How To Get The Most From Your Above-Ground Pool

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How To Get The Most From Your Above-Ground Pool

What’s the Central Florida lifestyle without a swimming pool? But if your home-sweet-home didn’t have one when you bought it, and installing an in-ground pool is cost-prohibitive (or your backyard is too small to accommodate one), we assume that you’re a smart homeowner and purchased an above-ground pool to enjoy – or are considering purchasing one!

An above-ground pool is an ideal option to get the most from your property’s recreational and entertainment possibilities. However, there are some things you need to know in order to get the most from your above-ground pool! Following a regular maintenance schedule and protecting your pool from damage will provide you, your family and friends with seasons of fun for years to come.

Benefits of an Above-Ground Pool

Affordability immediately comes to mind as a big advantage of an above-ground pool, which can range from roughly $1,007 to $5,973. Of course, a pool’s size, materials, upgrades, installation fee and many other variables affect price. Although this isn’t exactly cheap, estimated prices for in-ground pools are considerably higher. According to River Pools, vinyl liner pools in Florida range from $30,000 to $120,000, with fiberglass and concrete pools ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.

Speed of installation is another benefit of an above-ground pool. If you want a pool ready for summer fun this season, you can have it in one day – as opposed to three to five weeks for a fiberglass pool; four to eight weeks for a vinyl liner pool, or a whopping five to 10 months for a concrete pool. Moreover, above-ground pools require no land excavation to dig a hole.

If you move, you can take your above-ground pool to your new home, assuming it’s still in good condition. Other benefits include the following:

Promotes family togetherness – Let’s face it – you can only grill so much! An above-ground pool is a great economical way for your family to enjoy outdoor time together during Central Florida’s many sunny days.

Promotes healthy activity – An above-ground pool is a fun reason to get off the sofa and get moving, right in your own backyard!

Maintenance Schedule for an Above-Ground Pool

Although an above-ground pool offers some advantages as to budget and installation ease, it requires the same maintenance as its in-ground counterparts. Our blog post – “How to Maintain Your Above-Ground Pool” – covers this topic in greater detail.

Maintenance basics include the following:

Run the pool pump daily – Even if you don’t plan to use your pool every day, running the pump daily is an important part of above-ground pool maintenance. As Bob Villa notes, the pump circulates the pool’s water. “When the water in your pool moves around, it helps keep the pool clean. More dirt and debris will find their way into the skimmer baskets, and algae growth will become less likely. Because pumps may not circulate your water perfectly, use a pool brush or another long pool supply to agitate the water in spots with poor flow. While you don’t need to leave your pool’s pump running constantly, running it for at least 8 hours each day is a good rule of thumb to follow.”

Test the pool’s pH and chlorine Levels and skim the water daily – It’s important to maintain the right pH and chlorine levels in any kind of pool. Chlorine aids in keeping the pool water clean and removes algae, bacteria and microorganisms. However, with time, chlorine levels diminish due to exposure to swimmers, sun, etc. Testing your above-ground pool’s chlorine levels daily with a pool test kit can help you keep the chlorine level between the recommended 2.0 and 4.0 parts per million (ppm). When needed, add liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets.

In addition to testing the chlorine level, check the pool’s pH level daily. The pH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6. With a balanced pH, you can avoid cloudy pool water or water that causes eye irritation. Keeping the pH between 7.4 and 7.6 also helps prevent the pool’s pump, ladders and other surfaces from corroding. If necessary, add some baking soda to increase the pH level of the water. At least monthly, check the calcium hardness and cyanuric acid levels, which are also important to your overall water balance.

After testing and adjusting your pool’s pH and chlorine levels, you should also use a skimmer net to remove bugs and other debris from the surface.

Clean out the pump and pool skimmer baskets daily – The skimmers help to pull out leaves and other debris floating on the water’s surface. This debris is held in the skimmer basket, stopping them from finding their way to the pump or filter. Emptying these baskets as part of your above-ground pool cleaning routine will keep your pool cleaner and help prevent clogs.

