How to effectively clean or vacuum a pool?
Automatic or Robotic Pool Cleaners are available
for all types of pools: inground and above
ground, masonry, vinyl or fiberglass pools and
big or small pools. Some cleaners need special
hook ups and external motors. Others need only
to be plugged into a skimmer intake. Robotic
Pool Cleaners use low-voltage electricity and
require only a simple GFI protected electrical
connection. Robotic Pool Cleaners are programmed
to cover the complete pool surface and the
built-in filter bag acts as a second
micro-filter. Systems that are highly automated
are available. Your needs and budget are
considerations in determining a choice. Robotic
pool cleaners not only help keep the bottom and
walls clean, but they act as a moving or roving
main drain and help to improve water
circulation. The improved water circulation will
help to better maintain the water chemistry,
help produce crystal clear water and reduce the
likelihood of algae growth. They will save you
time and effort and give you a better looking
pool. If problems arise, refer to the
Page, as a source of problem-solving
information, broken down into various
categories. Scroll down the page and click on the linked
or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.
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Problem-Solving Information, in a question and
How To Vacuum and Skim At The Same
read the system contents
incorrectly, so I need clarification
on adaptability to my bottom
suction-cleaner on my system.
My pool is 8-Ĺ feet at its deepest.
The Floating Pool Skimmer parts list
only shows two, 4-foot sections of
hose, which I presumed would be what
connected the Floating Pool Skimmer
to my suction-cleaner.
1. Will I need to buy more hose so
the skimmer will work in the deep
2. Does the Floating Skimmer System
come with the t-fitting so that
Floating Skimmer and suction-side
cleaner will work at the same time?
Simple questions, but Iím old.
quite right. The 2-four foot
sections are used to attach the
Floating Pool Skimmer to the
suction line. One of the two models
comes with the connection
fitting, your suction-side pool
cleaner requires. You attach the
line from your existing suction-side
pool cleaner, to this special
T-fitting. This allows the bottom
vacuum to continue to roam the
entire pool floor, as before. No
additional vacuum hose is required.
Now you can skim and vacuum, at the
same time. I hope that I have
clarified the installation
Sincerely. Alan Schuster,
How Long To
Vacuum Or Filter?
I just picked up a pool vacuum. It is
a side suction model that uses the nearer of the two
skimmers in my 36 x 16 in-ground pool. It works great. I
have the pool on a timer: running from 8 am to 7 pm; the
other skimmer is turned down to almost off and the main
drain is completely off. How often should I take the vacuum
out and let the filter run normally with skimmers and drain
wide open. I haven't taken it out, yet. About two weeks now.
The water is crystal clear! Thank you.
There is nothing set in stone. If you're not troubled by
floating debris, you can afford less skimmer action.
Obviously, in your case, floating debris is not the problem.
You shouldn't have to use the cleaner every day. You might
try every other day as a compromise between a cleaner bottom
and optimum circulation. However, no there is a better
solution. You can do both
skimming and bottom cleaning, at the
same time. The new
Floating Pool Surface
attach, to your existing suction
side cleaner, and will skim the
surface, as the pool floor is being
cleaned. The suction-side
cleaner is still free to move about
the pool. It is affordable
and will give you the performance
you want. Enjoy the summer. Glad to be of
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/24/2015
► An Automatic Pool
Vacuum And More?
We have an inground vinyl pool, 18' X
36' and are considering buying an automatic pool vacuum. Do
they really do an effective cleaning job? Any
recommendations? Thank you.
The T. Family, Vero Beach, Florida, 11/1/2013
Automatic Pool Vacuums are really great products. Not only
do they do an effective vacuuming of the bottom, these
products improve the water clarity and because they improve
the circulation, across the bottom, make algae growth less
likely. I have had three different types: one that required
a separate booster pump, a Robotic Pool Cleaner that
operated on low-voltage and a suction side cleaner that
attached to the skimmer. They all worked, but without a
doubt the Robotic Pool Cleaner
worked the best. It cleaned all the
surfaces: bottoms, walls, steps and
the waterline area. They are much
less expensive to operate than the
units with the separate booster
pumps. This is no installation and
it does not interfere with the pump
or the filter operation. In fact, it
acts as a second filter.
