Just like the floors in your home, dirt and debris in your pool are a fact of life. Sometimes, you will wonder where it all came from, but all it takes is a windy day, and you will have to vacuum. Just like your home, the more frequently you address the issue, the easier it will be to return your pool to the sparkling clear condition you want.
There are a number of things to consider when choosing cleaning equipment and pool supplies for your pool:
How much time are you willing to devote to cleaning the pool? Does your schedule allow you to clean the pool on a regular schedule? Are other members of the family able to assist?
Is your pool an above ground pool or inground pool? Does your pool have a liner, or is it made of a hard surface such as cement or tile?
How large is your pool? Is it an irregular design shape? Does it have sharp angles?
Manual equipment has the benefit of being the least expensive, but it has the disadvantage of requiring the most time from the pool owner. If you are willing and able to devote the time for regular cleaning or if you have a smaller pool that doesn’t justify the expense of automated equipment, manual equipment may be your best choice. You can always upgrade at a later date to automated equipment. And, if you do upgrade, the manual equipment will always have value for minor clean up or touch-ups after the automated equipment is used. You will need a brush that attaches to the extension pole and a pool vacuum head which is attached to the extension pole to maneuver it on all the surfaces of your pool, as well as a hose to connect to the pool vacuum that will remove the debris as you sweep. There are heads made for reaching into the corners, and there are rounded heads, making cleaning easier for those who have curved sides.
If you have decided to get an automated system, there are three types available:
Suction Side Automatic Cleaner
Robotic Automatic Pool Cleaner
Pressure Side Automatic Cleaner
The Pressure Side Automatic Cleaner is an especially good choice if your pool is exposed to larger debris such as leaves. This type of cleaner is attached to the water pump to help propel the vacuum and to loosen the debris from the pool surface, so that it can be sucked up in the vacuum. Most pools don’t have a pump powerful enough to run the Pressure Side Automatic Cleaner, so you will need to purchase an additional pump for the cleaner. The cleaner will travel over the surface of your pool in a random pattern.
The Suction Side Automatic Cleaner is attached to the pool’s existing intake and filter equipment. The cleaner moves along the bottom, sides, and even steps, agitating the dirt and then vacuuming it into the existing filter system. It will work for smaller debris and grit but will not be able to handle larger debris such as leaves. While this is the least expensive of the three choices, since it uses the existing equipment, it could result in shortening the life of that equipment.
The Robotic Automatic Cleaner is the most expensive choice; however, it runs independently of your existing pool equipment. The Robotic Pool Cleaner runs with a waterproof electric cord. It has its own filter bag to collect the debris. The Robotic Pool Cleaner works much the same as the household robotic vacuum. The Robotic Pool Cleaner has sensors that change the direction of the robot if it encounters large debris or obstacles.
Robotic Pool Cleaners can also be programmed to the shape of your pool, and many have remote controls, so you can move the robot to an area needing cleaning without having to enter the water. You will have to clean out the collection container on a regular basis, depending on how much dirt your pool is exposed to.
Some things to keep in mind when selecting pool supplies and equipment:
Check with the pool technician to make sure you are purchasing the correct equipment for your size and type of pool. The incorrect equipment may be inefficient to clean your pool. Worse yet, the incorrect equipment can damage or even destroy your pool liner.
Pool vacuums will not take the place of a well-maintained chemical balance for your pool water. Algae growth in your pool cannot be solved with vacuuming, although a clean pool will help keep algae from growing. Keep as much debris from entering your pool as possible.
If there are lots of leaves and plant debris entering your pool, and you are unable to eliminate it, consider adding a leaf net over the surface of the pool when it’s not in use. If you have children who like to move from the lawn to the pool in bare feet, institute a policy of rinsing feet before they enter the water. The more preventative steps you can take to keep your pool clean, the less work you will have, and the more fun you will enjoy in your pool.