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Thread: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

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    The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Hello TFP-

    I have been researching a new pool cleaner and based on a lot of the comments in theses forums, I am seriously considering one of the Poolvergnuegen cleaners. However, my pool plumbing is not straight forward and I'd like a few opinions as to whether the pressure or suction cleaner is better for my situation. First, a little background. My pool is a 16x32x7ft deep rectangle built in FL in 1964. I have only 2 returns in the shallow end pumping toward a single skimmer in the deep end. I only have 1 line from the skimmer that is pulled back to the pump. My main drain is not plumbed back to the pump, but rather, runs back to the skimmer so there is not much suction on the main drain (see photo). I have a 1 HP pump that builds up pressure in the filter to about 15 psi normally.
    [attachment=0:27d0pfaz]IMG_1351.jpg[/attachment:27d0pfaz]

    My pool is not screened and we have many oak trees in our neighborhood that fill my pool every winter (dry season here). Because of this, I have used a pressure side cleaner to pick up the big debris in the past. I connected a Pentair Legend II (no booster pump) to one of the returns and for a while (~1 year) it did an adequate job of picking up the big stuff, but it is dying a quick death and I am looking for a replacement. The PoolCleaner Pressure seemed like the perfect machine, until I spoke to one of them who told me that I may not have enough flow to run the unit since I only have 1" return plumbing courtesy of FL builders from the 60's.

    Now, the Poolvergnueven people were steering me toward a suction unit, but I am concerned about disabling my skimmer completely. Normally, I have very good circulation and my skimmer does a good job of getting a lot of leaves before they sink. Plus, if I connect the suction cleaner to the skimmer, my goofy main drain will be disabled completely. Plus, the suction cleaner inlet is only 7/8", and it's possible the cleaner will choke on the leaves. Plus, all those leaves will be filling my pump basket. Anyway, you get the idea.

    A couple more nuggets: I run my pump 8 hr/day all year round and I *never* take my cleaner out of the pool (I think it's best to be honest). The long run times are needed to turn the whole pool over and circulate through my solar heater during the sunny hours. Perhaps with a good suction cleaner, I wouldn't need to run for 8 hours? I dunno.

    So, I think for me a pressure side machine makes more sense, but I have no idea if I'll have enough flow to drive the machine. Does anyone have any ideas if it will work?
    (For the record, I spoke to a very helpful person at poolvergnuegen who said my situation is a toss-up and they nearly went so far as to say that neither may work for me.)

    Thanks-
    -stephen
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    23KG 16x32 gunite, 120 sqft cartridge filter, 768 sqft solar panels, CircuPool RJ45 SWG

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Given your situation I'd recommend a robot. You may have to clean the bag more often but it doesn't rely on your existing plumbing.

    If you want to know if a pressure side cleaner will work you can buy a flow meter and rig it to one of your returns and plug the other and see what the flow is. That would tell you if it would work at all before you spend the money on one.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Thanks Dave-

    Do you have a recommendation for a good flow meter?
    -stephen
    23KG 16x32 gunite, 120 sqft cartridge filter, 768 sqft solar panels, CircuPool RJ45 SWG

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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Actually, I had another idea... Humor me for a minute. I'm now considering a suction cleaner:

    What if I rigged some connector from the main drain pipe to the skimmer return line and added some kind of valve to adjust the flow from the two ports. The suction cleaner is attached to the side with the valve and then I can regulate how much suction goes to the skimmer and main drain. I'll lose a skimmer, but gain a real main drain and have a working vacuum!!!

    Do you think this might work?
    -stephen
    23KG 16x32 gunite, 120 sqft cartridge filter, 768 sqft solar panels, CircuPool RJ45 SWG

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Are you sure you have 1" return pipe and not just part of the pipe is 1"? Can you take a picture of your pad?

    15 PSI from a 1 HP pump does not indicate high head on the return. Also, can you answer the following questions:

    Current Pump Make/Model
    Height of pump relative to the pool water level
    Diameter and number of individual suction pipes from the equipment to the pool
    Diameter and number of individual return pipes from the equipment to the pool
    Diameter and number of return eyeballs
    Distance from the pool to the equipment
    Filter type and backwash valve model if known
    Heater - yes or no
    Pool/Spa Valve - yes or no (If there is a spa, the number of jets and size)
    Check Valves - Number and locations
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Work on Mark's questions first. He'll give you good advice on whether he thinks it'll work or not.

