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Thread: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

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    Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Hello! I am a new pool owner and I have a 20k gallon pool plaster pool. My current equipment is 3/4HP single speed pump, 3/4HP booster pump, DE filter, and a polaris pressure cleaner. I also have a solar cover and a tension safety net (like katchakid) that's always on when there is nobody in the pool.

    I want to get a variable speed pump for energy efficiency. The guy at Leslie's suggested getting rid of the booster pump too because that's really inefficient also. Given our electricity rates here ($0.40/kwh and climbing) I think that's worth considering. That means robot or suction cleaners.

    Ideally I want a cleaner that I can leave in the pool all the time and only get it out when we swim. It's a pain to undo the safety net so I just want to leave the cleaner in the pool. The guy at Leslie's then suggested against robots. That leaves the suction cleaners and he recommended the Zodia Baracuda MX-8.

    I am looking for more options here. Is it really not okay to just leave the robots in the pool? Are there better suction cleaners than the MX-8? I am very flexible on cost to a certain extent. I want the best pool cleaner that I can leave in the pool and does not require a booster pump. Thoughts?

    Thanks!
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Galun
    I want to get a variable speed pump for energy efficiency. The guy at Leslie's suggested getting rid of the booster pump too because that's really inefficient also. Given our electricity rates here ($0.40/kwh and climbing) I think that's worth considering. That means robot or suction cleaners.
    You don't have to go to a suction cleaner just because you get rid of a booster pump. I used to have a 1 HP single-speed main pump and a 3/4 HP booster pump for a Letro Legend pressure-side pool cleaner on a dedicated line. I replaced both pumps with an IntelliFlo VF variable speed (flow) pump and added a Jandy valve to switch the flow between the returns vs. the dedicated line for the cleaner which I replaced with The Pool Cleaner since it doesn't need a booster pump and is set to run with 15 GPM. This combination saves on electricity while still being able to use a pressure-side cleaner.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Hi Chem Geek,

    Would this work on Polaris 280 also ? I have Intelliflo Vs.
    23k IG. Plaster. StaRite system 3 Cartridge Filter (S7M120), Pentair MiniMaxNT Heater. IntelliFlo VS (8 Speed). Going BBB

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    It would not, because the 280 requires a booster pump. Chem Geek's cleaner is a different model, that is specifically designed to work in such a situation.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Okay so it looks like I need a new cleaner anyways if I want to get rid of the booster pump.

    So, what's the difference between suction and pressure cleaner? I read the pool school article, and it appears that suction is adequate for small to mid pools, while pressure is better for mid to large pools. But what is the definition of small / mid / large pools? My pool is 20k gallon kidney shape 40x24.
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    You don't have to go to a suction cleaner just because you get rid of a booster pump. I used to have a 1 HP single-speed main pump and a 3/4 HP booster pump for a Letro Legend pressure-side pool cleaner on a dedicated line.
    I thought his cleaner did have a booster pump.
    23k IG. Plaster. StaRite system 3 Cartridge Filter (S7M120), Pentair MiniMaxNT Heater. IntelliFlo VS (8 Speed). Going BBB

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    20k gallons is large.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by sukhbir
    I thought his cleaner did have a booster pump.
    I used to have a booster pump, but got rid of it when I went to the IntelliFlo, but that meant I need to replace my pressure-side cleaner with one that could operate at low flow which is what I did, along with an electric switch that will divert all flow to the dedicated line at night when I have the cleaner running for a couple of hours.

    Galun currently has a booster pump but is looking to get rid of it for energy savings, but that means he needs a different cleaner that can work at lower flow rates. Polaris makes several pressure-side pool cleaners that need no booster pump, if he didn't want to go with The Pool Cleaner. And, of course, he could switch to a suction-side cleaner if he wanted to.

