Sunday, October 30, 2011

MP Industries Flex-Vac Pro Vacuum Review

The following is a review of the MP Industries Flex-Vac Pro Vacuum head.
Written by The Flex-Vac Pro vacuum heads come in sizes ranging from 14 to 22 inches; the version we used for this review was the model MP-267 19-inch head (14 inch version pictured)

In The Box
The vacuum head came almost completely assembled with everything attached except for the white cap used for hose connections that is placed on top and fits snug. Noticeably different from comparable units is the missing attachable rubber skirts on the bottom. Instead, the Flex-Vac Pro has built in soft, plastic skirts. The plastic of the frame is extended down in both the front and back to act as the skirts. This a welcome change since it is common for the rubber skirts to come loose and fall off or to get halfway off and sucked in to the vac line.

The Guts
The Flex-Vac Pro uses a metal swivel handle instead of plastic handles, which can easily be broken and warp from being weathered. The swivel works well when maneuvering the vacuum head underwater to the next area. The wheels are urethane ball bearing wheels. Traction is important since the alternative is sliding the entire unit around the bottom of the pool, making for un-straight lines. The frame is a soft, bendable plastic, with fins that allow the vacuum to form according to the pool's natural surface curves.

The Flex-Vac Pro Vacuum head has many of the features of professional grade heads at a lower cost. The built in skirt is a welcome addition. The metal swivel handle, urethane wheels, and flexible body make this unit on par with some of the more expensive vacuum heads.

  • Costs less than comparable professional series vacuum heads while keeping the same build quality
  • The bottom skirts are built in and don’t come loose like the removable rubber skirts
  • Metal handle and swivel
  • Urethane wheels that grip better then plastic  
  •  The top white cap often slips off when removing a hose from the units head
  • Removing hair or string caught in the wheels can be difficult because of the gap between the bearings and the upper/lower sections of each wheel
Final Score: 8/10

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vac-Alert Industries: Vac-Alert Model VA-2000S

Vac-Alert Industries: Vac-Alert Model VA-2000S

The following is a review of the Vac-Alert Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) Written by

Note: A SVRS is a device designed to help prevent entrapments from suction lines in pools or spas. Every year, people are killed when they get to close too a suction line (usually main drains) Getting caught on one of these can hold someone underwater causing them to drown.. Some states now require public pools to have a SVRS attached to each pump in an attempt to save lives. Check your state and local laws to see if and how these would apply to you.

In The Box
In the box comes the Vac-Alert system, a key for adjusting vacuum sensitivity, the manual, a chart of example setups and a information video DVD.

The Setup and First Run
The SVRS attaches to an existing pump system via a PVC T connector (not included). For our setup, we used a 2 inch PVC T with an 1.5 inch to 2 inch adaptor since the SVRS device only accepts 1.5 inch pipe. On the example sheet, we used the first example as our guide for installation.
When any type of blockage occurs, the Vac-Alert is triggered and the system opens the suction side to atmosphere, causing the pump to lose prime. This should allow what caused the blockage to be dislocated. To reset the unit, there is a toggle switch that needs to be moved to the opposite position. It is very easy to test by simply blocking the one of the skimmer lines with a tennis ball or any other object that will block the flow of water. In our case the default setting worked so we did not need to adjust the unit.
The Guts
There is not much to take apart on the Vac-Alert. The bottom has a check valve connected by a quick release to stop any water from backing up in to the unit. The front screen is removable for cleaning or to push the unit to the open position (while the system is off). On the back of the unit there is a special screw only removable with the key that comes in the box. This back area is used to adjust the Vac-Alert sensitivity as needed.

The Vac-Alert system is one of the least expensive SVRS systems on the market. If price is an issue, this is a great SVRS for most situations. The installation and setup should only take an hour for most experienced pool or spa professionals. The SVRS is meant as a life saving device and while the average person with some plumbing experence can insall the unit, it should be installed by a professional to ensure everything is done correctly. A down side of the Vac-Alert would be its missing any auto restart function, this hurts its commercial uses since it has to consistently checked to insure the system has not mistakenly been triggered.

