Robotic pool cleaners are expensive, in fact, they are probably the most expensive of all the swimming pool cleaning equipment you are likely to own. So it is important to know how best to look after it properly and whether it can just be left in the pool.
Most manufacturers of robotic pool cleaners do not recommend that they are left in the pool for long periods. If going on vacation it can be left in if it has a weekly timer function while you are away (assuming that the power supply is protected against possible rain).
I have noticed on the pool forums that while many pool owners leave their robot pool cleaners in their swimming pool for much of the time, most pool owners remove them from the pool water between cleaning cycles. In my view that is the sensible option.
How long can you leave a robotic pool cleaner in the pool?
Although robotic pool cleaners are obviously designed to spend a good deal of time in the water, most manufacturers do not recommend leaving them in the pool permanently.
Maytronics, who manufacture the very popular range of Dolphin pool cleaners, state the following:
“Although it is safe to leave your Dolphin cleaner in the water when not in use, we do not recommend leaving the Dolphin in the pool for extended periods; remove the Dolphin when adding chemicals to the pool until proper chlorine PH and salinity balances are achieved.”Maytronics.com
Taking the robotic cleaner out of the pool when it finishes its cleaning cycle, cleaning the filter and storing it away from direct sunshine will, without doubt, extend its working life.
If you have a cleaner with one of the weekly timers function built-in, and you are going away on vacation for a week or two then it will do it no harm to leave it in the pool while you are away to keep the pool clean. You should ensure that the power supply (the transformer) is not in a position where it may get wet should there be rain while you are away.
Pros and cons of leaving robot pool cleaners in the pool
There are certainly more cons than pros!
If your robot pool cleaner has a weekly timer function to automatically schedule when it should clean then the only way this can happen is if you leave it in the pool with the power still attached. Not every robotic cleaner has this feature though.
- You need to remove the robotic cleaner from the pool in order to empty and clean the filter. Ideally this should be done after every cleaning cycle so why put it straight back in the pool afterwards. If you leave the cleaner in permanently then this task is likely to be forgotten so the filter may become clogged and less effective.
- If you use a swimming pool cover to keep the heat in your pool then if you leave the cleaner in the pool while this is on and the cleaning cycle begins there is a chance that when the pool cleaner climbs the pool wall to the pool surface and cleans the waterline this may damage the solar pool cover or even the pool cleaner iteslf.
- If robotic pool cleaners are left in a pool constantly then there could be a possible safety issue when swimming, particularly if the power cord is floating across much of the pool which may get tangled with a swimmer.
- Although they are designed to spend much of their time in pool water, the chemicals in the water are likley over time to corrode parts of robotic cleaners, particularly if the chemicals become out of balance.
If you don’t leave it in the pool where should you keep it?
You may have a cart that the robot pool cleaner sits on that enables you to wheel it around and also to wind up the cable and store that too.
Whether you have one of these or not, ideally you should store your pool cleaner in a shady spot away from direct sun as UV light is never good for any plastic item.
In order to prevent the electrical connection from getting wet then undercover in a shed or a pool house would be ideal.
Pool Maintenance Course
When I first bought my house with a swimming pool, I knew nothing about cleaning and maintaining it. I was recommended Swim University’s Pool Care Handbook and video course so I bought it and have never regretted it.
It was probably the best money I spent that year as I have saved thousands by doing it myself.
What I do with my robotic pool cleaner
Although I may not take my Dolphin pool cleaner out of the pool immediately after it finishes cleaning, and I sometimes forget it and leave it in overnight, I always remove it within 24 hours.
Then I perform the following quick tasks which I believe will extend the life of my Dolphin:
- I take out and clean the filter using a hose to to remove all of the large and small debris
- I use the hose to rinse off the pool water from the cleaner itself
- I coil up the power cable
- I put the cleaner in a small storage unit I have located under cover close to my pool.
Can you swim with a robotic pool cleaner in the pool?
You can swim with the pool cleaner still in the pool. However, I wouldn’t recommend swimming while it is cleaning and Maytronics does not recommend swimming while a Dolphin cleaner is working either.
Apart from potential safety concerns, when you swim you will inevitably stir up any dirt, debris and dust there may be on the bottom of the pool. This will then remain suspended in the water for quite a while before resettling on the pool floor.
While a robotic pool cleaner removes much of the debris in a pool from the bottom, sides and the waterline, it does not remove debris that is suspended in the water. This means that any dirt that you disturb will resettle on the bottom later, after the robotic cleaner has finished its cleaning cycle, so you will have to clean again.
Are robotic pool cleaners safe?
Many people worry about the possible dangers of electrocution when using or swimming with a robotic cleaner in the pool. Although a robot pool cleaner is powered by mains electricity (110v or 220v) it passes through a transformer which reduces this to just 24v before powering the cleaner.
Maytonics state the following:
“The power supply unit (22 to 29V) sends a low voltage current. There is no major risk of electrocution. Make sure that the electrical outlet is protected by an earth leakage circuit breaker or an earth leakage switch.
Make sure that the power supply unit is always positioned at least 12ft (3.5m) from the pool. Keep the power supply away from any stagnant water.”
My top 3 pool cleaning tools
These are the pool cleaning tools I have found the most useful since I have had my pool.
Step and corner vacuum brush
This is a really useful tool for getting into the areas that a standard vacuum head simply cannot reach. Aquatix Pro Pool Step & Corner Vacuum Brush
Leaf rake net
If, like me, you get plenty of leaves at the bottom of your pool then a good leaf rake/net is a must. The Stargoods Pool Skimmer Net gets under the leaves easily.
Robotic pool cleaner
These are quite expensive and it was a number of years before I bit the bullet and bought one. I have never regretted it. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is the most recommended pool cleaning robot on all of the pool forums. It not only cleans the bottom of the pool but also the sides and the waterline.
Can you leave a robotic pool cleaner in the pool overnight?
Although it is not recommended to leave robotic pool cleaners in a pool permanently, leaving one in a pool overnight will do it no harm at all.
What is the difference between an automatic pool cleaner and a robot pool cleaner?
Automatic pool cleaners are generally either a suction side cleaner or a pressure side cleaner, both of which use the swimming pool filtration system as a means of power. Robotic cleaners are electrically powered and operate completely indepèndantly from the swimming pool filtration system.
Can you use a robotic pool cleaner on a vinyl pool?
Robotic pool cleaners are perfectly safe to use if you have a pool with a vinyl liner. They will do no damage at all.