Considering re-plumbing for a suction cleaner

BW

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 10, 2011
21
SF bay area
When our pool was built I requested a 1.5" pressure side cleaner line, because we had a lot of leaves from the neighbor's trees. Happily, shortly after the pool was completed, our neighbor cut down the trees, and I didn't need a cleaner! A bit of manual vacuuming was all I needed to keep the dust at bay. Well after 4 years of pool ownership the novelty of vacuuming has wore off, and I'm considering an automatic cleaner. Given my problem is just a bit of dust and I have a majorly over-sized cartridge filter, a suction cleaner seems like the best fit. Unfortunately this would require maybe a day's effort to re-plumbing the pad for suction on the 1.5" line. Does this seem like a reasonable choice? And while I'm at it, I could easily plumb it so I can select pressure or suction on the 1.5" line. Is there any value in that?
 

CountryBumkin

Bronze Supporter
Jan 9, 2017
124
Orlando/FL
I just went the other direction - switched from Suction side to Pressure side, because the suction line (underground) now appears to be clogged with something.
At least with a Pressure side system there is no risk of anything getting sucked into the line and clogging where you can't get to it.

If you can afford it, I think the Robotic cleaners are the best choice.
 

BW

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 10, 2011
21
SF bay area
Thanks for the feedback. I suspected I would get suggestions for a robot, and I'm sure they are valid, but as an engineer at a robotics company I'm inclined to to minimize reminders of work while relaxing at the pool.

Most likely I will re-plumb so I can select pressure or suction with three-way valves. I think I might enjoy manual vacuuming if I didn't have to mess a skimmer plate each time. If not, I'll buy the cleaner. I'll post before and after pics of the plumbing here, if I go that route.

Jim, I'm not sure what I'm looking at in your photo. Care to elaborate?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,304
Tucson, AZ
I'm ditching my suction cleaner after 4 seasons and going with a robot. Honestly, the term robot is a bit stretched here. They are simply electrical motor driven pressure cleaners with a little bit of on-board controls to make them move in a specific pattern around a pool....this thing isn't going to make you a margarita and do a dance while you sit back in your lounger ...

Also, the nice part of the robot cleaners is this - they decouple the cleaning process from your pool pump. You are going to use a lot more energy running either a pressure cleaner or a suction cleaner than you will running a robot cleaner around a pool. Robots typically consume about 250W-300W of electrical power. A suction cleaner will require you to run your pump in order to clean and, even with a variable speed pump, the suction cleaners usually require the pumps to run at much higher speeds to get them to move around the pool. Pool pumps are not known as energy-savers....
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
12,683
Bedford, TX
Jim, I'm not sure what I'm looking at in your photo. Care to elaborate?
BW,

Basically, I did not like the option that I could only attach a vacuum hose in the skimmer (older pool), so I just added a three way valve, in front of the pump, that lets me chose between the skimmer input (coming out of the ground) or the open port where I can attach a vacuum hose.

If you click on the pic it will get bigger.

I can't think of how you could have one valve that would select between a pressure cleaner or a suction cleaner???

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
344
I'm ditching my suction cleaner after 4 seasons and going with a robot. Honestly, the term robot is a bit stretched here. They are simply electrical motor driven pressure cleaners with a little bit of on-board controls to make them move in a specific pattern around a pool....this thing isn't going to make you a margarita and do a dance while you sit back in your lounger ...

Also, the nice part of the robot cleaners is this - they decouple the cleaning process from your pool pump. You are going to use a lot more energy running either a pressure cleaner or a suction cleaner than you will running a robot cleaner around a pool. Robots typically consume about 250W-300W of electrical power. A suction cleaner will require you to run your pump in order to clean and, even with a variable speed pump, the suction cleaners usually require the pumps to run at much higher speeds to get them to move around the pool. Pool pumps are not known as energy-savers....

I can run my suction side Zodiac T5 and an inline leaf trap for 187 watts using my Jandy EPump.

This is pretty efficient to vac and filter the pool, but my pool setup is really slick - no 90's at all in the plumbing and my filter flows quiet well.

I don't think most guys setups are as slick as mine hydrodynamically.

Uncle Dave
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,304
Tucson, AZ
I can run my suction side Zodiac T5 and an inline leaf trap for 187 watts using my Jandy EPump.

This is pretty efficient to vac and filter the pool, but my pool setup is really slick - no 90's at all in the plumbing and my filter flows quiet well.

I don't think most guys setups are as slick as mine hydrodynamically.

