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How to Vacuum Your Pool

How to Vacuum Your Pool

A beautiful swimming pool can be a great centerpiece for you, your family, and your friends to enjoy throughout the warmer months of the year. However, swimming pools have a way of collecting debris and harboring all sorts of pathogens that can negatively impact your health. Vacuuming is a great way to help keep your swimming pool clean, crisp, and bacteria-free. Ideally, you are going to want to vacuum your pool at least once a week, but if you your pool gets a lot of use you are going to want to vacuum more often.

When it comes to vacuums, you have the option of using either a manual pool vacuum or one of the three types of automatic pool cleaners (Pressure Side, Suction Side, or Robotic). Each type of pool vacuum will have its own set of strengths and weaknesses, depending on the type of pool you own. It is important to figure out how the qualities of each kind of vacuum will suit your needs.


General Steps to Vacuum Your Pool

  1. Identify your pool type
    1. In-ground,
    2. Above ground
    3. Inflatable
    4. Hot tub/Spa
  2. Select a pool vacuum that is best for you and your pool
    1. Manual vacuums will require more work from you, but will likely do a better job, especially around pool steps and ladders of above ground pools
    2. Automatic pool cleaners will typically not do as good of a job, but they will make the process a whole lot easier for you
  3. Begin to assemble your pool vacuum by following the instructions given in the manual
  4. Vacuum your pool
    1. Manual: Vacuum as you would your carpet
    2. Automatic: Turn on and allow your vacuum to do its job


Manual Pool Vacuums

Manual pool vacuums are going to need to be purchased as separate parts, which are relatively inexpensive compared to the alternatives. These parts include a vacuum head, a telescopic pole, a flexible hose, and a skimmer vacuum plate. Since these parts have to be bought separately, you will need to assemble them before your vacuum will be ready to use. This is easily the most affordable option, but will require the most effort on your part. Some vacuum heads only have the ability to vacuum, some will give you the ability to brush and vacuum at the same time, and some can even be battery-powered.


  1. Make sure you have all of the required parts
    1. Vacuum head, telescopic pole, hose, and a skimmer vacuum plate
  2. Assemble the telescopic pole to the Vacuum head
  3. Connect one end of the hose to the Vacuum head, emerge under water, and hold the other end in front of the water intake (where water enters the pool)
    1. Water will begin flowing into the hose
    2. When the hose is filled with water the vacuum head will sink beneath the surface and should create a suction
    3. If you do not have suction then there is a good chance that air is still in the hose and can do damage if you proceed
  4. Connect the hose to the skimmer through the skimmer vacuum plate
  5. Begin to vacuum your pool


Automatic Pool Cleaners

Automatic pool cleaners do exactly as the name implies, they clean your pool automatically. Other than being set up, these vacuums won't require much interaction on your part. There are three different types of automatic pool vacuums, including, pressure-side, suction-side, and robotic cleaners. All of which have their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses.


Pressure Side Pool Vacuums

Pressure side vacuums, such as the Polaris® Vac Sweep 380, are powered by your pools water pressure and are ideal for swimming pools where medium to large debris accumulates. This type of vacuum works by using the force from your pools water pressure to suck up the debris into a mesh bag. As the vacuum collects debris the water is filtered back out into your pool. A booster pump comes with this model but can be optional depending on the unit you chose. A booster pump increases the performance by sending additional water volume to the vacuum and they are typically recommended.


  1. Take out the skimmer basket and install the universal wall fitting to the skimmer
    1. Turn on the filtration pump and flush out the plumbing line (turn off when finished)
    2. Screw the universal wall fitting into the return opening
    3. Turn the quick disconnect clockwise into the universal wall fitting and pull away
  2. Adjust the feed hose so it will be able to reach the furthest point of your pool
  3. Assemble your vacuum
    1. Attach the feed hose connector to the feed pipe
    2. Wrap the filter bag around the hose and use the Velcro strips to secure it
    3. Turn on the filtration pump and allow it to prime
  4. Check for proper wheel revolutions per minute (RPM)
    1. RPM should operate between 30 and 36
  5. Turn the unit on and allow your vacuum to clean the debris on its own


Suction Side Pool Vacuum

The suction side vacuums are typically the most affordable option out of all the automatic pool cleaners. This type of vacuum uses your existing pump and filtration system, so the vacuums performance is dependent on the quality of your system. With that being said, you are going to need to tend to your filter on a more frequent basis. Vacuums such as the Zodiac Baracuda G3, are able to quickly pick up small and medium-sized debris. Not only are they quick and more affordable, but they are very easy to maintain as well.


  1. Divert your pool return inlets downward
    1. To adjust: loosen the lock and adjust the eyeball downward
  2. Assemble your vacuum
    1. Finned disc: slide over the footpad (the fins on the disc face upward)
    2. Wheel deflector (only used on some models): slide over the extension pipe and secure between the two lowest pipe ridges
    3. Hose: must be able to reach the furthest point in your pool from your skimmer
  3. Make sure your vacuum is balanced in the water
    1. If the hose is at a 45-degree angle your vacuum is balanced
  4. Remove the air from the hose
    1. Turn the filtration system off and connect the hose to your vacuum
    2. Turn on the filtration system and fill the hose with water by placing it over a return inlet
  5. Attach the hose to either the skimmer or a vacuum line
  6. Begin to vacuum your pool.


Robotic Pool Cleaner

Robotic pool vacuums are usually the most expensive yet they are the most efficient type of automatic pool cleaner. Despite the high cost, robotic systems are very easy to use and will likely save you money in the long run. They are completely automatic and require very little human supervision if any at all. The system drives itself around your pool, effectively collecting debris of all sizes while scrubbing your pool at the same time. Some robotic vacuums can be controlled with a remote and some are controlled by a timer, such as the Aquabot Breeze XLS.


  1. Hold the vacuum in your pool upside down to remove any air bubbles
  2. Connect to a power supply
    1. Turn the power supply on
    2. Set the timer
  3. Drop the cleaner into your pool and let it do its job
  4. Clean out your vacuum's filters upon completion

Greg The Pool Guy How-to Guides