What is so bad about using the skimmer to vacuum?

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
186
Mobile, AL
Pardon my ignorance - don't have a pool, hoping to have one built this fall/winter, just doing my best to educate myself now. While reading about pool cleaners (pressure vs robot) I also came across several comments suggesting having a dedicated suction line installed to use when vacuuming, because using the skimmer to vacuum is some kind of annoying or a huge pain - I'm just trying to figure out why that is? What makes plugging a hose into a standalone port different than hooking it into the skimmer? I'm sure it's something that would be obvious if I'd ever done it before, just can't quite picture it.
 
Last edited:

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,932
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
The vacuum port is for an automatic vacuum. Hooking up a hose to use an old-fashioned manual vacuum to the skimmer isn't any harder than using a dedicated port, really. If you aren't using a suction-side cleaner you don't need a dedicated port. Likewise if you aren't using a pressure-side cleaner you don't need a dedicated pressure port and a booster pump. The hot ticket now is a self-contained robot. No plumbing. Just make sure you have adequate electric at the equipment pad so you have somewhere to plug it in..
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,929
Bedford, TX
02,

Also.. If you have a dedicated line, you can run the vacuum port and your skimmer at the same time.. Often, pumps need more water than they can suck through a vacuum hose, so opening the skimmer line just a little, solves this problem.

That said, I live in this Century and have a low voltage Robot pool cleaner.. Like this..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Dave31410

Bronze Supporter
Feb 27, 2018
207
Savannah, GA
Hooking up a vacuum to either a dedicated port or the skimmer is a pain. I have done both before I got a robot. You have to make sure to hose is full of water and then run the vacuum all over the pool. If you have a lot of leaves then you really need a leaf catcher in the hose. I re-plumbed my dedicated suction line to be a return off a 3 way valve. I use it for my DIY pool cooler spray
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
186
Mobile, AL
The vacuum port is for an automatic vacuum. Hooking up a hose to use an old-fashioned manual vacuum to the skimmer isn't any harder than using a dedicated port, really.
Well that's what I would assume also, but for example in this thread there were a couple of comments specifically that set me off on this tangent:

A vacuum hose can be used by plugging into the skimmer, but that is something that I find is a huge pain..

A separate suction line sounds like a great idea for manual vacuuming. I wish we thought to do that when our pool was installed. Using the skimmer is a pain like others have said.

It seemed like a pretty popular opinion as I dug around on it, was just trying to determine what was so cumbersome about it.

edit: and while I was posting, one of those that I quoted (Jim) replied!

For what it's worth I think I am sold on the robot idea, with ours being a new build I was going down the rabbit hole of "maybe I should also ask the PB to plumb a dedicated suction line too" but while it might have some benefits it doesn't seem terribly necessary.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Msch99

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,929
Bedford, TX
02,

I had my pool builder include a dedicated vacuum line in my pool.. I have never used it, and that was more than 6 years ago.. It was a "Just in Case" thing and it was cheap to do, so I'd probably do it again..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Auburn02

DAB942

Gold Supporter
Nov 13, 2017
516
Space Coast, FL
02,

I had my pool builder include a dedicated vacuum line in my pool.. I have never used it, and that was more than 6 years ago.. It was a "Just in Case" thing and it was cheap to do, so I'd probably do it again..

Thanks,

Jim R.
I tell my friends it's an in-pool urinal.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Msch99

rnjw

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2014
35
Pittsburg, CA
02,

Also.. If you have a dedicated line, you can run the vacuum port and your skimmer at the same time.. Often, pumps need more water than they can suck through a vacuum hose, so opening the skimmer line just a little, solves this problem.

That said, I live in this Century and have a low voltage Robot pool cleaner.. Like this..

Thanks,

Jim R.
ME too on the S200. Works very well. I just do a little brushing on tiles around the steps where Stuey can't quite reach.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

Yev

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2014
554
Independence, KY
Not sure if pain is the correct word. It all comes down to how you value your time and/or general human laziness.

You have to fill the hose. This takes about 5 seconds. You hold the hose up to a return, and wait for air bubbles to stop out of the head. Then you leave the hose free end underwater, while dragging it over towards the skimmer. (If you have no return near the skimmer, then this does become a pain). Then quickly pull the free end out of the pool, and plug into skimmer. Then take 15-45 minutes to manually vacuum the pool depending on size and how much debris. During this time, you prefer no one to be in the pool, as this task is way easier if the surface is flat water, not waves from wind or people jumping around. And you either need to do this a couple times per week, or deal with small amounts of debris sitting on the bottom.

Personally I enjoy manual vacuuming, as it is sort of relaxing. I put in my ear buds, and listen to a podcast while doing the chore. I fully admit that I have a decent amount of free time, and comparatively few time specific requirements outsider of work.

When I built my pool, I had a spare line plumbed, that is not hooked up at the pump end, so I could make either suction or return if I needed it. And I have thought about a robot, but have not been able to justify the cost. But again, this is based upon a chore that I do not hate, and my time allowing for it. If you had 5 kids, and there was no pandemic where you were constantly running to soccer times, baseball times, gymnastics, etc, then my view would change.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Auburn02

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,366
Pacific NW
I've got a Hayward navigator with leaf canister I use once a year for opening day / first cleaning.

My dolphin e10 does all the cleaning for the rest of the season. I prefer it not for ease of use, but it uses a helluva lot less power than the pump running to do the job.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,987
Chapel Hill, NC
I don't think robots (or pressure side cleaners) do a particularly good job of vacuuming up flocculent precipitates. A vacuum or a good suction cleaner works better in my experience. (Same with silty crud that precipitates to the bottom of a mesh-covered pool over the winter).
 

GBG22

Member
Jul 5, 2017
7
South Jersey
I have a manual vac and dont consider it a pain. I put the vaccum and hose in the water, connect the vac and it works great. Id like a robot one day, but for now, this get the job done.
 
Thread Status
Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.