Swimming pools require regular vacuuming and other forms of cleaning to stay clean. Automatic pool cleaners such as the Polaris model 280 roll over the sides and bottom of a pool, driven by water pressure from the pump, picking up debris in the process. Like most automatic pool vacuums, the Polaris 280 needs to be correctly adjusted to perform correctly. If your vacuum fails to clean the entire pool, does not climb the walls or moves too slowly, the likelihood is that the device's wheels are not operating at the optimal revolutions per minute.

Polaris 280 pool vacuum.
credit: Polaris
An automatic pool vacuum like the Polaris 280 helps keep a pool clean and reduces wear on the filter system.

Other operating problems can be caused by a jet nozzle not aimed correctly or a hose that isn't long enough, both of which can be remedied.

Here are some simple troubleshooting steps that will keep your Polaris 280 pool vacuum running correctly.

Step 1 Adjust Nozzle Direction

Shut down water flow to the Polaris 280 and take the device out of the pool. Examine the small plastic jet nozzle on the back end of the cleaner. This nozzle emits a stream of water that pushes the Polaris across the pool. Adjust the direction of the nozzle to influence the overall direction of movement for the Polaris. Normal settings have the nozzle pointing to the 1 o'clock or 2 o'clock positions.

Step 2 Adjust Hose Length

Unscrew the nut connecting the Polaris hose to the Polaris body, and pull the hose free. Add more sections of hose to the rest of the hose to extend the Polaris 280's reach. Take away sections of hose to limit the area the sweep covers.

Step 3 Check Wheel Rotation Speed

A Polaris 280 vacuum needs an optimal wheel speed to cover the entire bottom of the pool and successfully climb the walls. For best efficiency, the Polaris needs to run between 28 and 32 rpm. Follow the procedure for adjusting the wheel rotation:

Turn the pump on, then hold the cleaner below water level and count the wheel revolutions for one minute. If the count is less than 28 rpm, increase the speed with one or more of these steps:

  1. Check the filter screen in the in-line filter for debris that restricts water flow.
  2. Clean the skimmer, filter and pump basket, clearing any debris that restricts water flow.
  3. Check the hoses, connections and swivels for leaks that may be lowering water pressure. Remove the blue restrictor disk from the UWF (universal wall fitting).
  4. If an adjustable gate valve is installed on the booster pump or cleaner line, open it completely so water can flow freely to the Polaris.

If the count is more than 32 RPM, reduce the speed with one or more of these steps:

  1. Replace the blue restrictor disk in the UWF with the red restrictor.
  2. If the flow is still too high, unscrew the pressure relief valve until the proper rpm is reached. Note: The pressure relief valve should only be adjusted when a restrictor is installed.
  3. If an adjustable valve is installed after the booster pump, adjust it to reduce the water flow to the vacuum.