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13 Problems with Suction Auto Pool Cleaners

A suction pool cleaner is an auto pool cleaner that conveniently cleans your swimming pool. This type of cleaner utilizes the power of your pool’s pump to help remove dirt and debris at the bottom of your pool. Though this type of cleaner requires little intervention on the part of the operator, things can go wrong. 

Take a look at these 13 common problems that can go wrong with suction pool cleaners:

#1-Your Suction Pool Cleaner Is Not Moving

First, if you find your pool cleaner not moving, check the cleaner’s hose to make certain it is strongly affixed to the suction-line in the skimmer.

Additionally, if you find your pool vacuum not moving, check the hose segments to make certain there are no air-leaks where the hose sections meet together.

You might want to check the diaphragm (inside your pool cleaner) for stretching or tears, or for blockages. 

#2-Your Cleaner Is Too Slow

Most likely, the key reason is a congested pool filter, skimmer-basket, or a clog at the intake-hole at the base of your pool cleaner. Cleaning the intake hole requires flipping the cleaner over underwater and looking down into it. 

Additionally, you should make certain that there are no obstacles in the hose and that all hose links are firm and secure.

Afterwards, you can clean your pool filter, pump basket, and skimmer basket. 

#3-Your Cleaner Is Too Fast

If you own a particularly powerful pool pump or your water-flow is really fast, your cleaner will probably move faster than normal.

Many suction pool cleaners include a speed-control valve in the skimmer that permits you to manage the flow. Make adjustments to the pressure and retest. 

#4-Your Cleaner Is Not Covering The Entire Pool 

This may seem complex but the way out may be as easy as checking the hose length. If the suction hose is too short, add additional length.

Moreover, you can also try exchanging the end-sections of the hose around making certain you exchange the hose weight simultaneously. 

Modifications to the path of the return jets in your pool may also influence coverage. If return flow or hose length is not the issue, check your owner’s manual for mild modifications to the hose or cleaner. 

Some pool cleaners are unable to clean the entire pool or continually miss spots due to design limitations. 

#5-Air Bubbles Are Appearing At The Return Line 

This could be caused by air-leaks in the hose or connections. Ill-fitting connections, or a punctured hose, will cause air leakage into the system creating bubbles at the return wall-fitting. 

Other things you can do:
– Check the hose and vacuum connections for air leaks
– Tighten the vacuum connection 
– For hose leaks, replace the faulty section of the hose
– Disconnect the cleaner to exclude air-leaks that might be apparent at another spot in the filter system then check again. If the air leaks disappear, then it’s the pool cleaner that is the issue. If they are still present, then you have a leak elsewhere.

#6-You Have Hose Problems

Pool Accessories

If the hose has a tendency of getting too tangled when you vacuum your pool, it’s probably a consequence of incorrect storage. For example, if the hose was not properly wrapped while hanging on a storage rack, the plastic will stay in that position. 

To remedy the situation, lay the vacuum hose outside during hot weather and try to manipulate the hose to make it straight as possible.

This may take a several days. Nonetheless, after several tries, the hose should bounce back to a straight and agreeable position. 

#7-The Bottom Of The Pool Is Not Getting Cleaned

If your suction pool cleaner is moving at the right speed and in unsystematic directions, but still cleaning the pool bottom, it could be worn or damaged brushes, or suction-vents at the bottom of the cleaner.

It’s not uncommon for these parts to wear-out and need replacing periodically. Therefore, if your pool bottom looks grimy, change the suction vents and brushes before doing anything else. 

#8-System Doesn’t Come Up To Pressure

Here are a few reasons this might happen:

-Motor and power are not matched. Motor will operate but will sound unusual, if it ever starts, and won’t pump close to the flow 
-Suction is leaking somewhere in plumbing or perhaps the central pump gasket
-Possible obstruction restricting pump from building-up flow. Check for any partial obstructions downstream 
-Make certain you have the right size motor and impeller
-You have a water leak 
-Your filter may need cleaning (which will cause high pressure) 

#9-Your Suction Side Pool Cleaner Gets Filled With Leaves

Some auto pool cleaners, particulary suction cleaners aren’t suitable for large leaves and debris. You may want to consider a pressure cleaner or robotic cleaner.

#10-The Automatic Bypass Valve Has Popped

-Something may be stuck beneath the pool cleaner. Turn off your pump and remove blockage.
-An obstruction is somewhere in the system. 