-        One of the least expensive SVRS systems on the market
-        Easier to install then most other SVRSs
-        Very few moving parts (less to go wrong)
-        Easy to reset the system (especially if support needs to be done over the phone)
-        Because of the unit's ease of installation,one might be tempted to skip parts of the manual and unknowingly install the unit incorrectly.
-        The unit can be set off from a temporary blockage (pool sweep passing over a drain, leaves collecting in a skimmer basket, etc). This will cause the pump to stop and will not restart until someone manually resets the system. This model will not automatically reset as some of the other electric SVRS models will (i.e. the Pentair Intillflo SVRS).

Final Score: 7/10

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pool Vergnuegen: The Pool Cleaner

Pool Vergnuegen: The Pool Cleaner

The following is review of the two wheel white Pool Cleaner made by Pool Vergnuegen. Written by

In the Box
The two wheel “Pool Cleaner” comes with 9 regular white hoses, 1 white leader hose with 2 floats attached, a wall flap (water gate), hose cone (for attaching to the skimmer), and a regulator valve (also just for skimmer attachment). The cleaner connects to the pool system like most other automatic cleaners.  Just attach the amount of hoses needed (which was nine in my case). There should be enough hose to reach the farthest section of the pool. The free end of the hose can be attached to either the built in pool cleaner port on the side of the pool if it has one or directly in the skimmer with the extra attachments.

The Setup and First Run
In our setup
we used the built in wall connection that was placed near the middle of the pool. Once everything was connected and the pump was turned on, the cleaner had no problem sucking up leaves, grass, and dirt from the surfaces of the pool. Because of how the gears are set, the unit will occasionally turn 90 to 180 degrees to try and reach the entire pool area. The wheels each have a knob that help lift the cleaner if it gets stuck on a drain. It easily crawls up the sides, almost a little too well. When the unit comes up the sides it will hit the water line where it will stay sucking air until the pump loses pressure causing the cleaner to fall back in to the water to wait for the system to re-prime and continue moving. 

The Guts
To open the pool cleaner
just remove the four screws on the top side. The unit works by a variety of gears slowly turning the wheels powered by a center turbine, which is pushed by rushing water.  Two floats on the cleaner hose help to keep the cleaner in an upright position while moving on the floor.

This is one of the best automatic pool cleaners available on the market. I would go as far to say it is on the same level with the much loved Hayward Navigator. While the Pool Cleaner has its strengths and weaknesses, the good far outweigh the bad.
-Even with low suction, the unit moves around easily.
-Easy to clear if something gets jammed in the main turbine.
-Does an excellent job of picking up dirt and debris form the bottom and sides of the pool.
-  Runs up the wall and comes out of the water to create a strange sucking sound.
- The plastic skirts seem to come off over time and somehow get lost in the pool.
- The knobs on the wheels will only last a few months before being warn down

Final Score: 8/10

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pentair IntelliFlo VS+SVRS Review

Wiring the Intelliflo VS+SVRS
Written by Wiring the pump for 220 is standard, just two hot and a ground wired to a 220 fuse set in the fuse box. No surprises or complications.

Programming the Intelliflo VS+SVRS
Programming is a little strange at first but quite easy to figure out. The times and speeds are programmed under the “Speed 1-8” -> “Schedules”. I have found the best schedule is 2 hours on high (2800) to move the pool cleaner and 6 hours on low speed (1100) just to move the water.
Variable speed software wise, Pentair is a generation ahead of Hayward. While the Pentair menus do have a learning curve on deciphering their menus (keep the menu tree from the manuals close in the beginning), it all comes together nicely in the end.
Other menu options include setting the pump priming time, anti freeze, and timeout settings.
VS is short for Variable Speed. The pump speed can be set anywhere between 1100RPM to 3450RPM. One of the benefits of this pump is that it is a variable speed pump. Pentair estimates on the low end, a power savings of $620 to $1240 a year. This is due to a more efficient design (magnets instead of large coils) and the pump's ability to run at lower speeds and still move water effectively. The Intelliflo is also noticeably quieter compared to the old 1hp pump this replaced.
As part of the Virginia Graeme Baker Safety Act certain safety precautions have to be in place to be considered compliant. there are other parts of the act, including drain requirements, replacing the pump is a simple way of meeting some of these requirements for equipment entrapment prevention. Being in VGB compliance and saving money with a variable speed pump (compared to single and two speed pumps) is good way of killing two birds with one stone.
The Intelliflo VS+SVRS was easy to install and setup. This is great as a replacement or upgrade of a current pump.  Just keep the manual close to the pump since it is easy to get lost in the menu tree.
Final Score: 9/10