Suction side cleaners are those which hook into the pool skimmer, or if you have one, they can be connected to a dedicated suction cleaner line. The debris that is sucked up is brought into the pump basket, where it can be emptied.
Common suction side cleaners include Pentair Kreepy Krauly (pictured), Zodiac Baracuda, Hayward Navigator and Pool Vac, Polaris 340 or ATV pool cleaners and GLI Dirt Devil pool cleaners.
SInce they are connected end to end, loose fitting hoses can draw air into the pump. They may also develop holes if they have been dragging on a rough pool floor. Hoses can also degrade over time from UV rays. If your hoses were wound too tightly for storage, they can develop a memory to the shape that can affect cleaner tracking. (It's best to disconnect all hose sections and store them flat during the winter).
If the basket is full, or clogged, the suction power the pump can generate will be limited. If the pump impeller is clogged, suction will be very poor. The cleaner may not move at all. An inline strainer can help for pools that have large debris loads.Suction side cleaners need somethig around 25 gpm to operate. Small above ground pumps may be too small.
Tuning up a suction side pool cleaner is a fairly easy affair. Here's our tips on what to look for.
1. IF your suction side pool cleaner is not pulsing or moving at all:
- Check that other suction lines are partially or fully closed, to allow enough flow to operate.
- Check for a clean pump basket and pool filter.
- Is pool pump large enough to power this cleaner?
- Check the internal diaphragm or the flapper, sometimes a stick or leaves will get stuck inside.
- Check the automatic regulator valve - at the skimmer attachment, for clogging.
2. IF your suction side pool cleaner stays in one end of the pool:
- Check that the hose is not warped or curved.
- Check that your eyeball return fittings are pointed downward.
- Check that the hose is properly "balanced", by adjusting hose weights.
- Check that your hose is long enough to reach the furthest point of the pool.
3. IF your suction side pool cleaner gets stuck on the main drain:
- Check that the main drain is turned off.
- Check the main drain cover to be sure that it is properly secured.
- If your drain is raised, you may need to install a Smart Ring drain cover.
4. IF your suction side pool cleaner seems to draw air into the pump, or air is observed returning to the pool:
- Check the hose, section by section to be sure they are all connected tightly, and there are no holes or splits in the hose.
- Check the connection of the hose into the skimmer or the suction wall fitting, to ensure a tight fit.
- Check the pump lid and pump drain plugs to be sure they are tight and not drawing air into the pump.
- Check the threaded fitting that goes into the pump, to make sure it is tight, and not allowing air to enter the pump.
5. IF your suction side pool cleaner floats to the surface:
- Check to ensure the dive float mechanism is operating freely and the dive float restrictor is installed.
- Check the automatic regulator valve for its proper installation and ensure it is not clogged.
- Make sure the water level in the pool is at least 3 inches below the pool deck.
- Check to ensure your suction side pool cleaner is operating at the proper speed of 8-12 feet per minute.
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