Pool cleaner needed if I have a pool screen enclosure?

Andome

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Sep 10, 2020
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Palm Bay, FL
Hi all,
My wife and I are in the (much longer than anticipated) process of getting a pool, tho the dig hasnt yet started. Our pool (as currently designed) will have a dedicated suction line for a vacuum. My questions are 1) we will have a screen enclosure installed immediately after pool is done. In y'alls experience, is it necessary to spend big money on a cleaner when most debris will be kept out? 2) If that answer is yes, what is the best bang for you buck cleaner out there? Also, would I need a pressure side cleaner work better if we do in fact still need one? Thanks in advance!
 

HermanTX

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You will still need a cleaner because particles will come through the screen, debris on peoples feet, etc. will still find its way into the pool. A simple robot would have been a good choice for under $700.
You mention you have a dedicated suction line - is this really a pressure operated vacuum or will it be a suction side vacuum? Just want to be sure because you state you want a pressure side cleaner. A suction side and a pressure side cleaner are 2 different animals. How will that dedicated line be hooked up - to suction or to pressure side of a pump?
If you have the option - as it sounds that you have not dug the pool yet - forgo the dedicated line and get a robot. With a screen enclosure and a robot you will have a super clean pool.
 
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cowboycasey

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recommend robot over suction and would never recommend a pressure side cleaner as they take another pump and the cleaner... considering the robot is just about the same cost once you buy the suction side cleaner and have it plumbed into the pool... :)
 
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proavia

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It's not "necessary" to have a dedicate automated type cleaner. Your other option is to vacuum your pool by hand. But if you want something to do the cleaning for you, invest in good a robot. Pressure and suction side cleaners will cost more in electricity as you will need to run the pump(s) at high RPM to get them to properly work. Many here have contacted Marina Pools in Lakewood, CO and received great recommendations and prices -and yes, it will be covered under warranty.
 
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Andome

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Sep 10, 2020
16
Palm Bay, FL
Thanks for the replies! Herman, the pool is currently set up for a suction line. There’s no extra charge for it, the PB just puts them in all their pools. I’m asking the question now because if everyone says “oh ya gotta get a pressure side cleaner” then I would change it to a pressure side line. But it sounds like the general consensus is that most folks like the robots? I think I’ve definitely eliminated the idea of a pressure side cleaner, so now I guess it’s just either a robot or suction side. Maybe I will try it with a cheap suction side before I get a robot, just to see if I enjoy cleaning the pool or not. Thanks again for the replies!
 

HermanTX

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Thanks for the replies! Herman, the pool is currently set up for a suction line. There’s no extra charge for it, the PB just puts them in all their pools. I’m asking the question now because if everyone says “oh ya gotta get a pressure side cleaner” then I would change it to a pressure side line. But it sounds like the general consensus is that most folks like the robots? I think I’ve definitely eliminated the idea of a pressure side cleaner, so now I guess it’s just either a robot or suction side. Maybe I will try it with a cheap suction side before I get a robot, just to see if I enjoy cleaning the pool or not. Thanks again for the replies!
Definitely would forgo the pressure side cleaner. There are good reports using suction side cleaners.
Calling @Dirk for his input on that. Given your situation with a screened in pool the suction side cleaner with its dedicated suction line could be a better set up for you because the suction hose will be into your side of your pool and not through your skimmer.
 

Dirk

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A suction-side cleaner requires a dedicated port connected to your pump, that sucks water out of the pool.
A pressure-side cleaner requires a dedicated port connected to your pump, that blows water into the pool.

It's possible to convert one to the other, by rerouting a few pipes at the equipment pad, so technically you can't really make a mistake choosing one or the other at this point.

Even if I knew I was going to have a robot (which doesn't need either type of port), I would still run a dedicated vac line from pool to pad, I just wouldn't connect it. Pools last a long time. Technology changes. Maybe the "next new thing" will need a dedicated line. Maybe you'd like to run a manual vac once in a while, for a quick cleanup. Maybe you'd like to sometimes run a fountain or similar water feature in your pool. Maybe one of your return lines will fail and need to be sealed up (that's a thing). You can't replace something like that, so the extra line could be used as a spare. This notion is unconventional, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea. Worst case: you cap it off at the pad and plug it up at the pool and forget about it until you might someday need it. It's cheap future-proofing insurance.

OK, I've had both pressure- and suction-side cleaners. I can't recommend a PSC, for a lot of reasons I'll elaborate on if you ask. For a pool that will stay relatively clean, a SSC will serve you well. Some will argue that they require more electricity than a robot, and technically that's true, because a SSC makes use of your main filter pump. But your running your filter pump everyday anyway, for filtering and circulation. Well, while the SSC is running, cleaning your floor, it will also be filtering and circulating your water, so I consider the vac run as part of the filter run and so practically speaking they don't use significantly more electricity.

