Why Is My Pool Vacuum Floating?

Suction-side pool cleaners are underwater vacuums with powerful suction actions, which are powered by the pool pump. These are designed to move around the pool’s floor in a specific pattern, even climbing its walls. It means every tile on the pool’s floor can be cleaned, eliminating the need for extensive manual cleaning.

Why is my pool vacuum floating? It can be caused by a leaky hose, broken backup valves, and misplaced thrust jet, among others. You have to check these components to determine the exact cause behind the pool vacuum floating instead of sinking.

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In the following sections, we will discuss these causes in greater detail. You will also learn the possible solutions for these issues, and thus, solve the floating problem. 

There Is Still Air In The Vacuum

If you have a new vacuum, you’re likely to forget an essential step before using it. It is the removal of all the air inside the vacuum before it is set to work.

The non-removal of air inside the vacuum can cause several issues. First, the vacuum will float over the pool’s tiled floor, but it will appear to touch the tiles. It’s floating above the floor by an inch or so, but there seems to be physical contact.

Second, the vacuum can do flips and wheelies, which seems cute but can be problematic. Keep in mind that the vacuum should make smooth passes over the tiled floor and clean the entire pool floor. The flips and wheelies can also compromise the motor’s performance and result in the vacuum’s shorter lifespan. 

What can be done to remove the air from the vacuum? You should hold it under the water, shake it in all directions, and let the air bubbles out. Be sure to shake it up and down as well as left and right for up to 30 minutes to remove all air bubbles.

You should also check that. Indeed, the vacuum’s touching the tiled floor. You should place it at the shallow end of the pool so you can check its position. You will also have an easier time doing so since there’s less water displacement. 

Going back to the matter of a vacuum flipping over, be sure to check the water level on the pool’s skimmer. The water level is likely too high and, thus, the water line is also near the coping. (The coping is the protective lip separating the pool from its surrounding area)

When the vacuum climbs the pool wall, it flips onto its back as soon as it hits the coping. The flipping action can damage the motor since it is exposed to the air instead of being in the water. The damage is typically the result of overheating since the water cools down the motor. 

Even an hour outside the water can result in an overheated motor, particularly during hot summer days. The damage can happen in as little as a few minutes in temperatures above 32°C.

The Brushes Are Still Hard

In some cases, a robotic pool vacuum may lie flat on the floor because its polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) brushes are still hard. Let the cleaner sit in water for 30 minutes or more, which will soften the PVA brushes. Once these are soft, these will absorb the water, and the vacuum will sit on the pool floor.

There Are Leaks in the Hose

When there are leaks in the hose of a pool vacuum, these cause reduced pressure in the vacuum. The vacuum will then float above the pool’s tiled floor instead of picking up debris and dirt off it. It is also the result of the loss of its suction power.

Checking for leaks and repairing them is a fairly easy DIY job. 

  • Check that the fittings on the hose are as tight as can be. Check the connections, too, from the head connection to the hose-strainer basket connection. If you see bubbles coming from these places, then there are leaks in the hose. 

  • Check the interior filter basket for signs of bubbles, a sure sign of leaks. If it’s partially full and it cannot be fully primed, there’s a vacuum leak. Check that the seal is placed securely over the basket cover to resolve the issue. 

  • Fill the hose with water to its fullest capacity. Lift it out of the water, but keep the vacuum’s head fully submerged. If the hose emits bubbles once it’s out of the water, then it’s where the leak is.

Cover the leak with duct tape, although we have to say that it’s a temporary solution. You may apply a waterproof hose repair spray as a permanent solution. You can also insert a connector over the leaks, but it isn’t pretty to look at. 

You may also replace the hose if you think that the hose needs replacement anyway. You will spend more dollars on it, but the hose should last far longer than the abovementioned measures. 

The Thrust Jet Isn’t Positioned Well

If you have a Polaris pool cleaner, you will see an adjustable thrust jet nozzle at the back. This nozzle emits continuous jets of water that propel the cleaner across the pool floor. But if it isn’t in the correct position, it can cause the vacuum to float or flip in the water.

There’s a simple solution to it. You should turn off the vacuum and lift it out of the pool. You must then check the nozzle at the back and ensure that it’s in the proper position. The suggested position is between 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock, which should keep the vacuum on the floor.

You can then return the vacuum at the shallow end of the pool and check its performance.

The Backup Valve May Be Damaged

Again, if you have a Polaris pool vacuum, you should have an easy time troubleshooting its issue. If it’s floating instead of touching the pool floor, there may be an issue with its backup valve.

First, take a look at the backup valve, a part located on the vacuum’s front, and it looks like a plastic acorn. It emits jets of pressurized water that pushes the vacuum away from ladders, corners, and other obstacles. But when it’s damaged, its constant stream of pressurized water lifts the vacuum to the pool’s surface.

But we don’t suggest changing the backup valve on your own. Be sure to call a trained repairer to do the job. 


Underwater pool vacuums are designed to clean the pool floors and walls while submerged in water. But when these float to the top or remain suspended midway, you should undertake troubleshooting measures. Most of the issues can be resolved as DIY tasks, but the professionals should do a few. 

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