    I'd say you should go with a pressure-side cleaner since your pool is not small and you are already used to what a pressure-side cleaner can do and are used to cleaning the bag at the cleaner (with a suction-side cleaner, you usually clean the pump basket and filter instead).
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Quote Originally Posted by sukhbir
    I thought his cleaner did have a booster pump.
    I used to have a booster pump, but got rid of it when I went to the IntelliFlo, but that meant I need to replace my pressure-side cleaner with one that could operate at low flow which is what I did, along with an electric switch that will divert all flow to the dedicated line at night when I have the cleaner running for a couple of hours.

    Galun currently has a booster pump but is looking to get rid of it for energy savings, but that means he needs a different cleaner that can work at lower flow rates. Polaris makes several pressure-side pool cleaners that need no booster pump, if he didn't want to go with The Pool Cleaner. And, of course, he could switch to a suction-side cleaner if he wanted to.

    I'd say you should go with a pressure-side cleaner since your pool is not small and you are already used to what a pressure-side cleaner can do and are used to cleaning the bag at the cleaner (with a suction-side cleaner, you usually clean the pump basket and filter instead).
    Thanks chem geek.

    I currently have no automation equipment. I'd think it's pretty hard to divert all flow to the dedicated line without automation? If that's the case, then I think I have no choice but to use a suction side cleaner, unless I invest in automation equipment.

    I read up on the pool cleaner, and a lot of people here seem to like it. If I get the suction side cleaner and have a variable speed pump that operates for say 10 hours a day, does it mean the cleaner will work for 10 hours a day?
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    What type of debris do you get in your pool? That may determine to some extent what type of cleaner would be best for you.

    I found this short series of videos while surfing the other day and found them somewhat informative. They're put out by Zodiac so they feature their cleaners but I think it still might be worth your time to watch them:

    Selecting an Automatic Pool Cleaner
    Understanding Pool System Components
    Automatic Pool Cleaner Types
    Pool Debris Types
    Automatic Pool Cleaner Care and Maintenance
    Suction-side Automatic Pool Cleaner Care and Maintenance
    Pressure-side Automatic Pool Cleaner Care and Maintenance
    Robotic Automatic Pool Cleaner Care and Maintenance

    Personally, I'm using the 4x suction side Pool Cleaner by Poolvergneugen. I've only had it a few weeks but so far I like it a lot. I mostly get small leaves, dirt and small gravel, dead bugs and grass clippings in my pool. I use an inline leaf catcher to keep most of the debris out of the pump strainer basket. They also make a 4x pressure side Pool Cleaner that doesn't need a booster pump.

    Hope this helps,

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    I have had the the 4x suction side Pool Cleaner by Poolvergneugen for about 3 months and love it. I leave mine in the pool 24/7 but I suspect that will change once swimming season starts. I originally had one of the pulsating suction side cleaner types (polaris raptor) and it was terrible. I should have done my due diligence before I bought it but relied on my suppliers recommendation instead.
    35K IG Vinyl 20 x 40 self built pool, Hayward Pro Series High-Rate Sand Filter 31" 98gal/min, Hayward TriStar 1.85hp, Hayward 400btu heater, BBB method w/Hypo, Jazz light w/matching fiber optic rope lighting around coping w/syncronized color wheels. Concrete Paver deck.

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    FWIW:

    My pool is 33k, pop-ups on the floor, 4 return jets, two skimmers.

    I've played with various vacuums and such, the following 2 solutions have worked well depending what kind of debris gets in the pool:

    Large debris (acorns, twigs, etc): Pressure-side pool cleaner, hooked into one of the return jets. I'm using a "POOLVERGNUEGEN" 4X pressure-side cleaner, no booster pump is necessary. This keeps both skimmers free to do their job. Have to empty the vac bag once a week or so. Trouble-free, never jams, cover the pool in 2hrs or less, but misses the small grit and debris.

    Small debris (dust and such): suction-side 'Kreepy-Crawly'-type (mine is a Dirt Devil) cleaner. The cleaner does an outstanding job in the small stuff, essentially "impact-cleaning" the pool, and gets all the 'fines'. But it gets jammed on larger debris like acorns, small twigs and such. This will take up one of the skimmers, AND the pool pump must run at high enough speed/vacuum to operate it effectively. To make up for the loss of one skimmer, plug in a Pool Devil skimmer into a return jet (http://www.pooldevil.net/), works very well and cheap too.

