Our pool was completed about a year ago (see my build thread HERE)
We have a lot of trees in our yard and we went for the PV3 In-Floor Cleaning system, which set us back some $8000. It is a very extensive system with its own dedicated pump and TONS of plumbing. It is custom designed for our specific pool design and they advertised a 90% clean pool.
My findings after a year:
- It adds a lot of extra circulation in the pool. As a result you can maintain a lower chlorine level. I found this out when the system was down for a week or two and i was waiting for a warranty call from my PB. We don't have a heater but I guess it would help heat up the pool faster as well.
- It works! (kind of).. I would say it picks up 80% of all sand and small debris in the pool. During that same 2 weeks of down time I really saw how much the system actually cleans. After just a couple of days of it being down there was a layer of fine dust/sand all over the pool. Because it is a custom system they make it work as good as possible for the pool but there will be 'dead spots'. There is always a band of sand which accumulates in about the middle of the pool. I usually kick it up when I am in the pool and then it'll find its way to the filter. There is also an area in the deep end where this happens. I need to manually vacuum that area every once in a while.
- It does NOTHING for algae. With all the rain we have had, we have had some algae blooms in the pool. I would imagine 'regular' pool cleaners scrub off any algae they encounter. My wife and I have spent quite some time brushing algae off the walls.
- works great for small leaves. which all end up in a leaf bag which is accessible through a skimmer lid. Large leafs clog up the in-ground drain which is designed to be able to pick up larger debris but the volume, size and shape of the larger oak leaves just clog it all up. I have spent quite some time in scuba gear on the bottom of the pool to take the inlet apart, clean it out and put it back together. The only thing that would probably prevent all this is a leaf net over the pool.
- once every 6 months or so i take the jets out and clean them out to make sure they don't get stuck. Not a lot of work.
In conclusion: It is a good system and it is very low maintenance. However.. We could've bought 6 top model robotic cleaners for the same price.. Knowing what i know now, i don't think i would have spent the money on this system but rather have bought a top model robotic cleaner. In fact, i am currently scoping craigslist for a decent used one that i can drop into the pool every other week or so.