Pool maintenance

7 things to know about above ground pool maintenance

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Whether you already have an above ground pool in your backyard or are looking to install one soon, it is important to first know how to clean above ground pools. Without proper maintenance and care, your pool could become dirty or even unsafe for swimming due to chemical imbalances.

Although you can hire a local pool cleaning service and pay them to maintain your above ground pool, maintaining and cleaning a pool on your own is quite simple. Do-it-yourself pool maintenance not only saves on pool maintenance costs, but you may also find that you enjoy spending time keeping your pool ready for swimming. Read on to learn more about above ground pool maintenance, including what you need to do to keep your pool clean, water clear, and chlorine and pH levels balanced.

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RELATED: Planning Guide: Above Ground Pools

1. Test pool pH and chlorine levels and skim the water daily.

It is essential to maintain the correct balance between chlorine and pH levels in any type of swimming pool. Chlorine keeps pool water clean and eliminates bacteria, microorganisms and algae. However, chlorine levels decrease over time with exposure to the sun, swimmers, etc. Testing your above ground pool’s chlorine levels daily with a pool test kit, such as this versatile HTH test kit, can help you keep the chlorine level between 2.0 and 4.0 parts per million ( ppm) recommended. If needed, add liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets, with Clorox Pool & Spa chlorinating tablets coming highly recommended in our guide to the best chlorine tablets.

In addition to testing the chlorine level, it is also important to check the pH level of the pool 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 irritates swimmers’ eyes. Keeping the pH between 7.4 and 7.6 also helps keep the pump, ladders, and other pool surfaces from corroding. If necessary, you can add baking soda to increase the pH level of the water.

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

above ground pool maintenance

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2. Shock your above ground pool weekly.

Another important aspect of pool maintenance is the weekly shock of an above ground pool. Pool shock treatments like the HTH Super Shock treatment, our favorite in our guide to the best pool shock, help remove contaminants such as bacteria and algae from the water. This form of powdered chlorine increases the level of “free chlorine” in the water. Shocking the pool can be particularly beneficial if several people have swum in it recently or following a storm.

You should shock your pool in the evening. Otherwise, midday sunlight can break down the chlorine before it is fully able to do its job. After adding a shock to the pool, turn on the pump and let it run for 8 hours or more. Avoid swimming in the pool until the next day.

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3. Run the pump for at least 8 hours a day to maintain water circulation.

Daily pump operation is an important part of above ground pool maintenance. The pump has the important job of circulating the water in the pool, which is one of the reasons why you want to choose the best pool pump possible, such as the Hayward MaxFlo XL pool pump.

When your pool water moves, it helps keep the pool clean. More dirt and debris will end up in the skimmer baskets, and algae growth will become less likely. Since pumps may not circulate your water perfectly, use a pool brush or other long pool supply to agitate the water in low flow areas.

Although you don’t need to leave your pool pump running all the time, running it for at least 8 hours a day is a good rule of thumb. However, some manufacturers may have different recommendations, so it’s always a good idea to check your pump’s user manual.

above ground pool maintenance

Photo: istockphoto.com

4. Clean and replace your 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, pool water can 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 should be replaced every 1-2 years. Sand and DE filters should be backwashed about once a month and replaced/refilled every 3-5 years.

If you need an above ground pool filter, consider the Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump, the top pick in our guide to the best above ground pool filters.

RELATED: Best Above Ground Pool Steps

5. Clean the pool pump and skimmer baskets daily.

When thinking about pool maintenance, remember to empty the skimmer and pump baskets daily. Skimmers pull leaves and other small debris floating on the surface of the water. This debris is then retained in the skimmer basket, preventing it from going 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 the skimmer baskets, you should also check and empty your above ground pool pump basket daily. This basket holds debris that has passed through the skimmer baskets or been sucked into the pool drains. Emptying this basket daily can prevent debris from entering the pump itself, clogging the impeller and reducing the amount of water circulating through the system. Before emptying the basket, remember to turn off the pump.

above ground pool maintenance

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6. Winterize the pool properly.

If you live in an area where pools need to be winterized, doing it correctly will ensure that they will be in a safe and usable condition next year. Although you can pay to have a local maintenance service winterize your pool, you can also do it yourself to save money.

To winterize the pool, start by carrying out a thorough cleaning. It is indeed preferable to leave above ground pools filled with water for the winter, rather than emptying them. After cleaning the pool, make sure the chlorine and pH levels are balanced and add winterizing chemicals like this highly rated kit available on Amazon.

Then remove and safely store the pump, filter, skimmer, pool lines, ladders and all other accessories and supplies. Finally, cover the pool with an air cushion and a pool cover. The air cushion will hold the cover together, preventing it from freezing with pool water.

7. Install a sump pump to protect your home from leaks.

Although not directly related to maintaining a swimming pool, it is also a good idea to install a sump pump in your home if you have an above ground pool. If the pool is leaking or draining towards your home, it could potentially flood and damage your basement. Damp basements are susceptible to mold and mildew growth, which can lead to breathing difficulties for those in the home. A sump pump works to pump water away from the house, keeping your foundation and basement dry in the presence of water.

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