by Rob Cox, August 09, 2017
The Kreepy Krauly pool cleaner was invented in 1974 by Ferdinand Chauvier, a hydraulic engineer from South Africa. The product caught fire in Florida in the early 1980's when the Kreepy Krauly won the Daytona 24 hour race in 1984. In 1999, Kreepy Krauly was purchased by Pac-Fab and then by Pentair pool products, which expanded the product line beyond the traditional Kreepy Krauly suction pool cleaner.
But enough history, today's post is an FAQ style troubleshooting guide for Kreepy Krauly suction pool cleaners. Hopefully I can answer your question below, but if not - visit our Kreepy Help File for more specific tips and tricks for Kreepy pool cleaners.
One of the best features of a Kreepy Krauly pool cleaners are their simple design, with only one moving part. Set aside any fears of fixing a Kreepy cleaner, they are easy to understand and you'll be an expert very soon!
A Kreepy Krauly suction cleaner vacuums the pool bottom in the same manner as if you were vacuuming it manually, with a vac hose and vac head on a pole. It sucks debris up from the floor and brings it into your pump basket, or alternatively into the skimmer basket when using a Vac Plate, or into an inline strainer when connected on the other end of the first hose, that connects into the skimmer. The movement of the cleaner is created by the Flapper, a triangular piece of plastic that alternately closes off one of the two suction tubes, which creates a small 'hop' as suction is released for a short moment. As it hops, the Seal (large flat disk in contact with the floor) moves a very short distance, before suction pulls it down to the surface again. With enough suction from the pump, Kreepy cleaners can climb sloped inground pool walls, but will not usually clean steps, swimouts or shallow areas less than 36" deep.
With the hose sections assembled onto the Kreepy cleaner, submerge the head into the water, and then 'prime the hose' by pushing it hand over hand, straight into the water, or holding the end of the hose over a forceful wall return fitting. Once the hose is completely full of water, you can connect it to the skimmer suction hole, first removing the skimmer basket. The Kreepy hose may come loose if you don't connect it with the Automatic Regulator, although you can use a hose adapter, but the Regulator will make sure the flow rate is not too high for Kreepy to operate properly. A Locking Bar is available to help hold the Kreepy Hose stable in the skimmer, if you have problems with it coming loose.
For pools with large debris and lots of it, you can use the Kreepy Vac Plus II plate or other Skim Vac plate over top of your skimmer basket (which is larger and easier to clean than the pump basket, in most cases). And when even your skimmer basket is too small, you can connect an inline strainer between the first and second hose sections to trap very large volumes of leaves and debris.
After the cleaner is primed and connected to the skimmer (or other vacuum suction line), you may need to restrict the suction from the other lines coming into the pump (other skimmer and/or main drain lines), by closing a valve so that the pump draws less water from other lines, and more water from the skimmer where Kreepy is connected. Too much flow and Kreepy may 'fly around' the pool not touching the ground, and too little flow and Kreepy will just sit there. With some experimentation, you can find the best valve settings for Kreepy to operate well.
Generally speaking, a 3/4 hp pump is a minimum requirement, with better performance from higher horsepower inground pool pumps. The Automatic Regulator valve helps with larger pumps to automatically bypass water, while keeping some skimmer action while Kreepy is cleaning.
Just as long as it needs to, which is generally about 2-4 hours depending on the size of the pool and the amount of debris. Best practice is to remove Kreepy from the pool after you are satisfied with the results. If Kreepy regularly operates for extended periods of time, longer than it needs to, you may see increased wear and tear on the Seal and Foot Pad. In addition, your pool circulation is best when operating with a drain and skimmer action, and water quality may suffer if left in 'cleaner mode' for large portions of the day.
If the Kreepy Krauly is running too slowly, close off other suction lines (skimmer, main drain, spa), to draw more water through the skimmer or vac line where Kreepy is connected. A clean filter and clean pump basket (and impeller) is also important for Kreepy speed. If the Kreepy is operating too fast, so fast that it is lifting off the surface and missing debris, or spending too much time on the walls, open up the other suction line valves fully, and restrict the valve for the line where Kreepy is connected. The Automatic Regulator Valve and Compression Adapter is used with Kreepy to allow excess pump suction to pull through a small bypass door, which also retains some skimmer suction while Kreepy is operating.
