We are weighing the option of having an in-floor cleaning system in our new pool. We have heard varying reports on its effectiveness and value of being worth the 5k. Anyone have any experience with in floor cleaning systems that could provide input ?
My dad had one installed in his pool in Florida about 25 years ago. It worked great for small stuff. But leaves and things that couldn't go down through the drain had to be manually vacuuumed or netted out of the pool. I can't recall the name, but it is the system that is now owned and sold by the same folks that sell Polaris pool cleaners.
We have a Polaris 280 with a booster pump on our pool and it does a great job of picking up everything that hits the bottom of the pool. I haven't had to vacuum the pool in the nearly 2 years that we've lived here. :-D I just empty the bag from time to time and let it run for about 3 hours each day. It does a great job of cleaning and it also helps stir up the water with the water jets that power the vacuum action (2 jets on the 280), the tail whip jet, and the rear directional jet. I think that the 280 goes for about $800 new (with the booster pump), but they DO require maintenance and the parts for them are stupidly expensive. I buy my parts on eBay for 20-50% less than the pool store prices. 8) I also lucked out and noticed that one of my neighbors was tossing out a complete 280 a while back and nabbed it before the trash men arrived, so I have a complete set of spare parts now. 8)
Five grand seems a like a LOT of money for one of those in floor systems. They're a very simple design and I would be very surprised if it costs more than $200 to manufacture the whole setup.
Opinions are very mixed, some people love them, some people hate them. In dusty areas they can be a tremendous help, sometimes they break and cause endless problems. 5K$ is a reasonable price, but make sure you are getting a quality system, if you do get one.
Opinions are mixed because there are 3 manufacturers of infloor systems.
Paramount's PCC 2000 stands head and shoulders above the rest and here is why.
HarryH3 said that an apparent Caretaker system had a major flaw and "leaves couldn't go down the drain".
All pools should have active maindrains so that the user may simply brush leaves to the drain and they will get sucked down.
The key component that Paramount has is the ADR under deck canister that intercepts the leaves from the maindrain, before they get to the pump. It has a leaf bag that holds several times the debris of a skimmer basket. Now that you have a functional maindrain you can create a system that will direct leaves and debris to it with confidence knowing that they are not going to simply pile up or quickly clog up the pump basket. The ADR has an additional level of suction entrapment safety built in too. PCC 2000 uses bigger heads than any other infloor system on the floor to push the debris beyond the next head toward the drain. Once it arrives at the drain it is influenced by the water curtain to go right down the maindrain. It actually is amazing!
Most infloor systems work by using lots of little heads set for "random agitation" hoping that the debris will go up to the skimmers since they do not have a quality leaf canister connected to an active main drain. I agree that a Polaris 280 is a good alternative to a "typical infloor" system.
You will be hard pressed to find a bad review of PCC 2000.
caretaker have a Venturi driven leaf canister and safe drain system which works well and is very safe (anti entrapment), if the infloor is desgined correct and the builder installs the system as per the plan then any system will work well and keep the pool very clean.