Uncle Dave
Yep, I'm sure if I played with the valves and switched the pump suction all the way to the suction cleaner I could probably lower my VSP speed quite a bit. But the truth of the matter is, when most folks run a suction cleaner, they're not inclined to put it in the pool and take it out or adjust valves manually to make it efficient. The simplest/laziest approach is to leave it in the pool and split the pump suction between the various inputs (skimmer, MD's and suction wall port) and then just increase the VSP speed until everything runs right. So that means running the pump at a higher speed to get everything to work together.

With a robot, you take it in and out of the pool (and even that is not totally necessary) and you don't worry if the pump is running or not. That's a much easier and cost effective solution for me and my pool. My minimum operating point for the VSP speed to keep the SWG happy and running is down near 1400rpm which equates to about 170W of electrical power to the VSP. Everyone has a different operating point in their pool, so your mileage may vary with each cleaner type. I'm glad you were able to find an efficient operating point for your suction cleaner.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
344
Yep, I'm sure if I played with the valves and switched the pump suction all the way to the suction cleaner I could probably lower my VSP speed quite a bit. But the truth of the matter is, when most folks run a suction cleaner, they're not inclined to put it in the pool and take it out or adjust valves manually to make it efficient. The simplest/laziest approach is to leave it in the pool and split the pump suction between the various inputs (skimmer, MD's and suction wall port) and then just increase the VSP speed until everything runs right. So that means running the pump at a higher speed to get everything to work together.

With a robot, you take it in and out of the pool (and even that is not totally necessary) and you don't worry if the pump is running or not. That's a much easier and cost effective solution for me and my pool. My minimum operating point for the VSP speed to keep the SWG happy and running is down near 1400rpm which equates to about 170W of electrical power to the VSP. Everyone has a different operating point in their pool, so your mileage may vary with each cleaner type. I'm glad you were able to find an efficient operating point for your suction cleaner.
Yea I see lots of guys leave cleaners in all the time and with a suction side environment (without a remote skimmer) then you dont skim the top which a pressure cleaner and robot dont suffer that problem. I dont do this myself I put it in and take it out after half a day or so.

In my area I have a high influx of very fine contaminate dark fallout powder from 2 of the largest freeway interchanges in LA.

All of the devices that use a mesh bag to capture debris simply let this go right through whereas the suction side cleaner actually removes the debris from the pool itself and it does stay in my filter.

If I had large acorns or a leaves Id probably go for a robot , or pressure side myself.

UD
 

BW

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 10, 2011
21
SF bay area
I spent some time looking at robot cleaners today, but just can't justify the expense for my small pool. So I'm going to try the suction route.

I couldn't get a good photo of the plumbing, so here's a drawing of what I have in mind. Any problems with this? Obviously there are some valve combinations that don't makes sense, so I'd have adjust them with care.
Capture.jpg
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
344
Looks ok to me.

todays current scenario is a pressure cleaner that didnt use a second dedicated pump.

Proposed turns a dedicated pressure line to either be pressure or suction , and allows you to valve between the skimmer and bottom cleaner using a suction side cleaner eliminating the biggest drawback to a suction side cleaner which is reduced or no skimming.

Pretty cool.

UD
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,304
Tucson, AZ
I spent some time looking at robot cleaners today, but just can't justify the expense for my small pool. So I'm going to try the suction route.

I couldn't get a good photo of the plumbing, so here's a drawing of what I have in mind. Any problems with this? Obviously there are some valve combinations that don't makes sense, so I'd have adjust them with care.
View attachment 58850
I'm not sure how well that's going to work. Hopefully some hydraulic experts can get on here.

In the case where you are putting pressure on the line, you will have the window of the three way diverter valve trying to hold back the pressure from the return side while simultaneously being pulled by the suction vacuum of the pump. I'm not sure the valves are designed to withstand those kinds of forces and you could get water from the return side "sneaking" back into the suction side of the pump. Rather than using 3-way diverter valves which employ a sliding widow to make a seal, you might want to use two shut-off valves instead that provide a more complete seal.

As I said, I don't have expertise in this area but I don't think the standard Jandy valves will work in that configuration. Also, putting a valve on the pump input like that, you need to be really careful about how the valve rotates so that no one can ever dead-head the pump while it is running.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,479
Pleasanton, CA
It looks like the cleaner line would always be pegged to 0 PSI because it is open to the pool? So the differential pressure is no worse that it would be without that line.

