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Thread: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

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    More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    I was hoping someone could give me tips for running my pool cleaner effectively. I've been doing searches on the web and this forum to try to do some troubleshooting on my own. After bad experiences with a Hayward Navigator and a secondhand Polaris 360, I got tired of years of manual vacuuming and decided to give pool cleaners a try again. I don't seem to have enough pressure to operate cleaners well. I picked the Baracuda G2 specifically because of reviews stating that it worked well with low suction. I am able to get it to work, but to do so, I have to close the drain (which I understand is normal), close off the opposite skimmer, and put the flow control valve on the highest setting. Once I do those all of those things, it functions well. Of course, I get no skimming action and I also see air in the pump filter basket when the cleaner is hooked up. I'm nervous that the air in the system puts a strain on the pump so I don't like to leave the cleaner hooked up for long.

    I've done most of the tricks to try to eliminate air leaks. I've tighted up the connections between all the cleaner hose sections. I've checked the impeller for blockage, cleaned the pump basket, and lubed the O-ring. I even got a plumber's bladder and tried to blast out the skimmer lines, but only a few small pieces of debris floated up.

    I was wondering if a 2-speed pump would do the trick. We've always just gotten 3/4 HP motors because that's what the pool builder installed so it was easiest to just replace it with the same thing. Would having a higher speed for running the cleaner solve the inadequate suction issue? The motor we have is only 1-2 years old so I should have plenty of time to think about it before needing to get a new one. Until then, I guess I'll keep fiddling with skimmers and hooking and unhooking the cleaner!
    23K gal., kidney IG vinyl, 3/4 HP pump, sand filter, Baracuda G2

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    What is the pump model#? (Not motor#) - If you do not know, post a picture of the pump.

    Describe your plumbing setup in detail - Pipe sizes, number of runs, equipment, etc.

    What is your normal filter pressure?

    What is your filter pressure with the cleaner?

    A picture of your equipment would be useful.
    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: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    OK, I might have to wait until the weekend because I'm at work now and it has been raining every evening lately, but I'll look for model numbers and get some pics!
    23K gal., kidney IG vinyl, 3/4 HP pump, sand filter, Baracuda G2

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    Re: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    Here are a couple of photos. The pump is old so I couldn't read the model number on the tag. The impeller was replaced a few years ago. Thanks for looking! Any ideas?

    Normal filter pressure is about 10 psi. It used to be about 13 many years ago. It drops to about 5 with the cleaner attached.




    23K gal., kidney IG vinyl, 3/4 HP pump, sand filter, Baracuda G2

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    When you checked the impeller, did you take apart the pump for a full inspection?

    BTW, I believe the pump is a SuperII. On the motor label, there should be a service factor rating with the abbreviation SF and a number between 1 and 2. Can you tell me what that is?

    Symptoms point more towards a clogged suction line.
    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: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    Super II does ring a bell. The labels are all very faded because the pump is about 20 years old. No, it hasn't been taken apart recently. I am concerned about a clogged suction line because it seemed like performance dropped after a hurricane put a lot of debris in the pool. The pump has been taken apart since then. I tried blasting the lines with a bladder. I read you can also hook a wet vac to the skimmer hole, but I haven't tried that.
    23K gal., kidney IG vinyl, 3/4 HP pump, sand filter, Baracuda G2

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    Re: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    OK, I looked at the motor label and the SF is 1.0. I tried vacuuming and blasting out the lines some more today and didn't really notice anything significant.
    23K gal., kidney IG vinyl, 3/4 HP pump, sand filter, Baracuda G2

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    So your pump is a 3/4 HP up rated Super II or model# sp3005x7AZ. So it is equivalent of a full rated 1/2 HP pump much like mine. The pump should be big enough to run your cleaner although as you found out, it may not be big enough to run the cleaner, main drain and both skimmers all at the same time. For mine, I have to close off the skimmers and main drain about 50% in order to get the cleaner to run at proper speed although if I leave the valve open, the cleaner still moves albeit slowly. It doesn't appear that you have any suction line blockage although the reduction in filter pressure from 13 PSI to 10 PSI is somewhat of a mystery unless the latter was measured with a dirty filter. Was there any plumbing rework done between those measurements?

    The focus at this point may need to be at fixing the air leak. That can also reduce the suction and effectiveness of the cleaner. Given your setup, the air leak is most likely the pump lid and/or the drain plugs so double check those and carefully inspect the rubber gaskets for any cracks/splits that might allow air into the pump basket.
    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: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    Yes, come to think of it, a repair person did have to reconfigure the pipes a bit because the pool builder installed the pump so close to the house that it was nearly impossible to work on the motor. That bend in the top pipe going from the pump to the sand filter didn't used to be like that. It was straight. I will give the gaskets a check. I've looked at the O-ring, but I've never touched the drain plug! Thanks!
    23K gal., kidney IG vinyl, 3/4 HP pump, sand filter, Baracuda G2

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: More powerful pump needed to run pool cleaner?

    Any changes before the filter could have lowered the filter pressure although an extra bend should not have caused a 3 PSI drop.
    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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