How to Set Valves for an In-Ground Swimming Pool Automatic Cleaner

Updated on January 28, 2018
robhampton profile image

Rob is a licensed pool service industry professional with over 20 years of experience.

A "suction" type cleaner
A "suction" type cleaner

Types of Pool Cleaners

There are many different brands of automatic cleaners yet there are only three "types" of cleaners. These are either suction, pressure or robotic cleaners.

  • "Suction" This cleaner will use the hydraulic pull from the pool pump to pull water through the cleaner. The cleaner itself is comprised of gears that begin to work when suction is applied allowing it to move throughout the pool pulling in debris as it passes over it.
  • "Pressure" This cleaner is one that operates from the return pressure of the pump, or often have a "booster" pump. Water pressure from the pool return pushes the gears of the cleaner rather than pull. This is VERY different than a suction cleaner.
  • "Robotic" This cleaner uses electric power to operate. The most common robotic cleaners will have a water-proofed power cord that will plug into an outlet near the pool.


This valve is in the "open" postion
This valve is in the "open" postion

Valve Positioning for Suction Cleaners

The valves on a pool that are pre-built for an automatic suction side cleaner are usually set up the same way. There may be some variations such as the type of valve used (Ball valve, or 3-way valve) and the actual plumbed position of the valve. Either way, the flow of the water through certain valves is what is important.

Your pool may have a spa, which is known as a "pool-spa combo" so there will be another valve for the spa main drain. Normal operation of the pool requires this valve to stay closed. In the photo below, there are four valves. These are "3-way" style valves. They are, from left to right, SPA MAIN DRAIN, CLEANER, SKIMMER, and POOL MAIN DRAIN.

For the cleaner to operate at maximum efficiency, only the skimmer and cleaner valves should be open. No other valves should be open.

Valves are positioned for a suction cleaner. Main drain fully closed, skimmer open half way, cleaner line fully opened.
Valves are positioned for a suction cleaner. Main drain fully closed, skimmer open half way, cleaner line fully opened.

Should the Main Drain Valve be Open?

No.Not if you are using a suction type of cleaner. The purpose of a pool main drain is to pull water from the bottom of the pool through the pump and filtration system. With a suction cleaner operating, it is already doing exactly what the main drain does which is to pull water from the bottom of the pool. The water is simply just going through a different line but still pulling from the bottom.

If the cleaner is taken out of the pool, the valves will be set differently. Opening the main drain and then closing the cleaner valve. So it is either main drain+skimmer or cleaner+skimmer. Never main drain+skimmer+cleaner all open at the same time. All valves open will not hurt the equipment but the cleaner will not operate correctly. When more suction is applied to the cleaner, it will operate better. Also, with the main drain open, this can cause the cleaner to become stuck on the drain.

What if there are only 2 Valves?

Many pools have suction type cleaners without having a dedicated line for it. This will connect into the skimmer. The Valves would be set as skimmer open, main drain closed. Most cleaners come with a skimmer adapter that allow adjustable flow to be able to skim as well as having the cleaner connected.

A "Pressure" style cleaner
A "Pressure" style cleaner

Pressure Cleaners

Since pressure cleaners use a pool return line there are no valves on the front, or (suction) side of the pump for it. Some systems have a dedicated return line for this in which a booster pump is used to create a stronger return flow to the cleaner. A booster pump is usually on a separate timer from the main pool pump and normally do not have any valves to adjust for flow. Without a booster pump, a threaded adapter will be used on one of the pool wall returns. In this case the flow can only be adjusted by the amount of pool return pressure.

A "Robotic" style cleaner
A "Robotic" style cleaner

Robotic Cleaners

There is really not much to say about this style of pool cleaner. Throw it in the pool and plug into a power source. No valves involved at all.

© 2017 Rob Hampton

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)