on a pop up like that.. you would probably have to time it when they were not up..
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Chief, I agree with cowboy, there are a few folks here with infloor systems, but not many.
    I wish I could help, but I dont know the first thing about them.

    I did send out some smoke signals though to lots of other experts, so hopefully someone will see them and chime in.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    Over a hundred views and still no responses. Does no one have any comments?
    This view to post ratio annoys me to no end sometimes, but I can say, not one was mine.

    We obviously don't hear about the good floor cleaners, but we seldom if ever hear anyone say they are great things to have. It's a leap, but your neighbor may not want to admit anything he chose isn't working, but no one can convince me these would work better than a Good robot. Not only that, but I can't imagine these being anything more than a nightmare to work on. I'd say ditch it, and get a good Robot, then never look back. I could not be happier with mine.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    I do know that he didn't manually vacuum his pool for more than five years, because he didn't own a hose or vacuum head. I also know that every time I saw his pool it was free of the leaves and debris that was in the bottom of mine.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Let's start with the simple things.
    How many heads do you have?
    How many zones do you have?
    How long are you running the system?
    Is it cycling through each zone as it should?
    Can you post a drawing that shows the layout of each head and/or zone?
    Is the system running the heads from farthest from the drain to closest the drain in the proper sequence?

    It sounds like that either the zones aren't plumbed and timed correctly or you're not running the system long or frequently enough.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    I'll chime in with my $.02. I feel that an infloor cleaning system is like taking a shower with out soap/facecloth or scrubbing. Then throw in the roughness of the pebbletek (lots of places for grime/fine particles to collect). I'm not knocking pebbletek, it's what I have, and I'm happy with it, or infloor cleaning systems, people love or hate them. It like having the conversation about the best filter. It's one that does the job. Otherwise you'll hate it.

    Depending on how high your popups are when retracted the cleaner may/may not have an issue. Do you have a buddy/friend with a robotic cleaner that they'll be willing you let you test? So you can make a better informed decision.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    do your pop-ups rotate each time they pop up? I have a 25x12 play pool and I only have two in floor heads, at each end. They pop up for 30 minutes, then go down when the wall returns come on, then 30 minutes later when they pop up again they have rotated, IDK, 30 degrees. I've only ever had to get the leaf rake out for dead lizards. I do have a few dead zones on the sides that need an occasional brushing. But IMO that is preferable to having a robot and all that piping sitting in the pool constantly, making it ugly

    Can you manually adjust the head positions? experiment with different patterns to maybe lock in on something that works better....
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    I have this same system in a pool similar to yours. Mine has a 5 port system with a total of 16 heads. While I have had to replace the pop-ups twice and the gears in the 5 port a few times over 16 years, I have not had issues with it cleaning the pool when the pop-ups and gears are in good working order. The system isn't absolutely perfect, but I usually have little to no debris in the pool after mine has run. In 16 years, I've only had to manually vacuum it one time - after a particulaly bad monsoon dust storm. Its usually always clean and shiny.

    Are you the original owner of the pool? A&A has a lifetime warranty on moving parts to the original owner. When mine was built, A&A actually specified the placement of each head based on the pools design. You may want to contact them directly (they're in PHX) and discuss the issues you are experiencing as they may have a few suggestions to improve its operation.

    How many hours per day are you running the pump on high speed? How much junk gets blown into the pool each day? How long are the pop-ups up on each zone? You can adjust the zone "up" time manually within the "gearbox" thingy.

    Maybe the run time per zone or total high speed run time needs to be adjusted. Maybe the pop-up heads are starting to wear out. Maybe the gears are wearing out.
    Gene
    ​12,300 gal IG play pool - Pebbletec - built 10/1999 || Hayward S360SX 36" sand filter || Hayward Ecostar SP3400 VSP || A&A In-Floor cleaning system || Quik Water Leveler || Quik Dek-clor (limited use)
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    I'm in the process of designing a pool and can't decide whether to get the A&A infloor cleaning system. The depth of our pool will be almost identical to yours. I'm really interested in where this thread goes!

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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
    Let's start with the simple things.
    How many heads do you have?
    How many zones do you have?
    How long are you running the system?
    Is it cycling through each zone as it should?
    Can you post a drawing that shows the layout of each head and/or zone?
    Is the system running the heads from farthest from the drain to closest the drain in the proper sequence?

    It sounds like that either the zones aren't plumbed and timed correctly or you're not running the system long or frequently enough.
    There are 24 heads in 6 zones. On the A&A pop ups, there are 12 positions to make 360 and each time it pops it moves to the next position. My system is currently set so that each zone activates for 1.25 min then moves to the next zone. So 6 zones X 12 positions X 1.25 min. = 90 min. In 1.5 hours every head has run in each of its 12 possible positions. My pump runs on a high speed every morning for two hours before slowing to a mid speed. In addition I have set up "quick clean" on the pump to run the pump on high for 1.5 hours at the touch of a button. The system has never cleaned the pool to my satisfaction, even with the old 3 hp pump running 8 hours straight. Gears seem to be working right, I see all the pop ups working, but it just seems to blow the stuff around randomly. If it winds up in the drain, it is just by accident.

