A cleaning system is the most important part of any swimming pool. An effective system will not only remove dirt and debris from the pool, but also prevent contamination from ever reaching the basin surfaces.
Automated cleaning systems are the most common type found in modern pools, functioning without human help and requiring little maintenance. In-floor cleaning systems and robot vacuums are two of the most common automated pool cleaning systems available. While they may be marketed as equals, in-floor cleaning systems have a number of unique benefits.
Robotic vacuums are small units which traverse the surfaces of a pool, physically removing contaminants using localized suction and abrasion. These units require the use of a tether, meaning they must have unobstructed access to the poolside at all times. It is possible for the unit to become tangled in this tether, or to separate from the pool’s surfaces, interrupting its operation. If this happens, a person must reset the robot. This means that robotic vacuums are not truly autonomous, as they require human interaction to maintain full functionality.
In-floor cleaning systems are integrated into the pool itself; consisting of a pumping unit and rotating jet heads, these systems use pressurized water streams to remove contaminants from the pool’s many surfaces. This method of operation is an immense benefit, as it allows the in-floor system to function at all times, even when the pool is in use. This translates into peace of mind and less work for the pool owner, as there is no way for the unit to be interrupted.
In addition, in-floor cleaning systems serve a dual purpose, as both a contamination prevention and cleaning system. By preventing the settling of dirt and debris particles on the surfaces of the pool liner, they actively ensure a clean pool. The rotating high-pressure water jets cause the pool water to be in constant motion, meaning a consistent temperature is maintained throughout the pool. No stagnant water also means particles will be removed by the pool’s skimmer system much faster. This synergy with the pool’s basic cleaning system makes in-floor cleaning the most energy-efficient solution available.
Part of this efficiency stems from the in-floor system cleaning every pool surface, regardless of orientation or shape. Steps, ladders, and any other irregular objects will be cleaned by the pressurized jet streams of the in-floor system. By comparison, a robotic vacuum is only able to clean flat surfaces such as the walls and floor of the pool, and will be physically stopped by anything else it encounters. By not cleaning the entirety of the pool, a robotic cleaner will allow contamination to build up in hard to reach areas. With a robotic cleaner, corners and steps have to be manually cleaned.
While the initial investment for an in-floor system is higher than that of a robotic vacuum system (due to its integration as part of the pool), the cost of both systems must be considered over the entire life of the pool. Robotic vacuums have a maximum life of 5 years, so you will find yourself regularly replacing them to ensure optimal performance. Repairing vacuum units can also be difficult because of their complex construction and number of moving parts. Modern in-floor cleaning units are permanent and have been designed to use the smallest number of parts possible, meaning they are easy to maintain and repair. As a result, the total cost of ownership of the in-floor system will be less than that of the robotic vacuum system.
Overall, in-floor cleaning systems provide a number of benefits not offered by robotic vacuum units. As an integrated part of the pool, an in-floor system is much easier to maintain and operate, functioning at all times to ensure contamination never builds up on any pool surface. While the initial investment may be higher, the longer system life and lower maintenance costs make the in-floor system more cost effective over the pool’s life. A pool can be the highlight of any home, and by choosing an in-floor cleaning system, you are protecting this investment - and minimizing the time you’ll spend maintaining it.
When meeting with your pool design consultant, be sure to ask about integrating an in-floor cleaning system. At Presidential, we proudly use the Q360 in-floor cleaning system, engineered by Blue Square Manufacturing, which provides best-in-class pool hardware.