Pro guide: A must-do list for an ideal pool-owning experience

Above Ground Pools September 18, 2017

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Above ground pools are a great asset. They come with tall side walls making it safe for families with young children. They are also considered temporary, so if you need to change up your backyard or move, it is easy to deconstruct.

You need to know how to keep the pool looking clean and clear. Above ground pools have the same maintenance needs of an in-ground pool including care for the wall, liner, water chemistry and equipment.  An above-ground pool requires weekly, monthly and annual care.

1.Things to do before or right after you buy.

You can do yourself a favor early on by investing in a high-quality, thick liner; a sturdy cover; excellent equipment and an automatic cleaner that’s specially designed for above-grounds. The rest is regular maintenance.

2. Special considerations during the hot summer months.

Think of your filter as the muscle of your pool. It is going to do the hardest work, which means it’s important to be certain you are running the pump enough.  During the peak of summer, your pump needs to be running for at least 8-12 hours per day.  The best option is a two speed motor so you can run it on low 24 hours a day. With this type of motor, switching to high speed is only necessary when adding chemicals or vacuuming.

3. These chores should be completed twice a week:

  • Check for leaves or other floating debris and use a long-handled net to skim debris from the pool.  The less time organic matter spends in your pool, the less the likelihood of an algae bloom.
  • Make sure that your water level is adequate.  If the water level falls below the recommended line, the skimmer can begin to take in air, which can overheat your expensive equipment.
  • Empty your baskets, both of them.  The skimmer basket near the top of your pool needs to be checked often for toys, leaves, etc., and the trap basket on your pump needs to be checked at least once per week to ensure that the water flow to the motor is open and clear.
  • Check your filter pressure often, and backwash (or clean cartridges, if you have a cartridge style filter) as needed.  With a sand filter, always remember to use the rinse setting after backwashing and before filtering so that your sand may resettle instead of blowing back into your pool.

4. Spot treatment

You can run your automatic vacuum as often as needed.  It helps keep your pool clean and swimmable even after heavy rains and wind storms.

5. Chemical Chores

Keeping your chemicals balanced and in check can prevent a mountain of work.  Always be sure to follow the recommendations of the chemical system that you are using, but almost all types require that your pH and alkalinity stay balanced within a recommended range so that the other chemicals will work at maximum efficiency.

  • Once per week: Shock the pool.  Most systems recommend shocking the pool at least once per week, especially during the hottest points in the summer or after rainfall. Check your sanitizer level if you are using a chlorine system.
  • Twice per week: Test pH and alkalinity levels and adjust to recommended range.
  • Every other week: Test your copper level and make recommended adjustment if you are using Pure ‘n Blue.
  • Once per month: Test phosphate levels in your pool and add a phosphate remover to prevent algae growth.

Of course, keep all chemicals and cleaning products out of reach from children and pets. Dispose of empty chemical containers as directed on the container and/or by your city/state.  Remember to use chlorine shock at night and do not swim for at least 12 hours after adding shock or muriatic acid. Keeping your chemicals balanced and in check can prevent a mountain of work.  Always be sure to follow the recommendations.

5. Practice caution around the exterior of the pool

Never use heavy duty weed eaters or a metal edger around the outside of your pool or you risk puncturing your wall. Check the exterior a couple of times a year for any rust formation and treat with a rust preventive immediately. Finally, try to maintain a tall berm to keep sand from washing out from under your liner.

6. Treat your liner nicely

When it comes to the liner, the thicker the better, but all liners are subject to minor leaks over their lifetime.  Here are some tips to keep your liner good for years.

  • If you feel that you are losing water due to something other than natural evaporation, begin to check the liner for holes or separations.  (Sometimes a wet spot on the outside of the pool wall can be a clue)
  • Always cover your pool in the winter to lengthen the liner’s lifespan.  If it is only exposed to the harsh elements like sun and wind for half the year, it will remain elastic and in excellent condition for quite a long time.
  • Keep your pH in check and your chlorine at a normal level.  A prolonged high or low pH and consistently high chlorine residuals will break down your liner quickly.  Keeping your chemicals balanced is not only important for swimmers, but for your liner’s health, as well.

No matter what type of pool you have or what chemical system you use, taking care of it is all about regular maintenance.

The few hours a week you spend cleaning and testing will keep your pool perpetually ready for parties, midnight swims and weekend lounging!

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