You can:
. clean and backwash the filter
. clean the pump basket 
. make certain the vacuum-hose is free from leaks and debris
. check pump impeller for blockage

#11-Your Pool Cleaner Won’t Climb The Wall

The float position may need modification:

On the whole, make certain the float is 60cm (24”) away from pool cleaner. However, you may need to modify it by winding the float away to allow climbing. 

Other issues may be the cause as well, such as:
. too shallow water
. hoses are too short 
. some suction cleaners are not designed to climb walls

#12-The Suction Pool Cleaner Climbs Out or Climbs The Wall Too Much

– Adjust the pressure regulator
-The tire-treads or skirts may be worn; thereby, increasing the suction beneath the machine. The best remedy is to replace the tires or skirts
-The pool cleaner may not be rotating enough. Make certain that your pool cleaner is the proper size for your pool. 

#13-Your Auto Pool Cleaner/Suction Pool Cleaner Floats Above The Pool Floor

The cleaner should be heavier than the water and not float:
. Make certain that all the air was eradicated from the cleaner-head and hoses during the installation
. Make certain the hose reaches as far as the furthest point in the pool
. Make sure the return-jets are not distressing the cleaner hose or cleaner

Get More From Your Pool By Understanding How Your Pool Cleaner Operates

Understanding how your suction pool cleaner operates and the common problems that can occur will help you to ensure that your auto pool cleaner is operating at 100%. 

Consult the “troubleshooting guide” that normally accompanies the owner’s manual to guide you. By learning your pool cleaner’s ins-and-outs, you will enjoy it for much longer in a safer environment.

We would love to hear about your experiences with suction pool cleaners. Please leave your comments below and share the article with anyone you think may be interested.

Related Reading: 7 Problems With Pool Pressure Cleaners

Recommended Products

Suction Swimming Pool Cleaner

Robotic Swimming Pool Cleaner

Are you interested in reducing your pool running costs? You might like to read our article 25 Ways to Reduce Your Pool Running Costs.

swimming in the pool

62 thoughts on “13 Problems with Suction Auto Pool Cleaners”

  1. My Kreepy refuses to leave the back of the pool. It goes from corner to corner. If you guide it down to the front of the pool it will stay for about 10 minutes the high tail it back to the back again and there it stays.

  2. We have a pulse automatic pool cleaner it is sucking air through the regulator valve how can I address the problem. can this cause damage to the pool pump

  3. My Zodiac T3 pool cleaner gets seeds from overhanging palms stuck in its throat (sides of the diaphragm)
    l have to stop the machine and clear them out before it will continue its cleaning function
    I have tried installing a stainless steel mesh filter but that only needs a few leaves before that causes the cleaner to stop as well
    Any suggestions ?

  4. My automatic pool cleaner is not moving for more than a week , I can see some bubbles in the pool .I back washed , emptied filters but still no change. Please I need your help .

  5. I just bought a Zodiac G3 and I can’t get my skimmer pressure above 1 (1-5 pressure gauge). Filter psi is at 15 and I have a brand new pump. Baskets clean. Only one skimmer and one drain. I tried to turn the drain valve off but this always stops the return flow so it’s not possible. Any suggestions?

    • You should have a flow control valve or speed control valve for your suction pool cleaner. Try adjusting this. Also, you need to make sure you have no air inside the hose and you have no air leaks at the fittings. Also you should make sure any water features have been turned off.

  6. I have a fiberglass pool and the rubber of the pool cleaner foot is deteriorating and sticking to the bottom of the pool floor. Why does this happen and how can I get this off the pool

  7. I am new to a pool but I bought a automatic vaccuum and the suction is great but it’s not pulsing or moving around. I don’t know what to do.

  8. I have a problem; when motor stops, it sends lot of water back to suction side, which disconnects the vacuum head\pipe. It start happening recently. I wonder if any valve is stop working. any body has any idea.
    Thanks in advance..

  9. I have a in floor cleaning pool and want to purchase a auto cleaner but worried about it getting stuck on the pop up jets . Which one should I purchase any recommendations ?

  10. Hi can you help, my pool runs ok. But when I put my creepy on, I get air bubbles in my leaf collecter then the water starts to go down in there. So I have to turn the creepy of. For about one hour. Then start again. Thank you.

  11. I figured out the problem, mine was losing momentum after a minute or so. So I took it apart and looked at the diaphram, it was perfect.

