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How to Prevent Your Pool Cleaner from Getting Stuck

The Polaris Vac Sweep 280

The Polaris Vac Sweep 280

Cleaning your swimming pool is a never-ending task that has to be done on a regular basis.  The cleaner works by suction just like a regular vacuum cleaner, but instead of sucking in air, it sucks in water.  A strainer catches all the debris and the water is recirculated.  Now and then, the suction will become too strong and the cleaner will get stuck to the bottom of your swimming pool.

How can you keep that from happening?  Read on.

If you’re using an Automatic Pool Cleaner

The 2 Steps:

Pool cleaners can be very challenging.  Often you won’t know there’s a problem until you come back to the pool after it has been running for several hours by itself, only to discover the pool hasn’t been cleaned at all because the cleaner is stuck in one place.  You don’t have any direct control over the cleaner head during its operation, so you’ll have to find some other solution:

  1. We recommend that you start out by searching on Google if there are other people with the same pool cleaner model that had the same problem. It’s not unlikely that you’ll stumble upon YouTube videos where they show how they fixed their problem or forum discussions where you can find a fix by reading comments
  1. If method 1 did not work, you can keep reading this article or ask the manufacturer for advice.
If you try a lot of these steps, and it still gets stuck, it may be time to get a new one? We recently compared the top-rated pool cleaners and put our findings into this top 10 list.

Flow Adjustment

In order to prevent the cleaner from getting stuck in the first place, you’ll have to adjust the suction by controlling the water flow through it.  The stronger the water flow, the more likely it is to get stuck in one place.  You need some suction though or the pool won’t get cleaned properly.  The easiest solution is a flow keeper valve.

Here’s an example of what a flowkeeper valve looks like:

Zodiac W60050 Flowkeeper Valve Replacement_amazon

A flowkeeper valve is a valve that regulates the flow of water through the hose going to the cleaner.  It can’t attach directly to the skimmer on the side of the pool so you’ll need an additional, short piece of hose.

The short hose attaches to the skimmer port.  You then attach the flowkeeper valve to it and the longer hose to the other end of the flowkeeper valve.  The other end of the long hose attaches to the cleaner.

The flowkeeper valve has a spring loaded valve that can be set to open and close so it sucks in some water at the valve, thus reducing the amount of water being sucked in through the cleaner.  This reduces the amount of suction at the cleaner head and prevents it from getting stuck.  The flowkeeper valve can be used on a manual cleaner as well, particularly if you’re using a long, telescoping rod.

Main Drain

Above-ground pools don’t have a main drain on the bottom of the pool, but in-ground pools do.  This is another area where automatic cleaners are prone to get stuck.  The main drain has suction pulling water through it and the cleaner has its own suction.  When they come in contact, the combined suction can trap the cleaner.

The easiest, and least expensive, solution to this problem is to turn off the main drain while your Automatic Pool Cleaners is working.  Alternately you can adjust the main drain pressure by locating the controls at the pump.  The main drain should have a lever on the pipe allowing you to close it entirely, or partially close it which will reduce the suction.

The drain will still work whether the cleaner is operating or not, and once you’ve found the correct setting that prevents your cleaner from getting stuck when it goes over it, you can leave it there.  You’ll probably have to experiment with it a little since all pools and pumps are different, but once you’ve found the correct setting, your work is done.

If You’re Using a Manual Pool Cleaner:

If you’re using a manual cleaner you’ve got a great deal of control over the cleaner head, especially if you’re in the water using a short pole.  You can feel when the cleaner is trying to stick to the bottom of the pool and adjust the way you’re holding the pole and positioning the head moment by moment as you move it along.  You can adjust the angle at which the head contacts the bottom of the pool, holding one edge of it just slightly off the bottom to prevent the suction from getting it stuck.

Intex 28620EP Handheld Rechargeable Spa Pool Vacuum_amazon

If you’re standing on the deck using a long pole though, it can get a bit trickier.  Long telescoping poles have a deplorable tendency to bend, bow, and flex uncontrollably when you’re pushing the cleaner or trying to sweep it side-to-side across the pool.  Under those conditions, it is nearly impossible to tilt the head the way you can with a short pole.  If the suction is too strong, pushing the cleaner with a long pole virtually guarantees it will get stuck.  Pulling the cleaner with a long pole isn’t as problematic, but it is still challenging.  You just don’t have the control you have with a short pole.

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