"Do I need a Polaris?" is the original question I got asked inspiring this blog post, but I figured some of you reading this might not actually know what a Polaris is, so I'm changing the question to "Do I need an automatic cleaner?" I'm going to do a quick overview of what an automatic cleaner actually is and what it does inside of a swimming pool.
An automatic cleaner, if you happen to not already know, is anything in your pool that automatically cleans the pool.
Not too complicated right?
A "Polaris" actually refers to the most popular brand of automatic cleaners, made by a company named Pentair called “the Polaris”. They are so popular, in fact, that they're becoming an industry standard when it comes to building new swimming pools. Almost every one of the pools we service on a weekly basis either has a Polaris or has something comparable made by another brand. I’m going to do a blog post later that will dive deeper into automatic cleaners, but for this post I'm simply going to answer if you need one or not.
You do not need an automatic cleaner. An automatic cleaner is nice to have but it’s definitely not needed. Especially if you're using a pool cleaning company, because technically, they will be your automatic cleaner and trust me, they work way better.
The problem with automatic cleaners of any type is that they can usually only clean about 60% - 70% of the pool and there are many cleaners who don't even clean that much. Automatic cleaners come in two types.
The cleaner will use the water being shot back into the pool to move the cleaner around, and vacuums your floor in the process by shooting some of that water returning to the pool up and into a net, creating suction.
The cleaner will use the pools own suction to move the cleaner around and vacuum everything directly into the filter.
The Polaris is the first type, and in order to get a Polaris you will also have to purchase what is called a booster pump, which boosts the return pressure so that the Polaris can run properly.
Polaris' also need a special port to plug into that is built into the plaster of your pool. This means that unless someone intended your pool to run a Polaris when they built it, you're about to spend a good amount of money installing one. If you're really dead set on getting an automatic cleaner, in the next blog post I'll talk about some of your options that don't involve installing everything needed for a Polaris.