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Thread: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

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    Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Hi All - I was hoping to get some input on the solar breeze unit (https://www.solar-breeze.com/). We just finished our pool about a month ago and we have come to the stark realization that we have a full time job on our hands cleaning our pool here in central texas. We have a few acres and probably over 1000 trees (oaks, cedar, etc) and the wind blows a lot. This makes a constant supply of leaves and tree debris that all end up right in our new pool and make the top water line look terrible. The pool skimmer doesnt quite keep up (at all really). Manually skimming is a 2-3x /day job if you want it to keep on top of it. I ran across the solar breeze skimming robot that appears to handle this exact task. Its around $500, so its not cheap, but if it makes our pool life a lot better that would be worth it. It seems like you just set it and forget it and empty the bin every so often, but I'm not sure if thats the reality. If it can stay in the pool "on" all the time, then it seems like it would be worth it. If you have to go out, set it up each day, then put it back up each night, then its just trading 1 task for another one. Any experiences or thoughts on this type of device?

    Thanks,
    JD

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    I've never heard of the Solar-Breeze, nor have I heard from anyone who has tried it.

    The PoolSkim (poolskim.com) gets rave reviews for situations like yours, and it is much less expensive.

    Both the Solar-Breeze and the PoolSkim require that you empty the debris container regularly.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Northern CA
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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    I've had mine about three weeks. I was skeptical at first and definitely feel that I was charged a "green" tax, but I must say that thing is pretty neat. I have lots of trees that drop stuff in the pool year round and since putting this thin in service, the bag on the Polaris is virtually empty. It gets stuck a little of the water feature but always backs out of there. The dogs can't decide whether to ride on it or eat it. Pretty amusing stuff right there.

    I guess I'm a fan but would liked to have seen a price point of about 50% of where it is now....

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    Matawan, NJ
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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Hi I am about to purchase a solar breeze but also see the pool skim at 110$ which gets great reviews and costs much less. Did you end up buying it? No doubt the solar breeze is a much cooler gadget but price difference is big.

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    Lake Jackson, Texas ( Houston)
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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Studiovette-
    I am new pool owner/member. I have both the Pool Skim and the Solar Breeze. I bought the Poolskim before I discovered the Solar Breeze. The Poolskim worked well, but it is now out, in favor of the Solar Breeze, which I love. In my situation ( plenty of sunlight), it literally works 24 hours a day! I have yet to manually skim, and I don't need the pump on for it to work. I've had it for about one month.

    I have nothing else in the pool presently (cleaners with hoses), but I have read that this may be a slight issue. The Solar Breeze is designed to back up every few minutes and redirect, so I don't think that this will be a problem, if it runs up against a floating hose.

    I am having one issue. The Solar Breeze is constantly aerating, I think, (a little paddlewheel propels it), and I think it is keeping my pH high. I will be researching and consulting the forum on this.
    20,000 gallons in-ground, plaster, built in '85
    Sand filter specs TBD
    Pump info TBD
    Solar Breeze skimmer, TF100

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    I emailed Solar Breeze to ask them where I buy their product and they said that they are out of stock until November.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Folks,

    We have had Steve, our Solar Breeze, since 17 June, so, just shy of a month, now.

    We have quite a few trees, dumping flowers, twigs, pollen, leaves, and more. We do not have an auto-cover, so we always have debris falling on the surface. On sunny days, Steve runs well past midnight, even if it has been windy and he has had to lug around a load of debris. We pull and clean the tray once per day - some days you could get away with not emptying it, but rather keep that as part of the daily pool upkeep.

    If you get less than about 4 hours of sunlight, the Solar Breeze is, likely, not for you. Our pool has about five full hours and three or four where it is partially shaded, at varying amounts; the on-board batteries are more than enough to keep the unit moving, even if the sun is clouded for quite some time. The unit, occasionally, gets stuck in a corner, but it backs up on its own, within a couple minutes, turns, and continues on its way.

    If you have a 'beach entry' he may get grounded, but it should be easy enough to block - even using a shallow/deep floating line as a 'wall' should be enough to keep him out. About the only other obstacle would be if you have a very long, narrow point in the pool (think they are referred to as a 'swim path') that some very high-end pools have, where he may go down and not be able to turn and come back out - but it would have to be about 3' wide and longer than 5', so *most* should be fine. Again, you could just rope off that area, as well.

    We are, thus far, happy to report no issues, very good 'filtration' of floating goodies, everything from twigs to pollen, flowers to leaves, and we use the secondary basket for two chlorination pucks, so he chlorinates around the edge of the pool, whether the main pump is running, or not. We have been able to reduce the main pump's runtime by about 1.5 hours, since it was set for longer, to help remove the daily accumulation of debris. If there is a ton of debris, just having Steve moving helps to keep things moving, out from the two corners where things tend to collect, even when the main pump is running.

