Can a pool robot do the job of a regular filtration system?

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There's a large concrete swimming pool at my mom's house that needs refurbishing, and I'd like to help her bring it back into use. Drain the water, clean out debris, acid wash, ok sounds relatively simple and cheap so far. Except the part I'm worried about is the filtration system. It is very old and rusted in the pool room and I doubt it works. So I can better "visualize the cost" of this project and keep the cost manageable I figure I'll use a pool cleaning robot instead to suck up leaves and dirt that fall inside. But can these things do the whole job in a large pool? Can they keep up with keeping the pool clean without excessive maintenance? What is considered the best model these days as a filter system replacement?
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so
better
fall
is
Any good pool store can answer your questions. (None of us would buy supplies from a bad pool store.) The point is, they know your local conditions (e.g. Georgia, Ohio, Maine.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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The robots pick up insects and leaves, but only after the pool is cleaned and filtering. You'll still need a sand, DE, or cartridge filter to get the fine particles, not to mention chemicals

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I can't help you much but I'm interested in the answers.
But, off hand, it "seems to me" that several of the "hang on" systems used for those relatively cheap above ground pools combined with the robot to sweep up the bottom would provide essentially the same coverage as a pool with build in drains to a central pump/filter house.
Since you are talking "large" you are definitely beyond using the throwaway filters. You want/need sand and/or diatom filters. I believe I have seen sand filters for larger above ground pools so they may be your answer. When you have extra use, you can run the 2nd/3rd filter and when the party is over you can clean the most used filter.
In the filter game, it's usually better to run 27/7 with a small filter than "cycle" a larger filter. You may well find that only running one pump/filter (w/robot) keeps you water in good conditions.
I assume you attend to the chemistry of the pool.

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On Fri, 8 May 2009 11:27:08 -0700, "scorpster"

Start there, see if it works (remove the doubt) and then fix anything broken. Get the model number and try to locate a service manual for the filter system.
You need both the filter and the robot.
Call Mom on Sunday....
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scorpster wrote:

No way.
While the pool "robots" are much better than the cleaners than attach to the suction side or pressure side of the pump (or that have a dedicated pump) they can't filter that much water.
I have the Dolphin. It was $800 with the caddy, and that was with a 20% off at Leslie's. Leslie's is a good place to buy it because they offer a longer warranty on the Dolphin. Mine broke like a week before the warranty was up and it was repaired free.
On my pool, all the water for the filter goes through the skimmer, the drain in the bottom doesn't work, so I needed the better cleaner.
Installing a real pump and filter isn't that hard or expensive as long as the plumbing from the pool is okay. If you're good with PVC and wiring you can do it yourself. Just plan the PVC arrangement so that the pump is removable/replaceable in the future.
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I'm pretty good with DIY basic pipes and electrical, so I'd be inclined to replace all the rusty pool room equipment rather than worry about the maintenance even if I could get it to hobble along after flipping the switch. There's a large heater box with a roof vent (don't need one for hot California summers), a large cylinder with a pressure gauge which I remember from childhood always needed a lot of maintenance, I think this is called the DE filter, and a maze of metal pipes. So let's suppose I just remove all this equipment from the 1950s-70s. Would this filter room equipment cost me thousands to replace? Does it get very "technical" to install like for example installing a central air conditioner? Is the filter room technology much better these days and less maintenance than it was 30 years ago? The pool dimensions are 18' x 37' feet and deeper than most pools I've seen.
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wrote in message news:UI%Ml.6806

I don't think new equipment is much different from the old. Wiring methods and materials have changed though. I think you need to decipher what you have, and how it's connected, then you'll have a better idea of what you may want to replace it with. Flexible non metallic plumbing makes the job considerably easier then what you may have existing.

