As you begin to plan for your new swimming pool, you will quickly discover that there are a lot more options than there used to be. Water features like slides, grottos, water jets, and scupper waterfalls all sound like great bonus features. But they are not really necessities. However, there is one “feature” that you need to carefully consider; the cleaning system. An automated in-floor cleaning system is the upgraded choice over the older style “robot” that used to be the standard fare for a new pool. But the financial investment that you make now for the upgrade could save you a significant amount of time and frustration in the future.
At the UNIQUE Companies, we find that about 90% of our customers opt for the in-floor cleaning system. This choice will require the least labor on your part and offers the most reliability for years to come. The alternative is the side suction cleaner that most people refer to as a cleaning robot. Each has pros and cons that you should understand before you decide because it is one that you will need to live with once your pool construction is completed.
What Is In-Floor Cleaning?
An in-floor cleaning system is made up of a series of pop up heads that push the debris in your pool toward the drain. Picture the pop-up sprinkler heads in your yard. Just like your yard sprinklers, these cleaning heads function in groups called zones. Each zone moves the debris closer to the drain, where it is sucked out of the pool and carried to a large basket that is made to capture it.
Advantages Of In-Floor Cleaning Systems
When the in-floor cleaning system is off, the heads retract and are flush with the pool’s surface. So there is no visible object or obstruction when you are enjoying your pool. Many people hate to get tangled up in the hose that connects their “robot” cleaner and prefer the simplicity of the retractable cleaning heads.
Another bonus for the in-floor cleaning system is only noticed during the winter months when you are using your pool heater. The system is perfect for evenly distributing the heater water around the bottom of your pool. This process keeps your pool more comfortable and reduces heating costs because of the increased water circulation.
Disadvantages Of In-Floor Cleaning Systems
The only real drawback to an in-floor cleaning system is the cost. When you build your pool, your initial investment will be higher to cover the cost of the cleaning heads and installation. But over the course of the lifetime of your pool, the cost balances out. The biggest reason for this ROI is that the cleaning heads offer a lifetime warranty. So you will never need to replace them. But many pool owners discover that they are buying a new cleaning “robot’ every few years. And that cost will add up to thousands of dollars over the life of your pool.
Automatic or suction side pool cleaners are the robot looking devices that connect to an inlet on the wall of your pool. The suction from your pool pump is the driving force behind the unit. It cruises around your pool in a somewhat random patterns and sucks up debris.
Advantages Of Automatic Cleaners
Automatic cleaners are relatively simple to use and install. You just plug them into the suction line and turn them loose to roam your pool. The debris that they vacuum up must be removed from an onboard bag, and the entire unit can be removed from the pool when it is not in use. But what makes these cleaners appealing to most pool owners is the low cost compared to an in-floor cleaning system.
Disadvantages of Automatic Cleaners
Intricate pools are a “robot” cleaners nemesis. These units need to be able to roll along the pool surface and remove debris. But when there are steps, Baja shelves, barstools, or benches in the pool, the cleaner is much less effective. It cannot access the various levels for cleaning. So you need to invest more time and effort in brushing these areas of your pool to keep them clean. The other significant disadvantage is that a suction cleaner is only designed to remove large debris. Anything small will float out of the debris bag and return to your pool water. So you will experience more grit and fine debris in a pool that is cleaned by a “robot” compared to a pool with an in-floor cleaning system. And while that might not be an issue most of the year, during Monsoon season, it can have an impact on the clarity and quality of your pool water.
To learn more about swimming pool cleaning options, call 480-969-1911 or click here to schedule a free initial consultation with a UNIQUE design pro. We are happy to discuss each option’s pros and cons and help you decide which best meets your needs and your budget.