No installation or hose hook ups are
required, power consumption is low
and it operates independently of the
pool pump and filter. Good
luck and enjoy pool.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/1/2013
Pool Surface Skimming/Cleaning?
Instead of waiting for the skimmer
or pool vacuum to remove floating
debris, is there a better way?
T., Lantana, FL 2/1/2013
There are several options.
Pool Surface Skimmers,
Powered Pool Surface Skimmers and
Pool Skimmer attachments, for
with most suction-side pool cleaners.
There are all good products.
However, only the Robotic Pool Surface
Skimmer operates fully autonomously,
throughout the day. It helps
filter out fine debris, improves
circulation as even acts as a
tri-chlor feeder. It will
eliminates dead zones and allows you
to shorten the filter cycles.
It doesn't entirely eliminate the
need for vacuuming, but it keeps the
pool cleaner, for longer periods of
time. I hope that this
information is helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster,
My question is about circulation
boosters. Are they a good purchase? We are buying a 20 x 40
roman pool and one pool guy said we would need 2 units,
while another said we don't need one at all. We will be
putting in a main drain, in case that factors in. Thanks so
Laurie B., Canada, 11/17/2008
Confused? I don't blame you. The product is designed to
increase the return flow action and help lift material off
the bottom and eliminate the dead spots. You will still have
to vacuum the pool, to remove debris from the bottom.
The Circulator will provide improved circulation
and that will equalize the water temperature.
That's the plan. Having a main drain is a plus, under any
circumstances. I suggest that you consider a
cleaner. They come in sized for pools like yours, you'll
only need one, it will vacuum the entire bottom and walls,
it has a built-in micro-filter that will remove dirt and not
just raise it off the bottom, it will act as a moving main
drain and will improve circulation and equalize
temperatures, it operates on low voltage, requires no
plumbing and is inexpensive to operate. I hope that this
information will prove to be useful.
Bon Chance. Alan Schuster,
► Worth The
I have one of those above ground
pools, with the inflatable ring on the top. It is an 18'
pool and is above 3.5 feet deep. I had an awful time with
algae last year because I just couldn't vacuum the pool as
often or as well as I should have. The vacuums that come
with those pools don't do such a good job! Anyway, this year
I am looking for an automatic vacuum cleaner for it. I was
wondering in you had any recommendations. I don't want to
spend more that $200, if possible. I was looking at some
models, but I am not sure that I would be able to hook them
up to the filtration system in my pool. Do you know if
either of these would work? Any recommendations? Thanks!
Terri R., Pennington, NJ, 5/30/2011
Those products are designed to attach to the skimmer, which
you don't have. It might be possible to rig something up and
I would discuss this with the dealer. Otherwise, you could
use a Robotic Pool Cleaner, which does not
require the use of the pool pump or filter. It acts as a
moving main drain and as a second microfilter. It doesn't
throw the dirt around. It removes it! I hope that I have
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/30/2011
Thank you for responding to my email.
FYI, I did find out that someone sells an automatic vacuum
for their top ring pools. But, your filter pump must be
rated at 2000 G.P.H. which most aren't that come with the
pool. So, I'd have to buy a new filter pump, as well as the
vacuum. And, I couldn't get in touch with their customer
service to see if it would work in my particular pool and
the pool manufacturer had no clue. Their customer service
number was a waste of time. It was always busy. Not even a
call waiting queue to sit in! So, I gave up and bought a
Smart-Kleen. It costs as much as a new filter pump and the
other automatic vacuum would have. What I like about it is
that it operates independently of the filter, pump or
skimmer. Very easy to use. Thanks again!