    On both setups, I leave the floor jets on, they are already there and working, and they do help to stir up the water. I've not had an issue with the vacuums getting hung up on the pop-ups. The POOLVERGNUEGEN just rolls over them. The suction-side cleaner might get hung up for a few seconds max, then the pop-up sinks, and it takes off.

    The suction-side POOLVERGNUEGEN has a very good reputation, it will not 'impact clean' the pool like a Kreepy-Crawly-type will, but it will continue to run at low pump flow settings as well. I would think a suction-side POOLVERGNUEGEN with an in-line leaf canister (keep the big stuff out of the pump) would be ideal for everyone who does not get truly large debris in the pool.

    I've reserached robots, and while they have fans, I've not jumped on board for a few reasons:
    1) expensive
    2) manual (you have to throw it in, take it out, clean, every time)
    3) mess with cords or batteries
    4) on battery systems, the batteries will die in a few years

    Best of luck, enjoy the pool!
    33k Gunite, CompuPool CPSC48 SWG, Sta-Rite System 3 DE, 2.25hp dual-speed, POOLVERGNUEGEN Pressure-side

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    I saw "jasonlion" post about 20K being a big pool. I guess that might be true in certain areas of the country, but it is normal here by me. Most pools here average 20,000+ gallons, and we see some that are much larger. Pretty rare to see one under 15,000 gallons at all.

    I hope that helps some. I am looking for a cleaner also (I am leaning towards the Pool Cleaner) and am talking to lots of people. Just don't want you to make a decision about a cleaner thinking your pool is too big.

    Trixee

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    my vote for the poolvergnuegen 2x suction model, just picked up another one for family member from Pool Supply Unlimited, web sale, no sales tax, ups shipping under three dollars.

    Item#: 81071
    Unit Price: $372.25

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Galun
    I currently have no automation equipment. I'd think it's pretty hard to divert all flow to the dedicated line without automation? If that's the case, then I think I have no choice but to use a suction side cleaner, unless I invest in automation equipment.
    Yes you are right that without automation of some sort, you can't have the valve switch over to the cleaner automatically at a given time coordinated with the lower pump flow rate. So yes, this means you'd have to have the cleaner hooked up all the time and the suction cleaner would be better for that (you can have a The Pool Cleaner pressure version hooked up to a return, but I found that this requires very high pump speeds and total flow rates to get it to work -- it is much more efficient to have it on a dedicated line on its own).
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    jasonknox, looking at your profile it seems similar in surface area to my pool (40x24). Do you have the suction side pool cleaner as the only cleaning equipment? What kind of debris do you get in your pool? If it's effective for a pool of your size and debris is similar, then it may work for me too.

    phalcon51, thanks for posting the videos. Even keeping the polaris bias in mind, the videos were very helpful. There is always some kind of cover on our pool - either leaf or solar. I figure I'd rather clean the cover than scoop leaves. So the debris are just mostly smaller leaves and dirt that got through the side of the cover or dropped in when I remove the cover.

    acroy, thanks for mentioning the pool devil. It seems like I will have most of it covered with a suction cleaner for the small/mid stuff and the pool devil for the big floating stuff. Do you know what flow rate is required to get good action on the pool devil? Tried their website but couldn't find the information.
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Galun
    jasonknox, looking at your profile it seems similar in surface area to my pool (40x24). Do you have the suction side pool cleaner as the only cleaning equipment? What kind of debris do you get in your pool? If it's effective for a pool of your size and debris is similar, then it may work for me too.

    phalcon51, thanks for posting the videos. Even keeping the polaris bias in mind, the videos were very helpful. There is always some kind of cover on our pool - either leaf or solar. I figure I'd rather clean the cover than scoop leaves. So the debris are just mostly smaller leaves and dirt that got through the side of the cover or dropped in when I remove the cover.