    I have noticed it happens water the water is coldest. So I stuck my hand at the part that the hose plugs in and manually closed the Zodiac g3 bypass valve. Immediately it came to life. I pulled the bypass out and put it on its stiffest setting and it worked better for a minute and then lost power. So I took it out and backed up the two springs with some thick rubber bands and put it back together just to see if the extra tension would help. It went crazy fast and vibrated harder than ever. I backed off the tension by removing one of the thick rubber bands and put it back together. Work perfect now. I think the bypass springs loose tension over time and cause the bypass to remain open too much. I will order some in the morning but for now the rubber band is working.

  12. The entry gate on my creepy krauly is not quite big enough to let palm seeds through, so the kreepy stops .. then starts again when you remove the jammed seed. Is there a way to slightly widen the entry so that the seeds will go straight through?

  13. I have The Pool Cleaner; it is an older unit, but it works well. The problem is that the cleaner gets hung up on the hose and stays there. Is there a hose problem, or hose weight(s) problem or both?

    • Did you fix this problem? My pool cleaner has been operating fine for years and just started getting stuck on the hose. Replaced tires and all seems to work fine other than getting stuck on the hose. I wonder if the hose is getting old and sinking. My floats near the cleaner is still effective but the center of the hose seems to sink.

  14. I have an Aquasphere which has worked really well and the pool has been pristine all winter. Now all of a sudden it has stopped sucking. I bought a new diaphram and replaced it. Checked the hose for leaks and found a possible drip in 4 of them so replaced them. Back washed and rinsed. Nothing works.

  15. HI

    When i connect my Kreep Krauly the water level in the pump starts to drop and eventually over a few minutes it below the required level to pump.

    It is a new pump
    i have done open backwashes and cleaned out all the scum in the pool filter
    i have replaced the sand
    there are no air bubbles coming out of the inlet jets
    there is no air leaks that i can see on any of the pipes by the pump
    the pump works perfectly when nothing is connected.
    Can anyone help with this issue, its driving me crazy, ive tried everything i can think of.


  16. I have an aquasphere and the skirt got really sticky and has left residue in the pool. I cleaned the unit and bought a new skirt. I week later all sticky again. Any thoughts as to why and how to stop it? It is a salt water above ground vinyl pool.

  17. I have a new suction pool cleaner that climb the wall it look like the one at the top of this page ..But I have a foot rig on the side of the wall all around the pool wall & a place where u could sit on the side wall but the pool suction does go to the top of the water line ..Does any cleaner do ?

  18. Hi have a creepy that works perfectly for about 10 minutes. Then stops working even though the suction is perfect. I then backwash and rinse. I then put it back on filter and it works again for about 10 minutes and then stops again. Any ideas?

  19. My zodic lifts on onside and does not clean the whole pool. I have changed the sand and swapped pipes checked inside all the pipes to make sure they are clean. What else could i do

  20. My G2 worked fine but since replacing the diaphragm will not longer stick t the floor, If I reset it flat on the floor it works ok for a short while but after about 30 secs or so it will stop moving as one end of the G2 will lift off the floor therefor because it isn’t in contact with the floor, it doesn’t work and will not move or clean. I added a weight to it without success. Any advice would be greatful

  21. I recently had my pool completely redone, all new plumbing, tile, concrete the works.. they added several more returns in the pool which create great circulation on the top of the pool. we adjusted the suction for the barracuda and everything was working fine, then all of a sudden the vacuum line has lost most of the suction, the skimmer has plenty of suction, in fat that has not changed at all. But there is not enough suction to make the barracuda work from the wall mounted vacuum connection. if you cover it with your hand the pressure will build up and almost take your skin off but once released it barley sucks. We have been connecting the vacuum into the skimmer and it works fine… we have trouble shot about everything a this point.. No air bubbles, no problem with the pump, valve in good working order, nothing clogged.. totally stumped!

  22. Dominator either stays on the bottom or climbs out to suck the whole system dry. I have tried everything. Pls help or organize that i can replace all the customers dominators with something that works or refund them. Surely you must test these cleaners before manufacturing them?

    • Hi

      I to have a dominator. the first day i put it in my pool i was so impressed it cleaned the pool in under 2 hours, walls and all. now one year later it cannot even go up up the curve before the wall starts, gets stuck in places and stays there until i pull on the pipes, stands sometimes in the middle of the pool and rotates like its not show where to go.
      I have tried everything, new filter sand, moving the pipe weight up and down, new hoses but nothing helps. When i connect the pressure testing valve it shows perfevt suction pressure.
      What the can i do KREEPY KRAUALY

    • I have this problem also. Have i reconnect each day and if i am home and see it i have to reconnect during the cycle. Does the nut need to be replaced?