    I tied to give you a layout and will try attaching a crude drawing. Note that zone #1 is a spa that is at the same height as the pool, separated by a wall that comes just below the surface. I'm not surprised that it does a lousy job on the spa. It would have to get the debris up over the separating wall to work. But the rest of the pool should work better than it does. I don't live in an area with a bunch of oak leaves. I'm just trying to get rid of some small debris.

    image.jpg
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    A couple of things got my attention.
    1) That the zones only run for 1¼ minutes each time they're on. That doesn't seem like long enough to get any debris moving much at all.
    2) Related to 1, The whole system runs through a complete cycle in just 1½ hours.
    3) The sequence looks like it's off. I think 3 should run before 2 does.

    I think the zones should run longer than they currently do, and I think you need at least a couple of runs to get the cleaning you want.

    I'd definitely call A&A and see what they say about it.

    Are there any skimmers in the system? If so, what is the percentage of flow between skimmers and main drains when it's cleaning?
    Is there a bottom drain in the spa?

    By the way, kudos on the drawing. You may not think it's very good, but it does an excellent job of conveying the setup.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Bama Rambler,
    Thanks for looking. Here is an answer to your questions and suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
    A couple of things got my attention.
    1) That the zones only run for 1¼ minutes each time they're on. That doesn't seem like long enough to get any debris moving much at all. Just looked it up, per their manual: " it is recommended that the cycle time for each zone be adjusted to run approximately 60 seconds"
    2) Related to 1, The whole system runs through a complete cycle in just 1½ hours.
    3) The sequence looks like it's off. I think 3 should run before 2 does. That would require re plumbing the system

    I think the zones should run longer than they currently do, and I think you need at least a couple of runs to get the cleaning you want.

    I'd definitely call A&A and see what they say about it. I will call. In the past they have replaced all the heads with a redesigned version under their lifetime warranty.

    Are there any skimmers in the system? Yes, two. One at each end of the pool area. If so, what is the percentage of flow between skimmers and main drains when it's cleaning? I've usually set 50/50 but have tried full on drain with not much difference
    Is there a bottom drain in the spa?Yes, but I if its on with system it drains the spa,, turning it into a gigantic skimmer.
    I do like how effective the system is at spreading the heat from the solar throughout the pool, but don't see too much hope for improved cleaning. Ideally I would like to continue using the system for primary water return, but if I add a suction side cleaner (The PoolCleaner 2X) I fear that won't be possible.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    I think there's probably a point where having that many popups means the jet flow is fighting against itself. This head is blowing debris one way but then a few feet away another is blowing it another way, I don't know how you could ever get a good pattern down that would get water moving toward the drain.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Just to clarify, the drawing is not to scale and the 16 x 36 is the size of the swimming area. The 18 inch depth isn't included. The spa is 7x7 and the sun shelf is also 7x7 with a step down to the pool and a 17 inch bench running the length of the pool. Two skimmers, one at each end of the swimming area.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    I definitely think the system can be optimized to work better than it is now. Getting hold of the right person at A&A will be the real trick.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    I realize I'm a bit picky about keeping the pool clean. When I lived in the Midwest and New England, I was that guy who mowed his lawn on a diagonal, both ways, to better level it out. I've transferred that perfectionism to my pool. It bothers me if there are a few ocotillo leaves in the bottom. Especially with as clear as I keep the water.

    My previous pool (in New England) was a 70's vintage, with the main drain plugged and abandoned, and a single skimmer. Trees all around it and about the size of current one. I had a Polaris with a booster pump. It cleaned the pool in an hour or two pretty effectively. At least it was much better than this infloor system.

    A&A didn't design the system. But I think California Pools did submit a copy of the plan to them for approval. After 10+ years, I'm still happy with every other aspect of the pool. But, I have to either get this system to work much better or move to a pool cleaner. I'm tired of dragging out the hoses and manually vacuuming every couple days.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Time to give up and buy PoolCleaner?

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    This view to post ratio annoys me to no end sometimes, but I can say, not one was mine.
    I'm glad to see this posted. I take nothing personally, but I am amazed at some posts that get multiple posts and answers, while others languish and not even an, "I don't know, but perhaps this person or someone can help"! I love the information on this site and I am spending too much time on here (my partner calls this, "pool porn")!
    5900 G Fiberglass IG pool (circa 1990), SWG Hayward Aqua Rite GoldLine (2013), IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump (2013), Hayward Pro Sand Filter (circa 1990), Well water (no iron or other metals fortunately), test with Taylor K2006C, Charleston, SC

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