How to Vacuum A Swimming Pool

All new Swimming Pool Owners at one time ask this very question:

How Do you Vacuum a Swimming Pool? Well, I plan on showing just that! 🙂

Vacuuming a pool regularly is  indispensable to prevent build of dirt, debris and algae. Nobody really likes vacuuming – even the house dog hates it and usually starts barking its head off the moment the vacuum cleaner is switched on!

Having your pool vacuumed by a professional can set you back by hundreds of dollars. In this article, I will teach you how to vacuum a swimming pool quickly and easily at a fraction of that amount. The methods discussed here work for both in-ground and above ground pools.

Some of you might be tempted to think that you don’t need to vacuum the pool as you already own a robotic/automatic pool cleaner. While it is true that pool cleaners play a pivotal role in the overall maintenance of your pool, a good old fashioned manual vacuuming is much more effective in certain cases, such as a severe algae infestation.

Depending upon the type and mechanism, some pool cleaners scrub really well but are not that effective in clearing the dirt and debris from the water. So yes, you will definitely need a bit of elbow grease even if you already own a robotic pool cleaner.

First though, let’s talk about the tools that are required to vacuum a pool:

The Required Tools

1) A Pool Vacuum Head:

This is just like the ‘head’ of an ordinary vacuum cleaner. It snaps onto the ends of pool cleaning poles. Just like a light bulb, a vacuum head comes in a universal size – so it can be used with practically any type of pole.

A good vacuum head is weighted so that it does not just float about in the water. Also, pay attention to the surface and shape of your pool. Some heads are safe for only vinyl pools while others are more suited to concrete surfaces, tiles etc. I assume that you get the drift.

2) Vacuum Hose:

These hoses also come in universal sizes. Make sure that the one you’re purchasing is long enough to reach all areas of the pool.

3) Telescoping Pole:

You may already have a couple of these lying around. Nets, skimmers etc can be attached onto telescopic poles. Again, remember that the pole should be long enough to reach the deepest part of the pool.

4) A Skim Vac (also known as vacuum plate):

While this is technically optional, it is highly recommended as it enables the use of the skimmer basket instead of the pump strainer basket. This does away with having to frequently turn the pool pump on and off.

5) A Scrub Brush:

Attaches onto the end of a telescopic pole. Please consider factors such as the surface and shape of your pool.

Once you’re armed with all the necessary tools, it’s time to get to work:

How to Vacuum a Swimming Pool, Step-By-Step

STEP1: Assembly

The vacuum head goes onto the open end of a telescoping pole. The hose too, goes over the opening which is usually at the top of the vacuum head. A hose-clip can be used to ensure a tight seal. You now have to lower the vacuum head (with everything attached) to the bottom of the pool.

Step 2: Removing The Air

Air pockets hinder proper suction and render the vacuum assembly ineffective. With vac head still under water, take the other end of the hose and hold it on front of one of the water jets. As water enters the hose, it will push all the air out of the vacuum head as evidenced by the bubbles coming out of it. You have to hold the hose in front of the jet until there are no more bubbles. This means that there is no air in the assembly and you’re ready to vacuum.

Step 3: Connecting To Pool Pump

Let vac head stay submerged under water. Now, remove the other end of the hose from the water and hold your palm over it (to prevent air from entering). Quickly attach the hose to a skimmer inlet. Dirty water is sucked into the vac head and is pumped via the skimmer basket, which traps all the debris and algae. You can also use a vacuum plate as mentioned earlier.

If you feel that the suction has reduced, clean out all filters and repeat steps 1 to 3 again.

Step4: Scrub and Vacuum Throrughly

Now vacuum the pool floor and walls thoroughly using long and smooth strokes. Pay special attention to areas like steps, corners and all other nooks and crannies. You might have to go over all surfaces several times depending upon how dirty the pool is. Once done, remove everything from the water and sterilize all cleaning equipment, including filters.

Please note that if filters are not sanitized, the algae spores trapped within them will re-enter the pool and begin to bloom.

If you have a small pool or just a bathtub, you can simply use a garden hose to vacuum out small debris. Submerge one end of the hose into the water and use a pump (or even your mouth) to create a syphon. You then have to manually run the submerged end of the hose over the dirty pool surfaces. The pressure will cause debris to be sucked into the hose and it will be released with the water at the other end. Sure, this method is really basic, arduous and you will lose some water via the hose. However, despite having so many limitations, it does work for small pools. It’s not a permanent fix but when you’ll see the dirty water being syphoned off from the pool/tub, you’ll be glad that you knew of this technique.

It Can Be Easier

One great way to keep the pool spotless (so that you don’t have to vacuum it often) is to invest in a pool cleaner.

There are several models out there catering to various needs and budgets but my favorite ones are the automatic pool cleaning robots. Just to plug ‘em in, set cleaning schedule and cycle and you’re basically done! You can even use your smartphone as a remote and guide the bots to the exact spots that need a little bit of extra scrubbing.

As you’ve probably already realized, manual vacuuming is time consuming and labor intensive. An automatic pool cleaner ensures that you spend more time enjoying your pool and less time scrubbing it. Even though the initial cost of ownership may seem a tad high, most premium bots consume less than 5 cents worth of energy per hour and come with 1,2 and even 3 year warranty periods.

If you need a quick recommendation, I’d suggest the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus as it offers great performance and a host of useful features at a reasonable price. It’s also one of the best rated pool cleaners in the world. I think that’s a pretty good start, isn’t it?

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