Swimming Pool Blog

Pool Cleaner Not... Moving, Cleaning, Climbing

Pool Cleaner Not... Moving, Cleaning, Climbing
by Mark Garcia, May 9, 2017

Automatic Pool Cleaners are fabulous designs of fancy and whimsy. They sweep about the pool like Rosie the robot from The Jetsons, kicking up a cloud of dust and never tire of the routine.

Yes, pool cleaners are great, but when the pool sweep isn't sweeping, ain't nobody happy. This post is for all those "My pool cleaner is not _____." You can fill in the blank, because no matter if you have a suction, pressure or robot pool cleaner, at one point you will have one of these issues - details below.



PRESSURE CLEANERS: Polaris, Letro, Hayward with booster pump

  • Booster pump and main filter pump are not both "On".
  • Booster pump is not pumping water to wall fitting.
  • Wall fitting strainer or in-hose strainer(s) are clogged.
  • Wall fitting strainer is missing, clogging internal cleaner jets.
  • Feed hose leaking water, or hose swivels spraying water.
  • Disconnected or split internal manifold hoses.
  • Clogged internal WMS orifices, missing feed pipe o-ring
  • Loose drive belts or drive chain not gripping wheel gears
  • Loose drive shaft, or broken wheel gears on front wheel (180/280)
  • Loose wheels or failed wheel bearings
  • Foreign object lodged between wheels
  • Tires slipping, not gripping on slick surfaces
  • Pool cleaner backup valve stuck in reverse mode
  • Head float is filled with water

ROBOTIC POOL CLEANERS: Aquabot, Dolphin, Tigershark, Polaris

  • Power Supply is not receiving power from outlet.
  • Power Supply fuse is blown or GFCI outlet is tripped.
  • Power Supply program has completed, cycle power.
  • Power Cable has a short in the wires that lead to cleaner.
  • Cleaner pump motor and/or drive motor has failed.
  • Cleaner drive belts or drive tracks or pullys are not aligned.
  • String or debris has wound around motor spindles or impellers.
  • Foreign object lodged between wheels or drive tracks.
  • Debris bag is overloaded, clean before operation.

SUCTION POOL CLEANERS: Kreepy, Baracuda, PoolVac

  • Cleaner hoses not connected tightly to each other, leaking.
  • Cleaner hose not connected firmly into skimmer or suction line.
  • Pump basket is full or pool filter is dirty.
  • Other suction lines need to be closed to create more cleaner line suction.
  • Debris is clogged inside the flapper or diaphragm, blocking movement.
  • Debris is clogged inside the hoses or in the skimmer pipe.
  • Cleaner head is suctioned onto a raised area of the floor.
  • Hose floats or hose weights not positioned properly.
  • Head float cracked and filled with water.



If your pool cleaner is moving around the pool normally, but is not picking up debris, the normal solution is to clear the clog in the suction throat, or empty the debris bag or basket. Suction cleaners also need a clean pool filter to both move and vacuum well.

If your pool cleaner is not cleaning the entire pool, but leaving some areas untouched, there is often an adjustment that can be made to cleaning pattern or cleaner speed. Increasing the pool cleaner speed is possible on pressure cleaners by closing the bleeder valve at the wall connection. For suction cleaners, closing other valves while using the cleaner and keeping the basket clean can improve speed. If your pool cleaner seems slower than normal, look for the cause of the pressure loss (or suction loss).

Changing the pool cleaner pattern is accomplished on pressure cleaners by adjusting the Thrust Jet on the rear of the cleaner. If set at "11 o'clock", move it to "1 o'clock" or vice-versa, to change the rotation or direction of most turns. For suction cleaners, adjusting the hose floats and hose weights can change the cleaner pattern. Also, strong wall return jets can push a cleaner away from certain areas, using 90 degree hose adapters and pointing them straight down is often needed in such cases. Finally, if your cleaner hose or power cable is not long enough to reach all areas of the pool, add more hose length to reach all areas, or move the robotic cleaner power supply to a more central location.



Just like above, when a pool cleaner does not climb the walls (and it used to do it), then there is a problem with cleaning pattern or cleaner speed. Making adjustments to the cleaner pattern as described above may produce different results, allowing the cleaner to make a better approach to the wall. Adjusting the cleaner speed is another way to overcome problems climbing the pool walls. It takes a great deal of traction and suction, to climb a pool wall without falling off. If it's not climbing the walls like it used to, it's probably also going slower than it used to go. Be sure there are no pressure leaks or suction leaks in the hose that connects to the cleaner, and also that the hose is not getting in the way. Tangled pool cleaner hoses are usually the result of waterlogged hose floats, or not enough hose floats or incorrect placement of hose floats.


Pool cleaners require timely replacement of pool cleaner parts to operate at their full potential, and prevent more catastrophic failure from occuring. If your pool cleaner is beyond repair and it's time for a new one, check out our selection of over 100 pool cleaners, in stock and ready to ship!

Thanks for Reading!

Mark Garcia