Before I go and spend a few hundred dollars I would like a sanity check from folks who know about pools and relevant hardware.
1. I currently have a standard 15 x 32 pool built in 1960.
2. The pool is located in Chatsworth, California -- a region near the foothills that is notorious for high winds. The winds tend to blow a lot of leaves into the pool.
3. I installed a Pentair Rebel suction-side automatic pool cleaner because (a) the leaves build up rapidly after a week of blowing winds, and (b) I don’t like running the manual pool cleaner once a week.
4. The impact of a large amount of leaves on the system is two-fold: (a) the pressure drops to near zero psi, and (b) some of the leaves cross the strainer barrier and get entangled in the pump impeller. The clogged motor makes characteristic screaming sounds and then I get to dismantle the pump and clean out the leaves from the pump motor shaft.
5. I read on a forum like this that the solution is a leaf filter. I tried the Zodiac Cyclonic Leaf Canister, but sent it back because it leaked and would not stay under water. I have had better luck with the Pentair Clear Leaf Trap. It comes with a mesh filter of about 15 threads/inch. This is ok but maybe it is too fine a mesh.
6. With the leaf filter in place the system keeps a very clean pool. However, it comes at a price of efficiency. I have to leave the variable speed pump motor on maximum all the time to get the pool cleaner and leaf filter to work properly.
7. I did some tests to verify the pressures:
- 12 PSI No pool cleaner
- 5.0 PSI 30 feet of 1.5-inch suction line (no attachments)
- 5.0 PSI 30 feet of line with leaf filter (no Rebel)
- 5.0 PSI 30 feet of line with Rebel (no leaf filter)
- 4.5 PSI 30 feet of line with leaf filter and Rebel
From these tests I conclude that the pool cleaner is causing the pool filtration to run at very low efficiency. I need to somehow disconnect the pool cleaner function from the pool filtration function. So here is the proposal
1. Restore the pool filtration to the original mode of operation making efficient use of the variable speed pump motor. In the summer the variable speed pump is set to run 4 hours at max, 6 hours at minimum, and 2 hours at max. In the winter, cut back on the 6 hours (minimum speed) to 2 hours.
2. Buy a 0.75HP single-speed pump and dedicate it to the pool cleaner. No filtration tank. Just 30 feet of 1.5-inch lightweight suction hose, the leaf filter, and the Rebel pool cleaner. Run it 2 to 6 hours per day depending on the wind-driven leaf build-up.
3. Install check valves to isolate the two pumps.
Is there a better way of accomplishing this or is this an acceptable approach. Thank in advance