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Thread: Good-bye Pop-ups

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    Good-bye Pop-ups

    We moved into a house last year with a pool that has pop-up cleaners. Oh man, do I hate these things. They just don't do much of anything but push dirt into a little pattern on the bottom of the pool. I have to manually vacuum the pool every other day during the summer. I've been neglecting it during the winter and just keeping it loaded on chlorine and brushing the bottom and sides. Anyway, I want to do something different this spring and summer, and I am trying to find out what kind of automatic cleaner people recommend.
    As far as pool info goes, I don't have much info. It's a very tiny pool, about as small as you can get in a backyard. It's not pebble-tec but it doesn't feel like your typical plaster either. There is a skimmer, which I hook up the manual vacuum to because there is no other vacuum port, although there is a hole underneath the skimmer in the wall of the pool that looks like it would accommodate a vacuum but is just not the right size for standard tubing. There are 2 main drains. which don't seem to work very well. There is also a hole about 6 inches away from the pool in the ground. I'm not sure what it is for, but it looks like there is water in it, and there is a hole in the pool wall a couple inches above the water line directly in line with the hole in the ground. The hole in the ground is about 2 inches in diameter, the one in the wall of the pool is smaller, about 1 inch in diameter, and has a threaded opening.
    Anyway, what would your recommendations be on an automatic pool cleaner? Do I need to disable the pop-ups to use it (because I actually really like the pop ups on the steps)? Is this going to require an expensive professional re-plumbing? Is it something I can do myself?

    Thanks, and my sincere apologies for being totally ignorant when it comes to swimming pools and their parts.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Tucson, AZ

    Re: Good-bye Pop-ups

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    I will attempt to answer some of your questions.

    I had the in-floor system at my previous house. Seemed to do a decent job, but would collect dirt in a few corners ... I would just brush everything toward the floor drain ... or occasionally bust out my snorkeling gear and a manual vacuum hose ... then it is not even like work

    Can you add your pool and equipment details as shown here: pool-school/read_before_you_post
    Wondering how powerful your pump is. Also how long each day are you running the system? To work correctly, they seem to need a pretty long run each day so that each zone gets at least 1+ rotation. Do you see the jets rotating? (They usually increment each time they go down).

    Likely the hole in the wall below the skimmer is called an equalizer line. It would be plumbed directly to the 2nd hole in the bottom of the skimmer and with the use of a float diverter, is there to protect the pump is the water level dropped below the skimmer (water would be pulled into the skimmer through that hole. If it is an equalizer line, it can not be used for vacuuming. Can you confirm that your floor drains are plumbed directly to the equipment pad where a valve selects between the floor and the skimmer?

    The floor drains are designed to not show much water flow ... this is a safety feature. If you have a valve at the pump, you can likely increase the floor suction by sacrificing skimmer suction.

    Regarding the hole in the ground, that kind of sounds like an auto-fill that would automatically fill the pool with water after it is lost to splash out or evaporation (although the ones I have seen are larger with lids the size of skimmers). But, to work there would have to a hole into the pool BELOW the water level ... was that a typo stating it was above the water level?

    If you do not have a separate loop with returns in the walls of the pool, then you will not be able to discontinue use of the floor system without a very expensive remodel. It does not sound like there is any other way to get water back to the pool. You can likely make use of an automatic suction cleaner that attaches to the skimmer or an electric robot in conjunction with the floor system. It may occasionally get disrupted by the pop-ups though.

    If you have not already ... Read through Pool School to learn about the pool's chemistry and the test kits we recommend that may help you ensure a clean pool all summer.
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