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I guess you didnt get stuck doing pool maint as a kid, like I did.
I would suggest calling a pool service & telling what your situation is. Some of the better ones could easily give you a very good idea of the costs involved.
Mercifully, I sold my old 1950's/1960's house (the OC) with a pool before I had to pop for all new pump & DE filter.
I owned the house for ~15 years and had the same pool guy all that time. I had the pool re-plastered & re-tiled but kept the coping & deck. When the original DE filter started to leak, my pool guy had a used unit that another customer had replaced with new. He installed it for me at a small fraction of a new unit and I sold the house a few years later.
My guess is that your pump & motor are probably fine and hopefully all the plumbing....if anything your just need a new DE unit.
Filters are sized based pool volume.....looks like oyurs is in the 20 to 25k gallons.
Since you're stuck with the pipe sizes......IF oyu need a new pump, it has to be happy with the existing plumbing. Once oyu have a pump size oyu can choose a filter size.
If the original pump & filter arrangement kept the pool adequately clean, then thats a good starting point. Depending on the age of the equipment, the pump & filter might be undersized by today;s specs.
When we had my parents pool filter system replaced the pump & filter were both upsized about 50%. The old system worked fine as did the new one....we just minimized pump time consistent with a clean (low usage) pool.
If you;re in central OC (Tustin or Orange) I can recommend my former pool guy.
cheers Bob
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If you;re in central OC (Tustin or Orange) I can recommend my former pool guy.
Excellent info from all. Bob, my mom is also in OC so would appreciate the referral to your former pool guy. My email is scorpionleather fancy symbol then yahoo.com.
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On Fri, 8 May 2009 13:03:50 -0700, "scorpster"

Leslie's pool store was mentioned. My local store has "mock-ups" of pool filter systems. Find the gallons of water in the pool (figuring the depth also). The web has calculators , but I don't have one in a link.
IIRC, the install was free but just ask them. CA has 137 Leslie's stores.
http://leslies.know-where.com/leslies /
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I called Leslies service dept and the first thing they asked me was how old the pool is, whether the existing water is clean, etc. Then they said "it needs to be re-plastered" - based on what I told them on the phone.
But the existing plaster looks fine as far as I can tell visually. Should I be concerned with plaster for this project? I just want to make it swimmable, not a showpiece. Is the downside to keeping the existing old plaster that it will slowly lose water or something else related to chemistry? If I have to replaster that would be way out of my affordability to help my mom fix this thing up.
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On Fri, 8 May 2009 14:52:41 -0700, "scorpster"

Focus on the filter and robot repair. I have some plaster problems, the pool is 12 years old. Minor but costly in just doing patches. My 11K gallon pool should really have a new plaster surface. Postponed.
Plenty of info here about resurrecting a pool.
http://www.truetex.com/pool.htm
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scorpster wrote:

Actually it's new plastering that affects the chemistry.
Once you drain it you can acid wash it and repaint it if it needs it. Leslie's sells the paint. Replastering will raise the cost by about $5,000 in California for simple plastering, and by $9,000 for a pebbled surface, without new tile or coping. You can look at the surface and tell when it's all pitted and needs re-plastering. In Florida, where my brother has a pool, re-plastering is only around $3000.
I know that when my pool's plaster was hopelessly pitted, it was also very hard to keep the algae in check, but maybe that was for other reasons than the pitted plaster. Back then, the pool stores were pushing stabilized tablets and granules very hard, without fully understanding how the stabilizer acid slowly built up and required higher and higher chlorine levels to keep algae in check, they call it "chlorine lock" where the cyanuric acid ties up free available chlorine. I drained and refilled just a year ago, and already my cyanuric acid level is above the optimal level (but below the maximum level) so I'm laying off the tablets for a while until enough new water dilutes it. I've been in Leslie's a couple of times to get my water tested, and have had people in front of me get the advice to drain the pool to get rid of the cyanuric acid. There is no neutralizer available on the market any more (there was one for a while but it had side effects that were worse (and more costly) than just draining and refilling).
Also, remember to factor in the cost of the electricity to run the pump. Those pumps use a lot of power, and you have to run them many hours a day in hot weather.
I wanted to take the pool out rather than re-plaster it, but that idea was vetoed by SWMBO. Taking a pool out isn't all that cheap either.
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scorpster wrote:

