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Even the best robotic pool cleaner has its bad days. It might get stuck in one spot, refuse to go up the walls or fail to start at all.
Before you call in a professional or get an expensive replacement, it’s a good idea to check whether it is a simple problem that you can fix yourself.
But be careful if your robotic pool cleaner is still under the warranty period. I recommend calling the manufacturer’s customer support first before doing anything.
Otherwise, here are some possible solutions you can try to common robotic pool cleaner problems.
First, Check The Manual
The cleaner’s product manual contains plenty of tips and advice on maintaining your pool cleaner. It should be your first stop when your unit acts up.
You will most likely find a handy troubleshooting section that can give you an idea of what the problem is and how to solve it.
You should also check the manufacturer’s website for any additional resources for that specific pool cleaner.
If you can’t find a solution, use the following general troubleshooting guide for robotic pool cleaners.
1. Robotic cleaner not starting
You place the unit in the pool but it just stays there with no indication of life.
The first thing to check is the power connection. Robotic pool cleaners need to be connected to a power unit which is then connected to an outlet.
Make sure you have pressed the power button on the power unit. Also make sure there is power coming to the power unit. There could be a lose connection between the main power unit and the outlet in your house.
If the power unit is indicating that it’s on, check that the connection between the power unit and the robotic cleaner is okay. Maybe the power unit is too far away and the line has become lose or there is an electrical problem. If you think it’s the latter, call customer support or a pro.
You can also try reconnecting everything and see whether it solves the problem. Most manuals will recommend you turn power off for 30 seconds and then turn it on again.
2. Robotic cleaner not moving
The cleaner comes on, so there is no connection issue, but it doesn’t move. It just stays in one spot.
First check that the cable is not in the way of the wheels or tracks. Tangling is a common problem in non-swivel cables.
If the cord is okay, it could be a mechanical problem inside the cleaner. It could be an issue with the motor, tracks, belts or one of the many parts involved in a pool cleaner’s movement. In many cases, you have to replace the affected part.
Contact the manufacturer for replacement advice.
Important: Modern robotic pool cleaners have pool scanning software. They’ll spend the first few seconds in the pool scanning the layout and determine the best cleaning path. So if you notice an initial lack of movement, it could be the cleaner ‘thinking’. But this should only last a few seconds and only the first 2-3 times you use a cleaner. If it stays dormant for minutes, that’s a problem.
3. Robotic cleaner moves for a while then stops
This is one of the most common and frustrating problems. The cleaner appears to be working fine for a while but then stalls without warning. You often have to babysit it to make sure it finishes cleaning.
Check that it is not a mechanical problem with the motor, pump or wheels.
Make sure the cord is not tangled around any part of the cleaner. This is a common issue for many pool cleaners. I recommend you buy a pool cleaner with a 360-degree swivel cord.
It could also be that your cleaner is having trouble moving over certain areas of the pool such as the drains or corners. Check whether it keeps getting stuck in the same place over and over. If it does, the only solution is to get a more capable pool cleaner.
Finally, make sure it’s not the scanning software doing its ‘thinking’. Some cleaners will occasionally hesitate to scan their environment and calculate the best cleaning strategy. Give the cleaner a minute to see if it starts moving again.
If all else fails, switch off the power to the cleaner, wait 30 seconds and switch it on again.
4. Robotic cleaner leaves some areas untouched
You have set the cleaner on a 2-hour cycle but when you come back, some parts of the pool are still dirty.
Make sure the cord has enough slack. It needs to be long enough that the cleaner can easily reach every section of the pool.
If the cord is alright, perhaps it’s the filter cartridges that are full and need to be emptied.
Also check whether the problem is with the scrubbing brushes. Perhaps they are not moving because of an obstruction. They could also be worn out and need replacement.
5. Robotic cleaner does not climb walls
Your pool cleaner fails to climb up the swimming pool walls. Maybe it stops at the base or climbs a little and then returns to the floor.
Make sure the pump is working properly. Open the unit and check that the impeller fan is not obstructed. Also check that the drive belts and wheels are not worn out.
One other common reason for this problem is overly slippery walls caused by too much algae growth. This could be because of unbalanced chemical levels or staying too long without cleaning the pool.
Scrub the walls, add the right amount of chemicals and try again.