Terri R., Pennington, NJ, 6/16/2011
Good choice! The filter that comes
standard, with your type of pool, is
not particularly effective. Adding a
Cleaner will give you a second microfilter and much
better water clarity. Pools have been maintained, solely on
the basis of its filtering effectiveness. Clearly, you will
see the difference. Enjoy the summer.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/16/2011
I have a recurring problem with
mustard algae. I have followed some of the recommendations
that you have provided under the yellow mustard algae topic.
The problem does seem to be under control. My question is,
do you think that an automatic pool vacuum will make a
difference? The pool is a 16' x 32' inground vinyl pool. Thanks for
It certainly won't hurt. The pool vacuum will help improve
water circulation across the bottom and all of the nooks and
crannies. And that's where algae tends to gain a foothold.
Robotic pool cleaners have built in micro-filter bags that
can help remove dead algae and very fine debris. Because
mustard algae tends to be powdery, the automatic robotic
pool cleaner should help remove it from the underwater
surfaces. Did I mention that it will save time and effort?
Good luck with your decision.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/9/2008
We are in Australia and live on a farm
where it is very dusty. Our 48,000 litre fibreglass pool
seems to have dust settled on the bottom edge all the time,
even after constant vacuuming (manual) and cleaning
cartridge filter. We have a salt chlorinator, which I have
to clean daily because of calcium build up due to our bore
water. Are there any products that could bind the dust so
the filter could catch it easily. I am also using a skimmer
sock that I change daily. On the subject of the calcium
there is always the white deposit on the bottom of the pool.
Is there any product to soften the calcium before it gets to
the cell or any suggestions at all. Even if I got an
automatic self cleaning cell ,won't all the calcium go
straight into the pool and lie on the bottom until I vacuum?
Thanking you and am hoping you can help me.
Debbie, Australia, 2/28/2005
Where do I start? The manual vacuuming is only doing so much
and adds the material to the filter. The wind blows and the
problem returns. I suggest that you get a
cleaner. This product can be operated independently of the
pump, whenever you want, and will act as a second
microfilter. It doesn't throw the dust around. It removes
it! This should make a big difference and might improve the
salt chlorinator performance, as well. Adding a
Clarifier, which lasts 4-6 months, can help you improve water quality and
clarity, without adding to build-up problems. It sounds like
nothing short of a self-cleaning
salt chlorine generator will suffice,
although you could try adding a calcium sequestering agent
to the water on a regular basis. It might help the electrode
plates stay cleaner longer and help prevent scaling in the
pool. Good luck and I hope that this information will help.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/28/2005
Custom Shaped Vinyl Pool?
We are contemplating the purchase of
an automatic pool cleaner. We have a vinyl liner. Do they do
damage to the liners? If not would you know which one is
better for a 20x40 custom shape pool. Thanks.
Pat from NJ, 4/8/2007
My choice would be a Robotic Pool Cleaner.
Pool Cleaners were always my favorite type of cleaner and I
have tried many, over the years. The NITRO, has all the
right features, and would be perfect for your custom-shaped
pool, as it safe for use with a vinyl pool. Enjoy the pool.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/9/2007
► To "Clean
Have a pool that is a "figure 8" shape
and about 25,000 gallons. Currently have a "4 year old"
cleaner that will no longer climb up walls or out of the
deep end of the pool. It operates hooked up to our skimmer.
So many choices, but I'd really like to go electric. Looking
for educated suggestion on what brand and/or model would
"clean me best." Thanks.
I would opt for a Robotic Pool Cleaner, as they are very
easy to use, effective, do not require any plumbing or
installation and operate on safe, low-voltage power. They
even act as a roving micro-filter. There is not much that
you need to do, other than a simple, occasional cleaning.
In our Website Store there is a wide selection of models
and one of them will be just right for your pool. They don't
just throw the dirt around. They cover the entire bottom and
the walls and remove the dirt. There are models for vinyl
and gunite pools to choose from. Cleaning up can be simple.
Enjoy the season.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/26/2005
maintain a cleaner pool, with less work.
