Some of the most commonly used pool cleaning
tools are described in next section. You may have used them one time
or the other to cleanse your pool.
Telescoping pole or telepole is heart of the
cleaning system. Telepoles are made of aluminum or fiberglass. There
are several sizes, from a 4-foot pole that telescopes to 8 feet, all
the way up to a 12-foot pole that telescopes to 24 feet (by pulling
the inner pole out of the outer one). The one you will use most on
pools is 8 feet long, telescoping to 16 feet. The end of the pole
has a handgrip or a rounded tip to prevent your hand from slipping
off the pole. The tip might also include a magnet for picking up
hairpins or nails from the pool bottom. To lock the two poles
together, there is a cam lock or compression nut ring.
When you purchase your first telepole, take it
apart and observe how this cam system works. Sooner or later, scale,
corrosion, or wear and tear will clog or jam the cam. Rather than
buy an entirely new telepole, you can take it apart, clean it up,
replace the cam if necessary, and get on with the job.
The other locking device for telepoles is a
compression nut ring. By twisting the ring at the joint of the two
poles, pressure is applied to the inner pole, locking the two
At the end of the outer pole you will notice
two small holes drilled through each side, about 2 inches from the
end and again about 6 inches higher. The various tools you will use
are designed to fit the diameter of the pole. You attach them to the
pole by sliding the end of the tool into the end of the pole. Small
clips inside the tool have nipples that snap into place in one of
these sets of holes, locking the tool in place. other tools are
designed to slip over the circumference of the pole, but they also
use a clip device to secure the tool to the holes at the end of the
Leaf rakes are used to remove the leaf and
other debris from the pool. Figure 1 shows a professional, deep-net
leaf rake. The net itself is made from stainless steel mesh and the
frame is aluminum with a generous 16-inch wide opening. There are
numerous leaf rakes (deep net) and skimmer nets (shallow net) you
can buy, but only the one pictured will last. The cheap ones are
made from plastic net material and frames. Although the original
price is about twice that of the cheap ones, metal ones last a long
time and resist tearing when you are scooping out huge volumes of
wet leaves after a windy autumn day. They also stand up to rubbing
them along rough plaster surfaces, thanks to a rubber-plastic gasket
that fits around the edge, unlike the plastic rakes that break or
wear down when you apply such pressures.
The leaf rake shank fits into the telepole and
clips in place as described previously. Some leaf rakes are designed
so you can disassemble them and replace the netting, which is fine
if you have the time and patience to do it.
and Floor Brush
Wall brush are used to remove the dirt, stains
and other material sticking on the interior surface. The wall brush
is designed to brush pool and spa interior surfaces. Made of an
aluminum frame with a shank that fits the telepole, the nylon
bristles are built on the brush either straight across or curved
slightly at each end.
The curved unit is useful for getting into
pool corners and tight step areas.
Wall brushes come in various sizes, the most
common for pool use being 18 inches wide. Don't ever use a wire
brush that is not stainless steel in a pool or spa. Steel bristles
can snap off during brushing and leave stains on the plaster when
they rust. Also, if they are a bit rusty already, when you brush the
plaster you will transfer the rust to the plaster, causing a stain.
Head and Hose
Vacuum are used to suck the dirt out of the
pool or spa. There are two ways to vacuum the bottom of a pool or
spa. One sucks dirt from the water and sends it to the filter. The
other uses water pressure from a garden hose to force debris into a
bag that you then remove and clean (leaf vacuum).
The vacuum head and hose are designed to
operate with the pool or spa circulation equipment. The hose is
attached at one end to the bottom of the skimmer opening and at the
other end to the vacuum head. The vacuum head is also attached to
the telepole. With the pump running, you glide the vacuum head over
the underwater surfaces, vacuuming up the dirt directly to the
Vacuum heads are made of flexible plastic,
with plastic wheels that keep the head just above the pool surface.
The flexibility of the head allows it to contour to the curvature of
pool corners and bottoms. Adjustable-height wheels allow you to set
the vacuum head to the best clearance for each pool's conditions.
