First Time Pool Owner - Pressure or Suction Pool Sweep?

clear4final

New member
Jul 27, 2010
4
Greetings TFP Members,

I've been scouring the forum here for a possible answer but just had the wife poke her head in room in disgust remarking "you're still on the computer?". So, here's my question to you all.

As a new pool owner I have no pool sweep in my pool. I learned through a pool company who came out to look at my pool that I have a pressure system(?) and need a pressure type pool sweep. However, they have advised me that a suction pool sweep is a bit better (takes work off the filter, etc.).

I have a choice to make and that is do I buy a pressure type pool cleaner (think I was quoted about $450) or do I have them perform some work on the pipes by the filter to convert to a suction type system and buy a suction pool sweep (about $600 for work and cleaner)? My worry is that I buy a pressure cleaner and then later find I should have converted to a suction and am now out the money for a pressure type pool sweep.

Thanks in advance for any insight. I've read alot of posts but couldnt' find a definitive discussion.

As for my pool, it's in-ground and midsize (couldnt' tell you the gallons) and kidney shaped. (If any of that helps).

Cheers.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,062
SouthWest Alabama
If you already have the booster pump for the cleaner it probably makes more sense to go online and order a pressure side cleaner.

As far as the pressure side vs. suction side they have it backwards. A pressure side cleaner doesn't send anything back to your filter because it catches it all and a suction side cleaner sends all the dirt back to the filter.
 

Maria

LifeTime Supporter
May 22, 2007
53
West Chester, PA
I just put in a Polaris 360, which is a pressure side cleaner, earlier this summer, after researching the same question. Our pool had an old Ray Vac that had lived a long and useful life--also a pressure side cleaner.
We are very, very pleased with how it's cleaning. We only needed to buy an extra fitting for the return to fit since ours is an older pool, and it was "plug and play".
Feel free to contact me with any other questions if I can be of help.
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
Things sound a bit backwards to me here, In general suction side cleaners are cheaper and usualy require no plumbing modification, by comparison pressure side units often require booster pumps, and dedicated plumbing. (you can always get a dedicated port for any type of vacuum, but it is often not needed for suction side, it simple plugs into the pipe below the strainer basket). If you really don't have to have suction side plumbing done, I would suggest you try one of the made china kreepy krawly clones and decide if it is good enough for your needs, every pool is different in what type of debris gets to the bottom, etc. These cheap made in china clone vacs can be found on ebay for around $100 or sometimes less, make no mistake they may be clones, but are made from much inferior plastic than the better name brand units and therefore may last a season or two before falling apart as opposed to 4 or 5 with the name brand units. Another word of warning these older design/ cheaper suction side vacuums make a clack-clack-clack noise that can be anoying if you send a lot of time near your pool while they are running. (I would hate to know I had one outside my bedroom window).

Ike
 

geekgranny

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 20, 2009
1,358
North Central Texas
Welcome to TFP. :wave:

A huge part of the "best" type of cleaner has to do with what type debris and how much of it you get in the pool.

We have extreme amounts of microscopic "cementous" dust going into our pool year round. The silt is, also, partially the extremely fine stuff.

I have all types of cleaners.

The only bag for a pressure size cleaner that will catch a considerable amount of the fine stuff is the Polaris disposable EZ Bag. They run about >$3 a piece and can only be used for a total of 36 hours before the bag "fabric" starts breaking down. For me running the Polaris minimum 10 hours per 24 hour period that's close to $10 a week for bags. I do rinse them out and reuse every day. Running the Polaris pump is very costly if you run it for as many hours as I do. The finest stuff still gets out of the bag and the Polaris does keep the stuff somewhat stirred up so that the pool is never at it's clearest. Pentair VF pump runs pretty low speed 21/7.

But the Polaris is the best I've used for massive amounts of leaves.

Most people don't have the microscopic "cementous" dust nor the amount I have.

Suction: I have The Pool Cleaner. All of the fine stuff goes to the filter. It does a great job of getting everything up without stirring it up. I do have to up the speed of the pump while the vac cleaner is running more than double what it runs for daily filtering. This does add a some electric expense but not nearly what the Polaris type booster pump uses. If you have any large debris, an inline leaf trap is pretty mandatory, so $45 to $75 should be added to the up front cost. I run it 3-5 hours a day.

Of the three types I have the suction cleaner does the worst job at getting up the massive amounts of leaves we have Oct-Dec and plant debris in Spring for about a month.

The major drawback on the suction is that all of the fine stuff goes to the filter. Using the vac only, I have to backwash our big 80 sq ft filter once a week. I use Fiber Clear and it is difficult to get much of it out by backwashing so I usually open the filter to clean the cartridges. Hassle, especially in winter.

Right now I'm using the Robotic Aquabot (the slower moving one that stirs up the fine stuff the least) with fine filter bags, "disposable" Nasty Bags, fabric like white plant frost cloth or allergy pillow covers. I rinse and wash these (cold with a little vinegar after rinsing them outside) I have about 8. These eight have lasted since early winter 09. They filter almost as well as the Aquabot fine cloth bag, $65 and if the dogs eat one it's no big deal. I run the Aquabot for 6-8 hours total, two cycles during the night (on simple timer) and usually a few hours each after noon. During this time of year I have less of the fine dust and lower speed winds so I use one fresh bag per 24 hr period. In the fall I'll probably have to use 2-3 bags per 24 hours. The electric use is just pennies a day. Main drawback is that it is very heavy to get out of the water to change the bags. Some people will have issues with the weight.

