How to manually vacuum a pool is something that every pool owner needs to know. Sure, you can rely on the best robotic pool cleaners and pool suction cleaners to keep your pool floor clear of sediments and debris, but there will be times when you’re going to have to manually vacuum your pool to thoroughly clean it. Fortunately, manually vacuuming your swimming pool isn’t overly difficult, although it can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive task. Nonetheless, it is an essential part of being a responsible pool owner, and as such we’ve outlined below the steps on how to vacuum a pool using a skimmer manually so you can get started right away.
6 Steps on How to Manually Vacuum Pool
The steps on how to manually vacuum the pool outlined in the following paragraphs are intended for in-ground swimming pools. However, you will see that the process is pretty much similar to the steps involved in vacuuming an above ground pool with very minor differences in some aspects.
1. Clean the Swimming Pool’s Surface
Before we start with how to vacuum a pool using a skimmer, you first need to do a little bit of cleaning. This means removing leaves, twigs, and other debris floating on the water’s surface using a net pool skimmer. You also need to remove all large debris on the swimming pool floor. Otherwise, these can get sucked in and cause the vacuum system to clog up during the vacuuming process.
Besides, you’ll need to turn off the pump and empty the pump basket of dirt. Turn off the main drain valve as well. Also, this instructional on how to vacuum a pool using a skimmer makes use of only one skimmer. Thus, if your swimming pool has two skimmers, turn off the one that you’re not going to use for vacuuming.
2. Gather Your Cleaning Equipment
Once you’re done giving your swimming pool a pre-vacuum clean-up, you can start gathering the equipment and materials you’re going to need to manually vacuum your pool. These include the following:
- Pool Vacuum Head. Pool vacuum heads have a standard design that allows them to fit directly to the end of most pool cleaning poles, so you should have no trouble finding one to use. Just make sure that you consider the type of swimming pool liner that you have since some pool vacuum heads aren’t suitable for vinyl pool liners.
- Telescoping Pool Poles. You’re going to need pool poles to move the vacuum head around. Chances are you already have one of these telescoping pool poles. If you have poles that attach to your pool skimmers, nets, and hooks then you can most likely use those. If they are not the telescoping kind, then you can still use them as long as they will reach the bottom of the deepest area of your swimming pool.
- Vacuum Hose. There are various pool vacuum hoses that you can use, and most of these can attach to all types of vacuum systems. Again, you’ll want to make sure that if you purchase a vacuum hose it is long enough to reach every area (especially the deepest parts) of your swimming pool.
- Vacuum Plate. A vacuum plate or skim vac allows you to use the skimmer basket instead of the pump strainer basket. This then eliminates the need to turn the pump on and off during the vacuuming process.
You may be considering using a DIY pool vacuum to save money, but it isn’t recommended for a really thorough cleaning. These DIY vacuum may work when there’s a minimal amount of debris to be cleaned, but not in the case of heavily contaminated swimming pools. Along that line, consider investing in one of the different pool vacuum and cleaning accessories mentioned above. Besides, you’ll be able to use them for a very long time especially when you already know how to vacuum a pool using a skimmer and will be doing it regularly.
3. Assemble Your Pool Vacuum System
To assemble your pool vacuum system, start with attaching the vacuum head to the open end of the telescoping pool pole. Then, attach one end of the vacuum pool hose to the vacuum head. If you’re having trouble keeping the hose in place, you can use a hose clamp. Afterward, place the vacuum head along with the pool pole and vacuum hose in the pool. Make sure that the pool vacuum head is resting on the pool’s floor.
4. Prime Your Vacuum System
The objective here is to remove all the air from your vacuuming system since air pockets can cause your system to lose suction. To do this, take the other end of the pool vacuum hose and attach it to the return jet in the swimming pool. This will push all the air out of the hose, and you’ll see air bubbles floating up and out of the vacuum head. Continue this until no more air bubbles are coming out, which means that the vacuum hose is now free of air and is ready to be used.
5. Connect the Vacuum to the pump
Once all the air is out, remove the vacuum hose from the return jet and attach the vacuum plate. Use your hand to block the opening. Be sure to seal the opening completely to prevent the suction from being lost.
With your hand blocking the opening, bring it over to the skimmer. Then, remove the strainer basket and insert the hose into the suction hole at the bottom of the skimmer. Keep in mind that the whole vacuum system works and is powered by the suction created by the pool circulation pump. If your vacuum loses suction while vacuuming the pool, repeat the steps above to restore the suction.
6. Vacuum Your Swimming Pool
This is where the work on how to manually vacuum the pool begins. Once the vacuum system is in place, you can start vacuuming your swimming pool. Simply move the vacuum head back and forth with long and sweeping strokes along the surface of the pool’s bottom until you’re satisfied that it’s clean and free of any dirt. Start vacuuming from the shallowest part of the swimming pool and work your way towards the deepest end. Make sure that you cover the entire pool.
Tips When Vacuuming Your Pool Manually
- Don’t Rush the Process. Depending on the size of your swimming pool, the vacuuming process can take anywhere between a few hours to a whole afternoon. Be patient and don’t rush the process.
- Vacuum Carefully. If you haven’t been keeping abreast of your swimming pool maintenance, there’s likely plenty of debris that accumulated at the bottom of your pool even if you don’t see it. When you aren’t careful, you’re going to disturb them and cause them to float all over the water, hence making it more difficult to vacuum. If the water became cloudy while you’re vacuuming, you’re going to have to wait for an hour or two for the debris to settle before you can start vacuuming again.
- Give It a Rest. It sometimes happens that the vacuum head gets stuck while you’re in the middle of vacuuming your pool. If this happens, switch off the pump for a few seconds to stop the suction and break the momentum.
- Keep an Eye on the Gauge. While vacuuming, you’ll want to pay attention to the pool filter’s pressure gauge. You’ll want to keep the pressure below the manufacturer’s recommended levels. If the level goes beyond that, turn off the vacuum and take a break.
Post-vacuum Clean-up and Water Treatment
Once you’re done vacuuming your swimming pool floor, it’s time to do some final clean-up. Start with disassembling your vacuum system by removing the vacuum head from the telescoping pole. Then, remove any water that is trapped in the vacuum hose. Rinse your cleaning equipment with clean, freshwater, and let them dry thoroughly before putting them in storage.
Afterward, take the pump strainer basket and clean it. Remove any debris that you find there. Then, give the filter final backwashing. If you used the “Waste” setting while vacuuming the swimming pool, switch the valve back to the “Filter” setting. You can start adding water to the pool until the desired water level is reached.
Once you’ve added enough water, it’s time to add water chemicals and adjust them if necessary. Don’t forget to add your water sanitizer as well.
Q: Do you remove skimmer basket when vacuuming pool?
Yes, you need to remove the skimmer basket when vacuuming your swimming pool in order to effectively remove all the dirt and debris. Besides, the skimmer basket will only get in your way as you go about in vacuuming your swimming pool.
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Having a robotic pool cleaner can certainly make the task of vacuuming your swimming pool floor a lot easier. However, you still need to know how to manually vacuum the pool because there will be times when you’ll need to do it to thoroughly clean your pool. As can be seen above, the steps on how to vacuum a pool using a skimmer aren’t overly difficult, but it will require a significant amount of time and effort, as well as heaps of patience to do it properly.
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