What is a Pool Sweep and How Do You Maintain It?

You can't enjoy your pool if it's dirty. No matter the type of pool sweep or pool vacuum you have, AHS has tips to keep it working so you can enjoy the pool.

Pool sweep maintenance

Pool sweeps basically work like vacuum cleaners, only underwater. They roam your pool removing debris, saving you the time and effort of doing the job by hand.

Sweeping your pool is an important part of pool maintenance. Clearing foreign material from your pool keeps the water nice and inviting. Moreover, by eliminating the leaves and twigs they like to feed on, sweeping reduces the number of insects who'd like to use your pool.

Types of pool sweeps

Homeowners rely upon three basic types of pool vacuums to keep their pools clean.

  1. Suction side vacuum system: This system uses your pool’s pump and filtration system. The sweep attaches to a suction port that pulls water from your pool and filters it. The suction from the pump enables your sweep to move around the pool collecting debris.
  2. Pressure side pool sweep: Pressure sweeps operate on the pressure side of the filter pump. They are powered by water being pushed to the cleaner, usually by a separate booster pump. This type works best for pools that are more likely to catch (and contain) large debris.
  3. Robotic pool sweep: These self-contained systems run on electricity rather than water pressure. The self-propelled unit sucks up debris as it scrubs your pool’s hard surfaces. These robotic models also filter the water, giving you the option of saving energy (and money) by switching off your pool’s filter system for the duration of the sweep’s cleaning cycle.

Whatever type of sweep you choose, proper maintenance is essential. These pool sweep maintenance tips will help keep your unit operating efficiently.

Suction sweeps

  • With every installation, start with a clean filter.
  • If you are reactivating your sweep after some time off, perform a flush of your plumbing lines.
  • Make sure the sweep is disconnected from the pump (or pool wall) before cleaning its filter.
  • After cleaning or backwashing the filter, let the filtration system run for at least five minutes. This will ensure that the plumbing lines are thoroughly flushed.
  • Always remove the sweep from the water before adding pool chemicals.
  • To reduce the risk of accidents caused by suction trapment, install approved back lock fittings on all the suction installations along your pool’s wall.
  • Always remove the sweep from the pool before allowing swimmers to enter the water.
  • For off-season storage, shut off the pool pump, remove the sweep from the water, drain it and disconnect all hose sections. Store the unit (including its hoses) in a dry, covered location.

Pressure sweeps

  • Maintenance for pressure sweeps is virtually identical to the maintenance recommended for suction sweeps, with one major exception. 
  • These units use a filter bag to collect debris. Never let the filter bag fill completely. As soon as debris fills the filter bag to roughly half its capacity, empty it.
  • Keep the inline filter screen clean.
  • Follow the same procedures for off-season storage as you would for a suction sweep.

Robotic sweeps

  • Always disconnect the unit’s power source before removing it from the pool.
  • Once removed, drain the sweep completely.
  • Regularly empty and clean the unit’s filter element.
  • For off-season storage, secure the unit and its electric cord on its manufacturer-supplied caddy. Store the unit in a dry, covered location.

By following these basic maintenance steps, you’ll extend the life of your sweeper — and make sure your pool is ready for some summer fun. And to make having a swimming pool even less stressful, American Home Shield offers optional protection for pools and in-ground spas.


AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.