Reviewed by Andrada Simion, Master of Science in Chemistry
An above ground pool can last for many years if properly maintained.
Check the outer structure
- Periodically examine the frame that supports the pool for bends or crimps.
- If it has a PVC frame, check for cracks in the pipe.
- Check the pool walls for dents or folds.
- If there is an inflatable top ring, be sure it is firm and free from leaks.
- Examine the ground around the perimeter of the pool to check for low spots or holes.
- Keep the outer surface clean by using a soft brush and a water hose.
Maintaining the Liner
- Regularly examine the liner for any rips or tears.
- Use a soft bristle brush to clean the liner every other week.
- Algae build up can be removed with a soft mop or cloth.
- Use only approved pool chemicals in the proper ratios.
- Improper chlorine use will dry and crack the liner material.
Pump and Filter Care
- Use the correct size pump for the water capacity of your pool.
- Always use the proper electrical supply to run the pump.
- Remove the filter cartridge and rinse it with a garden hose weekly.
- Replace the filter cartridge monthly.
- If using a sand or salt filter, engage the valve to backwash the filter weekly.
- Clean out skimmer baskets twice a week, or any time debris is present.
Water quality and maintenance
- Use a skimmer or leaf basket to remove debris from daily.
- Regularly clean filter baskets and backwash if necessary.
- Use a pool vacuum to clean dirt and sand from the floor of the pool.
- Run the pump a minimum of 8 to 12 hours per day.
- Aim jets to direct water into a circular motion.
- Use a test kit to measure pH, chlorine, and alkalinity numbers.
Chemicals and Additives
- Poolwater should be tested every other day throughout the summer.
- To use a test strip remove a small sample of the water, dip the test strip into it, wait the allotted time then compare the strip to the chart.
- The pH level should be 7.4-7.6.
- Add pH reducer or pH builder if needed.
- Alkalinity of the water should be 100-150 parts per million.
- A heavy rain or naturally occurring minerals can affect alkalinity.
- Check chlorine levels. Proper chlorine level is 1.0 parts per million.
- Use chlorine tablets in the pump basket as directed by manufacturer and additional ones in a floating dispenser.
- Use shock if algae appears or the water becomes hazy or discolored – it should be applied directly at 1 lb./5000 gal. 12-24 hours after shock treatment, add algaecide according to the directions, wait 24 hours then test water for normal range on all indicators.
Other Concerns and Suggestions
- Place the pool in a flat, level, open area away from falling leaves or branches.
- Invest in a pool cover to help maintain chemical levels and keep debris out.
- If using a ladder, be sure it is properly secured and has no sharp edges which could damage the liner.
- Toys should be designed for pool use only, and avoid metal toys and sharp objects.
- Have a tub or pan to use for a foot wash station. This will keep grass and dirt out.
- Sunscreen, deodorant, shampoo, and detergents can affect water quality – use an absorbent cotton cloth on top of the water to help remove these products.
Preparing the pool for winter
- Test the water and ensure that it is properly treated.
- Scrub the liner with a soft brush.
- Run the pool vacuum to remove all dirt and debris.
- Lower the water level to below the return jets.
- Add winterizing chemicals as directed by manufacturer.
- Remove the hoses for the filter and pump.
- Drain the pump and store it in a safe, dry location.
- Inflate an air pillow or beach balls and let float on water’s surface.
- Use a winter cover to keep out damaging snow and ice.