Auto cleaner getting stuck under above ground pool steps

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
703
Orlando
So I have the cheap little intex pressure side auto cleaner and every few days it manages to get itself stuck under my steps.
A5DD0BE7-22AA-4804-B643-B54B251E9B61.jpeg
Sometimes it will get stuck like that and sometimes it will make it all the way through, but then it’s hose will go under the steps and it can’t get to the rest of the pool. Once it managed to get through and pull through enough hose that it completely wrapped itself around the steps and then got stuck under them.

Here are the steps:
89DD0A6C-4FCA-437F-BCC6-2345BBDFFB64.jpeg
I’m thinking I could just put something under the steps to block the cleaner from going under them but I have no idea what. Something that can stay permanently in the water and either be attached to the steps or be heavy enough that it won’t float away.

Any brilliant ideas?

Thanks:)
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
703
Orlando
That’s a great idea. You are very wise:). I think I will do just that, although I may go with 2” pipe and sand instead of concrete.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,312
Tallahassee, FL
You know your cleaner best....I don't want it to be able to push or roll over the pipe which is why I said 3" and concrete. Have fun making it and share a pic when you get done. :hug:

Kim:kim:
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
703
Orlando
The cleaner isn’t super strong, but after I got to the store and started getting some 2 inch fittings I decided to go with 3 inches. I think 2 inches probably would have been ok, but on the off chance that it wasn’t I didn’t want to do it again with 3 inch pipe.

I built the pipe structure and filled it with the better part of a 50lb bag of sand and put it in place.

28E82487-65EA-49EF-BD96-E5B9C6D4B99A.jpeg
48178324-5487-4529-B032-75288D1EF0BD.jpeg

It seems pretty well planted in place, but I’ll give it a few days and see how it does. If the cleaner does manage to move it then I’ll try to figure out some way to attach it to the steps. I think I’m gonna be ok though.
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
703
Orlando
How do you clean under the steps?
I have no idea. It’s a new pool, so I’ll have to see how much stuff builds up under there. Right now the little pipe thing I added isn’t attached to anything, so it could be pulled out to clean under there if I need to.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,312
Tallahassee, FL
I will tell you that as wide open as those steps are it will not be too much of a problem. Every once in a while you can just brush under there to get anything out.

Kim:kim:
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
703
Orlando
Well, apparently I underestimated the strength of my cleaner. I checked it a few times today and all seemed well, but a few minutes ago I discovered that it had managed to put my block 6 inches to one side and had gotten itself stuck again.

So, after two gigantic zip ties and a lot of deep breaths I’ve managed to attach my contraption to the steps in the hopes that this will keep it in place.
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
703
Orlando
Well, it’s been 24 hours and the cleaner hasn’t moved my pipes or gotten stuck. I’ll give it another few days just to be sure, but I think the problem might be fixed :)
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,312
Tallahassee, FL
My husband will tell you that anything I come up with is hair brained BUT most of them end up working of leads to something that will work! :roll: LOL

Kim:kim:
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
703
Orlando
Oh wow! I just got this little cleaner and he's barely moving. May I ask which pump you're using to make him into a Hulk?
I have the intex 16” sand filter/pump combo. The pump is rated at 3000 gallons per hour and the whole system is rated at 2450 gallons per hour. The filter creates some restriction, so the flow rate for the system is less than the flow rate for the pump.

The intex auto cleaner says that it needs a minimum flow rate of 1600 gallons per hour, but in reality it needs more than that to work well.

According to your signature your pump has a flow rate of 30 gallons per minute, which works out to 1800 gallons per hour. That’s pretty close to the bare minimum needed for the intex auto cleaner. It’s also not clear whether that’s the flow rate for just the pump or the flow rate for the whole system. If it’s just the pump flow rate then the system flow rate will be even less and closer to (or even below) the minimum flow rate needed to run the intex auto cleaner.

As long as the cleaner does keep moving (albeit slowly) then it may still work for you. It doesn’t really need to move fast to clean the pool. However, often when it’s connected to an underpowered pump it will stop moving entirely. If that’s happening, then obviously it won’t be able to clean well. If you haven’t backwashed your filter recently you could try to backwash as a clean filter will increase the flow rate and might help a little, but as the filter gets dirty again it will just cause the same problems.
 

JediKnight

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2019
62
Grass Valley, CA
I have the intex 16” sand filter/pump combo. The pump is rated at 3000 gallons per hour and the whole system is rated at 2450 gallons per hour. The filter creates some restriction, so the flow rate for the system is less than the flow rate for the pump.

The intex auto cleaner says that it needs a minimum flow rate of 1600 gallons per hour, but in reality it needs more than that to work well.

According to your signature your pump has a flow rate of 30 gallons per minute, which works out to 1800 gallons per hour. That’s pretty close to the bare minimum needed for the intex auto cleaner. It’s also not clear whether that’s the flow rate for just the pump or the flow rate for the whole system. If it’s just the pump flow rate then the system flow rate will be even less and closer to (or even below) the minimum flow rate needed to run the intex auto cleaner.

As long as the cleaner does keep moving (albeit slowly) then it may still work for you. It doesn’t really need to move fast to clean the pool. However, often when it’s connected to an underpowered pump it will stop moving entirely. If that’s happening, then obviously it won’t be able to clean well. If you haven’t backwashed your filter recently you could try to backwash as a clean filter will increase the flow rate and might help a little, but as the filter gets dirty again it will just cause the same problems.
It does indeed move slowly and gets hung up on divots and large wrinkles. :( I backwashed today before installing the cleaner along with a redneck PVC adapter as the included one was nonsense and not compatible with the pool.

Do you know if a pressure-side booster would work? I'm not even sure how those attach/work but I'm in research mode.

Is the attached photo what you have? It seems to be the same. My pool is a a few hundred gallons below the "minimum pool size" of 5,500 gallons.
 

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Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
703
Orlando
I suspect a booster pump would work, but frankly I think you would just be better off getting a new pump and filter, like the one you pictured. I don’t think it would be much more expensive than the booster pump and the plumbing would be much less complicated.

The one you pictured is a 2017 or maybe 2018 model. The newer ones have a digital timer (the one you linked still has a timer, but you adjust the time by turning a knob). Either version will work with the auto cleaner.
 
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