Pool Cleaner DIY – How To Fix Your Baracuda T5 Duo

Baracuda T5 Suction Side Pool Cleaner
The Baracuda T5 Duo was named one of the top 10 suction side pool cleaners of 2013 by PoolSupplyWorld.com. This cleaner is a fantastic suction side pool cleaner, but it does have it’s hiccups. After a friend of mine who owns this cleaner went out of country for a while, I took the opportunity to get to know the product and address some of the top complaints by owners of the T5. While Zodiac will tell you that the T5’s lack of moving parts makes it one of the easiest cleaners to use, the reality is that just like any other product, it’s not perfect. The good news is that this low maintenance cleaner is easy to fix if something winds up going wrong, and most problems can be resolved with minor tweaks.
Broken T5 Diaphragm
Really there is only one moving part on the T5, and it’s the diaphragm. This is the piece that allows the T5 to “hop” across your pool instead of cleaning one spot over and over, essentially it separates the T5 from an elaborate plunger. This part also breaks from time to time; I have heard reports of it breaking anywhere from once every decade, to once every year. The good news is the problem is easily solved, Zodiac’s owner’s manual details how to remove and replace the diaphragm on page 9 – 11. Users have been told that a replacement diaphragm costs at least $50, but you can buy replacement diaphragms on PoolSupplyWorld.com. Of course before you try to handle anything yourself, keep in mind Zodiac offers a one year warranty on all of their products.
T5 Sticks in a Corner, on Steps, and Follows One Route
The T5 is not a “smart” piece of equipment like a robotic cleaner. It sort of trundles around your pool randomly wherever your water takes it. The blades on the back help guide the cleaner, but it is by no means an exact science. One of the major problems reported with the cleaner is that it isn’t agile enough to get behind ladders and around steps, and furthermore it can get stuck. The reality is, this cleaner will only supplement your manual cleaning efforts, and just like any suction side cleaner, you will need to whip out the brush every now and again to clean the hard to reach places. While the Zodiac owners manual suggests increasing or decreasing the length of the hose, the best way to influence the T5 is by using a return line. Since this jumping cleaner is influenced by water pressure, creating a current in your pool can help push it away if it gets stuck. Better still if your return line has adjustable plugs, then you can periodically adjust the flow of your pool to make absolutely certain your T5 doesn’t stick to a specific path. If you do find your T5 sticking to a less than random route through your pool, try adjusting the weight on the cleaner as well.
T5 Leaf Canister Comes Loose
We have had numerous customers complain about their Zodiac leaf canisters coming loose from the hose. The crux of the problem seems to stem from how the leaf canister is attached to the hose, using tension instead of the Twist-Lock junction. While Zodiac has improved the connectors, it is still important to take care in how you place the leaf canister. If you are having a problem with your leaf canister coming off the line, be sure it is as close to the wall or skimmer possible. This will limit the range of motion it has, and therefore the likelihood of something shaking loose. Also, don’t be shy with the unions that aren’t Twist-Lock: while I am not advocating you hammer them in, you can use plenty of strength to make sure the connection is nice and tight and you won’t have to worry about harming it.
For all of the foibles listed above, the T5 is a great little cleaner. As of this writing it has an average review of 3.8 stars, and while it isn’t universally acclaimed by pool owners, the vast majority are happy with their product. When I took care of my friend’s pool the largest problem I had was cleaning the steps themselves, and while I had to break out the brush from time to time, the T5 did it’s job. As long as I just kept the corners and steps clean, the T5 took care of the rest. If you want a truly low maintenance cleaner, you may want to consider spending the extra money and purchasing a robotic unit.
If you are experiencing any problems with the T5 not covered in this run-down, feel free to comment below and I will try to help!
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For almost a decade Ben has been working to prevent boring homes and dirty pools. Ben joined as a contributor to the PoolSupplyWorld.com blog after working in the home improvement industry designing backyards, kitchens, bathrooms, and HVAC systems. Our resident Marco Polo champion, and part time Frankenstein, Ben is always excited to open up any of our pool supplies to see how they work.