Thursday, December 13, 2018

Some Tips for Manually Vacuuming Your Swimming Pool

Manually vacuuming your swimming pool and spa with a manual vacuum head and pool hose sounds like something that is very simple and easy to do. Simply attach the vacuum head and hose and you are good. But it can be a little more complex than that. I will be going over some do’s and don’ts in this article for you so that you can avoid making some typical mistakes.

Let me lay out some of the most critical don’ts so that you won’t damage you pool or equipment. When you submerge the vacuum head and pool hose make sure all the air is out of the hose. This can be achieved by using a hand over hand motion and pushing the hose down into the water.  You want to connect the hose to the skimmer suction line without any air in the hose. Air can cause the pump to lose prime and if you let it run for several minutes without water in the pump basket area known also as the wet end, this could cause air leaks to develop in the system. Air leaks then lead to water leaks and a loss of pool suction.  Making sure there is no air in the pool hose when you connect the vacuum is essential and while you are vacuuming try not to lift the vacuum head out of the water when you are moving around obstacles or getting around the vacuum hose. When you lift it up out of the water it will suck large amounts of air in causing the pump to lose prime.

The next thing you never want to do is place the vacuum head directly over a main drain cover. What could happen is that the suction from the pump along with the vacuum head attached to the top of the drain cover could cause it to get stuck on top of it. If you try to pull it off the drain cover, you could crack the plastic around the screwed down area and inadvertently break the cover off. This will turn into a very expensive repair so if you accidentally set the vacuum head on top of the main drain cover, do not try to pull it up and off. Instead turn off the pump and then move the vacuum head off the main drain.

Using a cheap hose and vacuum head can also contribute to vacuuming frustration. A cheap hose will cavitate due to the pump’s powerful suction which will cause the pump to lose prime. You will know this is happening when you see the walls of the pool hose twisting and collapsing in on itself when it is attached to the pool skimmer. If this is happening, I suggest upgrading to a professional quality pool hose like a Smooth Bor brand or other professional hose.

If your vacuum head is constantly getting stuck on the pool bottom it could be that you are using an old or cheap vacuum head. A professional quality vacuum head is designed not to get stuck on the pool surface and is a worthwhile investment. I use the Pentair Pro Vac on my route and not only won’t it get stuck on the pool surface, it is so well built that it will last you for years to come. I think the key for a successful experience is using professional grade equipment.

The best way to vacuum the pool is to follow these steps:

1. If the pool is off turn it on. Make sure all the suction is directed at the skimmer which means turning off the main drain if possible.

2. Skim the pool surface at least two times around the entire pool and attached spa. Any leaves that fall to the bottom during skimming can be vacuumed up.

3. Submerge the vacuum hose and vacuum head and evacuate all the air from the hose.

4.  Use an in-line leaf canister for best results and connect the canister and pool hose to the suction line (usually the back hole in a two-hole skimmer or directly to the skimmer hole if there is just one hole).

5. Vacuum the pool in an easy to follow backwards and forwards motion, like when you vacuum your carpet or floor in your house. If you have good suction and a good vacuum head, you should be able to vacuum up the sides of the wall and steps. Try to vacuum the walls as high up as you can.

6. If there is an attached spa you can quickly lift the vacuum head out of the pool in a swift motion and drop it down into the spa. The pump will lose suction briefly so wait about 30 seconds before you continue to vacuum.

7. When done remove the hose from the skimmer and replace basket and lid.

8. Use a pool brush to brush down the walls and step areas to remove any streaks of dirt that you may have missed. The pool will have a very uniformed clean look to it now.

Here are some things to also note before you vacuum out your pool. If the pool has a large amount of leaves or larger debris, manually vacuuming out the pool may be difficult. Sometimes it is better to skim out the large debris and leaves and then vacuum another time when there is less debris. The opening on the vacuum head is small and can get easily clogged.

If the pool pump is running poorly or if the pool filter is very dirty, vacuuming the pool will be very difficult. You will have very little suction or no suction at all. Clean the filter and get the pump running correctly before attempting to manually vacuum the pool.
. This will stir up the dirt and is counterproductive.  If you brush the pool first you will need to wait 20-30 minutes for all the dust to settle properly before you start to vacuum. This is not a recommended method.

Manually vacuuming a pool takes some effort and there is a learning curve. If you follow these tips here, you will have a successful experience.

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