The closer to the surface, the better the removal of dirt. But if
the suction is too great, it might suck the vacuum head right onto
the surface, rendering it immobile. In this case, adjust the head
Wheels for vacuum heads are made of plastic or
high-tech composite resins. Their bearing systems can be as simple
as a hole in the wheel through which the axle is inserted or wheels
with ball bearings to distribute the load and help the vacuum glide
Some commercial vacuum heads are made several
feet wide and are built of stainless steel. Another type is a
plastic helmet style, with a ridge of bristles instead of wheels.
This vacuum head is used for vinyl pools, fiberglass spas, and when
breaking in new plaster. In each of these cases, standard wheels can
tear or score the surface. The brush vacuum is not only less harsh,
but it brushes dirt loose from the surface being vacuumed for easier
Hoses are available in different models, and
in various lengths (10 to 50 feet). The hose cuff is made 1 1/4- or
1 1/2-inch diameter to be used with similar vacuum head dimensions.
Cuffs are female threaded at the end that attaches to the hose so
you can screw replacement cuffs onto a hose. The best cuffs swivel
on the end of the hose, so when you are vacuuming there is less
tendency for the hose to coil and kink. Another valuable hose
fitting is the connector. It is designed with female threads on both
ends to allow joining of two hose lengths-a useful feature when you
encounter a large or extremely deep pool.
Vacuum and Garden Hose
The Leaf vacuum is used when there are many
leaves or other debris in the pool. Its effectiveness is dependent
on the water pressure form the garden hose. Leafmasters are made in
rigid plastic or aluminum.
The leafmaster is one which is attached to the
telepole and a garden hose, operates by forcing water from the hose
into the unit where it is diverted into dozens of tiny jets that are
directed upward toward a fabric bag on top of the unit. The
upwelling water creates a vacuum at the base of the plastic helmet,
sucking leaves and debris into the unit and up into the bag. Water
passes through the mesh of the bag but the debris is trapped.
Fine dirt passes through the filter bag, but a
fine-mesh bag is sold for these units that will capture more dirt.
When the bag has a few leaves in it, they will also trap much of the
sand and other fine particulate matter that would otherwise pass
The only other drawback to the leafmaster is
if you are in a location where water pressure from the garden hose
is weak. The result is weak jet action and weak suction. The other
result is that as debris fills the bag, the weight of it (especially
wet leaves) tips the bag over, scraping the pool floor, stirring up
debris, or tangling with the hose. The latter problem is easily
solved by putting a tennis ball in the bag before placing it in the
pool. The tennis ball floats, keeping the bag upright.
To remove the leaf vacuum, turn it slightly to
one side and slowly lift it through the water to the surface. If
pulled straight up, some of the debris is forced out of the bag and
back into the pool. So do not turn off the water till the leafmaster
is out of the pool water and on to the deck.
Brush and Tile Soap
Tile brush is used to clean the tile. Tile
brushes are made to snap into your telepole so you can scrub the
tile without too much bending. Mounted to a simple L-shaped,
two-part aluminum tube, the brush itself is about 3-by-5 inches with
a fairly abrasive foam pad for effective scrubbing.
Tile soap is sold in standard preparation at
the supply house. Mix one part of muriatic acid to five parts of
soap. This will help cut the stubborn stains and oils, but it will
also eat into the plastic on the tile brush pads and plastic
barbecue grill brush handle, so keep rinsing them in pool water
after each application and scrubbing. Don't use other types of soap
in place of tile formulations, because they might foam and suds up
when they enter the circulation system.
Cleaning a spa is much like cleaning a pool,
only many of the tools are smaller.The smaller version of the leaf
vacuum is called spa vacuum. It works on the same principle using a
garden hose for water pressure to create suction. The dirt and
debris are forced into a small sock and, like the leaf vacuum bag,
fine dirt passes through the bag.
The spa vacuum attaches to the telepole and is
provided with various attachments, much like a household vacuum
cleaner, for getting into crevices or brushing while you vacuum. The
spa vacuum is also a useful tool for sucking up small hairpins,
nails, coins, or other hard to grab items from the bottom of pools.
