How Not To Swim With Alligators
February 18, 2018 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Seeking recommendations for pool bots that can handle abundant quantities of leaves and pollen without dying in a month.

I get a ton of leaves and pollen (which yes, is pollen, not yellow algae) in my pool. I have done research here and elsewhere but the answer "there's just not much you can do, pay a ton of money to have people come and do it for you" isn't helpful. (This is what a lot of people tell me with a shrug - even the guys at the local pool place, who when I asked point blank what equipment their pool cleaner people use, turned red and stared at the floor. I suppose they are not allowed to tell.) Well, since I'm not of the mind to let my pool turn into a chlorinated lake for frogs and cottonmouths, I'm here seeking your recommendations on pool bots that are capable of pulling out large quantities of leaves and pollen without immediately choking, or giving up the ghost with sad little sputters. I know they're out there. I just would rather avoid buying stuff that won't work. I've tried plenty of that already, including the bag and hose attachment device that squirts the leaves into the bag. It's great for about 75% of the leaves until it gets to the pollen and shoots it up into the water in billowing clouds, successfully obscuring the other 25% of the leaves. Also, using it is physically tedious. I've tried the powders you drop into the water to stick to pollen and get it caught in the cartridge. That looked like it was working... until (most) of the pollen settled serenely to the bottom again. The vacuum with the hose you attach to the system is also only partly effective, as again, it drives the pollen up into the water and obscures visibility. It is also weak. (The pump is adequate but not super-powerful, and it's pumping a 1200 gallon pool with a six-foot deep end. I believe the pump is 1.5 Hp.) It's maddening to pass the vacuum over and over one leaf and it doesn't pick it up.

The leaves come from the neighbor's trees. I have talked to them. They don't want to trim. I can't do it as the trees and branches are not overhanging my lot - the wind helpfully blows the leaves (from some kind of oak tree) right into the water. There is no screen nor can I put one up. This past summer we tried out a pool bot.
(I'm sorry, I don't remember which one it was as a lot happened around that time, but I'd remember the name if I heard it.) It was around the $400 range. It arrived with a cracked cable. We tried it out anyway and it actually worked quite well, but then the crack got worse, meaning that would soon be $400 down the drain, also not safe, also a replacement was likely to crack in the same place (design flaw) so we sent it back. The pool was very clean. Without this bot the leaves blew merrily back in and soon the same mess as before reigned supreme. Then winter came and the problem got put on hold for a while.

I am here seeking pool bot recommendations, but I also want to know every other method people use to keep their pools really clean, not just half like I've been doing it. This is because I want a full picture of what can be done, even though I already know I want a bot. It might be I'll have to combine suggestions.

posted by Armed Only With Hubris to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Is a pool cover an option? There are different levels of ease of opening/closing, and how they store, and I don't know the pricing, but the best way to get the stuff out is to keep it out to begin with.
posted by brainmouse at 4:18 PM on February 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

We’ve tried a couple of different electric robots. They’re ok for keeping a clean pool clean, but get overwhelmed at the beginning of the season.

A solar cover works pretty well for keeping leaves and pollen out of the pool when you’ve got it clean, and it also saves a bit on heating bills.

Putting a leaf trap at the end of your vacuum hose makes vacuuming more efficient, and keeps most of the crud from the filter and pump. You might have to empty it a couple of times during a vacuuming session.

Your vacuum head shouldn’t be stirring up pollen from the bottom. I find moving it in a slow meditative back and forth on the bottom works well, and is relaxing.
posted by monotreme at 5:42 PM on February 18, 2018

For the leaves, you want a PoolSkim. It is a plastic device that attaches to your return, and generates a sort of a vortex effect that sends large debris into a collection bag without affecting suction. It works amazingly well. It won't help much with the pollen, but it will capture the big debris before they get into the skimmer, which means the filter can capture the pollen and other small dust as designed. It is amazing, and worth every penny.

In addition to the PoolSkim, I also use one of those Hayward Aquabug "robots" -- they're powered only by water pressure, and they work OK. I have only owned it for one season and parts of it have already broken. I'm not very optimistic about pool robot technology. Everything seems wildly overpriced, poorly designed, and disposable.
posted by tybstar at 7:18 AM on February 19, 2018

« Older New Orleans breakfast/brunch convenient to I-10   |   What cables connect a laptop to a video projector? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.