Vacuuming Your Pool

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Swimming Pools

Vacuuming Your Swimming Pool Has Never been So Easy!

The backdrop.

My first experience with swimming pool maintenance was during the summer of 1974. This says two things. Firstly, I’m really getting old. I was in college at the time so you can do the math. Secondly, I’ve been around swimming pools a long time. I have seen pool manufacturers and products come and go. More importantly, I have experienced the evolution of pool technology and how ownership has been made easier by reducing non-fun work. 

In 1974, my brother bought a house in New Jersey and when he purchased it, it came with a pool. I was living and working with him there and was tasked with certain responsibilities. The pool was an 18-foot diameter above ground and my job was to keep it vacuumed. First, I’d brush the walls to get any dead algae or debris off the surface. Then came the vacuuming. Step one: slide the vac hose on the vac head and attach to the vac pole. Step two: put the open end of the vac hose up to the return and fill the hose with water. Step three: guide the primed hose underwater to the skimmer. Carefully slide it through the opening, then in one final act, attach the hose to the vacuum skim plate. This had to be done as the plate was placed over the skimmer basket. Lose prime? Repeat steps two and three until successful.

Friends, this wasn’t rocket science. But while I know people that love to vacuum their pool because it provides “me-time,” I was bored. Every time I vacuumed it was an hour of my life I’d never get back.

Let the changes begin.

As always, innovation is derived from need, and often, by accident. In the mid-1950’s, northern California resident Andrew Panini accidentally dropped a running garden hose into his pool. Under the pressure of water running through it, it snaked back and forth, sweeping dirt away. It gave him an idea for a purposeful pool sweep and the auto-cleaner era soon began. There were several early models in the 1960’s as the industry developed. Then in 1974, while I was hand-vacuuming my brother’s pool, history was made. A South African named Ferdinand Chauvier invented the Kreepy Krauly, a suction-side cleaner that revolutionized the industry. It was just like hand vacuuming the pool, except the job was done automatically. Hook up the hose, then go sit in the shade and enjoy a cold beverage while the Kreepy Krauly did the job. And that cleaner still exists today. It also led to a variety of related products from new companies. The increased competition made automatic vacuums affordable for virtually every pool owner. 

At the same time, the Polaris company was developing an innovative automatic cleaner that hooked into the return system. It would stir up fine dust and debris, relying on a main drain or the skimmer to capture it. Larger items like leaves would be trapped in an attached bag. Pretty cool, and most definitely a far step ahead of manual vacuuming.

A continuing evolution.

And now, we are in the age of robotic swimming pool cleaners. The website TechTarget defines a robot as an “…automated machine that can execute specific tasks with little or no human intervention and with speed and precision.” And that is where state-of-the-art pool vacuuming technology is today. Little machines that drive around the pool and clean it, trapping debris, large and small, in a self-contained basket. Many units even ‘learn’ your pool, adjusting cleaning patterns for size and shape. There are even ones that you can ‘drive’ with a hand-held remote.

Eastgate Pools & Spas carries robotic cleaners from Maytronics and Polaris.

Editorial comment: They don’t get any better! Both manufacturers have a variety of models, for both above-ground and in-ground application. One of the big advantages of these cleaners is that they act as a second filter, too. Instead of sucking dirt into the main pool filter, they collect debris and keep it in a basket in the cleaner. This gives longer life to your main filter cycle and less stress on the pump. To further simplify the process, the collection baskets are located on the topside of the cleaner. When full, simply lift the cleaner to the deck, remove the basket, empty, and place it back in the cleaner. Then drop it back in the pool and away it goes again, keeping your pool clean. In-ground units even climb the walls and scrub them so no more hand brushing!

Visiting relatives in North Dakota or on a cruise in the Caribbean? Want to check on your robot to make sure it’s working properly and doing the job while you chill out? Most units come with downloadable mobile apps that allow you to do just that. If you have a wifi connection, you have a link to your pool robot. Verify it is working properly and travel assured that you will come home to a clean pool ready for use.

To “clean things up.”

Years ago, I appeared on a local TV station morning show and discussed technological advances in swimming pools. My contention was to fully enjoy pool ownership, it needs to be as hands-off as possible. The less that must be completed manually, the better. Automatic chlorinators and chlorine generators were good steps. Automatic pool cleaners are even better. Over the life of a pool, auto cleaners will save the homeowner hundreds of hours of monotonous hand cleaning. Don’t get me wrong. If you enjoy hand-vacuuming your pool, keep on keeping on. It’s a wonderful time to meditate and solve world problems, at least in your mind. It’s just my opinion that the same can be accomplished from your pool chaise with none of the physical effort.

Enjoy your pool more with a great automatic pool vacuum from Eastgate Pools & Spas.