Choosing the Right Automatic Pool Cleaner for a New Backyard Swimming Pool

by Pool Builders on 01-24-2011 in Articles

Buying an automatic pool cleaner for a new backyard swimming pool is a major investment that can cost in the range of $400 to $1500. This can be one of the larger buying decisions for your pool and deserves serious consideration. Making the correct choice the first time can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in pool cleaner repair or replacement costs and other related expenses over the functional lifetime of your pool.

The first step in choosing correctly is to understand what type of pool cleaner is right for your swimming pool environment. There are two main type of cleaners used for the typical residential pool, pressure cleaners and suction cleaners.

Suction Pool Cleaners - acts like a vacuum that is propelled by the suction created by the main pump. It vacuums dirt and debris from the bottom and sides of the pool. As it moves throughout the pool, it draws the dirt and debris into a collection basket attached to the vacuum hose or to the main pump basket.

Pressure Pool Cleaners - uses pressure from the main pump OR from a dedicated booster pump to propel the cleaner. As the water pressure is returned to the pool it is moved through jets in the bottom of the cleaner and pushes dirt and debris into an attached collection bag as it moves in random patterns.

Making the Choice

Suction pool cleaners are best for very clean backyard environments that won't have a lot of larger debris entering the pool during bad weather. They do a good job picking up smaller debris and vacuuming the dirt from and scrubbing the bottom and walls of the pool. When used in pools that get a lot of larger leaves and branches, suction cleaners will often get clogged up at the mouth of the cleaner, collection basket, or at the pump basket. When this happens, not only will the cleaner stop working but the blockage can restrict a suction line to the main filter and create many different problems including water clarity issues and expensive damage to the pool pump.

If you anticipate a significant amount of larger debris finding its way into the pool, a pressure cleaner with an independent booster pump will be the best choice. They do a better job of picking up large amounts of bigger debris such as leaves and small branches. Also, as the debris gets picked up it isn't being moved toward the main filter, reducing the occurrence of clogged baskets and circulation problems. When the collection bag gets filled up, the main filter operation will not be affected. Instead the pool cleaner will only be less efficient until the bag is emptied.

A pressure pool cleaner without a booster pump can be a good choice for pools that get larger debris, but only get a medium volume of debris throughout the year. They don't require the additional expense of buying a booster pump, will reduce energy costs, and still can do an adequate job.

The right time to decide on the type of cleaner for your new pool is during the design phase of the swimming pool. Work with your builder and have a conversation about the issues discussed above. Don't let them just sell you the cleaner that makes them the most money. They should be helping you choose the right automatic pool cleaner based on your backyard environment and how it will affect your pool maintenance needs.

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