I would definately verify that the equipment is faulty before replacing it. It would probably be worth paying someone to do this if you can't figure it out yourself, just on the chance that the equipment just needs cleaning to work right.
By the way, I always assumed that the pool robots just ran off the pool filter suction, and that they wouldn't function on their own. (I own a spa, not a pool, so I've never used one)
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scorpster wrote:

The DE filter may just need the earth replaced (there is a better compound to put in there than DE now). Otherwise, replace it with a cartridge filter. Be sure that you don't get too small of a cartridge filter system or you'll be endlessly cleaning it. When we bought our house it had a Sta-Rite filter with a single cartridge, and I was cleaning it every few weeks, with the current filter, a Pentair with four cartridges, once per year is sufficient, and probably with a single larger cartridge it would have been fine as well.
You need to wire it properly with all the GFI stuff since the pump is likely 220V. Add an Intermatic mechanical timer.
Probably $600-800 for a filter, $500 for a pump, and another $100 for plumbing and wiring. You might find some of the stuff on craigslist as there are a surprising number of people that remove their pools (I got a pool slide that way), and I've seen other pool equipment for sale as well.
You'll likely need to buy PVC at an irrigation supply house to get the 2", 2.5" or 3" fittings and pipe, the selection at Home Depot is limited. Not sure where you are, I get my pool PVC stuff in Campbell, CA.
So let's suppose I

Sounds like my pool, which was built to accommodate a diving board, and is about 13' deep in the deep end, which you don't see on new construction home pools. My pool is about 40,000 gallons.
You might also consider plumbing in a chlorine tablet feeder (don't get the Hayward) but beware of chlorine tablets because cyanuric acid from these builds up requiring pool draining to get rid of it. Liquid chlorine is more hassle but causes less problems.
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...good info, thanks!
I turned on the switch briefly and I could hear the pump motor run! The pool room has the following equipment:
Nautilus NS-48 DE filter tank (probably ok, a bit of corrosion on the outside) Aqua-Flo pump with Gould E-Plus 8-151782-02 motor (turns on ok) Wahlds pool heater (severe rust, probably doesn't work, also rarely used it when I was a kid)
If I take on this project "at the bare minimum" what I would have on my to-do list:
Empty dirty water and acid clean plaster (found 3 bottles of muriatic acid in the pool room) Fix crack running down side of pool Refill pool and flush out debris from lines Replace burned out underwater light Replace pump mechanical timer on wall (rusted out) Replace any worn parts inside DE filter (seal, filter fabric?)
No re-plastering for now.
I wonder if I'd run into an expensive surprise or if this could turn out simple. hmmm
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On Fri, 8 May 2009 22:23:23 -0700, "scorpster"

I wonder if vapors from the muriatic acid is causing the equipment to rust. Perhaps another storage location for it...?

Check the light switch first ... cheaper than the costly bulb.

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No. Most robots rely on the filter system of the pool, for "power" and filtering. Those equipped with "filters" aren't going to filter very fine particulate.

Whatever worked in the past, usually.
I looked at an *old* pool that was @25x50x10' with a real "deep end". The "pump house" was a good 100' distant.
As I think I understand it, the height of the pump relative to the waterline and outlets are of consideration. -----
- gpsman
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gpsman wrote:

No they do not. The simple pool cleaners use either suction or pressure, via a hose and the pool's pump (or an auxiliary pump for some) but the robots do not have any plumbing. The robots are powered by a DC power source via a cable.
The robots do a much better job of cleaning, especially for sand and dirt. When I had a Polaris cleaner it picked up leaves just fine, but finer pieces of debris like sand when right through the collection bag.
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