Troubleshooting an In-Ground Pool Cleaner

by Pool Builders on 06-15-2008 in Articles

My cleaner doesn't move

Cleaners depend on several factors to make them operate. There must be enough water flow past the turbine. Use a vacuum gauge to measure the vacuum in the cleaner hose. You should have 1" vacuum per section of hose.

Second, the four small "shoes" must be able to grip the pool surface. Make sure that the "shoes" are not worn out and that the surface of the pool is not slippery because of a buildup of algae. Note: some algae is clear, be sure to feel the underwater pool surface.

Third, the shoes and "pods" must be working correctly. Any wear in the "drive train" can cause problems. To check for wear, hold the left and right "pods" in your hands and firmly, try to rock the pods. All force on the pods should be transferred to the turbine and no "play" should be evident.

As a test, hold the cleaner by the hose. Keep the cleaner below water with the pump running. Hold the cleaner off the bottom of the pool and observe, the cleaner should: rotate right - not rotate - rotate left - not rotate - rotate right - etc. All the time, the "pods" should be kicking. If you can reach under the cleaner and stop the pods with your hand, there is either excessive wear on the internal parts or inadequate suction. Remember to check the vacuum reading before calling for assistance.

The hoses are twisting

Cleaner hoses cannot be coiled up for storage. If you have coiled them, take the sections apart, lay them straight, and leave them outside for an entire day and night. Once the curls are removed, the hose should be usable.

Cleaner won't climb the wall of my vinyl liner pool

Depending on the angle of the pool floor to the pool walls, the cleaner may not be able to "climb" the "slope." Picture the cleaner on the pool bottom at the intersection of where the pool wall meets the bottom at a sharp angle, (like the walls in your house.) The cleaner will not be able to make the transition, don't worry, it's not supposed to. After all, the dirt is on the bottom.

The cleaner sticks at the steps

The hose might be too short.

  1. Check to see that the hose extends two full sections past the furthest point in the pool.
  2. Check to see that the return line(s) are not affecting the cleaner's movement.
  3. Use the vacuum gauge to measure the vacuum in the cleaner hose. You should have 1 inch of vacuum per section of hose.
  4. Check the shoes, wings and flaps for wear.
  5. Check the rear flap adjuster, and move it to the I position.

As a test, hold the cleaner by the hose. Keep the cleaner below water with the pump running. Hold the cleaner off the bottom of the pool and observe, the cleaner should: rotate right - not rotate - rotate left - not rotate - rotate right - etc. All the time, the "pods" should be kicking. If the cleaner is not doing the "test" movements, call Blue Haven Pools & Spas Supplies Direct.

My cleaner floats above the pool floor

The cleaner is heavier than water, and should not float.

  1. Make sure that all the air was removed from the cleaner head and hoses during installation.
  2. Make sure that the hose extends two full sections past the farthest point in the pool.
  3. Use the vacuum gauge to measure the vacuum in the cleaner hose. You should have 1 inch vacuum per section of house.
  4. Check to see that the return line(s) are not affecting the cleaner or the cleaner hose.
  5. Check for signs of air returning to the pool through the return line(s). Look for air bubbles attached to the cleaner hose and head. If present, pull sharply on the cleaner hose to release bubbles. Then, correct the source of the air leak to prevent further "floating."
My cleaner moves slowly
  1. Check the shoes, wings and flaps for wear.
  2. Check for obstructions in the cleaner.
  3. Use the vacuum gauge to measure the vacuum in the cleaner hose. It should be 1 inch vacuum per section of hose. If the cleaner still moves slowly, call Blue Haven Pools & Spas Supplies Direct.
The pods at the front of the cleaner are worn

The cleaner is sticking at the steps or against a wall. See cleaner sticking at the steps section above.

Cleaner climbs to the surface and sucks air

  1. The vacuum is probably too high. Use the vacuum gauge to measure the vacuum in the cleaner hose. You should have 1 inch vacuum per section of hose.
  2. Check the rear flap adjuster, and move it to the I position.
  3. Check the shoes, wings, and flaps for wear.
  4. As a test, hold the cleaner by the hose. Keep the cleaner below water with the pump running. Hold the cleaner off the bottom of the pool and observe, the cleaner should: rotate right - not rotate - rotate left - not rotate - rotate right - etc. If the cleaner is not turning, call Blue Haven Pools & Spas Supplies Direct.
The bottom of my cleaner is worn

The shoes are worn, and the vacuum in the cleaner hose is probably too high. Use the vacuum gauge to measure the vacuum in the cleaner hose. You should have 1" of vacuum per section of hose. Replace worn shoes.

The top of my cleaner won't turn

You will not be able to turn the cleaner top when the cleaner is full of water. Drain the water from the cleaner head, and try to rotate the top both left and right - there might be some debris in the gears. If the top does not turn, call Blue Haven Pools & Spas Supplies Direct.

Air comes into my pool when the cleaner is installed, and stops after the cleaner is removed

There is a leak on the suction side of your filter system that only shows up when you stress the system. i.e. - install your manual vacuum cleaner or an automatic vacuum cleaner. Check for obvious leaks at the pump housing, check the lid and o-ring. If the air persists, contact Blue Haven Pools & Spas Supplies Direct.

The flappers/wings have fallen off

There is excess wear on the bottom of the cleaner, and the wing hooks have probably broken off the pods. The shoes are worn, and the vacuum in the cleaner hose is probably too high. Use the vacuum gauge to measure the vacuum in the cleaner hose. You should have 1" of vacuum per section of hose. Replace worn components.

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