Pool Info: Suction Cleaners
Suction Side Cleaners: All Pool Types
These are cleaners that attach to the suction side of your plumbing. The suction side refers to the pipes and fittings that bring water out of the pool to be filtered; that water which is being "sucked" out of the pool by the filter pump. Usually this is the pool skimmer, and you attach the hose from the cleaner into the hole in the skimmer beneath the basket, or use a skimvac attachment and it vacuums into your skimmer basket. Some pools have a dedicated suction cleaner line, a nice luxury to have. In these cases, you attach the cleaner directly to a wall fitting, usually located in the middle of the long side of the pool.
Suction pool cleaners include the Hayward PoolVac Ultra, Navigator, Aquabug, Kreepy Krauly, E-Z Vac, Baracuda Ranger, G3, and Polaris 150. Please visit our Swimming pool cleaners page for a complete list of suction side cleaners. These are divided in roughly two types, the flat, round disk or pulse type cleaner, and the hydro drive train powered types like the Hayward Navigator style cleaners.With the hose attached and the filter pump running, suction is created on the underside of the cleaner. The cleaner moves randomly, or automatically around the pool with motion created by a device that gives a stop/ start pulsing of water. As the unit travels, debris is sucked up through the neck and then the hose, past the suction port, through the pipe, and stops at the filter pump strainer basket, while smaller debris passes through to the filter. Adjustments on the hose, the unit itself, and flow volume will create different cleaning patterns, so as to maximize pool coverage. The more flow is generally better for speed and vacuum ability, however too much suction can cause the cleaner to move too fast or possibly get stuck on uneven areas of the pool floor.
Suction Cleaner moving slowly?
Start by checking the pump basket for debris and making sure the filter is clean and water is flowing properly. Holding the cleaner head underwater, so as to not suck air into the pump, check out the throat of the cleaner for any obstructions. Check both ends of the hose for obstructions or clogging. Check hose connections and each hose section for splits, obstructions or holes. If your pool has lots of leaves (trees), you'll want to have an in-line leaf trap to use with your suction cleaner. Very heavy leaf volume may overwhelm a suction cleaner. In this case, use a leaf net first to scoop large debris [slowly] off of the pool bottom.
Suction cleaners are sold for both inground and aboveground pools. What this really means is that they are sized to the pool pump. If you have an aboveground pump, then your pump will not be powerful enough to move the inground model around the pool. Similarly, if you have a larger inground pool pump, it may overpower some aboveground pool cleaners. Inground plaster pools definitely need to use the inground suction cleaner models which are built to handle the rougher plaster surface.
Cleaner not cleaning the entire pool?
Some of the top reasons for this include: The hoses could be too short. Another real common cause is the cleaner could be following the flow pattern of the water in the pool, in other words, strong flow from wall return jets will push the cleaner into a pattern. To fix this; adjust the return port wall fittings, or add wall fittings to the return ports. It helps to point the fittings down or at a downward angle. If you pool doesn't have wall fittings at the return ports there are alternative wall fittings made by the manufactures to divert the flow.
Most suction cleaners are the cheapest cleaners to own in terms of needed replacement parts. Many have only 1 moving part, and need very few replacement parts. Always rotate the wearable parts on the cleaners and replace those wearable parts when needed. Most suction cleaners will need less than $50 per year to stay operating at peak performance.
If you have only one skimmer, most skimming action is lost while your cleaner is hooked up. Secondly, unless the cleaner has an in-line strainer basket somewhere on its hose, the filter pump basket can get clogged up rather quickly. That, or if the strainer basket becomes full, reduces filtration and puts more front pressure on the system by restricting the flow into the filter. My opinion is that having a suction side cleaner would be much better than having none at all, but less than what is possible. On the bright side, suction side cleaners are available for half the cost of pressure side cleaners, and have low maintenance costs.