Scrubbing and cleaning your pool may well be up there with going to the dentist or a commute to the city in our list of least favourite things to do. Sadly as with many things in life it is something we all need to do now and again. When it comes to cleaning your pool having the right equipment helps someway to alleviate the problem but what if we told you there was a better way?
An investment in an automatic pool cleaner not only will reduce the amount of time you have to spend cleaning your pool but will also improve the general health of your pool’s water.
There are three forms of automatic cleaner available on the market today: Suction-side cleaners, pressure-side cleaners and robotic. Each have their pros and cons and you are likely to find a model to suit most budgets so lets take a dive (pun intended) into the world of automatic swimming pool cleaners so you can choose the one that works best for you.
Before we do, lets explore why an automatic pool cleaner can help your pools water quality past cleaning out debris. For this we need to understand the importance of pool circulation.
What ultimately keeps your pool crystal clear is the pool’s circulation or in short, it’s ability to move water around the pool. Without a circulation of water your pool water will become stagnant irrespective of the amount of chlorine mixed with the water it will go green and horrible in no time.
The circulation cycle starts with your skimmers and main drain which intake water which runs to your filtration system. The cycle ends with the water being jetted back into the pool where the water is pushed around the pool and back into the skimmer starting the cycle again. The ideal scenario is that this cycle is never ending, meaning that your pump is running 24/7. A second-best option is to run the pump for a minimum of 12 hours a day so that you will get at least a couple of cycles of water in a 24 hour period.
The part of the pool that pulls water into the filtration system is called the suction side. The part of the filtration that sends water back into the pool is called the pressure side. This is where automatic cleaners come into play.
Suction Side Pool Cleaners
Starting on the lower end of the budget spectrum we have suction side pool cleaners. These cleaners will typically be connected to a skimmer or vacuum point on your pool by a hose very similar to the one you use for your manual pool vacuum. The suction of water past a set of fins or a diaphragm enable the cleaner to move around the pool picking up debris and dirt as it goes.
The systems are very good at picking debris up and can work well on pools that have a slope or sharp corners however their downside is that they cannot clean the walls of the pool unlike their robotic counterparts and they dump whatever is picked up straight into the pump basket which can fill up quite quickly especially after a storm or windy day. The other problem with a suction-side cleaner is that if it uses a skimmer to connect you reduce the amount of water being skimmed from the surface of the pool.
All points considered, the suction-side cleaners are a great start for anyone looking to explore the world of automatic cleaners.
Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners
A pressure-side pool cleaner uses water coming from a return jet or in some cases, it’s own dedicated connection on the pool. It uses the water pressure to propel itself which also causes a vacuum to which the cleaner will suck the debris up into it’s own on-board collection bag. These cleaners are very effective and do not disrupt the water circulation like the suction-side cleaners. Most pressure-side cleaners also feature a sweep hose or “tail” which jets water out the back loosening dirt on walls and surfaces which further assist the cleaning process.
The most common pressure-side cleaner is the Polaris which requires the aforementioned dedicated connection point and an extra pump in the filtration room known as a booster pump. This pump adds extra pressure to move the Polaris around the pool. Polaris owners are very much fanatical about their cleaners and could arguably be the best option on the market. This may well be justified, however the initial cost of installation which would include new pipework to your pool an additional pump and the actual unit my not be the best option for retrofitting to a pool instead something to consider when installing a new pool.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
Robotic cleaners are not entirely new to the market despite the futuristic connotation. Robotic cleaners work as you would expect, placing the unit in the pool pressing a button or two and off it goes cleaning the pool! One of the major benefits is that the cleaner works by use of electricity and so works completely independently of your filtration system.
Robotic cleaners have the benefit of an on-board filter basket so that your filtration system won’t get clogged with the debris it picks up and can easily be removed for disposal (imagine like a lawnmower bag). The other benefit is that with the additional power that an electric motor can add, robotic cleaners can also clean and scrub the walls and even tileband of you pool too.
Some models of robotic cleaners also feature a timer so that you may simply set the timer for a time you won’t be using the pool everyday and you can wake up to a freshly cleaned pool every morning.
An Automatic Cleaner doesn’t replace good water balancing and a manual clean (sorry).
Whilst any automatic cleaner will do an excellent job at reducing your labour time cleaning the pool it should never be considered as a all-encompassing solution to your pool maintenance. Regular water testing and correction along with a manual clean on a regular basis is still required to maintain optimum water quality however the cleaners go a long way at reducing the overall time you spend cleaning the pool and are perfect when used a complimentary tool to your pool cleaning arsenal.
The Added Benefits of an Automatic Pool Cleaner
Past the obvious benefits of owning a pool cleaner there are some hidden benefits to owning a pool cleaner which you may not know:
1/ Filter media wear is greatly reduced when using a pressure-side or robotic cleaner as these filter out debris before even hitting the filter.
2/ Using a automatic cleaner reduces the amount of debris being caught by your skimmers improving the overall circulation of the pool and reducing the amount of debris you need to remove from skimmer baskets
3/ Automatic cleaners help disperse heated pool water more evenly as they stir up the water more than just your pool jets can.
4/ You can run your pool cleaner under the pool cover. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on this but most cleaners can be ran underwater and therefore means that you don’t have to worry about heat loss whilst your pool is being cleaned.
We hope this guide has helped you understand more about automatic pool cleaners and the various types available on the market today. If you are interested in purchasing a cleaner or having a demo of one please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we will be happy to help you.