In addition to emptying skimmer baskets, check and empty your pool’s pump basket every day. This basket holds debris that made it past the skimmer baskets or pulled in through the pool’s drains. Emptying this basket daily can keep the debris from getting into the pump itself and clogging the impeller and reducing the amount of water that is flowing through the system. Remember to turn off the pump before emptying the basket. 

Shock the pool every week – Shocking an above-ground pool on a weekly basis is another essential aspect of pool maintenance. Pool shock treatments help remove contaminants like bacteria and algae. This powdered form of chlorine increases the water’s level of “free chlorine.” Shocking the pool can be especially beneficial if several people recently swam in it, or following a rainstorm. This should be done in the evening, as midday sunlight can break down the chlorine before it’s fully able to do its job. After adding shock to the pool, turn the pump on and let it run for eight hours or more. Avoid getting in the pool until the next day.

Vacuum at least once a week; preferably more frequently – Your pool filter doesn’t remove all the dirt, debris and leaves in the water, especially the particles that sink to the bottom of your pool. As manually vacuuming an above-ground pool can be challenging, invest in a robotic cleaner.

Clean and replace the pool filter regularly – Whether you have a cartridge, sand, or diatomaceous earth (DE) filter for your above-ground pool, be sure to clean it regularly. The pool filter is responsible for removing particles from the water, leaving it clean and safe for swimming. Without proper cleaning, the water in the pool may become polluted. It is also possible for the filter to become clogged, leading to a larger problem.

Check the manufacturer’s recommendations and clean your filter regularly. Cartridge filters should be removed and cleaned with a water hose about once a week, and they need to be replaced every one to two years. Sand and DE filters should be backwashed every month and replaced/refilled every three to five years.

Unclog the impeller – Running the pump and filter daily will stress the components. But if your pump fails, don’t close down your pool. It could simply be a clogged impeller inside of the pump, which is a detail that many above-ground pool owners may not often think about.

An impeller is the part of the pump that creates the flow of water from pump to filter. But the impeller can become clogged with debris such as leaves – which reduces, and often stops, the flow of water. To unclog the pump’s impeller, first turn off the motor, then find the location of your impeller. You may need to consult your owner’s manual. Remove the basket, and with the help of a screwdriver or an impeller cleaning kit, dig in to remove the clog of leaves and debris. Once the clog is gone, your pump will become more efficient.

How to Protect Your Above-Ground Pool From Damage

Unlike an in-ground pool, the body of an above-ground pool is, of course, above ground – which makes it susceptible to damage. In her article for The Spruce, homes writer Lisa Hallett Taylor offers the following advice:

Avoid letting guests sit or stand (even partially) on the edges or the top rail of the pool, which can cause damage by creasing, cracking and collapsing the sides. Rusting under the top rail can result in rust falling into the water, so opt for your model’s replacement rails that are available from your pool store or an online parts supplier (you’ll need to perfectly match the rails for an exact fit). Also, birds like to perch on the top rail, so be sure to check daily and clean off their droppings, which carry disease.

Hazards that could damage the pool’s wall include:

  • Falling tree branches.
  • Nesting insects under the top rail.
  • Pecking wildlife at ground level.
  • Mowing too close to the wall or shooting debris from the mower hitting the wall.

The Take-Home Message

Above-ground pools offer budget-minded homeowners their very own slice of Central Florida paradise! But given our state’s intense sunlight and high summer temperatures, a traditional metal sided pool has an approximate lifespan of 10 to 20 years. However, with conscientious maintenance and care, it can last to the higher end of its expected useful life – still making it a very worthwhile investment in your family’s outdoor recreation.

Although Certified Leak Detection doesn’t perform pool maintenance, we want you to get the most out of your pool – whatever type it is! And yes, above-ground pools can develop a leak! If you suspect one, call us! We have more than 30 years of experience in leak detection and repair for swimming pools, spas, hot tubs and fountains. Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to answer your call.

Contact us for quick, reliable service!

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