Pumic stone are used to remove the scale from
tiles and other deposits or stains from plaster surfaces without
scratching them excessively. The soft pumice stone is made from
volcanic ash and is used for its abrasive action. Pumice stones are
sold as blocks, and as small bladed stones that attach to your
telepole for reaching tight spaces and underwater depths. Since
pumice stones disintegrate, it is advisable to scrub before you
vacuum clean the pool. A good alternative to pumice, which scratches
easily on fiberglass, is a block of styrofoam or similar plastic
Many leaves will stain plaster, but they
bleach out with normal chlorination over a few days. Some stains
simply cannot be removed, such as when rebar or a rebar tie has
started to corrode from beneath the pool floor.
The acid spotter is a useful tool, which
allows you to deliver full-strength acid to a stain at the bottom of
a body of water. The disc portion attaches to the telepole for
placement over a stained area. A small plastic hose runs from the
disc to a bottle of muriatic acid on the deck. You start a siphon
and drain acid into the disc, where it is kept in direct contact
with the stain. It is time-consuming and not always necessary.
Test kits and Thermometers are important part
of cleaning and maintenance. Using your test kit, perform the
necessary test to make chemical adjustments in the water. Pool and
Spa owners must still conduct home tests of their pool or spa water
at least once a week.
A thermometer is needed to check heater
performance, spa temperatures, and other questions or concern about
pool or spa water.
Different designs of automatic pool cleaner
available today. Basically there are two categories of automatic
pool cleaner in common use today and three other technologies which
might be in use.
The electric robot type are the automatic pool
cleaner, are expensive and most often found on large commercial
pools. It is more like a battery-powered vacuum cleaner with a bag
that catches debris as the unit patrols the pool bottom.
Water Pressure Designs
Some automatic cleaners work like your leaf
vacuum, by sending a pressurized stream of water up into a catch
bag, creating a vacuum for the unit as it patrols the bottom. The
pressure is created by taking return water and boosting the pressure
with a separate pump and motor. This is the boostered type of
But in the Boosterless water pressure design
there is a small variation in the unit that uses the circulation
pump itself as the booster, by connecting to the return line after
the pump but before the filter. This style is called boosterless
because it uses no separate water pressure boosting device. These
units require an automated valve and control system so that the
heater doesn't try to operate while the cleaning unit is in
operation. This is the drawback of the system. If the cleaner and
heater are on simultaneously, the cleaner receives the return water
before the heater, thus starving the heater. Low water circulation
in the heater will cause it to shut off or overheat. Boosterless
cleaners are not popular units because you can't filter and heat the
water at the same time you vacuum debris, and also additional
expensive plumbing and controls are needed.
The bottom of the pool is fitted with a series
of jets. These jets would push the dirt from the shallow end to the
deep end, each jet sweeping the dirt toward the deepest part of the
pool where the main drain would suck it into the filter system. The
jets are connected to a diverter at the circulation equipment area.
As the water leaves the heater destined for the pool, it passes
through the diverter which sends it to the floor jets on the shallow
end first, then the deeper jets, and so on. In this type of system
it is presumed that the dirt will come loose from the floor by these
jets and not stick to the floor, and also the dirt will be only of
the finer type that will not clog the main drains. Last, it assumed
that these jets, would equally cover all areas of the bottom.
Obviously, the jet sweeping action is greatest near the source, then
gets progressively weaker as the jetstream moves outward, resulting
in uneven cleaning. Some times the water pressure may not be strong
enough to power such a system.
This design creates stress on the entire
plumbing and equipment system. When the diverter switches flow from
one set of jets to the next, the whole circulation gets restricted
or closed creating backpressure and stress on the entire system,
since this happens three to four times a minute.
As described earlier, booster pump systems
take water after the filter and heater, which is already on its way
back to the pool, pressurizing it by a separate pump and motor, then
sending this high-pressure water stream through flexible hoses into
a cleaner that patrols the pool bottom.
The Booster pump systems are of two styles
first is called a vacuum head type which has its own catch bag for
collecting debris, much like a vacuum cleaner. The other type is
sweep head type that floats on top of the water with long flexible
arms that swirl along the walls and bottom, stirring up the debris.
A special basket is fitted over the main drain so that the
stirred-up debris is caught in either the main drain or the skimmer
and any fine dirt is filtered out normally. Let us review the
details of each type.
Vacuum head type
Polaris Vac Sweep is the best example of this
type. As with other pool and spa equipment, if you understand the
leading manufacturer's equipment, you will easily comprehend the
operating concepts of the others.
