Why is My Pool Vacuum Not Moving? (Troubleshooting Guide)

Having a beautiful pool is a great way to elevate your home and have easy fun in the summer. The only downside is constantly cleaning it! This can get even more frustrating when the automatic pool cleaner breaks. There are several different types of pool vacuums, all with different problems that could keep the vacuum from working.

The most common issue for stagnant pool vacuums is clogged filters or pipes. If your pool vacuum is old, there could be issues with the inner motor or tubing systems. More severe problems include electrical malfunctions with the vacuum’s power. Luckily, most pool vacuum issues can be fixed on your own!

Using a pool vacuum allows you to spend more time enjoying the pool than cleaning it! They do not require you to constantly use a net, and you can still use the pool as it cleans itself. If you are having issues with your pool vacuum, there are a lot of possibilities for the source of the issue. Follow along with this article, and you will learn how to troubleshoot your pool vacuum problems and find the best solutions!

Troubleshooting Pool Vacuum Not Working 

The first step towards finding the solution to your pool vacuum issues is to uncover what function is not working. This largely depends on which type of vacuum it is. There are three types of pool vacuums, pressure, suction, and robotic. We will break down the troubleshooting steps for each of these vacuum types below!

Troubleshooting With a Pressure Vacuum 

First up is pressure vacuums! These vacuums are usually the mid-priced option for your pool cleaning needs. These vacuums usually need a booster pump to pressure wash your pool. There are several things to check on and maintain with these vacuums, so let us get into it!

Check the Pumps 

Pressure washers rely heavily on pumps to push water out of the system to clean it. These pipes can get clogged with debris, which will block up the system and keep the vacuum from moving properly. Removing the pumps and checking for blockages can help the system run smoothly again.

Another way to help this is to reprime the pump! First, you will want to turn off the vacuum and fill the strainer with water. Take notice if it takes more water to fill the pump than the strainer actually holds. This means that the water is going into the inlet and outlet pipes. Which is a good indication the pump wasn’t properly primed. When you turn it back on, the pressure should return to normal!

A healthy pump

Clean out Rocks, Sand, Debris, and Toys 

Pools can seem like a magnet for debris of all sorts. So like any other vacuum, your pool cleaner may be full of dirt, leaves, and even pool toys! Cleaning the filters regularly is a must to keep the system from getting gunked up with blockages.

You can find out how to clean the filters in the vacuum head in the instructions given by the manufacturer. Additionally, you can look into the pumps too if cleaning the filters doesn’t help.

Fix or Replace Belt or Chain Problems 

If you have cleaned out the filter and the pumps, it is time to check the motor itself. Usually, the belt is the first part to wear out. So it is best to check if the belt and wheels are properly positioned inside the machine. Now if the belt seems normal, you should look at the drive pulley. If any of these pieces are ripped or cracked, you will need to replace the part.Pool Pump Timer Not Working? Here’s Why and How to Fix it

Check the Tubing Inside the Vacuum 

Sometimes tubes inside the vacuum can get disconnected. If you are still having issues, open up the vacuum and look at the tubing! If you notice that some tubes are disconnected, putting them in place should fix the issue. The tube may pop out again but you can try fixing it by attaching clamps. However, if a tube looks broken you will need to replace it. It should be very easy to find these parts online and have them shipped to your home.

Troubleshooting With a Suction Vacuum

Suction vacuums are the cheapest option and tend to not work as well as the others. The suction causes them to move erratically across the pool floor. These work well for budget pool owners but tend to break the most. Here are some functions to check on to see what is broken!

Check Hose Connections For Leaks and Air Bubbles 

Suction vacuums are pretty simple machines and one of their main components is their hose connection. Having a poorly connected hose is very common with these vacuums, and can usually be identified with air bubbles! If you spot these bubbles try to reconnect or seal the hose so the pressure can not escape. You can also try disconnecting the vacuum to see if air leaks are coming from the hose or the system itself. This can help show you exactly what to repair.

Repair a Leaky Hose 

If you have checked the air bubbles and seen that the hose is the source of your issue there are a few ways to fix it. First, you can try using some waterproof tape to close up a small puncture hole. If your hose is too short or has a tear in its rubber, then it is better to simply replace the hose altogether. It is much cheaper to conclude this on your own than have a professional tell you!

