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Choose automatic cleaner based on debris

Once considered extravagant, automatic pool cleaners are now thought to be essential for most pool owners and operators. But while everyone loves them and the time that they can save at a typical service stop, not everyone agrees on which do the best job.

Automatic cleaners come in three types: suction side, pressure side, and robotic, and the kind of job they do depends on the type of debris that they are being used on. Fine silt and sand is easily removed with suction side cleaners, while pressure side cleaners are effective on the larger leaves and debris.

Depending on the model, robotic cleaners can do a great job on all types of debris, but the higher price tag may put them out of some customers’ league.

For these reasons, and as in years past, the 2021 Service Industry News annual survey found that preferences for certain automatic cleaner types tend to be regional. For example, suction side cleaners are the prevalent cleaner type in Southern California, while in Northern California, it is pressure side cleaners that tend to dominate. Robotic cleaners become more common heading east across the country, where they really dwarf the other cleaner types in the Northeast.

Choosing an automatic cleaner for a pool can be as important to the service technician as it is to the pool owner, for a variety of reasons. In general, most people prefer to work with products that they know and are comfortable with. However, everyone wants a product that will work well and last a long time.

Because service technicians are responsible for the maintenance of these cleaners, it’s important to focus on ease of maintenance. Some cleaners are not user-friendly, requiring the technician too much time to clean them out, let alone perform simple repairs.

It’s a good idea to consider cleaners with easy-to- remove components, with easy-to-find replacement parts.

Units that must be sent back to the manufacturer for servicing can cause dramatic workload increases for the service professional.

Not only must the service technician continue to ensure that a pool’s cleanliness by one means or another, but they are often frequently asked to go to bat in the pool owner’s defense.

As a service tech, that’s why it is important to familiarize yourself with as many cleaner types as possible.

Many manufacturers provide online owner’s manuals and service guides that can help direct your choices.

Online videos of the products in use or being repaired can also help to inform the service technician as to the appropriate cleaner for the specific pool in question.

Many products are peer reviewed, and that may prove to be the most useful aid to the average pool professional.

Finally, be sure to ask seasoned professionals which cleaners they prefer. Facebook groups like Aquatic Artisans Pool Lounge, The 14psi Pool Industry Club, Swimming Pool Industry Workers, Talking Pools and more already contain detailed threads about the pros and cons of a variety of automatic cleaners.

In this issue of Service Industry News, we’ll take a closer look at some of the cleaner types on the market today, with an emphasis on troubleshooting common cleaner problems.

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