Use a Robotic Pool Cleaner, for better results, with
less time and effort.
Use a Suction-Powered Pool Skimmer, to skim
debris, before it sinks down.
Convert a standard return-jet in to a powerful pool
Remove dirt and sediments or spot clean, using a
hoseless, portable vacuum.
Easily removes leaver, from any type of pool, using
this battery-powered leaf vacuum.
This Robotic Pool Cleaner operates independently of the pump and
filter, for better results.
suction-powered, floating skimmer robotically removes debris, before it can sink
to the floor.
Turn your pool's return jet into a powerful pool surface
skimmer. Simple to install.
a portable, hoseless pool vacuum to spot clean an area or the
hoseless, cordless, battery powered leaf vacuum can make
cleaning up easier.
Click on any image
for complete product and ordering information.
I have a fibreglass pool with an
acrylic spa. The entire pool area is screened in. The
pump/DE filter/gas spa heater package is located outside
about 40 feet from the center of the pool and about 25 feet
from the skimmer end of the pool. It is all 100% inground
pool/spa and is plumbed below ground. There is also a "heat
pump" pool heater that is about 60-70 feet from the pool
(installed a few years ago). The pool was installed in 94
when the house was built. I have used an automatic pool vac
from day one but over the last 6 months the vacuum has been
very difficult to keep working properly (this is the 2nd one
in a 10 year period). I bought a new and different unit to
replace the old one. Today, when I installed the flow
measuring device into the vacuum hose to calibrate the flow
in the dedicated vacuum port in the pool, I found that I
could not get enough flow to even move the piston in the
measuring device (which is a clear plastic tubular piece
with a spring loaded piston that indicates flow by piston
movement compressing the internal spring). I tried various
settings on the valve at the pump that controls the split of
return water between the skimmer and the vacuum port but
nothing worked. The pump would simply cavitate. The is the
original pump, that was installed with the pool (10 years
old). Could the pump rotor or impellor cavity be worn
sufficiently to cause the pump to be very inefficient and
not be able to flow enough water to run the pool cleaner?
Incidentally, I tried the cleaner using the skimmer port as
well and there was no difference. (still would not work).
The question is: Do these type of pumps lose pumping power
with age? I would assume that the answer is yes, but wanted
to confirm before spending the money for a new pump. Thanks
for any guidance.
John G., Sorrento, FL, 12/21/2009
I suppose that it is possible that there is an impellor
problem. I am not an expert in this area, but I would hazard
a guess that the pump might seize or that the running sound
would be noticeably different. I believe that there are more
causes of the problem. Unfortunately, you did not
provide me with the filter type or any indication of
pressure readings. I suggest that you check the return flow.
If it is not strong, that would be indicative of high filter
pressure and the causes could include: Clogged pump strainer
basket, blockage on the lines or clogged filtration media.
If you have a sand filter, it may have been affected by high
levels of calcium hardness. You might need to replace the
sand. If you have a cartridge filter, it may have been
affected by calcium deposits and may not have the proper
porosity. In this case, I suggest that you replace the
cartridge - you should replace the cartridges periodically
or at the very least clean them by soaking overnight in an
acidic cleaning solution. High pressure is indicative of
inadequate water flow through the filter and would explain
the problem with the automatic pool cleaner. There is one
type of cleaner that would have solved many of your
problems: the robotic pool cleaner. It does not use the pump
or filter and actually functions as a second moving filter.
Something to consider? I hope that this information proves
helpful. Best wishes for the holidays.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/22/2009
► Which Pool
I have an inground vinyl pool and am
considering an automatic pool cleaner. I would prefer one
that is plumbed in, but I don't want the expense of a
separate motor. Are suction-side cleaners as good?
Chris, Danbury, CT, 5/23/2004
The type of cleaner that you plug into the skimmer intake
does not require a separate motor. They do an effective
cleaning job. The only drawback is that you must remove it
after each use, otherwise there will be no skimming action.
