Do in-floor cleaning systems on swimming pools work?
August 19, 2022
Another common question I get: “Mike, do in-floor cleaning systems on swimming pools work?”
My answer is, “as long as you don’t have any dirt or leaves in your pool they are great!”
If you don’t know what an in-floor system is you’re lucky- it means you don’t have one!
By definition (and in theory), “in an in-floor cleaning system, pop-up heads emerge from the bottom of the pool floor to spray jets of water that propel debris to the drain. The pop-up heads in an in-floor system work in quadrants to be faster and more efficient. A quadrant typically consists of anywhere from 2-10 pop up heads. Each quadrant is tasked with cleaning a specific section of the pool”.
In reality, they blow water around your pool really effectively without doing much (other than consuming greater amounts of electricity because you have to run your variable speed pump at a higher flow rate to get the heads to pop up).
In my thirty years as a swimming pool industry professional, I have seen hundreds of these things. I might have only met one person who was happy with their system (and I think they were just too embarrassed to admit what a hunk it was…)
As you can already tell, I AM NOT a fan. And, when you ask a pool builder who installs them what they think… they’ll tell you all kinds of reasons why these are the best things since sliced bread (and one of the big ones is that you don’t have to look at the ugly pool sweep- more on that below…) Do you know why some builders love in-floor systems? You guessed it- because they make more money installing them.
Still not convinced? Ask a pool leak detector how they feel about them…
Still not convinced? Try and find a pool repair company that will work on them. I know of two in our area (and they are both builders).
So, if you’re building a pool and not sure what to get and want my opinion (you must if you’ve read this far!!!), when I built my pool I installed a Polaris 280 with a booster pump. It’s the best cleaner for the value (there are better ones out there but they aren’t worth the extra money). And, when I have people over and don’t want to look at it do you know what I do? I go pull it out of the pool- simple and effective.
Lastly, if you’re one of those people who just cant help themselves and has to get one, read this article I wrote in 2014:
Dedicated cleaner line pipe on swimming pool in-floor system is a must !