If you own a Suction Side or Pressure Side Automatic Pool Cleaner, you be wondering if it is worth the expense to rebuild the cleaner or if you would be better off getting a new one once your cleaner wears down. Robotic Cleaners are a little different and I will touch on those later. But for the first two cleaner types you may be surprised how long you can keep them working in your pool.
Up until about 5 years ago, I had 2 pools that were running with a Polaris 180 Pressure Side Cleaner in them. Not a Polaris 280. The Polaris 180 was introduced over 40 plus years ago! The only reason they were replaced was that unlike the 280 where the Stem Pipe is a replaceable part, the Stem Pipe on the 180 was built into the cleaner body. So once the Stem Pipe broke on both cleaners it was not worth the cost to install a new body. I hope this gives you some idea of how long your cleaner can last in your pool just by rebuilding it when the parts wear out.
Manufacturers are also making things easier for the consumer to easily replace parts by creating drop-in rebuild kits. The Hayward PoolCleaner (Phoenix/AquaNaut) the Hayward Navigator/PoolVac, the Polaris 3900 Sport/P39 to name the rebuild kits I really appreciate. For example, if you have a Polaris 3900 Sport or P39 for about $160 you can purchase the rebuilt kit which includes all of the main internal parts and basically renew your cleaner. The retail price for a new Polaris 3900 Sport without a rebate is $899. Considerable savings and if you rebuild the cleaner every 5 years you can easily get 20 years out of it before the cost adds up to the price of a new cleaner. Pretty amazing!
Another thing to note about Pressure Side Booster Pump cleaners is that you are only running them for about 2 hours each day during the season (or all year if you don’t close your pool in the winter). This means that unlike a Suction Cleaner that is running 8-10 hours per day, the parts will last much longer. So Pressure Cleaners have a built-in longer life span, to begin with.
So how long can you keep a Suction Side Cleaner like a Hayward Navigator running? I recently filmed a rebuild video and the Navigator that I featured in that video was over 20 years old, maybe even older. You can pretty much rebuild the Hayward Navigator/PoolVac until the shell wears out. Same with the Zodiac MX8 and MX6. The only concern would be the hoses on a suction and pressure cleaner. They may wear out long before the cleaner. At some point, it may be logical to purchase a new cleaner since you do get all new hoses with it.
Robotic Pool Cleaners are a little different since you can’t do a lot of hands-on repairs. You can do simple things like changing the brushes or belts but many times it is safer to take it into a service center or ship it to the manufacturer for repairs. But like a Pressure Cleaner, the Robotic Cleaner has a built-in extended life span since you only typically run them once or twice a week for 2-3 hours at a time. If you replace the wear parts on a Robotic cleaner you can get a good 5-8 years of use out of it.
So when is it logical to replace your old cleaner vs rebuilding it again for the 3rd time? I would say that the hoses are an important factor. If those are pretty worn out a new cleaner may be a smart move. Also, if you don’t like how your cleaner is working in your pool you may want to purchase a new and different cleaner. And last, if the body is looking like a relic from the Titanic, there are some aesthetic factors to consider. If your wife is complaining about the ugly pool cleaner maybe it is time for a new one.
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