I need to apologize in advance for my glaring naivete, and I have spent a couple of hours browsing these forums trying to answer my own questions, but apparently my questions are so stupid no one ever thought of asking them before.
I bought a house with a 4-year-old fiberglass pool about a year ago, and of course there was no information on pool care, so I've been learning as I go along. The pool is about 15' x 30', with a ledge all the way around, molded seats and a swim-out. It has just one skimmer at the deep end. It is also white, meaning that I have to vacuum it pretty much constantly, and so I would like to get some kind of automated cleaner.
My first thought was a pressure side cleaner. The water returning to the pool leaves the filter, than splits into two lines; one 1 1/2" line that feeds the 6 or 7 jets around the pool, and one 1 1/2" line labelled "Pool Cleaner" that runs to a single jet in the side of the pool. I figured that I could just connect a Polaris to this port and all would be well, but I've been told repeatedly that without a booster pump a Polaris won't function. The thing is, this jet already shoots out water hard enough that it's painful...my daughters like to stick their pool noodle over it and shoot water about 10' out of the pool. The teenager at the pool store insists that without a booster pump, no dice.
My next thought was a suction side cleaner, which I like less since when it's working the skimmer isn't, but at least I know that it'll function. But then it occurred to me that with with Jetzilla blowing water right across the middle of the pool, the cleaner would probably never make it to the shallow end of the pool; once the hose hits that jet, it'll blast it right back to the deep end.
I could shut off the valve to the pool cleaner line and route all the water to the jets, thus allowing the suction cleaner to work, but I'm somewhat leery. In the year I've had the pool, I've had the pool company out 3 times to dig under the concrete and replace broken fittings. The first time was right at the time of purchase, and the repair company's theory was that our pool inspector must have been opening and closing valves while the system was running, thereby causing a water hammer effect and blowing out 3 fittings. While I refuse to believe that that should be possible on such a new pool, I'm somewhat concerned that by shutting off the pool cleaner line, I'll be doubling the pressure on the jets line, which by the evidence I've seen so far appears to be more fragile than glass.
So I guess what I'm trying to figure out boils down to these questions.
1) Is it possible that I can actually hook up a pressure-side cleaner to my pool cleaner port and have it work without another pump, and if not
2) Should I really have to be concerned about shutting off the pool cleaner return line damaging the system?
Thanks in advance for any advice. From what I've read so far, the average poster on here knows far more about pools than my pool contractor. When I ask him these types of questions, he gets the same look on his face as my dog gets when I tell her to go do the laundry.