Swimming Pool Guides & Reviews by Certified Pool & Spa Operator®
How to Manually Vacuum a Swimming Pool
Swimming Pool Vacuum
You probably assume that an automatic pool cleaner eliminates the need to have to manually vacuum an inground or above-ground swimming pool. Now it is true that the small robot device can clean some of the pool, but it has a tougher time cleaning large amounts of debris. If debris is everywhere in your pool water, the automatic pool cleaner cannot vacuum it up properly. The debris just gets tossed back into the water. It is even worse when the pool water has a green misty color which is the result of algae.
In either of these situations, the only solution is to manually vacuum the debris from the pool water.
What is Required to Manually Vacuum a Swimming Pool?
Pools do not stay clean by themselves. They require humans to actually make an effort to clean them. But you need to have the right cleaning items first. Here is a rundown of what you need:
• A vac head, otherwise known as a vacuum head. This gets attached to another item called a telescopic pole. Once they’re attached, you attach a scrub brush to the pole.
• A long vacuum hose that can extend to any area of the swimming pool.
• You may need a vacuum plate or skim vacuum.
If you have children, let them learn how to clean the pool. Then it takes the pressure off your shoulders.
If you don’t have anyone else to help you vacuum your pool, then a pool filter will come in quite handy. It will make the job of vacuuming much easier.
When you clean your pool each week and perform regular maintenance on it, the setting on your pool filter may not require any adjustment. Just keep the setting on standard, and it should work fine.
However, if your pool water has a lot of debris, such as twigs and leaves, then the standard setting on your filter may not be enough. Any time a storm strikes, you can expect the massive amounts of debris to sink to the bottom of the water. The only way to remove the debris is with a vacuum. You’ll also need to make some adjustments to the filter. This will assist the vacuum in its job.
Your filter system should have at least a few different settings for managing the pool’s filtration. It all depends on the style and size of your swimming pool.
Multi-port filters have numerous options available. Some even have settings to accommodate vacuuming, such as “Waste.” When you have this setting activated, water is pumped out of the pool. Meanwhile, the filter is bypassed.
When you choose the “waste” setting, the filter does not get clogged with flocculant, debris, dead bugs, and algae. However, the water level in the pool will decrease as the vacuum is running. Therefore, take a garden hose and make sure it has a hose filter attached to it. Use the hose to add fresh water to the pool as it is being vacuumed. Also, make sure the skimmer inlet doesn’t have air going in.
2-Position Valve Filters
2-Position valve filters are sometimes referred to as push-pull valve filters. They are best to use in smaller swimming pools. There is no “waste” setting with this filtration system. You can only choose “filter” was the setting. Once it is activated, the vacuumed water gets pulled into the filter and cleaned of its contaminants. Afterward, the filtered water flows back into the main pool water.
If you do routine pool cleaning, this is a great setting to use. Just be sure the filter is backwashed as you vacuum your pool and after you vacuum it.
Suction Pool Vacuum Assembly
1. Check to see if the filter and pump are activated.
2. The vacuum head attaches to the telescopic pole’s open-end area.
3. Attach the hose and vacuum head together. A hose clamp might be needed if this end of the hose is feeling slippery.
4. Put the hose, vacuum head, and telescopic pole in the swimming pool. The vacuum head should go on the floor of the pool.
5. Take the vacuum hose and put the other end of it on a return jet in the swimming pool. Water will get pushed through the hose, which will push out the air inside.
Make sure the pump only has an open line from the vacuum inlet and nowhere else. Otherwise, the pump will suck debris and particles inside of it. Then your work will be for nothing.
While the vacuum head is on the pool’s floor, bubbles may come up from it. This is air getting pushed out. If you don’t see bubbles anymore, then the hose has no more air in it.
6. Remove the end of the hose from the return jet. The vacuum plate now gets attached to this end. Use your hand to block the opening, then put it above the skimmer. Maintain a strong seal so that the suction remains.
7. If there is no vacuum plate used here, take out the basket from the skimmer. Place your hand on the end of the hose which has water in it. Put the hose firmly in the suction hole, which is on the bottom area of the skimmer.
No matter which technique you select, suction gets created which sucks debris through the vacuum head and hose. It then travels to the skimmer and finally to the filter system where it gets filtered. If the suction is ever lost in the vacuum, you need to do these steps over again to get it back.
Vacuuming the Pool
Manually vacuuming your swimming pool takes a lot of work and time. Make sure you clear your schedule when you’re ready to do this.
The shallow end is where you will begin, and then you gradually move to the deeper end. Your strokes should be slow and long as you’re sweeping them in the water. You should overlap your strokes a little bit to ensure that you get all the debris.
Slow is important when cleaning a pool with your hands. Don’t try to do this quickly because it is not a race for time. If you go too quickly in your cleaning, debris will get pushed to the surface and take hours to go back down again. As a result, you’ll be forced to vacuum all over again.
If there’s an abundance of debris, it may be tough to avoid kicking it back up in the water. Just try to be as careful as you can so that you don’t accidentally make it worse. If you notice a lot of cloudiness in the water, you’ll need to wait a few hours for it to go away. Once it does, you can vacuum all over again and repeat the process.
If the vacuum head is ever stuck, just deactivate the pump for a couple of seconds to stop the force of the vacuum. Turn it back on and start again. Check the pressure gauge of the pool filter while vacuuming. If you see the pressure getting higher than the manufacturer’s recommended level, stop and just backwash the filter.
After the pool is cleaned, take off the vacuum head so that it is no longer on the telescoping pole. The vacuum hose must be drained of its water. Take the cleaning brush and attach it to the telescoping pole. Scrub the sides of your pool to remove debris, algae, and dirt from there.
Check the pump strainer basket for debris and clear it out. Backwash the filter one more time, especially if you had a filter setting on a multiport system. If there was a waste setting used, the valve must be switched to the filter setting again. Continue to add more fresh water to the swimming pool to restore its water level.
Now the pool water needs to be tested for the levels of chlorine, alkalinity, and pH. Adjust these levels where necessary.
Use fresh water to rinse your pool equipment off. Then dry off the equipment and put it back in storage. Ensure it is dry so that corrosion and further wear doesn’t occur.
As you can see, the vacuum head is not so bad. You just need to prepare for the cleaning job and then go after the debris and algae invaders.
Alternatives to Pool Vacuuming by Hand
Everyone is different. Some people don’t mind manually vacuuming their pools by hand while others consider it work. Fortunately, there is so much pool vacuuming technology available that you don’t need to do it manually if you don’t want to. Let a robot do it for you automatically.
Here are the three types of automatic pool vacuums:
1) Robotic Pool Cleaners
Robotic pool cleaners are independent and are powered by electricity. This means you plug in the cleaners, put them in the pool water, and just watch as they clean everything for you. Your only real job is to empty the filter bag that is built into the cleaner after it gets filled with debris. Robotic pool cleaners are the best when it comes to automatic pool cleaning. Even though you need to pay more money for them, it is worth it if you hate cleaning pools yourself.
2) Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners
Pressure-side pool cleaners connect to the return line. The filter system supplies the water pressure which energizes a self-contained automatic cleaner. It travels on the pool’s floor and sucks up debris. The debris is stored in the filter bag of the device.
3) Suction-Side Pool Cleaners
Suction-side pool cleaners are like manually vacuuming your pool with automation. They are hooked up just like a manual vacuum. However, suction-side pool cleaners are different because they travel automatically on the pool’s floor. You don’t need to stand by the pool in the heat for hours doing this work.
Therefore, the best investment to make is with either a robotic cleaner or a pressure-side cleaner.