The vacuum unit is with a catch bag and
pressurized water from the booster pump enters the unit through the
stalk and some is immediately jetted out the tail. This water
pressure causes the tail to sweep back and forth behind the unit to
brush loose any fine dirt on the bottom that is then filtered out by
the pool circulation system. The remainder of the water powers a
turbine that has a horizontal shaft with gear teeth to engage
comparable gear teeth on the inside of the single left-side wheel
and the front right-side wheel. A small right-side drive wheel
transfers power to the trailing right-side wheel as the unit moves
forward. Some jetted water is diverted to the thrust jet which can
be adjusted up or down to help keep the unit from moving nose-up.
The head float also serves this function and keeps the unit upright.
Installation Vac Sweeps are available as
preplumbed units, where the supply pipe from the equipment to the
pool area is plumbed into the original pool plumbing. They are also
available as over-deck models, which requires a garden hose be run
from the equipment area over the deck to the pool's edge. The
booster pump and vacuum unit are identical, only the plumbing
between the two are different with these two models. A complete
installation guide is provided with the unit when purchased.
Operation Here are few guidelines that will
help you keep the vacuum head automatic cleaner cleaning the pool
efficiently. Always operate the booster pump with the circulation
pump working too. The booster is not self-priming, but relies on the
system circulation pump to provide water. If it runs dry, the
plastic pump will overheat and may burn out the seal.
Be careful to set the booster time clock to
come on at least one hour after the circulation pump and to go off
at least one hour before the circulation pump does for, more than
that and you are just wearing out components. This allows for slight
time differences between the clocks. The vacuum head will cover as
much of the pool as it's going to cover in about three hours.
Then install the catch bag to capture fine
dirt and sand. Empty the catch bag as needed. Make sure the openings
on the bottom and through the center of the unit are not clogged
with large leaves so there is always a clear path for the debris to
get into the bag.
Repairs Perhaps the simplest way to explain
the few repairs needed by these cleaners is to list the symptoms of
the problems you might encounter.
- If water is not flowing out one or more of
the jets in the vacuum unit, it may be because the jets inside
the unit are small and grains of sand can clog them. To catch
these particles that get through the filter, install a fine-mesh
strainer at the point where the plumbing connects to the feeder
hose. Sometimes dirt or sand can, however, be picked up by the
unit and clog any of the internal jets. If this happens, there
is probably sand or dirt in other parts of the unit as well.
Disassemble the unit carefully note how the unit comes apart so
that you will know exactly how to put it back and clean each
part thoroughly. Use a thin wire to clear out the jets. Follow
the path of the water and simply clean it all out.
- If vacuum head does not pick up debris, the
water pressure supplied to the vacuum might be too powerful for
normal operation. This happens when the return pressure is very
strong. Special pressure reducing washers can be added at the
vacuum hose connection. These washers are smaller in diameter
than the plumbing so they restrict the amount of water that
flows to the vacuum head.
- If wheels are not turning, it is because
over the period of time the metal drive gear wears out the
plastic drive gear inside the wheels. Check to make sure the
gears are meshing and that there are enough teeth on the inside
of each wheel. If they do not engage properly, replace them. If
the wheels are sloppy, they will also fail to properly engage
with the drive gear. Replace the wheel bearings, which simply
pop in place like a pump seal. Sometimes the wheels are not
turning because the vacuum unit is not performing well then the
booster pump is not getting enough water because of restrictions
in the main circulation system. Clean the filter and circulation
system and you will usually find that the automatic pool cleaner
- If vacuum unit falls over, remove the head
float by pulling it off of the stalk, taking care not to break
the stalk. If it is full of water, it is not floating the unit
upright, replace it.
- The screws that secure the wheels are made
of plastic. Over tightening will snap them, breaking the screw.
If this happens, replace the screw.
- The tail assembly will be the first thing
to wear out because it is constantly sweeping the pool bottom
and sides. Water will squirt out of parts of the hose where it
shouldn't, making the tail swing wildly. To help prevent this,
the tail is fitted with rubber rings that absorb the wear, so as
you see these rings wearing down, replace them before the tail
- Wheels seize up. Sometimes the drive wheel
gets hung up and actually prevents the wheels from turning.