    The developers have done a decent job on this one, especially for the first commercial model- definitely has cut down manual skimming and pump runtime. So far, so good!


    Nikk
    ~26,000g free-form, plastered, gunite in-ground pool. 1.5hp pump, sand filter, and electronic timer. 2 skimmers and 3 returns on the pool floor. 2" supply and return lines. Solar Breeze and AquaBot Turbo T for automation - both are great for us!
    Fun fact, the pump, filter, and timer are located in our basement. (Some 'pros' have seen a few, while others are mystified.)

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    I've had my solar breeze for a little over 2 months. I've used it since opening my pool this year and I can absolutely say it does a great job of skimming the entire surface all day and night. the pool skimmer baskets don't have to be emptied as often, and less debris reaches the floor.I haven't used it for chlorine pucks, but its nice to have the option.I bought mine from pool supply world with a promo code.
    30000 gal rectangular inground pool
    TF-100 test kit, Vinyl Liner
    hayward c4030 cartridge filter.1 hp Hayward SuperPump SP2607X10
    Aquabot Turbo cleaner + Dolphin Supreme MX5
    Solar- Breeze robotic skimmer

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    But I wonder what is up with this company as they seem to have production issues. They won't have any more product available to sell until October/November so they have competely missed this pool season.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    I just bought the Solar Breeze a couple weeks ago and I love it. It has blue leds so you can look outside and see it running at night. It still runs several hours into the night so I've looked outside and seen it motoring around at 10:30pm. Seems like I can go 3 to 4 days between cleaning it out. I did go a whole week and it was still cleaning but was quite full. I ordered mine online and it shipped within a couple days. In the past week I've seen them in stock at two pools stores here in Tucson, AZ.
    Thanks,
    Gil

    In-ground: 20,600 gallons; Sand Filter 1HP pump; Kreepy Krauler; Solar Breeze Solar Powered Robotic Skimmer; TFT-100 test kit

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Wayner makes a good point. They, likely, were just not ready for the demand.

    Hopefully they can do a larger run, bring the price down a bit, and use that funding to continue refining this item and create some other useful products.

    We have been pleasantly surprised by its functionality and quality- would hate to see mismanagement ruin a good thing.

    Nikk
    ~26,000g free-form, plastered, gunite in-ground pool. 1.5hp pump, sand filter, and electronic timer. 2 skimmers and 3 returns on the pool floor. 2" supply and return lines. Solar Breeze and AquaBot Turbo T for automation - both are great for us!
    Fun fact, the pump, filter, and timer are located in our basement. (Some 'pros' have seen a few, while others are mystified.)

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Breezy - (our Solar-Breeze's name) has been a tremendous product for us. We have large redwoods that put droppings in the pool whenever the wind blows! Breezy has done her job and picked up most everything on top. There is times when I've cleaned the tray a couple times in a day and other times when it does not need to be cleaned for a few days. Just depends on the wind. Not trying to pitch this product but if your trying to find out good information on it or a recommendation by all means I would recommend it. Has cut down our pool sweep time tremendously.
    1991 31,000 gallon IG plaster free form, Solar Breeze runs 24/7, Hayward model S310T Sand filter, new sand added 4/14, main pump is 2.20 HP, Polaris 380 pump is a Pentair Boost-Rite 1.1 HP pump not variable speed. Using bleach method since June '14, no pucks. Using TF100.

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    I think its really cool, but quite expensive. For anyone looking to buy one, this place http://www.infloorpoolparts.com/solar-breeze.html has 35 dollars off code making it 495 which seems to be the cheapest around.
    8000 gal diamond brite pool with 650 gal spillover spa, Pentair 3hp VS pump. Jandy Cartridge filter and Jandy Heat Pump. Jandy PDA automation system with 2 Pentair Laminars. SmartPool NC74S Robotic Pool Cleaner.

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    I've had a Solar Breeze in central Texas for two years (purchased directly from Solar Breeze as a refurbed unit) -- I like it a lot. It works well as long as the debris load falling in the pool is light -- we get plenty of sunshine in our big (50,000 gal) pool surrounded by trees. In the fall with heavy leaf drop it can get full in 20 minutes after cleaning... its our main skimmer during the early/mid part of the swim season.

    It will get hung up on some things in the pool (noodles, paddles, etc) or if there are ladders or other obstructions sticking out -- it can usually back out of those situations after a while. A worse problem is getting grounded on steps or a beach/baja shelf ) in those cases it needs to be physically redirected or better yet provide a physical barrier that blocks it from those areas.

