Dedicated lines require a bit of swimming pool evolution history. In the 1960s, swimming pools used whips attached to the side of the pool to stir up the dirt so it could be sucked away.
In the ’70s, pressure side cleaners that work off water pressure were added and often required a second pump and motor to drive the cleaners.
In the ’80s, suction side cleaners came on the market. These required only a single hole in the pool (on the deck where the skimmer basket is). However, the cleaner didn’t require all the suction the pump was generating and it required a diverter valve so the pump wasn’t starving for water. Then came the vac-mate that went into the skimmer to help split the skimmer regulate water flow to pump.
In the ’90s, pool builders added a second line for the cleaning system to improve the cleaning ability.
But all these fancy new things caused a problem. When you hook a suction cleaner into skimmer, you are generally taking a 2-inch hose down to a ¾ inch pipe (on older pools). So the pump is starved for water and begins to cavitate. The analogy is to plug your nose and breathe through a straw. You’ll find your body shaking in an attempt to get enough air into your lungs. The same thing happens to your pool pump when it is shorted on water. The pump works extra hard and wears out sooner. The process also tends to create a lot of air in the system making the suction cleaner and pump less efficient. A subtle side effect is that you are circulating less water in the same amount time as a more efficient pump. All these problems together generally mean your pool is less clean that it could be.
When Pool People remodels swimming pools, we almost always suggest a separate dedicated line in the middle wall of the swimming pool. It should run directly to the pump — making the pipe size match the suction cleaner hose size, thus getting rid of the problem of cavitation.
If you have questions about your dedicated lines, feel free to contact Pool People in Glendale, Arizona. We’ll be happy to come out and take a look at your setup and let you know if your pool is running as efficiently as possible. Pool People provides regular pool and spa cleaning, pool and spa maintenance, pool remodeling, pool and spa repairs, as well as tile cleaning for residents of the Northwest Valley in Phoenix. We also have a fully stocked pool store at 5830 W. Thunderbird Rd., Suite B-6, Glendale, AZ.