    acroy, thanks for mentioning the pool devil. It seems like I will have most of it covered with a suction cleaner for the small/mid stuff and the pool devil for the big floating stuff. Do you know what flow rate is required to get good action on the pool devil? Tried their website but couldn't find the information.
    Yes, the 4-wheel suction "the poolcleaner" is all I use. Prior to this I just used the pole and vacuum method once a week. We had a major storm blow thru Georgia several weeks ago and it dumped alot of debris into the pool. I did use the net to fish out 5 pieces that I was not sure the cleaner would pick up. The only problem I had was that I had so much debris that it clogged my pump basket. Because of this I would not run it again after a big storm unless I was home to monitor the pump. Once I cleaned that out it went back to work. On an occasion a stick may get sucked across the opening at the bottom but even that usually does not affect the performance.
    35K IG Vinyl 20 x 40 self built pool, Hayward Pro Series High-Rate Sand Filter 31" 98gal/min, Hayward TriStar 1.85hp, Hayward 400btu heater, BBB method w/Hypo, Jazz light w/matching fiber optic rope lighting around coping w/syncronized color wheels. Concrete Paver deck.

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Galun
    Hello! I am a new pool owner and I have a 20k gallon pool plaster pool. My current equipment is 3/4HP single speed pump, 3/4HP booster pump, DE filter, and a polaris pressure cleaner. I also have a solar cover and a tension safety net (like katchakid) that's always on when there is nobody in the pool.

    I want to get a variable speed pump for energy efficiency. The guy at Leslie's suggested getting rid of the booster pump too because that's really inefficient also. Given our electricity rates here ($0.40/kwh and climbing) I think that's worth considering. That means robot or suction cleaners.

    Ideally I want a cleaner that I can leave in the pool all the time and only get it out when we swim. It's a pain to undo the safety net so I just want to leave the cleaner in the pool. The guy at Leslie's then suggested against robots. That leaves the suction cleaners and he recommended the Zodia Baracuda MX-8.

    I am looking for more options here. Is it really not okay to just leave the robots in the pool? Are there better suction cleaners than the MX-8? I am very flexible on cost to a certain extent. I want the best pool cleaner that I can leave in the pool and does not require a booster pump. Thoughts?

    Thanks!
    I was in a similar situation with a 1HP single speed pump, 3/4 HP booster pump, DE filter, polaris pressure cleaner, mechanical timers + 40c/kwh electricity. However I also have solar.

    After much deliberation I got Leslie's to install a new Intelliflo VS3050 + Suntouch controler. I went back and forth on whether to go with the Suntouch vs keep the old mechanical timers and running the VS3050 at a single pre-set speed. I also considered whether to replace the booster pump and Polaris which is also certainly an energy hog - particularly at 40c/kwh - with something else. However I first tried cutting down the length of time the Polaris ran. With the mechanical timers I had to run for at least an hour (couldn't get the on/off closer) and I know many people run Polaris's for 2 hours a day. However other people told me you really don't need to run the Polaris every day - every couple of days would be fine. The Suntouch doesn't allow this - but what I did try was running the Polaris for only 30 minutes each day - saving 50-75% energy vs 1 - 2 hours a day. I thought I would give this a go before looking at other pool cleaner options. This seems to be working fine with the pool looking great.

    chem geek's option option of 'a Jandy valve to switch the flow between the returns vs. the dedicated line for the cleaner which he replaced with The Pool Cleaner' -may also be worth investigating if the 30 minutes turns out not be enough. I have an approx 30 x 15' kidney shaped pool. It is 8' in the deep end so I am guessing about 16000 gallons.

    Now if only I could get the Intelliflo to drive the solar panels at a reasonable RPM it would be great

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    @Chem Geek Thanks.
    23k IG. Plaster. StaRite system 3 Cartridge Filter (S7M120), Pentair MiniMaxNT Heater. IntelliFlo VS (8 Speed). Going BBB

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    Re: Please recommend a new pool cleaner for a newbie

    Susa, I just checked Pool Supply Unlimited and their price is $379, plus tax. Shipping is under $3. Your info is little off

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