In Floor Pool Cleaning Systems vs. Automatic Pool Cleaners
I’m writing this article to help people in making a decision regarding their pool cleaning system. Many people get confused in deciding which pool cleaning system is best for their pool. Most pools in the Atlanta area have suction side cleaners or pressure side cleaners(automatic cleaners). These cleaners are the little robots that have a hose attached to them and are connected to the wall of the pool. They operate by using the suction from the filter pump or the return from the filter pump. Some models have their own dedicated booster pump like most pressure side cleaners and others don’t, like suction side cleaners. These styles of pool cleaners have advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Automatic Cleaners
Automatic cleaners are simple systems that clean most pools effectively. Pressure and suction automatic cleaners are fairly easy to install and maintain. This style of cleaner can be installed on existing pools as well as new pools. Automatic pool cleaners are easy to clean out as well. Simply empty the debris bag and install the bag back on the cleaner and you are cleaning again. The maintenance is pretty simple as well. Most automatic cleaners have parts that wear with time and need replacement to prevent damage to the cleaner. These items are the wheels, bumpers, and rollers on the sweep tail. Automatic cleaners can be completely removed from the pool for swimming by disconnecting the leader hose from the pool wall. Another advantage with automatic cleaners is that they are relatively inexpensive when compared to infloor cleaning systems.
Disadvantages of Automatic Cleaners
Automatic cleaners do have some disadvantages for some pools as well though. Many of the pools constructed today have sun shelves, benches, or shallow areas that an automatic cleaner is not able to reach. This means that the person that cleans the pool must manually brush these areas to push the debris to an area where the automatic cleaner can pick it up. Another disadvantage is that automatic cleaners do eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Automatic cleaners only remove debris that doesn’t pass through the mesh in the debris bag. This is great for leaves and most small particles but, they do not remove silt and fine particles as effectively as infloor cleaners.
In Floor Cleaning System
Infloor cleaning systems have a series of pop up sweeping heads that push debris to the deep end of the pool where it is removed by a specialized drain. From this point the debris is carried to a container that has a large basket which traps large debris and the fine particles go into the pool filter. The basket is cleaned much like a skimmer would be and the filer is cleaned by backwashing or cleaning the cartridges. The pop up sweeping heads operate much like a lawn sprinkler head; working in zones to sweep the pool from shallow to deep. The heads are color matched to blend with color of your pool finish.
If you ever had the opportunity to hear pool professionals discuss infloor cleaning systems you would might think they were having a heated argument. There are many mixed opinions on this type of systems. Over the years of being in the pool business I have eliminated many infloor systems in existing pools because of the owner’s dissatisfaction with the system. For many years I told customers “these systems don’t work” or “you’ll have problems with this type of system” but, many customers kept requesting infloor cleaning systems. This is when I began to really study why people were dissatisfied. In my research I found that most infloor cleaning systems were never installed properly. If installed improperly, there is not much that can be done to remedy the situation. I also learned that the systems that were made 10-15 years ago aren’t what they are today. This is the reason that pool professionals on the opposing side say automatic cleaners are a better choice. After installing many infloor cleaning systems and going into great detail while installing them, I found that I now prefer infloor cleaning systems over automatic pool cleaners.
Advantages of In Floor Cleaning System
Pools with shallow depths and zero depth entries can be cleaned without manually brushing. You don’t have to worry about the leader hose getting tangled and the cleaner not doing its job. Infloor cleaners don’t get tangled in ladders or rock work either. There is no real visible sign of the cleaner in the pool. Many people don’t like looking at an automatic cleaner laying in the pool when not in use. Pools with lazy rivers and planter islands cannot be cleaned with automatic cleaners but can with an infloor cleaning system. Another advantage is that heated water is distributed evenly through the floor heads in the bottom of the pool making it more efficient to heat the pool. Also, the manner in which the filtered water is distributed across the entire floor of the pool, aids in distribution of pool chemicals. There is not much maintenance associated with infloor systems other than empting a strainer basket located at the pool equipment pad.
Disadvantages of In Floor Cleaning System
The main disadvantages to infloor cleaning systems is the initial cost associated with installation. This type of system is usually double or even triple the cost of an automatic cleaner. Another disadvantage is that any service that may arise will usually require assistance from a pool professional. If this system is not installed correctly on the front end, the system will not clean effectively.
Hybrid cleaning systems
A hybrid cleaning system is a combination using infloor cleaning technology in conjunction with an automatic cleaner. I have had customers who really liked the idea of having an infloor cleaning system for their entire pool but, have been offset by the cost. One of the main reasons for they liked the infloor system is the ability to sweep the benches and shallow areas automatically where an automatic cleaner can’t reach. With a hybrid system you can get the best of both worlds. Instead of having a system with 20 or even 30 infloor cleaning heads in the pool. You can strategically place a few infloor cleaning heads in the areas that the automatic cleaner would not reach. You then install an automatic cleaner for the main body of the pool. This type of system works well for want the benefits of both systems at a cost savings.
I hope that this article will help you in making the right choice for your pool cleaning needs. Please respond with any questions you may have. If you found this information helpful, please link to it.