If it is not a problem to do this a few times weekly,
depending upon your actual pool situation, you should be
quite satisfied with a suction-side cleaner. Just make sure
that you get one that is designed to work in a vinyl lined
pool. A better type of cleaner, that doesn't require
plumbing, installation or a separate pump, is the
Pool Cleaner. It can function as a second filter and removes
dirt and debris very effectively. I hope that I have been
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/23/2004
► Not Quite
Perfect Pool Water?
My water seems to be perfectly clear
in the morning. After the kids start using the pool, I
notice that the water is not as clear as I would like. The
pool is big rectangular above ground. I'm not sure about the
size. I test the water and can find nothing that needs to be
corrected. The next day everything is fine and it starts all
over again. How can I avoid this problem?
Sandy A., 7/23/2006
Having a group of kids jumping into the pool and swimming
about is apparently stirring up some silt on the bottom.
This fine silt is causing the change in the water's
appearance. Make sure that the filter is operating during
these periods. Filters can't remove silt from the bottom.
However, once the swimmers raise the silt, it can be
filtered out and the problem will slowly get better. If you
don't have an automatic pool cleaner, it is something to
consider. It is an especially important, in the case of a
large above ground pool. Adding a
Robotic Pool Cleaner will
act as a moving filter and will vacuum the bottom and remove
the silt. It is best to do this before the kids jump in. You
might try to vacuum more often, again in the morning before
the kids stir things up. Lastly, you should try using
Nano-Stick Clarifier, which helps oxidize and destroy fine
particles, that detract from crystal-clear pool water.
The Nano-Stick is simply hung from a
ladder or rail and lasts for 4-6
months. Sounds like the kids are enjoying the pool. Have a good
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/23/2006
► Pool Circulation
DEAR ALAN, WE INSTALLED A POOL CLEANER
WITH ITS OWN BOOSTER PUMP IN OUR NEW POOL. IT'S TRULY
AMAZING IT'S ALMOST AS IF IT'S ALIVE AND INTELLIGENT. MY
POOL GUY INSTALLED IT BETWEEN THE CARTRIDGE FILTER AND THE
HEATER. THE TEMP RISE ACROSS THE HEATER IS NOT ABOVE NORMAL,
SO I DON'T THINK IT WILL HARM THE HEATER BY STARVING IT .
THE WAY SOME OF THESE VINYL POOLS ARE MADE ALL THE RETURNS
AND SKIMMERS ARE ALL UP SO HIGH THAT IT SEEMS THAT ONLY THE
TOP THIRD OF THE POOL GETS FILTERED AND HEATED. I WOULD HAVE
HOPED TO HAVE THE CLEANER DISTRIBUTE FRESH HEATED WATER TO
THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL AND HELP TO EVENLY HEAT AND FILTER
IT. THE POOL IS ONLY MODERATELY USED AND IT'S ABOUT 24,000
GALLONS. HOW LONG SHOULD I CYCLE THE AUTO CLEANER? SHOULD I
ALSO CYCLE THE FILTER PUMP? AND LASTLY, SHOULD I RE-PIPE THE
BOOSTER PUMP TO THE OUTLET OF THE POOL HEATER OR AM I JUST
THINKING TO MUCH? THANKS.
GEORGE C., CATSKILL, NY, 5/25/2008
It doesn't sound like you have a main drain. It would have
provided better top to bottom circulation. The
cleaner will function as a roving main drain. Pool cleaners
normally are not operated daily, but as needed or several
times weekly. You could operate it a few hours daily, to
help turn the water over. The filter should be on a timer
and operate 6-12 hours daily, depending upon individual
circumstances. I don't think you have to do anything with
the booster pump location. To improve circulation, try
pointing one return downward. Even better would be to add
The Circulator. These inexpensive, easy-to-install devices
can boost the circulation by as much as 1500%. I hope the
suggestions help. Enjoy the season.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/25/2008
Great website. There seems to so many
pool vacuums out there. Do you have a preference? Why?
