Choosing a Pool Sweep – Types and Benefits
The Pooled Energy system will control your existing, third-party pool sweep.
All pools should have an automatic cleaner as it makes the pool much cleaner and easier to manage.
If you would like to purchase a pool sweep or robot, Pooled Energy will happily provide one at a competitive price, with warranty and expert installation.
There are 4 basic types of cleaner and they are listed below in order of our preference.
Pressure-Side Cleaners have their own pumps and run about 3 hours a day in summer, depending on the amount of leaves and debris in the pool. The best known types are Polaris or a Jet-Vac and if you have one, it will be controlled automatically by Pooled Energy’s Intelligent Pool Controller.
In our experience, this is the best type of pool sweep for most pools for several reasons, including:-
- left permanently in the water,
- good long-term unattended operation,
- large leaf capacity,
- easy to lift out of the pool,
- easy to empty the leaf bag, and,
- fairly trouble-free.
If you have a large leaf-load or travel a lot, we recommend a Jet-Vac as it has the largest debris bag and the largest throat. It can pick up the biggest leaves and hold the most. However, it does not climb and scrub walls. If you have an epoxy-painted pool, the Polaris is the better choice as it scrubs the walls.
Pressure-side cleaners need a wall penetration and plumbing to the pool. This is not difficult is there is access, but, generally not possible for a fully in-ground pool, post construction.
Robot Cleaners are powered via a floating, low-voltage electric cord and you do not need to connect it to the Pooled Energy Intelligent Pool Controller (IPC) but you may. We don’t recommend this as most robot manufacturers recommend that the robot be removed from the pool after each cleaning cycle. We also find that many robot cleaners are not well suited to automatic systems, and, if left in the pool, they deteriorate and tend to tangle their power cords. They need reasonably regular attention, depending on the make, but do a good and very fast job. Most pools are cleaned inside 2 hours.
Robots are well suited to existing pools where it is too late to add pressure cleaners. We recommend the iRoboter commercial grade robot. In general, it is better to buy the sturdier, larger robots as long as you are capable of lifting them from the water, without strain. Robots use about 200 watts of power and are inexpensive on electricity.
In-Floor Cleaners are powered by their own pump(s), and run under the control of the Pooled Energy Intelligent Pool Controller. In some cases additional automation equipment may need to be added to the Pooled Energy system to allow the Pooled Energy system to manage the system. If correctly installed, which is not always the case, they operate reasonably well and look good but they do need the longest operating hours and consume the most energy of all types of pool cleaners. They involve a considerable amount of plumbing underneath the pool shell and any leaks or cracks arising from the pool settling or otherwise, are very difficult or impossible to fix. They are also the most expensive to purchase and must be installed when the pool is being built.
Suction-Side Cleaners are powered via a hose from the skimmer box, but we strongly recommend against these for the reasons listed below. The Pooled Energy system can however operate with them.
- Virtually all the debris in a swimming pool comes through the surface and the surface layer is the most highly contaminated in the pool and the one most essential to clean. The NSW Government Health Department and the World Health organisation recommend that as much as 90% of the water filtration in swimming pools be taken from the top layer of the water. This can’t happen with suction cleaners. While the suction cleaner is busy cleaning the bottom of the pool, its suction hose is usually completely blocking the skimmer box and therefore the filter takes 100% of its water from the bottom. The surface layer will then become progressively more contaminated and debris that should have been skimmed, will now very slowly sink to the bottom making the water dirty and cloudy on the way. That makes for much more work (and energy usage) for both the suction cleaner and the filter. You will be very unlikely to achieve the normal Pooled Energy standard for water cleanliness if you use a suction cleaner. Moreover, the water will not be as well sanitised or as safe.
- Suction Cleaners are not well suited to automatic operation. If you have one, it is likely that you have a lot of leaves in your pool and you have to manually clean out the skimmer box quite often or else the efficiency of the filter will fall quickly due to the skimmer being blocked. Of course, skimmer boxes need cleaning anyway but the leaf load is better distributed between both a pressure-side cleaner and the skimmer, rather than being all in the skimmer.
- Suction cleaners tend to choke on larger debris and leaves and will not pick up such things as gum-nuts and small sticks, unlike pressure-side cleaners.
- Contrary to popular belief, suction cleaners do not run for free. In fact, they use a significant amount of filter pump energy which we are trying to save. Filters using suction cleaners need to run longer and harder, irrespective of the type of filter. US Electricity utility studies suggest that they consume as much as three-quarters of the energy of pressure side cleaners which use their own separate pumps (and, in our opinion, do a much better job in a much shorter time).
- Some suction cleaners are noisy and not suitable for night time operation.
- Some suction cleaners have a plate in the skimmer box with an additional inlet to the suction hose. This is sometimes spring-load and it has the intention of allowing some surface skimming. This is seldom successful as it requires high pump power and water is diverted from both skimming and suction preventing either working well. More often however, it forms a vortex that sucks air into the pump, stopping it momentarily, till it primes itself again. This puts pressure surges through the system and loses energy and filtration efficiency.
When we use suction cleaners in the Pooled Energy system we typically set the cleaner to operate with high filter power for a set-time and then to change to lower power. This usually gives a reasonable compromise between cleanliness, sweeping and energy use but we really think that you will get a better result with a robot or a pressure cleaner