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SWIMMING POOL VACUUMS, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA


Pools and spas create a wonderful luxury to your backyard and they can offer hours of fun and relaxation to any household. But they're an expensive purchase, and like any investment they'll need routine maintenance and upkeep. To make sure that these systems run properly and remain hygienic, you'll have to perform occasional clean-up tasks in order to remove any dirt or debris that will enter your pool.

Depending upon how much your pool is used or remains uncovered during the year, this job may have to be done almost everyday. Of course, this task can be done by hand, but it takes a lot of time and effort on your part, so for an easy way to cut down on the chore, you may want to purchase an automatic pool vacuum that will do the work for you even when you're not around.

The Beauty of Bottom-Feeders If you've ever owned a large fish tank or gone to an aquarium, you've probably seen giant suckerfish attached to the side of the glass. These algae-eaters move along the edges of the tank and thrive on undesirable debris that forms on the surfaces. Swimming pool vacuums serve the same exact function, except instead of a living thing vacuuming the sides of a tank, these automated "robots" move along the bottom and sides of your pool to remove various debris, such as dirt, bugs, leaves, twigs, and sand. Depending on the size of the square footage, your above-ground or in-ground pool or hot tub could be cleaned within a few hours or minutes without you lifting a finger. These products are best for cleaning deeper bodies of water whose bottoms may often be out of reach. But they also clean walls and water-level tiles without any help from the owner. Plus, they are great for uneven bottom surfaces that may be a pain to clean by hand.

Features These products can either be pre-programmed to follow a certain route to make sure it always goes over high-traffic areas, or it can be set to a random pattern in order to clean parts of the pool that may often become neglected and ignored. They can work with your pool's filtration system, or they can be battery-powered so that they can work independently. Some swimming pool vacuums perform two functions at once by dispersing chemicals in the pool for you, once again cutting back on your maintenance time. However, they can't do everything by themselves. They may have a hard time getting up steps or behind ladders, and though they tend to get themselves out of tight situations, they can sometimes get stuck on certain tough angles of your pool. So make sure you read the manual, watch the instructional video, and buy any extra items that may help with this occasional problem.

Cost There are several different types of models out on the market today. You still have the option to buy hand-operated swimming pool vacuums that don't require power, extra hosing, or nozzles. These models are definitely more affordable (around $20) and are great for sporadic spot-cleaning. However, they require your participation and are not as thorough as automated systems. These automatic pool vacuums vary in price depending on your needs and any extra functions that you desire, but most range from $150 to up to $400 dollars. Though this may seem like a steep price at first, after the initial cost these devices usually pay for themselves due to the value and benefits you reap from them over time.

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