What is a Pressure Side Pool Cleaner?
A pressure side pool cleaner (a.k.a. booster pump cleaner) is an automatic pool cleaner that needs to attach to the pressure side of the pool. The pressure coming from the pool’s pump powers the machine – allowing it to navigate and loosen up the contaminants as it moves.
The water pressure coming from the pump stirs up the dirt and debris. For this reason, your pump must supply enough power to stir up dirt and push the machine around the pool.
A pressure side pool cleaner has its own filter bag. This means that all the dirt and debris are trapped in the cartridge inside the machine. The trash doesn’t reach the pool’s filter system, meaning you don’t have to worry that the clogged pool’s filter will burn out the pool pump. With all these benefits, you will find it easy to forget manual vacuuming.
The device will notify you once the trash bag is full. You have to clean it out first before it starts collecting dirt again.
How Does a Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Work?
The pump directs water into the unit. The water passes through three different directions: sweeper tail, thrust jet, and venturi.
The sweeper tail is located at the back of the machine. Its primary function is to remove debris from walls and floors and direct them into the suspension before reaching the filter.
The thrust jet is also found at the back of the device. This part is responsible for propelling and directing the unit where it should go. It also serves as an exit point of water after passing through various ports and gears.
On the other hand, the venturi is a port located at the bottom of the cleaner. It serves as an entry point for leaves and debris from the pool’s floor.
Another vital component of a pressure side cleaner is an in-line backup valve. This part is responsible for reversing the flow every few minutes to alter the pattern and avoid obstacles.
Things to Consider in a Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
Now that you have an idea of how the pressure side pool cleaner works, let’s discuss the important factors that you need to consider:
Booster pumps vs. no booster pump
A pressure side pool cleaner can work with or without a booster pump. Using a booster pump offers more advantages, the most important of which is giving the cleaner more power to consistently clean all the pool areas. This allows the cleaner to work for 2-3 hours daily, provided that the booster pump operates in either 115 V or 230 V.
Meanwhile, a pressure side pool cleaner that doesn’t use a booster pump has a cheaper upfront and installation cost. It works best on pools with the usual and Ray-Vac type installation. In this setup, the water is drawn away from the cleaner before it goes to the filter. This mechanism prevents too much backpressure on the filter tank and pump.
A pressure side pool cleaner connected to a booster pump has more advantages, such as:
- Consistent flow;
- It can turn itself on and off automatically, saving you money;
- Faster and better cleaning;
- Considering installation and operating costs, a device that runs with a booster pump can be cheaper in the long run.
Before buying a pressure side pool cleaner, please consider what pool accessories you have. Some pools can only host a cleaner that doesn’t need a booster pump. To know more about your pool, please talk to the company which installed it.
One crucial factor of an automatic pool cleaner is its hose. If you have a large pool, make sure that the hose is long enough to reach all its corners. If the hose is shorter than what you need, ask the seller if you can buy an extension for it.
Some models are designed specifically for either above-ground or in-ground pools. Make sure that you consider this factor too.
As mentioned above, choose a model that works well with a booster pump if you want a device that works fast and efficiently.
You need a device that is powerful enough to scale the walls, floor, and stairs. The pressurized jets coming from the cleaner must stir the water effectively to disturb dirt and debris. This will allow the filter to collect as much dirt as possible, leaving the water cleaner and fresher.
It is also important to have specific features like a large inlet to enable the machine to suck larger debris and pebbles. A big filter bag can also help collect more dirt and prevent the cleaner from unnecessary stoppage.
Cost (Upfront/Operational Cost)
The average cost of buying a good-quality pressure-side pool cleaner is somewhere between $500-$800. A model that is priced relatively higher than this range offers advanced features such as an automatic cleaning schedule, an online monitoring system, etc. If you are always home during the cleaning, these programs are somewhat unnecessary.
In terms of operational cost, choose a powerful cleaner that can finish the task faster. This way, you can save money on your electric bill.
It’s also important to choose a device that comes with an extended warranty. Many pool cleaners come with a one-year warranty only. If you can find a brand with a 2- or 3-year warranty, that’s always better. A longer warranty can save you money in part replacement and labor as specified in the warranty paper.
Setup / Installation
Setting up a pressure side pool cleaner can only take an hour. Connecting the device to the pool’s booster pump is the tricky part. While many models can be set up easily within a few minutes, some are just too hard to handle. If you’re not comfortable installing it the first time, you might need to hire a professional to set this up for you.
It’s important to understand what other parts you need to buy separately to clean your pool effectively. Some brands need a booster pump, a sweeper tail, or other accessories to do their job well. In this case, you need to have an extra budget for them.
Pressure-side pool cleaners should be light enough to be carried about the pool by the Venturi effect created by the jets. If it’s too heavy, moving around can be problematic. When it comes to climbing walls, lightweight cleaners are also more agile and capable. However, the cleaner must be heavy enough to stay on the pool’s bottom. You could notice parts of the wheels losing traction if it’s too light.
Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Maintenance
Taking care of your pool cleaner is vital to make it last longer and avoid paying for its repair or buying parts. It’s a practical way to save money by keeping your pressure side pool cleaner running at its best. Here are some maintenance tips that you can apply:
- Take out the filter bag and let it dry under the sun. You can just discard the trash inside once it has dried completely.
- For a clogged filter bag, clean it with a hose spray before putting it back. Tip: To make cleaning easier, you can switch between two filter bags.
- Remove the filter assembly and open it. Take out the in-line filter and rinse it well.
- Check for debris in the sweep hose and wash it down as needed.
- Clean the holes at the tip of the sweep hose and in the cleaner’s body as needed. Make it a habit to double-check these parts after every use.
- If possible, physically tighten hose connections to ensure a secure fit. Overtightening might strip the connections, so be careful when doing it.
When the machine is not working correctly, you can do the following:
The RPMs aren’t in the suitable range: Make changes according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This might include removing or installing flow restrictors, changing in-line flow, and cleaning the components of your pool filtration system.
The device isn’t cleaning the pool as efficiently as expected: Most models allow you to change the thrust jet’s power output.
Machine is shooting water outside the pool or moving too fast: Make necessary adjustments to the sweep hose according to your model’s specs. Instead of whirling around like a tube man, the sweep hose must smoothly swish at the back of the cleaner.
Backup valve is malfunctioning: Remove the device from the water. Every few minutes, check to see whether water pours from the valve. If it doesn’t, you’ll either need to repair it or hire a professional to clean it.