Why is my Pressure Side Pool Cleaner Not Moving?

Pressure Side Pool Cleaners are often very reliable but there are some things that can happen to stop them from operating in your swimming pool. There are two types of these cleaners, some that work off of a separate dedicated booster pump (cleaner pump) and others that connect directly to the pools return line. I will cover some of the troubleshooting that I perform on my route when I find one of these not moving in a pool.

Let me start with the booster pump versions. The first thing you need to know about these Pressure Side Cleaners is that in order to work properly both the main pump and the booster pump must be set to come on at the same time. If the booster pump is not set to come on with the main pump, there will not be enough water going to the cleaner. The booster pump actually takes water from the main pump and uses that to inject a strong flow of water into the dedicated cleaner line. I always check this first to make sure both pumps are set to come on together.

Next, you will want to check the Quick Disconnect in the pool wall that is connected directly to the dedicated return line for the Pressure Side Cleaner. There is a small screen in here or in the newer models there is a screen inline attached to the hose. If this screen gets clogged with debris that has bypassed the filter, the cleaner will stop working. Even a very small amount of debris will stop a cleaner from moving. So remove and check the screen for any debris.

The Quick Disconnect on all of these cleaners also acts as a regulator valve for return flow. So if the valve is open and some of the return water is being diverted away from the cleaner this will cause it to stop moving also. Check to make sure the valve is not letting too much water bypass the cleaner by closing off the valve. A crack may also form somewhere on the Quick Disconnect allowing some of the dedicated return water to flow out and reducing the amount going to the cleaner. The bottom line, the Pressure Side Cleaner needs a large amount of water flow to get it moving in the pool.
For a Return Side Cleaner like the Polaris 360, the cleaner is connected directly into one of the pool’s return lines. In this case, a very dirty filter or a clogged pump basket can affect the flow of water to the cleaner. Another factor is the number of open return lines in the pool. You may need to cap off one or two other return lines or add restricted eyeball fittings to reduce the flow from these other return lines and direct the flow to the line where the cleaner is connected. It also has a Quick Disconnect like the Pressure Side Cleaners so also check that for debris and cracks.

After checking all of the above and ruling out the timer, equipment, and Quick Disconnect you will need to examine the cleaner itself for possible wear. The Polaris and Pentair cleaners have either a drive shaft, belt or chain that moves the cleaner along. If these are worn out in any way the cleaner will also stop moving. The wheels of these cleaners also have bearings much like a skateboard. Once this bearing wears out the wheels will spin poorly, and the cleaner may even stop moving. There are also other issues that may arise that will stop the cleaner.

If at any time you are unable to get your cleaner moving again, you can always pool it out of the pool and take it into your local pool store. They should be able to figure out what is wrong with the cleaner and get it working for you again.

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