    As for flow meters. Blue/White is popular and easy to find. Look for something that will fit your plumbing after you've done the experiment (if you even need to after Mark makes a suggestion).
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Thanks for taking such a keen interest in my "project". It sounds like we're really getting into it here.

    OK- Here's what I can give you about my setup. I will take a photo of the pad and some other parts later this afternoon. The pool was built in '64 with the house, I think. We bought the house in 2006, so I can't be sure of some of the plumbing underground. I can only report about the parts that are exposed and those that I have changed.

    Pump: Hayward Super Pump single speed w/ 1 HP AO Smith motor
    Pump Height ~ 1 ft (pad is level with pool deck)
    Suction Pipe: Only 1 to the pad and I *think* it is 1 inch (underground)
    Return Pipe: Only 1 from the pad and I *think* it is 1 inch (underground)
    Return Eyeballs: Only 2 and the diameter has been modified by me (see more below*)
    Equipment Distance: Less than 20 ft (from skimmer to pad)
    Filter: Hayward Cartridge 120 sqft
    Heater: Solar panels on roof plumbed into return line with 2" pipe
    No Spa
    Check valves: 2; 1 b/t filter and 3-way valve for heater supply, and 1 b/t heater and return pipe

    *More eyeball info: Please see the photos I used in an earlier post:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/new-j...64-t41790.html
    For one of the eyeballs, I made a ~3/4" nozzle (the short tube in the bottom photo) to increase flow for the other return jet. In the other return, I jury-rigged an adapter into the 1" return pipe so I could attach the Pentair/Letro Legend II cleaner.

    Just a couple of other notes:
    1) When my pressure side cleaner is connected, the other return jet shoots like a firehouse! It's by the stairs and will knock you down if your leg crosses the stream near the jet. Sometimes, my son likes to swim against the current.
    2) The suction from my skimmer is huge. If I pull the basket out, the pump will draw down the water in the skimmer bucket faster than it can enter from the pool, even when the pool level is fairly high.
    3) I never have a problem with circulation, ie- the skimmer does a great job pulling out leaves from the surface, and my water never gets cloudy. (I do occasionally battle black algae, but that will be another thread.

    Thanks for taking the time to think about my problem!
    -stephen
    23KG 16x32 gunite, 120 sqft cartridge filter, 768 sqft solar panels, CircuPool RJ45 SWG

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Why do you "think" it is 1" pipe? What is the pipe size coming out of the ground near the pad. That is usually the same size as underground. If you are not familiar with pipe size, a 1.5" standard schedule 40 PVC pipe is 1 7/8" outer diameter. This is probably what you have. A 1" PVC pipe would have a 1 5/16" outer diameter.

    Also, in the other thread you say the return line is 1 1/2" so the suction should be the same or larger.
    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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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    The return lines are definitely 1". I checked that this morning while I hatching another cockamamie plan. I will double check the suction lines later this afternoon and post a pic of the pad.

    Thanks-
    -stephen
    23KG 16x32 gunite, 120 sqft cartridge filter, 768 sqft solar panels, CircuPool RJ45 SWG

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Make sure you are measuring the line at the pad and not the pool. Return lines are always steped down at the pool so you can't go by that size. 1" entering the pool does mean the entire length is 1" only a very short section. I am interested in the entire length which is typically the same pipe size that comes out of the ground at the pad.

    One more comment. It could be that they did not recommend the pressure cleaner because of the 1" return ports in the pool and not because the setup would not support a pressure cleaner. I believe the cleaner requires 1 1/2" thread port.
    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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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    I guess that's why you're the experts!

    I had to dig a bit to get to the original pipe, but I found:
    Return line OD ~ 1-3/4"; I guess it's a 1-1/2" line.
    Suction line OD ~ 2-1/4; I guess it's a 2" line.

    Here are a couple pics of the pad:
    [attachment=1:39erccso]IMG_1353.jpg[/attachment:39erccso]
    [attachment=0:39erccso]IMG_1354.jpg[/attachment:39erccso]

    Since I have a 1-1/2" return line, I should be able to connect a pressure side cleaner, no? Nevertheless, I am giving more thought to a suction cleaner with a leaf canister. Which do you think would be better?

