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Thread: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

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    Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Hello Guys! and gals
    this is my first post here.

    I new to pools but the new house has one o/
    I have a pump that runs few times/day and the pool cleaner guy come one a week to get the dirt from the floor of the pool and some leaves, insects.

    I would like to know if I could replace all that for a robot running once/ twice a week.

    is it possible?

    Let me know if you need more details... this is just a research for now, just making sure its possible before I dig in.

    Thank you!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Welcome to TFP!

    As with so many things, the answer is both yes and no. A robot will replace the pool guy most weeks, but it won't do everything that needs doing every single week. For example, in the fall there can often be too many leaves for a pool robot to handle alone. Or if you had a storm that puts branches into the pool the pool robot won't be able to help. Plus, most pool people do at least some chemical testing/management, and a robot won't do any of that.
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    I see, so provided that the pool has al the chemicals and no big leaves and branches.
    Can I keep my pump off and just go with robot and turn on the pump just to mix the weekly chemicals?
    My question might be too broad, I just want to know how much trouble I am in, not that Im scared of the pool maintenance, but It would be nice to have it good for a swim 24/7 without the hassle.

    Thank you the reply!

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    No. Your pump circulates chemicals all the time and needs to run long enough every day to thoroughly mix the water. Normally that's about 8 hours, but pump size may change that.
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Quote Originally Posted by kleklezin
    Can I keep my pump off and just go with robot and turn on the pump just to mix the weekly chemicals?
    Actually, a robot cleaner should circulate the water as well so theoretically, if you found a way to chlorinate, you really could do without a pump all together. Now if someone would just build a SWG into the robot, then might be possible.
    Mark
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    A pool robot that includes a SWG actually exists. I don't consider it a good idea to combine unrelated functions like that, but you can if you want to. Any time you combine unrelated features you risk one feature breaking and rendering the other feature useless.

    Taking care of pool isn't that much work, but it does require consistent attention. Personally, I don't think of it as a hassle. I love to go stand out near the water every day. It is relaxing, a wonderful moment of calm in an otherwise hectic day. While out by the pool I can check the skimmer basket and scoop a few leaves up and still get the full relaxed experience.

    There are times when owning a pool can be a hassle, like the occasional really big storm dumping branches into the pool, or an extended power failure making things really difficult. Still, now that I know what needs to be done and don't let it get away from me (which only happened when I stop paying attention for too long) the benefits far outweigh the hassles.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    All true although I think a robot with an SWG would beat out a VS pump with an SWG plus cleaner in terms of efficiency.
    Mark
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Sorry, but your faith in technology outpaces my ability to suspend disbelief
    First off, this board is ridden with sad tales of robot dysfunction -- robots that break all the time, that miss spots, that get tangled up in chords, that climb out of pools, that stop climbing at all, that get stuck on drain covers, that wreck the surface because an acorn got stuck in the wheel...etc

    Now add a simple function like chlorinating the water -- something that takes two minutes and only a modicum of intelligence -- and trust that to a robot, when even good swg systems need maintenance, proper balance, frequent additions of MA to control ph rise, and occasional intervention because of output problems and I think you'd have a lot of rich robot repairmn and a lot more posters complaining about their robots

    So the OP is a newbie -- here's what you need to know. Once YOU know all about pool maintenance, function, and pool chemistry, you can then "delegate" tasks to a robot and a swg, preferably separately...but the real way to have a trouble free pool is to master balance and maintenance manually so that you're empowered to take control of your pool and give it exactly what it needs exactly when it needs it. Pool guys, robots and swg systems are just the delivery system. If you're the "brains" behind the operation, then you relly WILL be enjoying your pool 24/7!

    So give pool school a read and THEN decide how much or how little automation you want and need
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Thank you for all the info!
    I will learn more about pools before diving into robots. The thing is, I have several neighbors with pools, so we were thinking about saving energy and time by buying one robots for all of us, that way we dont have to hire a guy to do maintenance and we can keep the pumps running as little as possible.
    I understand most of you love the pool and everything that comes with it, in my case not so much haha, the kids love it, but they wont clean it, I dont have the time to even go in it so that is why I was looking to automate as much as possible.

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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Every residential pool we build has either a polaris 280 or caretaker infloor system and as a result very few of our customers have cleaning services. In addition to always having a clean pool, you will extend the run time of your filter between cleanings. However, sharing a cleaner with several neighbors doesn't sound very practical.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Klerk, one of the wiser pool industry locals I talked to when I was new to my pool told me something I consider valuable -- the cheapest thing you can do for your pool is to ensure you give it ample run time in terms of the pump/filter. I personally would not entrust this function to a robot, nor would I realistically expect other measures, apart from adequate chlorination, to dramatically reduce the need for good turnover and circulation. Just so you know

    Sharing a robot might become challenging when the inevitable repairs arise, if you decide to do so, you'll want a pre-agreement on how maintenance, repair and replacement is handled. If its your kids who love to swim, tell em to clean it once or twice a week, and make $ on the side cleaning your neighbor's pools
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Quote Originally Posted by Swampwoman
    Klerk, one of the wiser pool industry locals I talked to when I was new to my pool told me something I consider valuable -- the cheapest thing you can do for your pool is to ensure you give it ample run time in terms of the pump/filter.
    But too much run time can be a waste of energy and money.

    This study indicates that 3-4 hours is enough run time for most pools and based upon my own experience, it appears to be true. Last summer, I decided to try to significantly reduce my run time and targeted 1/2 turnover per day just to see what would happen which was basically nothing. The pool didn't have any algae issues nor did it appear much dirtier than before. But going from 2 turns per day in the summer to 1/2 turn per day saved close to 75% in energy costs.

    The fact is that most pool owners run their pumps much more than is necessary to keep the pool chlorinated and clean. The most common issues seem to come from their failure to keep the chlorine level high enough for the CYA level. This is the primary cause of algae in pools, not circulation. As the study shows, adequate circulation does not require a lot of pump run time.
    Mark
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Very interesting study Mark, thanks for sharing!
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    I know it's been stated above, but the only time my robot does not do 100% of the job necessary is when the fall comes around. We have to clear out the leaves on our own, the job is too big for a robot. The rest of the time, the robot typically does all the work except a few times where I just have to use a net to manually skim the leaves off the top and empty the skimmer. Note the size of my pool, too. No small feat.

    I do run my pump, can't imagine going without it... impossible for me anyway because I have a SWG.
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    ^likewise when running a heater.
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    Interesting thread. With California PG&E energy prices for electricity, an inexpensive robot (like a Kleen Machine at Costco's) may payback relatively quickly since (in my case) the 3/4 HP booster pump wouldn't have to run.
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    Re: Keep a Pool using only Robots - myth or fact?

    To echo what was said above, I run less than 1/2 turnover from Dec through March and less than 1 even during the peak of the swim season. After 5 years I'm yet to experience anything but clear water and no algae. I do use a vs pump with long run times at low rates and an ecg for sanitizing. My pool has been virtually maintenance free compared to my neighbors who use pucks and single speed motors on their pumps. As for a cleaner, my legend 2 has continued to run daily with about $150 in parts over the years. I do vacuum 3-4 times/yr when excessive dirt remains on the bottom. The basic white plaster finish is starting to show some dirt stains in the last 2 yrs. Maybe I should vacuum more often. Might try a power washer on them this spring. Just hate to spend the money on chemicals.

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