Since the tension for the drive wheel is spring loaded, the
tension will either be too much or too little, as the spring
wears out. Remove this drive wheel completely from the units.
The turbine powers the front wheel on the right side and the
single wheel on the left side with the rear right-side wheel
just trailing behind. The unit works fine and the wheels never
seize up. Try it.
- Unit gets caught in ladder, corner, or
steps. The irregular-shaped pools that are popular today are the
automatic pool cleaner's nightmare. if all adjustments and hose
lengths are correct but you still have problems, a backup valve
is the answer. This valve shuts off the water supply to the
vacuum unit about every five minutes, shooting the water out of
the valve to act as a jet to pull the unit backwards. Read the
directions that come with the backup valve for installation and
servicing instructions. They work very well.
- If unit runs too fast, just skipping over
the dirt, simply follow the simple instructions provided and
test the pressure at poolside to determine if pressure-reducing
washers are needed. On some pool systems the return water
pressure is very strong, and the vacuum head pressure is too
great for normal operation. If so, this simple reduction
technique employs a washer with a smaller diameter than the
plumbing, thus restricting the amount of water that can flow to
the vacuum head.
This pressure tester is a valuable tool to use
when you suspect inadequate pressure might be the cause of sluggish
operation. Pressure values and test techniques are explained in the
installation booklet or test kit instructions.
Sweep head type
The Sweep head type is a booster pump that
floats on the water and has long ,flexible, swirling arms that stir
up the debris found along the pool walls and bottom. Arneson is the
best example of this type. The main drain uses suction to pull the
agitated debris into its basket which is removed and emptied when
full, the finer dirt getting caught in the filter.
If you service a pool with one of these units,
they are not hard to maintain or figure out. Installation,
operation, and troubleshooting guidelines are very much as described
Suction-side automatic pool cleaners uses the
suction from the pool's skimmer. In this design, a standard vacuum
hose of 1-1/2 inch diameter is connected between the skimmer suction
opening at one end and a vacuum head that patrols the pool bottom at
the other end.
As the vacuum patrols the pool it collects
leaves and other debris and sends it to the pump strainer pot. When
the pot fills with obstructions, suction is dramatically reduced,
causing the cleaner to become inefficient. To prevent this keep the
strainer pot clean or add a leaf collecting canister to the vacuum
hose. A simple in line canister is easier than the pump strainer pot
and can be purchased at a pool supply store. Troubleshooting will
usually find leaves and debris clogged somewhere in the system or
the inability of the circulation pump to generate enough suction to
make the vacuum effective.
There are a few basic procedures that are
efficient and save time which any one can follow. Determining the
surface composition before starting the cleanup procedure.
and Cover Cleaning
Remove as much debris as possible from the
pool or spa deck and cover before removing it. A quick sweep or
hosing can remove the debris near the pool. If the cover is a
floating type without a roller system, be sure to fold or place it
on a clean surface. Otherwise, when you put it back in place it will
drag leaves, grass, or dirt into the pool. If it is a mechanized
cover system, any small amount of standing water on top of the cover
will slide off as you roll it up. If there is greater amount of
water motor will be laboring, so you will need to use the water
removal pump. Also be careful to avoid abrasive or sharp surfaces as
you drag the cover off of the pool.
Dirt floating on the surface of the water is
easier to remove than to remove it from the bottom. Remove floating
debris off the surface, using a leaf rake and telepole. As the net
fills, empty it into a trash can or plastic garbage bag. Do not
empty your skimming debris into the garden or on the lawn for the
debris is likely to blow right back into the pool as soon as it
There is no particular method to skim, but as
you do, scrape the tile line, which acts as a magnet for small bits
of leaves and dirt. The rubber-plastic edge gasket on the
professional leaf rake will prevent scratching the tile.
If there is scum or general dirt on the water
surface, squirt a quick shot of tile soap over the length of the
pool. The soap will spread the scum toward the edges of the pool,
making it more concentrated and easier to skim off.
