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Thread: Automatic Cleaner Advice

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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Automatic Cleaner Advice

    There is about as many opinions on which cleaners are best as there are cleaners on the market. However, I do have a few questions on various cleaners.

    I am planning on purchasing a new cleaner for my pool this spring and just curious which route is the best. I have a simple 16x32 IG, vinyl lined pool, with deep end. I have two returns and just one skimmer (no main drain). The pool is plumbed with a separate suction port already. I have many trees around the pool and I get a fair amount of leaves, pollen, small sticks, etc in my pool. My current method of filtration/manual vacuuming is adequate, but my pool is never really sparkling clean. The water is clear, but usually after I vacuum I have some pollen or silt settle usually the following day because it was stirred up and settled again or it is going through the sand filter. I once thought this was some sort of algae, but after living with it for a year with no impacts on chlorine usage I realize it is just some fine particles that disappear in a puff and resettle later.

    What do you think my best option is? BTW money is always a consideration as I don't have unlimited funds, but I want to make a good choice. It seems like I should be able to get something in the $300-$600 range. I have looked at suction side cleaners becuase they are the cheapest, and my pool is already plumped for that, but I worry that they will not pick up the high leaf load or filter some fine silt. A Suction side model that did look interesting is ThePoolCleaner. I also considerred the Pool Rover Plus as this would not involve any replumbing. A don't mind adding a pressure side cleaner if they are a drastic improvement over the suction side and have looked at the tried and true Polaris 280.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    I suspect that you might see more of an improvement from adding a little DE to the sand filter than you will from the addition of any of the pool cleaners. My water goes from clear to sparkling when I add DE to the filter. How well the pool cleaner is working usually has more of an impact on the obvious leaves and dirt and not so much on the "sparkling" aspect of things.

    One thing to keep in mind is that FC levels that are just slightly low can often result in dead algae slowly depositing as drifts of extremely fine silt on the floor of the pool even though there is no other indication that there is an algae problem. Very fine dust blown in by storms can also have the same effect, taking several days to a week to settle out. It isn't always possible to tell those two apart. Anyway, it might be worth trying a slightly higher FC level than you have been using to see if that has any impact.

    The differences between the pool cleaners mostly have to do with reliability and convenience. All of them will keep the pool more or less the same level of clean as long as they are properly installed and setup.
    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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    Riles, I don't know much about the pros and cons of todays suction cleaners (the ones my company sells are the robotic cleaners [$1800 - $2100] and ~ 10% of them are returned within the warantee period )

    I do want to point out that your dedicated suction line can be changed to a return line quite simply, so don't focus solely on suction side cleaners if you can find a pressure side cleaner that you think would work better.

    It may well be as Jason said and an auto cleaner may well not be the answer.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

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    JoshU's Avatar
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    I'm very biased to using a Polaris 280. It is the most tried and tested cleaner of the market today. It's very dependable and once you take it apart once or twice it should be pretty simple to do the repairs yourself. Expect to do a tune-up on it every 1-2 years.
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
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    Josh, good to see you -- Happy New Year!

    I really like the honesty you showed by saying that the Polaris would need a 'tune- up' every other year What I want to mention is that the Polaris (and I have been certified, by Polaris, to work on them) is a 'pressure' side unit (hence my comment on making the 'dedicated suction line' convert over to a return or 'pressure' line)

    Riles, as I said - do what you feel you need to in order to keep your pool as clean and 'sparkliy' as you want!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Automatic Cleaner Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Riles_J
    I have looked at suction side cleaners becuase they are the cheapest, and my pool is already plumped for that, but I worry that they will not pick up the high leaf load or filter some fine silt. A Suction side model that did look interesting is ThePoolCleaner.
    I have the suction side ThePoolCleaner and it does a pretty good job overall. Silt and dirt are easily sucked up into the system and traped by the main filter. Heavy leaf loads can be an issue but I got a separate leaf trap for mine and it seems to work well as long as I empty it when I should.

    I have a very large Chinese Elm fairly close to the pool and this time of year is very hard on the cleaner. I need to clean the trap every few days. If I allow too many leaves to collect on the bottom before putting the cleaner in, leaves can clog the input. However, if I leave the cleaner in all the time during leaf fall, then the cleaner can keep on top of it without issues.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    I would go with a pressure cleaner. Given the amount of things in your pool you would also need a leaf canister with a suction side cleaner and they need frequent emptying. A Robotic is going to be very expensive compared to a pressure or suction cleaner. The suction would be the easiest to install given your current setup but I not think it would really give you what you are looking for. A pressure side cleaner is, IMHO, a more effective option when there is a lot of leaves and such in the pool. You could look at one of the non booster pump units such as the Polaris 360 or the Letro Legend II but they often do not perform as well as the booster pump models when there is a lot of debris in the pool.

    No matter which kind you end up with be sure that you have a vinyl model or it will not properly climb and can even possibly damage the liner.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    The Hayward W530 leaf canister has at least the same volume as most pressure side cleaner bags so both cleaners should have about the same leaf capacity and thus need to be emptied at about the same time.

    Again, my experience has been that the suction side does just fine with the leaves but it really depends on how many leaves you have to deal with.

    Also, unless you plan on replumbing for the pressure side yourself, you should include the cost of that as well when comparing the cleaners. You need to make sure your current pump is sufficent for the cleaner or you may need a booster pump as well.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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