  23. I have a zodaic G3 and the head keeps coming loose,i often find it at the bottom of the pool and the hose in mid water wht is this ,it is screwed on tight every time!

  24. I have a Kreepy Krauly, which the Automatic regulator valve pops apart almost daily, rendering it useless… Is this by design, or a broken part?

  25. I have a brand new hayward automatic pool cleaner and when it stays to the bottom of the pool it cleans perfectly but atter a pass or two it suddenly starts to float about a foot from the surface. I have turned it every direction under the water to ensure that there is no air in it and also triple checked the hoses as well. Any ideas what could be making it not stay on the pool floor? I am beginning to wonder if the pool has liquid helium in it…jk

    • Just bought Kreepy Krauly Sprinter plus that does the same. Did you ever get an answer for your machine. Doesnt seem to be a problem anyone else has

  26. I recently purchased a Dominator. It works very well but often sucks in air at the top of the pool. What can I do to avoid this happening?

  27. My Barracuda Zodiac pool cleaner has all of a sudden starting climbing right to the top of the side wall and then sucks in air. Also it refuses to sit flush on the pool bottom and bit of the pad is angled up. Sometimes even sits at ninty degrees. Even when I disconnect the cleaner it does not sit flush on the bottom.
    Suction is strong, filter is spotless, diaphragm checked, nothing visible brocken, no air in the system, all I did was replace two sections of hose!

  28. I changed my kreepy krauly to the zodiac me as the krauly did not move at all, but the zodiac doesn’t move either. We cleaned every possible part even changed the sand. I can feel suction on the pipes but as soon as I connect the kreepy or zodiac foot nothing happens.
    Any advice please?

  29. If your Hoses get Tangled on your pool vacuum cleaner and you are using the 1 m sectional joiner hoses.
    Just apply small amount of vaseline on each connection of hose and then the hose will spin freely twisting and turning and not get tangled up when working

  30. I have “the pool cleaner” and just bought an automatic bypass valve. I tested by blocking the suction on my cleaner but the valve never popped. Am I doing this wrong?

  31. I have an older kreepy krauly that wants to keep going to the right and gets stuck against the wall edges??? Please help . thanks . this just started this season.

    • Hi I have similar problems as lorne with an old keeps krauly (don’t know which model) it gets stuck over the main drain! I have checked the vacuum business end and seems to be ok apart from scale build up which I cleaned but problem still occurring started happening end of last season have only just moved into house and inherited a few problems would be nice to not have an expensive fix for this so I’m ready for new season.
      Please any help would be appreciated.
      Thanks in advance!!

    • It could be a number of things. That model may not be designed to climb. The pool surface may be a problem or there could be something wrong with the unit itself.

  32. I have a zodiac b3 automatic pool cleaner, which normally moves around the pool in a heart-beat motion. but now, it moves around vibrating continuously. This means it moves around very slow. When I pick up the zodiac to check it starts heart-beating again, but on release it is back to vibrating continuously.
    Any handy tips?

    • It could be a number of things. I firstly suggest you check the diaphragm for blockage, damage or wear. Backwash your filter and empty pump and skimmer baskets. Check for air in system or a hose leak. Try these things first and see how you go.

    • Same thing, mine worked fine (for 2 years) until a split occurred – hence replaced the split diaphragm (brand new one) and checked all pressure etc and all perfect.
      Replace back in pool and unit works for about 30 seconds then stops – other than the shuddering you have advised. A closer inspection indicates that the diaphragm is not pulsing as it should and hence no forward movement.

      • Same issue as ANONYMOUS. I quick jolt on the hose gets it stated again…for about 4 metres, then stops again. Until I replaced the first diaphragm I had no issues for 2 years. Has the design or diaphragm flexibility changed since 2013?

      • Exactly the same has been happening to me after two years- what did you end up doing to resolve the issue – so far I have replaced hose, filtering unit and now about to go crazy – shall I just go and buy a kreepy krauly and ditch the zodia

        • Hi Sherrie, still not fixed. Mine is a Zodiac T3. Have just come back from the pool shop Zodiac repair agent who pulled it apart and could find no issues…other than to say these issues are not uncommon with Zodiac.

        • Depending on the model it will be different thing but they are all in the same area, the engine. The diaphragm is in the engine. It will most likely be the parts that the diaphragm goes into. I think one part is called the lower extension tube. If not it could be the ring that locks onto the inner extension tube. A T3, T5, X7 have the lower tube causing the grief. A G2 and similar models like the G3, G4 it is the ring that locks onto the inner extension tube.


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