7 Troubleshooting Tips For Your Pool Vacuum Not Working

When you clean the pool, it can happen that the pool vacuum cleaner does not work anymore. But why isn’t the pool vacuum cleaner working, and how can the problem be resolved?

If the pool vacuum is not vacuuming, the vacuum is probably connected to the water return instead of the suction nozzle. It is also possible that the position of the multivalve does not point to filtration or emptying. Other causes are torn hoses or air in the hose.

In this article, you will find the most common problems and troubleshooting tips if the pool vacuum does not work as expected.

#1 The pool vacuum was connected incorrectly

Often the pool vacuum is not the problem but the incorrect connection to the pool system.

Perhaps you skipped a step in a hurry or made another mistake connecting the pool vacuum.

The result: The pool vacuum does not vacuum in the end.

A wrong connection is just one possible reason why a pool vacuum cleaner does not work.

That’s why I advise you to go through my instructions first and check whether the vacuum cleaner has been correctly installed.

The proper installation of the pool vacuum should not be a problem for you, thanks to my illustrated instructions in the blog – how to connect a pool vacuum.

#2 The pool vacuum is operated through the wrong filter position

The operation of the pool vacuum needs to be learned, and many beginners are trying to vacuum the pool floor using the wrong position on the multivalve.

Often people forget to set the correct position or just choose a random position.

Ideally, the pool vacuum cleaner is operated in the following positions:

  • Filtering: The pool water circulates through this position, minimizing water loss.
  • Emptying: In the case of coarse soiling, it makes sense to suck the pool water directly from the water cycle.

Under no circumstances should you use the – backwash – or – rinse – position to vacuum your swimming pool.

In the position – rinse – the water is pressed against the normal direction of flow through the sand. It is then mistakenly assumed that the pool vacuum is not working properly.

#3 A clogged filter minimizes suction on the pool vacuum

Despite the correct installation of the vacuum cleaner, it can happen that the pool vacuum cleaner does not work.

If the pool vacuum cleaner does not vacuum, then in most cases, it is because the filter is clogged.

I advise you to check the following points:

  • Check whether the sand filter system has enough sand and fill it up if necessary.
  • Before cleaning the pool, the sand filter system should be backwashed for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • The filter system may be clogged and needs to be cleaned.

A clogged filter is a common cause of the pool vacuum not working and not generating enough power to suck up the dirt from the bottom.

Especially after cleaning the pool in the spring, the filter will definitely be very dirty.

For this reason, the sand filter system should be backwashed at regular intervals – ideally every 10 to 14 days.

With the cartridge filter, the cartridge is rinsed with water from the garden hose – it is worth changing the cartridge filter before the bathing season and avoiding complications with pool maintenance.

With the backwashing, further problems with the filter sand, like channel formation, are eliminated.

Tip: If possible, the sand should be replaced every 1 to 3 years in the filter system. In my instructions, I explain how to change the sand in the pool filter system.

#4 The pool vacuum has air in the hose and is constantly pulling in air

There is air in the suction hose when installing the pool vacuum on the filter system.

This air is a big obstacle for a weak filter pump. It prevents building up a suction on the pool vacuum.

The consequence of air in the hose is that the pool vacuum does not work.

Many people immediately think something is wrong with the vacuum or pool pump, but the problem is easy to fix.

If there is air in the hose of the pool vacuum, this can be for 2 reasons:

  • The suction hose was not completely vented before connection: I would advise clamping the hose in front of the inlet nozzle of the filter system to vent the pool vacuum.
  • The hose was connected to the water return: The manual pool vacuum should be connected to the suction nozzle.

If it is a pool vacuum cleaner with the Venturi principle, it is connected to the water return of the filter system.

Tip: It rarely happens, but the seal of the multivalve on the sand filter system may be leaking and lead to air in the hose – the sealing ring must be changed.

#5 Check the pool hose for cracks

The pool vacuum often works halfway, but the suction is too weak to suck the dirt off the floor. A reason for this may be a broken hose.

Depending on where the crack is in the hose, this can lead to air being sucked in. The air in the hose leads to a loss of pressure and, consequently, to the pool vacuum’s poor suction power.

Check the hose for cracks and make sure that the hose is stored safely after every pool cleaning.

It is difficult to repair if you find a crack in the swimming pool hose.

It is often possible to shorten the hose a little if the tear is present at the lower end. However, you cannot avoid completely replacing the pool hose in most cases.

Tip: Cracks in the pool hose are not uncommon if the hose is not properly laid out to dry after cleaning the pool. However, incorrect storage of the pool vacuum can lead to damage over a long period of time.

#6 Broken pipes and cracks in the sand filter system

If the sand filter system is moved improperly, the absorber (arms) in the sand filter system can crack or sometimes break off completely.

This has a negative effect on the filtration of the pool water and accordingly reduces the suction effect of the pool vacuum.

Don’t panic: If a component of the sand filter system is cracked, you can buy all the individual parts separately and replace them accordingly.

In the ideal case, the sand filter system has no damage, and you simply forget to close the multivalve (MV) properly when changing the sand.

If that is the case, you just have to turn the MV slightly – not too much pressure; otherwise, the multivalve can be damaged.

Tip: A broken pipe in the sand filter system can be recognized by the sand in the pool – you can read more about this in my blog under the link.

#7 Poor water flow rate of the pool pump

Suppose the pool vacuum continues to function incorrectly, and all other points can be excluded.

In that case, the only question remains whether the pool vacuum is compatible with the pool’s filter system.

The performance of the pool vacuum is directly dependent on the output rate of the pool pump.

Check the pump flow rate and refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Most of the time, the delivery rate is given as 3000 liters/hour, but it is too small for many pool vacuums.

I would recommend connecting the pool vacuum to a filter system with a flow rate of at least 4000 liters/hour.

The subject is complex and is beyond the scope of this article. That’s why I wrote a separate post about pool pumps.

You should also pay attention to the correct position of the pool pump so that the performance remains constant – you can find my guide about pool pumps following this link.

Tip: The suction power of the pool vacuum can be increased if the floor drain is closed beforehand while vacuuming. In most cases, this should be enough to increase the pull.

Do you have further questions about the pool vacuum?

The best way to contact me is @contactswimfool on Twitter or Pinterest. I am happy to help you.

Have fun using the pool vacuum!

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Hi. I'm Max Berg. I've been in the pool industry since 2015 and have always felt drawn to water. I'm the author behind swimfool.com, where I share my years of experience in pool maintenance and give helpful tips on keeping a swimming pool or hot tub clean. My tips reduce the costs of water treatment and protect the environment.

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