Pool Problem 2 - In-Floor Cleaning System Not Working

My swimming pool has an in-floor cleaning system controlled by a Polaris Caretaker. As of about a month ago, the system has stopped working properly. There is a lot of dirt and debris left on the pool floor that would not have been there before.

I noticed that the pressure gauge on the Caretaker is showing a low pressure when the pump is running. It should be 15 to 20 p.s.i., but mine is running at about 2 p.s.i. I disassembled the union above the Caretaker to check the screen there. It was clean. I also tried diverting flow from the Caretaker to the aerator and back again. The pressure would jump to about 8 p.s.i. and then drop down again after switching back to full flow going to the Caretaker.

After some research, I was out of ideas other than rebuilding the Caretaker’s internals, which is needed from time to time. Before I went that far, I posted to the forums at Trouble Free Pool to see if anyone else had a guess as to what was wrong.

One user suggested that I try taking the cartridges out of my filter to increase water flow. I tried that, and the pressure went up to 15 p.s.i. at the Caretaker’s gauge until the screen at the union above it became clogged with leaves. You can see the test in the video below.

I realized I’d left the skimmer out of the pump, so I cleared the screen. And tried it again. This time I got the same result and also noticed that the pop-up heads in the pool were popping up at the wrong times. There should only be two heads up at one time, but I had anywhere from 2 to 6 up. This next video shows the pressure for a while and then the heads up at the wrong times.

At this point I was starting to think the Caretaker might need to be rebuilt. This is a work in progress and I’ll update this post when I get farther with it.

Update 2015-07-25: After my last writing, I cleaned the cartridge filters I had removed from the filter and put them back in the filter. Miraculously, the Caretaker started operating correctly! I had consistent pressure at 20 p.s.i. at the Caretaker’s gauge and all the pop-ups were running great. I ran the pump for about 14 hours over the next 24 hours and the pool cleared up perfectly.

Unfortunately, the Caretaker went back to its old ways of 2 p.s.i. over the next few days. One might think the filter cartridges were just too dirty and needed cleaning and that’s why the system started working again. But is it really possible that 3 days later the cartridges are once again too dirty? This seems unlikely. And I’m back to the drawing board with the only idea being to rebuild the Polaris Caretaker’s internal equipment.