Inspect the Valves 

The valves in a suction vacuum control the water moving in and out of the machine. If one of these is broken, then it can keep your vacuum from moving around on its own. You should check the inlet valve flaps, bottom latch mechanisms, and other internal filter parts. There is no real way to fix these, and they must be replaced. The valves are a little tricky to install, so if your vacuum is a bit old it will be easier to just replace the whole machine.

Check and Clean the Skimmer Basket 

The skimmer basket is where all the cleaned debris is held within the vacuum. It is incredibly common for the skimmer basket to get clogged and halt your vacuum from moving. To clean this out, disconnect the machine and open it up the machine. You will want to dump out all the debris from the filter and any other spots debris could get stuck. Hopefully once this has been cleaned it will function normally.

Troubleshooting With a Robotic Vacuum 

Robotic vacuums are efficient and easy to install as they are independent of your pool’s filtration system. These tend to be the most expensive option, but they are incredibly convenient. Since these vacuums are smaller, there is less you need to check on to find the problem!

Plug In the Power Cord 

Sometimes the issue with a device is simply a user error! Robotic pool vacuums are defined by their outlet cord. So if there is an issue with the machine, the first step is to make sure it is plugged in and turned on. If this does not solve the problem, the issue may be electrical wiring from your home or inside the machine. Unfortunately, electric problems are more technical than these other issues. You may need to call a professional for help.


Pool vacuums are victims to wear and tear just like everything else, but the most common wear issue is with the belt. This is an important function to keep the vacuum moving and you will need to open up the motor of the vacuum to check on it. If the belt is not tight enough, the machine’s instruction manual should give you a way to tighten this on your own. But if the belt is cracked or torn, you should replace it.

Reset Button

Just like with computers, sometimes these vacuums just need a reboot! The manual of your robotic vacuum should be able to show you how to reset your specific device. Often it can be holding down the power button for 30 seconds, or pressing a separate button somewhere on the machine. Since each model is different, looking through your instruction manual is the easiest way to find this!

How To Properly Maintain Pool Vacuums 

The best way to maintain pool vacuums is to keep the machine and its filters clean! These are the main reasons these vacuums break or get worn down. So every few months you should clean out the filter/skimming basket, hose, and pipes for debris. It will keep your vacuum alive longer and save you the headache of constantly broken parts!

How Much Does It Cost To Repair Pool Vaccum

Even well-maintained pool vacuums sometimes will need a minor repair. Repairing a pool vacuum varies on the manufacturer and the broken parts. Usually, it will not cost you more than $100 to replace a single broken part. However, hiring a professional to fix it for you can cost between $200 and $500 for their time and experience. So if you know exactly what this issue is, you should try to fix it yourself.

Average Lifespan of Pool Vacuums 

Generally speaking, pool vacuums can last between four to five years. You can extend the vacuum’s lifetime to eight years with the right upkeep. Since suction vacuums are the cheapest, they tend to only last from three to five years. Where pressure vacuums can last the longest, averaging five to seven years long!

When Should You Call the Pros 

With the most common issues with pool vacuums, you can easily fix the issues yourself. Often it just requires cleaning out blockages. But if you know what you are looking at, you can easily identify broken pieces and find replacements online. 

The only serious instances to call a professional are if your vacuum is brand new and seems to have an electrical issue. Or if you need some new tubing and feel uncomfortable fixing it on your own, you should call someone. This will keep you safe and ensure the job is done correctly!

Where to Find a pro 

There are many ways to find help with your pool vacuum. The easiest is to contact a customer service rep from the manufacturer of the machine. They are great at identifying issues and directing you to the correct replacement parts if needed.

If you feel you need an in-person professional, you can also look around your area for pool experts to help out. This is rarely necessary but can be very helpful if your pool cleaner is complicated or installed into the pool itself.

Finally, you can watch online videos to learn how to solve the issue on your own! This can be helpful if you need a visual of what you are looking for. Plus, they give great tips on where to get replacement parts.

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