Do you own a pool? If so, then you know that it has to be cleaned on a regular basis. After all, you want to ensure that your investment is protected. Plus, your pool looks much nicer when it’s clean and sanitary. But why spend hours cleaning your pool when you can let an automated pool cleaner do it for you?
When it comes to automatic pool cleaners, you can choose between three different types: Suction, Pressure, and Robotic. These devices come in a wide range of styles and designs, so you should have no trouble finding one that works for you.
Whether you’re planning on building a pool, already have on in place, or just need a new cleaner, these automated devices are designed and engineered to provide you with a thorough and quick cleaning.
Let’s take a closer look at these types of cleaners and how long you can expect them to last.
Suction Pool Cleaners
Suction pool cleaners are the type of devices which connect to the suction portion of your pool’s plumbing. The suction side is in reference to the fittings and pipes that pull the water from your pool and filters it through your pool’s filtration pump.
Using this type of pool cleaner allows you to attach its hose to the hole in the skimmer below the basket. You can also use a skimvac connector, which gives you the vacuum dirt and other contaminants straight to the skimmer basket.
There are some pools which include a cleaner line dedicated specifically for suction. This is a nice feature to have. When it comes to these types of pools, just connect the pool cleaner right to the fitting in the wall. It’s typically located in the middle of the wall on the long side of your pool.
Types of Suction Side Pool Cleaners
You’ll normally see suction side pool cleaners split into two different categories: 1) Flat, disk-shaped or pulse pool cleaners, and 2) Cleaners powered by a hydro drive train.
When the hose is connected and your filter pump is running, the result is suction from the bottom of your pool cleaner. The automated cleaner than moves around your pool with the motion created when it starts and stops pulsing water. As it navigates around your pool, it sucks up debris through its neck and then through the hose.
The debris continues beyond the suction port, up through the pipe, then finally stopping at the filter pump basket, which strains out dirt and contaminants. Smaller debris goes on through toward the filter.
You can make adjustments to the flow volume, the hose, or the automated cleaner to create various cleaning patterns. Doing so helps to maximize your pool cleaner’s coverage. Increasing the flow typically results in better speeds for your pool cleaner. The challenge is finding the right amount without your automated pool cleaner getting stuck or moving too fast.
Since suction side pool cleaners are the cheapest of the three types, you’ll usually only get a few years out of them. With the proper maintenance and care, you can expect your automated pool cleaner to last between three and five years.
Pressure Pool Cleaners
As per their name, pressure-side cleaners use the pressure, or return, side of your pool’s circulatory system to clean your pool. These types of devices are referred to as booster pump cleaners, as they use water that’s pumped into your pool to move them throughout your pool.
Making use of the return side of the pool has specific benefits. For example, it helps to distribute clean, filtered water throughout your pool. Plus, since pressure side cleaners have their own filter bags, you’re not compromising the pool’s filtration system by allowing dirt and debris to flow into the pump basket.
These types of cleaners connect to one of your return ports and are typically get their power from the pool pump or through an extra booster pump attached to a dedicated cleaner line.
Water that goes through the unit moves in one of three ways: via the venturi, the sweeper tail, or the thrust jet. Located on the bottom of the device is the venture, which services to suck up twigs, leaves, pebbles, and other larger objects into the filtration bag as it cleans your pool.
Your sweeper tail aids in removing fine debris from the floor and walls of your pool. This debris is then filtered out through the cleaner’s filtration system. On the back of your pressure-side cleaner are the thrust jets, which move and direct the device through your pool. Think of the thrust jet as you would the exhaust on your car. It is the exit point after the water has passed through the unit’s filtration system.
Many pressure side cleaners also have a backup valve feature of some type. This feature is in the feed hose and will reserve the water flow once every few minutes in an effort to change up the cleaning pattern. This helps the unit to avoid getting stuck or continuously running into obstacles.
Many popular models on the market today use boost pumps to provide power to their devices. These units require 30 PSI to navigate throughout your pool. The majority of filter systems aren’t able to offer enough pressure to power these devices on their own. With a booster pump, water is forced through a dedicated line, which is typically in the middle of the pool wall.
If your pressure-side pool cleaner doesn’t have a booster pump, it will crawl along the bottom of your pool, barely picking up any debris as it goes. While there are boosterless options, their effectiveness will greatly depend on the operation of your filtration and pump system. Plus, booster pumps usually come with a timer. That means you can have your unit turn off automatically, which helps to save on wear and tear.
Speaking of wear and tear, pressure side pool cleaners are solid options. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a robotic pool cleaner, but want something that will last longer than a suction-side cleaner, your best bet is a pressure-side cleaner.
With the right maintenance, they’ll last anywhere from five to seven years. However, parts on pressure side cleaners are easy to find and replace, so it’s not unrealistic to have one last even longer.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
The most expensive of the automated pool cleaners is the robotic pool cleaner. The low-voltage, self-contained devices are usually plug and play. A long cord extends from the unit to the wall outlet and it’s ready to go. Robot pool cleaners use the power to operate their motors, which are used to drive the unit and draw debris into its filtration system.
One of the biggest advantages of having a robotic pool cleaner is its easy to clean, self-contained filter. These units also clean your pool quickly and efficiently, with some options offering navigation and remote control so you can steer your device poolside. Additionally, since they’re self-contained, you’re not putting any extra stress or pressure on your pool’s filtration system.
This means it’s helping to reduce the amount of work your pool filter has to do as your robotic pool cleaner is removing a lot of the contaminants before they get that far. These amazing little cleaners also come with mini filters which filter all the way down to 2 microns.
Of course, the drawback is how expensive these impressive little units are. You can spend much more on a robot pool cleaner than on pressure or suction side cleaners. Robot pool cleaners are also heavier than their counterparts and costly to repair.
While these devices cost more and could wind up needing expensive repairs, they do last longer than both pressure-side and suction-side pool cleaners. Robotic pool cleaners have a life expectancy between six and eight years and with proper maintenance and care could wind up last you over a decade.
Tips to Extend the Life of Your Pool Cleaner
Automatic pool cleaners are great for keeping your pool looking good. However, every pool cleaner needs routine maintenance and care so that it continues to operate at peak capacity. Here are a few tips to help maximize the life and productivity of your pool cleaner.
Clear the Mechanism
With suction and pressure-side pool cleaners, you need to keep the filter and other media as clean as possible. If your filter is dirty, your cleaner may start slowing down. It might even eventually stop altogether. Check and clean your filter regularly so your pool cleaner runs at peak capacity.
Keep it Clean
Just because your pool cleaner has been in the pool doesn’t mean it’s clean. Every time you take it out of your pool, rinse it off with clean water. This aids in reducing chlorine build-up, which cuts down on the wear and tear of its parts. Additionally, store your unit in a clean, dry space to reduce the risk of wearing it out.
Check for Wear and Tear Frequently
Your pool cleaner is running great, so what could possibly be wrong. Right? Parts and equipment get worn, so don’t neglect to check regularly for wear and tear. Even if your cleaner is going strong, it might be time to replace the tires or filter. Not doing so can quicken the degradation of your pool cleaner.
Consider an Extended Warranty
Robot pool cleaners are expensive, so we’d highly recommend that you purchase a warranty to protect your investment. These units are basically battery-powered vacuums that spend a lot of their time in your pool’s water. As a result, the small cost of getting an extended warranty might be worth it if something goes wrong. It would be much cheaper than paying to completely replace your computerized pool cleaner.