The Aquabot picks up leaves well but doesn't hold nearly as many leaves as the Polaris leaf bag or the even bigger but finer (almost as fine as the Polaris sand/silt bags that catchs almost none of our fine stuff) after marke Aquawerx bag. You can get a large mesh bag for the Aquabot, specifically for leaves, I have one, but it doesn't filter the fine stuff at all.

Last month I sold my Polaris, with a bunch of bags, to a good friend. I was going to convert the dedicated pressure port to a vac port but have decided to leave it as is and hook my little fountain to it so I can get a really big rise instead of the 3' one I get with fountain hooked to a return and pump running low speed, 19gpm.

Remember that using the Suction cleaner, with my conditions, I have to clean the BIG filter weekly. Using the Aquabot it will be 4 weeks since filter cleanout this coming Sunday.

With the suction cleaner going from hosed off cartridges starting psi 3 about 225 watts to end of week psi 10 my wattage use goes up to 800-1000 watts.

I'm not going to be real happy pulling the Aquabot out of the pool several times a day during our Fall, and using two Pool Skims, to catch many of the leaves but emptying the bags several time a day so I'm thinking about getting a Loop Lock Cover for the winter but still running the Aquabot under it for the fine stuff.

BTW... Pool kept open year round.

Hope this helps some. Ask questions.
 

clear4final

New member
Jul 27, 2010
4
My sincerest thanks for viewing and replying to my post. I will post pictures to see if any of the plumbing looks familiar amd to see if I got it backwards from what I was told. With a one month old, lack of sleep seems to be causing some memory loss these days . . . :sleep: Thanks again.
[attachment=0:203iyzeu]P1020289.JPG[/attachment:203iyzeu]
[attachment=1:203iyzeu]P1020288.JPG[/attachment:203iyzeu]
[attachment=2:203iyzeu]P1020287.JPG[/attachment:203iyzeu]
 

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clear4final

New member
Jul 27, 2010
4
I've added some pictures (above and) here of what equipment I have. To be honest, I'm not even sure what a booster pump looks like to tell if I even have one. Maybe someone can point it out to me? This last picture is what I have in the pool. When I turn on the switch by the pool filter water shoots out of this . . . also, I've notice that I have dirt/sand at the bottom of the pool. That will be the main clean-up cuprit as opposed to leaves. Thanks again for your insight.
[attachment=0:1l5owqjb]P1020291.JPG[/attachment:1l5owqjb]
 

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duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,713
Sebring, Florida
You defintiely have a booster pump set up for a pressure side cleaner. That would be a no-brainer for me to go with pressure side. I don't own one but the Polaris' all get pretty high marks from folks on the forum that do own them.
 

jasonknox

Platinum Supporter
May 4, 2010
300
SW Georgia
I plumbed my pool with a dedicated suction line so that I could run a suction type cleaner. I am now looking into changing my plumbing over to a pressure type system and adding a booster pump as the suction type cleaner I have is not doing a good job. I agree with these guys, if you already have a booster pump, go with a pressure cleaner.
 

geekgranny

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 20, 2009
1,358
North Central Texas
I agree too.. If you have the booster pump go for it. I used a Polaris 280 for many, many, many years. And just about everybody I know has one and loves them. I love mine too. As far as I know the Polaris 280 is the most used and tested, sturdy and hardly any parts that can't be owner replaced. They hardly ever need repairs and can really take a beating. (Mine haven't fared well with Mastiffs "rescuing" and the "killing" them but for the most part I usually only had to replace the tail hose.)

Only an infinitesimal amount of pools, around the world, will have the type and amounts of microscopic "cementous" dust going into a pool as I have. My dust issue has grown over the years and just until the past few years the Polaris took care of most of the fine stuff, albeit running main pump for many hours and running booster for Polaris for many hours. Most people only need to run their pressure cleaners a very few hours a day and many don't even need to run them daily. Most people don't even need to run their main pumps but for a few hours a day, and that is mainly to turn over the water and secondly to filter the water. Every environment and pool will have it's own set of requirement for circulation and filtering. But, as far as I know the pressure cleaners will do the job well for virtually all pools.

For most situations, if one wants finer filtering of the debris going into the cleaner bag, a stocking inside the bag is enough to catch the finer stuff. Most people don't even need filtering any finer than what the regular bag offers. If finer filtering is needed the Polaris brand, the one I know well, offers a sand/silt bag for finer filtering. That's more than enough filtration for most pools.

gg=alice
 

clear4final

New member
Jul 27, 2010
4
Thank you all for your input and guidance. I'm not going to convert over to a suction type cleaner and going to leave things the way they are and pick up a pressure cleaner this week. I'll take a look at Polaris and report back on how everything goes. Thanks again.
 

crabboy

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 24, 2007
528
Suwanee, GA
Do you have a water feature in your pool? I don't think that second pump is for a pressure cleaner. Why would it be plumbed that way. The pressure for the cleaner looks like it is coming off the filter pump and back in the ground in the 1 1/2 inch pipe.

Either way, I have the Polaris 280 and it keeps the pool squeaky clean on 3 hours a day.
 

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
3,899
Tucson, AZ
I think crabboy is right; you have a pressure cleaner line, but NOT a booster pump; your cleaner runs off the main pump when you turn the valve directly above the pump. The polaris 280 (and many other cleaners) require a booster pump, so you just need to limit your search to those that don't require one (polaris 360, the pool cleaner, etc).
 

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