Always do the tiles first. Dirt falls from the
tiles as they are being cleaned and settles to the bottom of the
pool. If you need to remove stubborn stains with a pumice stone, the
pumice itself breaks down as you scrub, depositing debris on the
Use the tile soap and tile brush to clean the
tiles. Apply a squirt of tile soap directly to the brush and start
scrubbing. To remove stubborn stains and oils, mix one part muriatic
acid to five parts of soap. When cleaning tile, scrub below the
waterline as well as above. Evaporation and refilling can change the
water line. Never use really abrasive brushes or scouring pads to
clean tiles they may cause scratches.
If you add an inch or so of water to the pool
each time you service it, you will probably keep up with normal
evaporation. If you wait a few weeks until the level is several
inches low, it will take hours to fill. Never leave the water on to
fill by itself for it may take longer and most likely you may forget
to turn it off.
After rains you might need to lower the pool
level. In this case, use your submersible pump and a backwash hose
or spare vacuum hose for the discharge. Alternatively, you can run
the pool circulation system and turn the valves to waste. If you use
this method, remember to return the valves to normal circulation.
Checking your equipment and maintaining your
support system is best way to solve the small corrective problems.
Start by circulation system by following the
path of the water. Clean out the pool's skimmer basket and Emptying
the contents of the skimmer basket into your trash can or garbage
Next, open the pump strainer basket and clean
it. Check the pressure of the filter. There is no point in checking
it before cleaning out the skimmer and strainer baskets, because if
they are full the filter pressure will be low and will come back up
after cleaning the baskets. If the pressure is high, the filter
might need cleaning.
Now check the heater for leaves or debris.
Turn the heater on and off a few times to make sure it is operating
properly. While the heater is running, turn the pump off. The heater
should shut off by itself when the pressure from the pump drops.
This is an important safety check.
Now check the time clock for the time of the
day ; setting for the daily filter runs; setting for the cleaner's
clock. Always check the clocks because trippers come loose and power
fluctuations or some service work on household items unrelated to
the pool can also affect the clocks. Also, electromechanical time
clocks are not exactly precision instruments. One might run slightly
faster than another, so over a few weeks one might show a difference
of an hour or more, upsetting your planned timing schedule.
After the equipment check, look for leaks or
other early signs of equipment failure. Clean up the equipment area
by removing leaves from around the motor vents and heater to prevent
fires, and clear deck drains of debris that could prevent water from
draining away from the equipment during rain.
If the pool is not dirty, simply brush the
walls and bottom, skipping the vacuuming completely. If the pool or
spa is dirty, however, you have two ways to clean it: vacuuming to
the filter or vacuuming with the leafmaster.
Vacuum to filter
Dirt collected from the pool or spa is sent to
the filter of the circulation system. This is Vacuuming to filter.
- Run the circulation system correctly and
that all suction is concentrated at the skimmer port. Use your
skimmer diverter for this process if dealing with a single port
skimmer. If the system includes valves for diversion of suction
between the main drain and the skimmer, close the main drain
valve completely and turn the open skimmer valve completely . If
there are two skimmers in the pool, close off one by covering
the skimmer suction port with a tennis ball, there by increasing
the suction in the other one. On large pools, you might have to
vacuum each half separately.
- Attach your vacuum head to the telepole and
attach the vacuum hose to the vacuum head. Slowly feed the hose
straight down into the pool; water will fill the hose and
displace the air. When you have fed all the hose into the pool,
there is water at the other end.
- To avoid draining the water from the hose
keep it at water level, slide the hose through the skimmer
opening and into the skimmer. Attach the hose to the diverter (
with two-port skimmers, insert the hose cuff into the skimmer's
suction port). The hose and vacuum head now have suction. The
suction port might be in the side of the pool below the skimmer
in older pools. In this case you might need to put tennis ball
over the skimmer suction port to increase the suction at the
wall port. Make sure the hose does not contain a significant
amount of air for if air reaches the pump, you will lose prime.
If this occurs, remove the vacuum hose, re-prime the pump, then
- To Vacuum a pool or spa, work your way
around the bottom and sides of the pool. If the pool is dirty,
vacuum slowly to pick all the dirt, for moving the vacuum head
too quickly, will stir up the dirt rather than suck it into the
vacuum. If the suction is strong it sucks the vacuum head to the
pool surfaces, then you need to adjust the skimmer diverter or
valves to reduce the flow. You might also need to lower the
wheels on the vacuum head, raising the vacuum head itself. If
the suction is weak, you might want to lower the vacuum head or
you might need to move the head more slowly around the pool to
vacuum it thoroughly.