A SSC cleaner sends its gunk to your main filter. Larger items are trapped in the pump basket. I have a relatively clean outdoor pool and only clean my main filter once a year. A robot collects its gunk onboard, which means you have to haul the robot out periodically and clean its collection bag (or tray). I have to periodically clean out my pump basket, but that is a lot easier than hauling a robot out of the water. How often (for either cleaner) depends on how dirty your pool gets, and with what. In your case, you might never have to clean the pump basket, as your gunk will be smaller and pass through to the main filter. I could theoretically ignore my vacuum indefinitely. It can live in the pool and requires nothing. The same cannot be said for a robot (because of its collector). And while some leave their robots in the water all the time, I believe that contradicts the owner manual (at least for some brands/models). The robot requires electricity, which means while it's in the pool, you'll have to look at an electrical cord draped across your deck. Not so for a SSC, though it is no less ugly in the water (because of its hose). The combined cons for the robot (the cord, the weight and the cleaning of the collector) are deal breakers for me, and why I'm not interested in owning one. Those items are never mentioned by robot owners, so they must be fine with them (or don't like to admit them?).

A robot will likely clean your pool better. It brushes while vacuuming, something a SSC doesn't do. I consider that a big deal, and the only thing that could change my mind about a robot. But my real world experience is that my SSC cleans my pool just fine. Maybe for some pools that wouldn't be true, depending on what is falling into them. And a robot will brush all the way up the pool wall, including the edge tile. An SSC will vacuum the walls, but cannot come out of the water to vacuum the tile. I don't find issue with that, others do.

I like to remove the vac for guests. A SSC is waaaaay lighter and easier to handle than a robot. I've heard they're pretty heavy. I would not like to haul one out regularly. That will be more true as I get older.

The cost is a non-issue for me. As pointed out there are robots that cost only slightly more than SSCs, but robots with more advanced features can go for $2K (I think). I would not trade my $600 SSC for a $2K robot. A robot has way more complicated parts and electronics, and I would guess servicing a bot would be more expensive than servicing an SSC (which I think some of which can be done DIY). I don't have direct experience with either of those notions, just an intuition about it.

That's my take on the vac vs 'bot debate. I think I included all the major pros and cons. I think my preferred choice of cleaner puts me well into the minority on this topic, as those with robots love them and recommend them highly.

Join me, won't you, in this fight against these invading robots and their mind-controlling overlords! We are a ragtag group, but we can win this battle because we are on the side of humanity! 🤪
 
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setsailsoon

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Hi all,
My wife and I are in the (much longer than anticipated) process of getting a pool, tho the dig hasnt yet started. Our pool (as currently designed) will have a dedicated suction line for a vacuum. My questions are 1) we will have a screen enclosure installed immediately after pool is done. In y'alls experience, is it necessary to spend big money on a cleaner when most debris will be kept out? 2) If that answer is yes, what is the best bang for you buck cleaner out there? Also, would I need a pressure side cleaner work better if we do in fact still need one? Thanks in advance!
A,

Like most facets of pool design the right answer depends on your personal preferences. We live a little ways south of you in Stuart and have a screen enclosure too. It's one of the best things we did for the pool. Makes it usable 24/,7 and we enclosed the patio as well. Do you need a cleaner? In our case, absolutely. I guess you could clean it manually if you really want to but that's a LOT of time and effort. We use our pool a lot year round even now when it requires a fair amount of heat. The pool does get dirty from dust and pollen especially days where the grass gets cut. We don't get a lot of leaves but definitely also get a lot of dirt and fine sand that blows in from the sea breezes. You can get by with a suction cleaner like we did for quite a few years but we switched to a robot (S200 type, there are several brand names all identical) this year. If we had it to do again we'd start with the robot. Pool is way cleaner all the time - we didn't realize it could be this clean this easy. Almost eliminates the need for manual brushing inside the pool. If you go with the robot call Margarite at Marina Pools. There are several brands of essentially the same S200. She'll tell you which one has the best deal. This varies. Consider the outlet location and cord. We use a cord cover that works great for us to virtually eliminate the trip hazard. Also, if you want to control using your pool automation you'll need an outlet within 20' or so from the pool that is powered from the pool panel. This is not usually very practical and a lot of folks like me use a smart plug for easy scheduling. Also it must be a clearer that has an automation mode. The Pentair Warrior SE model has this feature but it's not documented. For me, this is a very important feature as I don't want to have to switch it on every day.

I hope this helps and good luck with your pool.

Chris
 
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HermanTX

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That's my take on the vac vs 'bot debate. I think I included all the major pros and cons. I think my preferred choice of cleaner puts me well into the minority on this topic, as those with robots love them and recommend them highly.
You can get by with a suction cleaner like we did for quite a few years but we switched to a robot (S200 type, there are several brand names all identical) this year. If we had it to do again we'd start with the robot. Pool is way cleaner all the time - we didn't realize it could be this clean this easy. Almost eliminates the need for manual brushing inside the pool.
@Andome
You now have compelling views on cleaners for your application.
Dirk made a good case on the suction side cleaner for its light weight, easy of use
Chris has your same set up with a screened pool, had a suction side cleaner and move on to a robot.
Clearly a pressure side cleaner is #3 because it requires a separate pump, thus using more electricity and adding more plumbing

As with all pool designs, it is a personal preference and your choice.
However, I do like the idea that the PB will include the suction line (for "free"), thus if you plumb it to the suction side of your pump, ensure there is a way to isolate it in the future if you opt to a robot.
As Dirk indicated, having that piece of pipe in your plumbing is a good backup to whatever my happen in the future or be available for some other new technology.
Good Luck and let us know what you decide.