Leaving a robot cleaner in the pool for extended periods can hasten its wear. “Badly worn tires allow the robot’s body to scrape against the pool deck,” Rief says, which can also accelerate the wear of lower parts like skirts.
Check the owner’s manual to see if the problem is described, and if there are simple steps you can take to fix it.
Check the Filter
Leaving your cleaner out of the water for extended periods of time accelerates the wear and tear on important parts such as the drive belts, brushes, and impellers. Performing regular maintenance on your automatic pool cleaner is an easy way to ensure your device performs at peak capacity.
Before attempting any repairs, you should verify the following:
Check the air pressure gauge on your filter to be sure it is at normal operating pressure (PSI). If it is not, backwash the sand or DE filter until the pounds per square inch is within the recommended range.
Clean the Brushes
The robotic cleaner uses an internal motor to suck water through a self-contained filter bag and eject the filtered water back into the pool. This motor is connected to tractor-like rubber or synthetic tracks and “brushes” tied by rubber or plastic bands to a metal shaft.
Clean these brushes regularly to remove any clogging or debris buildup. Depending on the model you have, this can be done by turning off the cleaner, removing the power cord and unscrewing the tracks. Brush them with a soft brush and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Some models of these cleaners have advanced navigation technology that can help them map your pool and avoid obstacles. It can also learn your pool’s size and dimensions during its first cleaning cycle and then use this information to improve the efficiency of subsequent cycles. To ensure this is working properly, make sure the inline strainer on your pool wall is clean and free of blockages and that the vacuum hose does not have any air leaks or holes along its length. Keeping it rolled up is also a good idea, to prevent kinks that can interrupt the flow of water.
Check the Hoses
Suction and robotic cleaners rely on hoses to move and vacuum the pool. It is important that the hoses are long enough to cover the entire pool without getting twisted or tangled. If the hoses are too short, purchase a replacement.
If the cleaner moves in short, jerky movements it could be that water is collecting in its handle or on its drive belt. It is also possible that grit or other debris is caught in the wheel or tracks of the unit.
It is a good idea to regularly check the hoses of your pool cleaner for signs of wear or tear, such as kinks. A quick test can be made by holding the hose upright and moving it back and forth. If the hose becomes uncoiling or tangled, it should be straightened out and added with hose weights to prevent it from coiling again. It is a smart safety measure to always keep your pool cleaner hoses rolled up when not in use.
Check the Motor
A robotic cleaner relies on its motor to move around the pool, grabbing debris as it goes. If it is moving slower than usual, it might be time to clean its debris screen or filter. It could also need its tires, tracks or wheel bearings tightened. Some modern models even have advanced navigation technology such as sensors or mapping to help the cleaner find its way through your pool.
Robotic cleaners can be a huge convenience, especially if they work as intended. But if they start to slow down or stop moving altogether, it’s worth taking a closer look at the cleaner to figure out what’s wrong with it. Fortunately, the maintenance tasks that go into keeping them in tip-top shape are pretty straightforward. So if yours is acting up, be sure to run through the checklist and get it back up and running!