If the pool is very dirty, strainer basket or filter may be
filled. When suction becomes weak, stop vacuuming and empty the
strainer basket or clean the filter.
If the pool contains both fine dirt and leaves, the leaves will
clog the strainer basket. You can use a leaf canister, which is
an inline strainer that collects the leaves and allows fine dirt
to pass on to the filter.
If the spa operates on the same circulation system, as the
swimming pool, simply lift the vacuum out of the pool and
immediately place it into the spa. Do this quickly because while
the vacuum is out of the water, air enters the hose, causing it
temporarily to lose suction. There should be enough water in the
line for it to re-prime itself.
- When you are finished, remove the vacuum
head from the water. The suction will rapidly pull the water
from the hose so it is advisable to pull the vacuum head from
the pool and the suction end of the hose from the skimmer
simultaneously, remove the hose from the water, and drain it on
- After removing the equipment from the pool,
check the pump strainer basket and filter for any debris. Clean
if needed. Replace the skimmer basket.
Vacuum to leafmaster
Leafmaster is used instead of the vacuum if
the pool is littered with leaves or heavy debris, then allowing the
fine dirt to settle and vacuuming to the filter.
- A garden hose is attached to a water supply
and then to the leafmaster. Clip the leafmaster onto the
- Place the leafmaster in the pool. Turn on
the water supply and vacuum, covering the pool floor and walls.
Because the leafmaster is large, you can move it quickly and
vacuum the pool, taking care not to stir up the debris either by
the non floating type of hose or by moving the leafmaster too
fast. Emptying the bag periodically may be needed if there is
too much of dirt in the pool.
- Lift and remove the leafmaster slowly by
turning it slightly to one side from the water to the surface
for pulling it straight up will force the debris back into the
pool. Do not turn the water supply off before removing the
leafmaster from the pool, the loss of vacuum action can dump the
collected debris back into the pool. When the leafmaster is on
the deck, turn off the water supply and clean out the collection
Brushing removes algae from surfaces of pools
or spas. If they are not very dirty, you can skip vacuuming but
brush the walls and bottom of the pool, starting from the shallow to
the deep end. Directing the dirt toward the main drain so it is
sucked to the filter.
SPA AND WATER FEATURE CLEANING
The steps outlined for pool cleaning will work
just as well for spas and water features. Here are a few special
tips about what you might encounter that is unique to these bodies
- Many spas are made of fiberglass, so take
care when vacuuming to avoid scratching the surfaces.
- Vacuum the corners of water features and
small spas with the spa vacuum described earlier.
- Evaluate the spa or water feature when you
arrive, before you invest a great deal of time in cleaning. Test
the chemistry first, so you can determine if you are better
advised to drain the unit rather than clean and treat it. If the
water or surfaces are very dirty, if the water is extremely hard
or cloudy, if the dirt is in among rocks and gravel where it
might be very hard to reach, pump out the water and clean the
unit that way.
- If you do drain a spa or water feature, be
sure the equipment is turned off at the breaker so the time
clock won't turn it on before you are ready. You might need to
set up your submersible pump and go to another job while the
unit is draining. Your submersible has a small hole in the
bottom to re-circulate the last inch of water to avoid burning
out it's seal, so you can let it run without worrying that it
will run dry.
- Before you clean the spa or water feature,
clean the filter and run some fresh water (from the garden hose)
through the circulation system to purge any dirty water from the
lines. Nothing is worse than draining, cleaning, and refilling a
spa only to turn the circulation back on and watch dirty water
contaminate your work.
- Be extra careful with chemical testing and
application. Most spas and water features contain a tiny
fraction of the volume of water in a pool, so they can't absorb
a mistake the way a pool might. It is better to add chemicals
more slowly and in less quantity than you think necessary. You
can always add more, but it is a real problem to remove any
Testing and Application
Follow the general testing guidelines needed,
testing for chlorine residual, pH, total alkalinity, and acid (or
base) demand, calcium hardness or total hardness and total dissolved
solids should be conducted one a month.
Apply the chemicals as described in Water
Chemistry. Be careful with chemical bottles on pool decks for
they may leave stains.