But even if the cleaner line was sealed, I don't think it would be an issue because even the differential pressure between suction and return isn't all that large and much less than the 50 PSI max rated pressure.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,304
Tucson, AZ
Thanks Mark! Whenever I see the suction and return sides short-circuited, I get worried.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

LoomisBill

Member
May 21, 2015
17
Loomis, Ca
I have a suction cleaner (MX8 with Pentair 3hp VSP). One benefit I like about suction cleaners is you can leave in the pool and have it come on daily. But here's the challenge; it requires me to set my valves to allow most flow thru the suction line which is 1.5", and less flow thru my main drain 2.5" and skimmer line, also 2.5". It also requires a higher RPM from the pump. Pulling water thru the 1.5" line is not very efficient compared to pulling thru the two 2.5" lines, and the higher pump RPM consumes more power. And I don't want to go out daily and manually adjust the valves. My next option is to install a Jandy auto valve. This would allow me to run most water thru the suction line for 3 hrs, then readjust to close off the suction line and pull water thru main drains and skimmer. I can then run my pump for high RPM's fr the time the cleaner is running and then go lower RPM's for the remaining clean time pulling water thru MD and skimmer.....
Anyone have experience with jandy auto valves?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,304
Tucson, AZ
I have a suction cleaner (MX8 with Pentair 3hp VSP). One benefit I like about suction cleaners is you can leave in the pool and have it come on daily. But here's the challenge; it requires me to set my valves to allow most flow thru the suction line which is 1.5", and less flow thru my main drain 2.5" and skimmer line, also 2.5". It also requires a higher RPM from the pump. Pulling water thru the 1.5" line is not very efficient compared to pulling thru the two 2.5" lines, and the higher pump RPM consumes more power. And I don't want to go out daily and manually adjust the valves. My next option is to install a Jandy auto valve. This would allow me to run most water thru the suction line for 3 hrs, then readjust to close off the suction line and pull water thru main drains and skimmer. I can then run my pump for high RPM's fr the time the cleaner is running and then go lower RPM's for the remaining clean time pulling water thru MD and skimmer.....
Anyone have experience with jandy auto valves?
I have a similar setup as yours and I just ditched my suction cleaner for a robot. The energy savings are huge - in order to run everything in my pool, my VSP routinely had to run at speeds higher than 2000RPM, typically from 2250 to 2500 RPM. That meant more than 1kW of power usage. Now, without the suction cleaner, I run down at 1600RPM and I'm only using about 300W of power. The robot has only needed to be run a few times in the last two weeks and, when it runs, it only uses 250W on a 2 hour cycle so 500kWh. The cost savings are REAL.

Honestly, I would not think of even replumbing the suction line but I understand it if you've chosen to go that route. The Jandy three way valves are very easy to setup and use as long as you have a good automation system to pair them with. What automation system do you use?

My spa spillover was originally just on a manual valve and I would leave it so the spillover was always on. About 16 months ago I added an automated valve controller to it and it was very east to adjust the cams to get the positions I needed (spillover fully closed OR 75% spillway/25% pool returns). Automating your suction line should be just as easy.
 

jazyje

Active member
Jun 17, 2016
33
Moorestown, NJ
I'm ditching my suction cleaner after 4 seasons and going with a robot. Honestly, the term robot is a bit stretched here. They are simply electrical motor driven pressure cleaners with a little bit of on-board controls to make them move in a specific pattern around a pool....this thing isn't going to make you a margarita and do a dance while you sit back in your lounger ...

Also, the nice part of the robot cleaners is this - they decouple the cleaning process from your pool pump. You are going to use a lot more energy running either a pressure cleaner or a suction cleaner than you will running a robot cleaner around a pool. Robots typically consume about 250W-300W of electrical power. A suction cleaner will require you to run your pump in order to clean and, even with a variable speed pump, the suction cleaners usually require the pumps to run at much higher speeds to get them to move around the pool. Pool pumps are not known as energy-savers....
I have a critical question for you; I also switched to an electric robot. Can I just leave the pressure vacuum suction line plugged at all times if I don't intend to use it? Or do I need to keep it open (unplugged) on the side of the pool? Don't see anything to stop the water from flowing towards the vacuum line but I'm afraid of the pressure building up in the pipe (?).
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,304
Tucson, AZ
I have a critical question for you; I also switched to an electric robot. Can I just leave the pressure vacuum suction line plugged at all times if I don't intend to use it? Or do I need to keep it open (unplugged) on the side of the pool? Don't see anything to stop the water from flowing towards the vacuum line but I'm afraid of the pressure building up in the pipe (?).
Is it a suction line or a pressure line? Which type of cleaner did you have - suction or pressure?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,304
Tucson, AZ
Did it use a booster pump? Where does the pressure line get water from - before or after the filter?

A picture of your equipment pad would help.
 

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