    The contraption does seem to work a lot better when you don't watch it, otherwise you'll think it is always trying to find ways to avoid leaves or get stuck. Our model runs through the night after sunny days and has some flashing blue lights that I'd prefer it didn't have, but overall I'd give it high marks for drastically reducing skimming by hand for most of the swim season.
    Mike
    52,000 gal creekbed pool (1/2 ingrained) Limestone Rock/Plaster built 1946 outside San Antonio, TX
    3hp VS Intelliflow Pump / BakerHydro HRV-30 (500 lb) sand filter / wimpy old plumbing

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    I have a Solar Breeze that I bought in May 2014. Last summer it stopped working. I sent it back and the people at Solar Breeze fixed it without charge (other than mailing). Used it all summer, as we live in Texas and it did not get cold. In February, the shell began cracking, and now the entire unit has stopped working. I don't know if some brief, unnoticed cold spell made the shell brittle or not, but seriously, we had almost no cold weather. I contacted the Solar Breeze people and they offered me $159 toward the new NX model (still would cost me $ 443) or they would fix the old one for $159, but would not have the parts available until August.
    I loved this product-- it cleaned my pool well, without the annoying tube attachments or anything else. It was just great! But to spend $443 for a product that only lasts 2 years is too much. Plus, the wait until August is unacceptable. We've been swimming in the hot Texas climate since March, so waiting until August for a pool skimmer is not acceptable. Too bad, because this is really a great product. Hopefully, they have a sturdier shell that will last more than 2 year!

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Quote Originally Posted by dakers View Post
    I have a Solar Breeze that I bought in May 2014. Last summer it stopped working. I sent it back and the people at Solar Breeze fixed it without charge (other than mailing). Used it all summer, as we live in Texas and it did not get cold. In February, the shell began cracking, and now the entire unit has stopped working. I don't know if some brief, unnoticed cold spell made the shell brittle or not, but seriously, we had almost no cold weather. I contacted the Solar Breeze people and they offered me $159 toward the new NX model (still would cost me $ 443) or they would fix the old one for $159, but would not have the parts available until August.
    I loved this product-- it cleaned my pool well, without the annoying tube attachments or anything else. It was just great! But to spend $443 for a product that only lasts 2 years is too much. Plus, the wait until August is unacceptable. We've been swimming in the hot Texas climate since March, so waiting until August for a pool skimmer is not acceptable. Too bad, because this is really a great product. Hopefully, they have a sturdier shell that will last more than 2 year!
    They appear to agree with you. From the NX description:

    "A new plastic polymer blend is being used for the top housing of the Solar-Breeze NX to improve its resistance to UV rays and slow the deterioration of the plastics, leading to longer life for the product."
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    got a NX on order but wont get until first of June (they say). looking forward to it. lots of sun in vegas and have a 36k pool that I'm tired of skimming . had two large trees around the pool cut down last fall that helped a lot to limit the floating debris but still the winds seem to bring in all the neighbors stuff.
    35,000 gal pool
    Pentair whisper flo & Cartridge Filter
    Caretaker 99 in floor
    Suntrek Solar panels
    Las Vegas,NV

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Just got my nx 2 weeks ago. I've made one single modification to the pool but I'll explain below.

    the solar breeze keeps my pool top immaculate. No bugs, leaves, nada. Top is crystal clear. It does exactly as you would expect it IF you leave it alone. Now I had 2 issues come up with the solar breeze.

    the first is that it is not compatible with the pool skim. It gets caught up on the pool skims blue peg. The peg needs to be longer. After it getting hung up for the 3rd time I took out the pool skim and just let the solar breeze run. I no longer need the pool skim.

    secondly is that my returns pull fairly strong and the solar breeze would get caught in them and could not get itself out. The draw and angle was a little too strong for the breeze. What I did was place a pole in he skimmer entrance. That was enough to prevent the breeze from getting trapped and it runs free now.

    past week, runs beautifully.
    Inground Gunite/Plaster pool with spa. Estimated 31,000 gallons.

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Aug 2014
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    Burlington, ON
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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Mine was delivered earlier this week. I have a 16x32 kidney-shaped pool. It has been working well for me so far, though it spends an inordinate amount of time in the shallow end because of my drop-in stairs where it can get into a "back and forth" loop from time to time. Eventually it drifts out of that, though. The ladder, returns and skimmer are not causing any problems.

    A stiff breeze will keep it at one end of the pool most of the time as well, but then most of the debris will also be driven in that direction, so not a real problem.

    The only real drawbacks due to the solar-power design are rain, heavy cloud cover or shade -- but that's obvious, eh?

    Whether or not it proves to be a worthwhile investment for me really comes down to how long it will last ...
    16x32 kidney-shape; 18K gallons approx.; vinyl; OmniLogic automation; 3HP EcoStar VS pump; Hayward H250 Natgas heater; Hayward sand filter; Hayward brominator; Hayward Navigator; Solar-Breeze NX

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    Re: Is the Solar Breeze solar powered robotic skimmer worth the investment?

    Well I looked at my spa compared with my pool and my spa looks like a breeding ground for west nyle, and my pool looks like I can drink straight out of it.

    Breeze has been doing a great job.
    Inground Gunite/Plaster pool with spa. Estimated 31,000 gallons.

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