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Thread: Polaris questions

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Polaris questions

    Hi everyone,

    I've been reading this forum for a while but this is my first time posting. I moved into my house 6 months ago, and this is the first time I've owned a pool. I am the sort of person who likes to know how things work and DIY as much as I can, so I've been trying to learn all that I can. I live in central Florida, so I don't bother shutting the pool down in the winter.

    My pool is 15 years old, about 16,000 gallons, has a screen enclosure, a pressure-side cleaner (using a Polaris 360 left by the previous owner), a solar heater, and was operating on a 4-cartridge extended-cycle filter. The filter was a real pain, because it was installed so close to the plumbing that it made it almost impossible to get the top on and off (perhaps there was a smaller filter there when it was originally installed). Since the previous owner hadn't replaced the cartridges in 3 or 4 years, it was time to do something, and I decided to just replace the whole thing with a new DE filter (Hayward DE3620).

    The pool company came out to do the work this morning. For the most part, they are great - the staff in the store is very patient and helpful. But the technician who came out to do the job, who has been here before, doesn't seem very interested in helping to educate me. In addition to replacing the filter and installing a new valve, which he did, he also at my request took out an old energy filter that bypassed the main filter, I suppose for whatever cleaner was originally in the pool, so that we'd stop pumping dirty water back into the pool through the cleaner.

    After doing this, I noticed that the Polaris was very lethargic. It was barely moving at all. I counted the RPMs of the wheels and got about 12. I told him that I read it should be 28-32. He said:
    1. They should have never put a pressure-side cleaner in this pool to begin with. They are typically only for unscreened pools, and suction-side cleaners do better for pools like mine. Maybe mine didn't have a screened enclosure when it was originally built.
    2. I really only need to run the cleaner one hour a day, or perhaps a few hours once a week.
    3. If we adjust the newly-installed valve to increase the flow to the cleaner, then the flow to the pool will decline and I'll have chlorination problems. Also, it will result in the parts in the Polaris getting worn out quickly as it doesn't do well with higher pressures.
    4. I could just do without the Polaris, and brush or manually vacuum the pool once a week or every other week and probably be fine.

    I just want to know if this makes sense. The same guy came out when I bought the house and never told me any of this (he told me to leave the Polaris in the pool all the time). It seemed to me like he just wanted to move on to the next job and wasn't really interested in getting the Polaris to work properly, which it had been before he came.

    I'm hoping that some folks here who know about this stuff much better than I do can either re-assure me that what he's saying is correct, or give me the ammunition I need to go to the store manager and complain. Thank you!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Polaris questions

    Welcome to TFP!

    The problem is most likely caused by the removal of the energy filter. The Polaris was almost certainly running off of the line that went through the energy filter so it could get extra water flow without compromising the pool returns.

    As to his points:
    1) A rather extreme position. There is nothing wrong with the cleaner you have now, regardless of the pros/cons of suction side cleaners. Personally I think pressure side cleaners do a better job, but that really doesn't matter here.
    2) True, but does not address the problem at all
    3) True, but again misses the point. Why was the plumbing setup changed? It worked before and it should have been obvious the cleaner was there so why change things so the cleaner has a problem?
    4) Again true but aside from the main point. Sure you could live without a cleaner, but you already have the cleaner so why did he make it not work any more without consulting with you in advance?
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Mar 2015
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    Orlando, FL
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    Re: Polaris questions

    Thanks for your response, Jason. He made the change in consultation with me. I was in the store last week because I needed a new filter for the energy filter. The guy in the store (who has always been very helpful, and had just repaired my Polaris 360) said that the original owner must have had a Ray-Vac, which is why there was an energy filter, and that the 360 didn't need one. I asked if it made sense, then, to just take the energy filter out and do some additional plumbing when they came out to replace the main filter, so that I wouldn't need to worry about maintaining the energy filter any more. He said that it was certainly an option.

    When a different guy came to replace the filter, I asked him as well about the energy filter. He said you could remove it, or not remove it. I asked what he would do if it were his pool, and he suggested that I remove it so that all water that's returned to the pool goes through the main filter. He said that with the current setup, more (pre-main filter) water was going back into the pool through the energy filter, than through the main filter.

    After he made the modification, he said that we could adjust the new valve to send more water to the cleaner, but that this would have the negative effects I mentioned (more wear and tear on the Polaris, less chlorinated water to the pool and especially the spa). I guess my main question is, should I...

    1) Leave it as-is (very little water going to the cleaner, with the cleaner running all the time)
    2) Adjust the valve to send more water to the cleaner so it runs properly, and leave it like that all the time, or
    3) Once a week, adjust the valve to let the cleaner run normally.

    Or something else entirely? Thank you again!

  4. Back To Top    #4
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Polaris questions

    The best, and most expensive, solution would be to get an automation system that can turn the cleaner on 1-4 hour a day and off the rest of the time. If you don't mind doing that manually (except once a week for 4 to 6 hours) that is also a fine solution.

    Another possible solutions depend on something I don't know. Is it possible to send enough water to the cleaner so it runs well, and still have the skimmer(s) skim effectively? If so, then that is a good solution.

    I wouldn't run the cleaner super slow, and I wouldn't turn the water flow to the pool down so much that the skimmers stop working.
    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

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Polaris questions

    It seems like running it once a week might be the best solution given all the factors.

    I would like to do it every day for an hour, but based on what you are saying and some quick research, there isn't a product that does it simply and easily. That's a little surprising to me, as I would think everyone else would have the same problem I do.

    Thank you again!

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: Polaris questions

    After re-reading your response, I now see you're suggesting running it for a short amount of time each day AND an extended amount once a week. That is not realistic given the amount of work involved, unfortunately.

    I can play with the valve to see if I can find the right mix of pressure to the cleaner and the pool. What would you say is the minimum RPM for the Polaris (or is it just enough so that it climbs the walls, it's tail is sweeping, and it doesn't get stuck on the steps)? And how do I know if the skimmer is skimming effectively?

  7. Back To Top    #7
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Polaris questions

    No, that was badly worded. I meant OR. Run for 1 hour each day OR 4-6 hours once a week.

    28-32 RPM. Full instructions are in the manual, page 7.
    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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