Kreepy cleaners have an entirely random cleaning pattern, but will generally prefer one direction or the other, clockwise or counter-clockwise, with some variation across the pool. The two things that can be done to affect the direction of cleaning patterns is to switch the direction of your pool wall return eyeball fittings (if you have them), and the second thing is to move the hose weights a few inches on the hose (see below).
KREEPY KRAULY HOSE WEIGHT PLACEMENT?
Kreepy Krauly comes with 40 ft. of hose and 2 hose weights. The hose should be long enough to reach the furthest part of the pool, plus one hose length. A Kreepy hose longer than needed will cause problems, and if too short, it won't clean the entire pool. Hose weight placement depends on the depth of the pool. For pools 4' deep or less, use 1 hose weight 4" to 12" from the cleaner. For pools of 4-7' deep, use 2 weights, one 4" to 12" from the cleaner and one 6' from the cleaner. For pools from 8' to 12' deep, use a third weight, placed 10 ft. from the swivel end of the cleaner.
Balancing the Kreepy hose is the term for adjusting the Kreepy weights, to balance the hose and cleaner in the water. Shut off the pump and note Kreepy's position in the water. Correct hose balance is when the Kreepy Seal sits flat on the floor and the body of Kreepy's Drive Tube makes a 45 degree angle with the pool floor. If the cleaner is More than 45° (leaning forward), the hose is too light, move weights closer to cleaner. If the cleaner is sitting Less than 45° (leaning backwards), the hose is too heavy, move the weights further away from the cleaner. Make small adjustments of just 1-3", and retest for hose balance, traction and performance.
If Kreepy is getting stuck behind a ladder or handrail, you can install the Kreepy Ladder Guard K12330, or the Polaris G-21 ladder guard kit. Changing the direction of the cleaning pattern can also help, or shortening the hose or reducing Kreepy speed. To keep Kreepy from climbing the wall too much, remove the Dive Float restrictor and replace with the Wall Climb Adjuster.
If Kreepy is getting stuck on bumps in the pool floor, such as concave sections on the pool floor, try to reduce speed, change direction or adjust hose weights slightly to avoid the area or hit it at a different angle. For Kreepy cleaners that get stuck on the main drain cover, try a raised anti-vortex drain cover, or the Polaris Unicover as solutions.
If Kreepy gets stuck in one part of the pool, check the direction of the wall return jets. For high volume returns, pointing jets down to the floor, or using the Kreepy Eyeball Diverter can solve the problem. Low flow or suction can also be the cause, especially if Kreepy is not climbing out of the deep end.
Not an uncommon scenario, the Flapper can become stuck with large leaves, twigs or acorns. Gently pull the cleaner to the surface and turn it upside down to reveal the clog. Reach in with your fingers to pull out the clogging material. If you hold the cleaner under water while removing the clog, you will not need to disconnect the cleaner. Lift above water however, and it will suck air into the hose. If your Kreepy Krauly is clogged often, you may consider a Leaf Net over the pool during spring and fall periods of heavy debris. Either that, or do some heavy trimming on trees and bushes around the pool.
When Kreepy is not moving at all, but is connected properly, check that the Flapper is not clogged, by turning it over upside down and looking into the Drive Tube. Secondly be sure that your pool filter and pump basket is not clogged, which will slow down flow rates. Be sure that the pump is operating a 'full head', and is not hampered by an air leak around the pump, or backpressure from closed return valves, or a dirty filter. Third, check that the hoses are all tightly connected together, and inspect each hose for a tiny hissing sound, which may indicate a hole in a Kreepy Hose section.
For inground pools, the Kreepy Krauly inground pool cleaner, pictured here is still the Flagship pool cleaner, and may be the best Kreepy pool cleaner. As mentioned earlier however, Pentair has expanded the Kreepy product line by bringing other cleaners by Sta-Rite and Letro under the Kreepy name. Inground pools can also use the well-respected Kreepy Warrior and Kreepy Sand Shark suction cleaners or the powerful Kreepy Legend or Kreepy Racer pressure side cleaners with a booster pump.
For aboveground pools, the Kreepy EZ Vac is the little cousin of the Kreepy Krauly, with the same great design and performance, with less hose, and built to work on flat bottom pools under 5 ft deep, or take a look at the Kreepy Lil Shark cleaner, a Sta-Rite cleaner for over 20 years, until the name change.