04 Sep In-floor Cleaning systems. What , When, Why, What can go wrong, and How much?
A pool is a big investment and often when looking at the price of a new pool package the costs can seem very daunting.
The Extras that can be added to a pool will quickly add up and before you know it your $45,000 pool could be fast approaching $70,000. The question with infloor cleaning, which is often the single largest extra you may add to your pool is, “Is it worth it?”
We have been installing infloor cleaning systems with Minke Pools, directional and before that with many other pool companies, since their introduction into Australia more than 15 years ago. The general idea with the system is to have a separate pump and water circulation system that will return water to directional jets on the floor of the pool. These jets will blow all floor debris to a collection point where it is removed from the pool. The introduction of in-floor cleaning at the construction stage will remove any need to Vacuum the pool and the pool should be crystal clear all year round.
Infloor cleaning has been proven to not only be benifical to the pool cleanliness, but the increased water circulation has be proven to reduce chemical consumption and heating costs.
We use the Paramount infloor cleaning system as they are the industry leaders and innovators for continued development in regards to Infloor Cleaning world wide. They are an american based company and an individually designed infloor cleaning system plan is prepared for each individual pool. This design will take into account the individual pool size, floor depths, floor to wall transition profiles, entry steps and or swim out ledge etc. The result will be a unique infloor cleaning system designed to clean the specific pool.
The heads located in the floor of the pool fire at different intervals, controlled by a mechanical watervale and gear head. The system pictured is a “9 port” system so there will be 9 different cleaning zones in the pool. They fire in such a sequence so as to push all the floor waste to the safety suction shown at the deepest point of the pool.
To get a more complete picture of WHAT the system is and how it works please watch the video from Paramount.
As the infloor cleaning system in built into the concrete structure it is imperative that the system be installed at the construction stage. The system can be added to a pool renovation, or retro fitted, but the cost associated with demolishing large sections of the existing structure, and subsequent repairs may make the system cost prohibitive. If, as a client, i could not afford the complete infloor cleaning system i would still look at installing the components into the concrete shell for a subsequent installation of the remaining equipment at a later stage.
Discussed in the “What” section and clearly explained in the paramount video…There is a lot of reasons to install the system.
First and formost is the convenience and luxury of not having to do time consuming pool maintanance. The pool will look good and be swim ready at all times by cleaning itself.
The pool will use less chemical as the improved water circulation will aid in more efficient sanitation.
The pool will heat more evenly heated reducing heating costs.
Evaporation cause by temperature differences within the body of water will be reduced.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG:
The infloor cleaning system is designed in America and all hardware is supplied as part of the system. The key area where there could be issues is in regards to POOR INSTALLATION, and unfortunately it happens.
The flow that comes out of each nozzle is controlled by the water pressure delivered to each head. It is critical that the below shell plumbing design and installation is completed by an experienced pool plumber. The Plumbing has to be installed in such a way as to ensure even flow through each nozzle or some nozzels may return large amounts of water , and some very little or even none. It is important that the infloor cleaning is installed prior to any steel works so that the best under floor plumbing design can be set up to ensure even flow to all nozzles.
It is important that the right sized pump is used to mazimise the efectiveness of the infloor cleaning system. A pump that is too small will not deliver the required water pressure to each nozzel and there may also be insufficient suction to remove the debris at the main drain collection point.
Safety compliant plumbing:
It is important that the system is installed as per manufacturer recommendations as poorly installed main-drains and safety suction breakers can pose a very real risk of entrapment and even death by drowning.. This may sound serious..and it is…
It is important that all pipe work is buried deep enough under the pool shell to ensure the nozzles can recess back into the pool floor. We have seen pools where the elbows are too close to the surface and the nozzle remain proud of the internal finish, unable to fully with draw back into its body. Not a good look.
It is important that the infloor cleaning system is installed with great care by an experience and licensed installer. As it is installed below the concrete pool floor the plumbing has to last as long as the pool so every join and glued fitting must be of the highest integrity.
Often a pool builder may be licensed to install the product, but they may then subcontract out the critical installation to an unlicensed sub contract pool plumber. Check with your pool builder to ensure they are licensed to install the product and that they are installing the below ground plumbing works in house.
The addition of an infloor cleaning system can add anywhere from $7000 to $20,000 to the cost of the swimming pool. The price is dependent on the pool design and the requirements of the system. A complex pool and spa with balance tanks, weirs and spa that all require cleaning will cost a lot more that a simple 6 x 3 meter rectangular pool.
An infloor cleaning system is fast becoming a standard inclusion in most high end concrete swimming pools . As it is an item that cant be added later it is important to consider the inclusion very carefully during the pool design and quotation stage.
I would compare it to air conditioning in cars , where as air conditioning use to be an extra or option when buying a new car , it is now a standard inclusion as the value of the systems far outways the inconvenience of not having it. In my opinion unless you really enjoy pool maintenance, which most people don’t, and if you want your pool to be seen as a value adding item to you property i would install an infloor cleaning system over any other pool option.