    Thanks-
    -stephen
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    23KG 16x32 gunite, 120 sqft cartridge filter, 768 sqft solar panels, CircuPool RJ45 SWG

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    I see no reason not to try the pressure-side poolvergnuegen (seriously, what kind of name is that!?). Good luck!
    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!
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Do you have a dedicated pressure side cleaner port? If not, I think the issue is going to be connecting the line to the return port if it is not big enough.
    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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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    I am not an expert in this area, but I have seen suction cleaners set up so that the hole to the floor drain is plugged with an expandable rubber plug. Then you use a suction regulator in the skimmer suction drain hole. The cleaner hose attaches to the top of the regulator and since the regulator is in the skimmer, it draws water and allows you to have some skimming action. That is the way my Kreepy Krauly is set up. I also live in Florida and we have had a gazillion leaves come off the oaks in the past 3 weeks plus those nasty oak strings. I had to empty my skimmer every day for about 10 days, but now we are done with that until next year or the next big wind storm.
    There are challenges with these suction setups such as preventing the hose from popping out when the pump shuts off, but there are plastic clamps and other work around items to help. You may also have challenges with an old pool with square corners. I've never heard of a troublefree, perfect pool cleaner. I typically have to make periodic adjustments to my Kreepy Krauly, but it still beats an hour of vacuuming.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    The first choice of the OP was a pressure side cleaner and that is what we are trying to work out. The last resort is the suction side cleaner.
    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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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    The first choice of the OP was a pressure side cleaner and that is what we are trying to work out. The last resort is the suction side cleaner.
    He said in his last post that he is giving more thought to a suction side cleaner and I was sharing my thoughts for his consideration.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Thanks for everyone's input. Indeed, my first choice was going to be a pressure side cleaner, but I have not eliminated the suction side option.

    Mark- No, I do not have a dedicated pressure cleaner port, just the two normal return jets. In the past, I had a Pentair Legend connected to one of the return jets through some creative adapters I found that inserted directly into the 1" (pool side) return lines. Now, the Legend worked with this setup, but after speaking to the poolcleaner guys, they warned me that their pressure cleaner may not work at all since the flow rate is the main driver of their system and a 1" restriction may be the limiter.

    Be that as it may, I was not completely satisfied with losing 1 return jet for the cleaner. But, I either sacrifice 1 return jet for a pressure cleaner or the skimmer for a suction cleaner. I'm just trying to figure out which option will work best.

    Thanks-
    -stephen
    23KG 16x32 gunite, 120 sqft cartridge filter, 768 sqft solar panels, CircuPool RJ45 SWG

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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Quote Originally Posted by hoosierrun
    I am not an expert in this area, but I have seen suction cleaners set up so that the hole to the floor drain is plugged with an expandable rubber plug. Then you use a suction regulator in the skimmer suction drain hole. The cleaner hose attaches to the top of the regulator and since the regulator is in the skimmer, it draws water and allows you to have some skimming action. That is the way my Kreepy Krauly is set up. I also live in Florida and we have had a gazillion leaves come off the oaks in the past 3 weeks plus those nasty oak strings. I had to empty my skimmer every day for about 10 days, but now we are done with that until next year or the next big wind storm.
    There are challenges with these suction setups such as preventing the hose from popping out when the pump shuts off, but there are plastic clamps and other work around items to help. You may also have challenges with an old pool with square corners. I've never heard of a troublefree, perfect pool cleaner. I typically have to make periodic adjustments to my Kreepy Krauly, but it still beats an hour of vacuuming.
    This was my thinking for a suction side option. I have heard that adding the inline leaf canisters can make this work. I'm just concerned that I'll need some other form of catcher/basket/thing to catch any leaves that sucked into the skimmer. Do you know of any gadgets or setups for this?

    Thanks-
    -stephen
    23KG 16x32 gunite, 120 sqft cartridge filter, 768 sqft solar panels, CircuPool RJ45 SWG

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    Have you considered something like this:
    http://www.poolsupplyunlimited.com/best ... 1100/83869

    I am not sure if these have been rebuked on this site for not working or something ... just throwing it out there.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: The PoolCleaner Suction/Pressure Dilema

    I'll try to get some pictures up here in the next day of my setup. That will at least give you one idea to consider. I really don't know if it is the best or even considered great by the experts who are in the business. I am always trying to find a better way too but have to live with a budget.

    Basically, in my setup, I still have the skimmer basket installed below a skimmer plate that the regulator sits in, plus I have the pre-pump basket. I have an old Kreepy Krauly cleaner that still works, but just ordered and received the Kreepy Kruiser. I've yet to install it and see that it may require an entirely different setup that could require me to get a leaf canister. Up to this point, I have been able to avoid the leaf canister. The pictures will hopefully help out better than I could ever describe it.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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