You're right there are lots to choose from. Suction-side
cleaners are less expensive, but remove the skimmers from
being able to be used, while the vacuuming is being
performed. However, this drawback can be eliminated, by the
attachment of a
Skim-A-Round Floating Pool Surface Skimmer.
The affordable attachment will allow
you to skim and vacuum, at the same,
using a suction-side cleaner. Some vacuums require a separate booster pump and
add to the operating costs.
Robotic pool cleaners cover the
entire pool, operate inexpensively on low voltage, require
no installation, do not interfere with pool filtration, act
as a moving main drain and microfilter the water. I hope
that this information proves helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/11/2013
► Foggy Brown
I have a problem with my pool. It is
15 X 30. I have a brown mist on the pool floor. I checked
with my test kit and everything seems to be fine. I check
the water and it is clear. I, then, tried to vacuum the pool
and the floor cleans up. The water gets foggy and then come
morning time, the brown settles back to the pool floor. What
is it and what can I do? Please e-mail me.
Anthony P., Brooklyn, NY, 6/30/2006
What you are describing is silt: fine particles that settle
to the bottom. These particles can be minerals, dead algae,
debris, etc. Without a main drain, it can be difficult to
remove the silt. Make sure that you operate the filter
during periods of activity. That way, the filter will have a
chance to remove the particles that are lifted off the
bottom. Adding a Circulator to every return will boost
circulation and eliminate dead zones. Is the filter
operating properly and for long enough periods? If you have
a sand filter, do not backwash too frequently - usually only
if the pressure is too high. Try vacuuming before the pool
is used in the morning. An
automatic pool vacuum will easily
remove and control the silt. Something to consider? When I
lived in Brooklyn (Bensonhurst) pools were rare, but there
were plenty of trees. I hope that I have been helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/30/2006
► Low Voltage
My friend has an automatic cleaner
that he says operates on low voltage. Is it really safe? I
am looking to get one for my inground pool. Please advise.
Ellen H., 7/7/2011
Normally water and electricity do not mix. In this case, all
of the electrical components have been designed for
underwater use. In addition, as added protection the cleaner
must only be plugged into a receptacle that is protected
with a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI). The
cleaners do an excellent job of cleaning the walls, bottom
and waterline area, without interfering with the pump or
filter. I hope that I have been helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/7/2011
► All Stirred
My pool water parameters: chlorine 2
PPM, pH 7.4, alkalinity 70 PPM, total calcium hardness 110
PPM. The main problem when many boys around 20 swimming the
water becomes cloudy and after they leave by 5 MIN. the
water become very clear. Have you any answers? Best regards.
My guess is that you do not have a main drain. The
cloudiness is due to silt on the bottom. When the boys jump
in, they stir up the bottom and this results in cloudy
water. After swimming ceases, the silt settles to the bottom
and the water clears up. I suggest that you add an
pool cleaner to the pool. Considering your problem, the
robotic pool cleaner, with its built in micro-filter would
be the ideal solution. This will act as a moving main drain
and help remove the silty deposits. Another option would be
to vacuum more frequently, especially early in the morning
before the pool has been used. I hope that I have been
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/13/2009
► Not Doing
The Pool Cleaning Job?
Can you tell me how to get a
suction-side to circulate the whole pool instead of staying
in one area. Alan, would the pool eyes have anything to do
with it? Which way should these point if it is relevant? The
pool is an hour glass shape with an eye on opposite sides at
about 1/4 from the end. Thanks.
Take the hose out of the pool and straighten it out. Leave
it in the Sun to help smooth out the curves. Put it back in
and hope for the best. This type of cleaner does have its
limitations. By contrast a
Robotic Pool Cleaner can be
programmed to cover the entire pool. The shape of your pool
would be a challenge for most any suction-side cleaners. You
want the eyeballs positioned to send the water flow towards
the skimmers. This could be influencing the cleaner. Good
luck. Have a good season.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/3/2005
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