How to Maintain an Above Ground Pool
You've bought an above ground pool and now you need to keep it clean!
Keeping your investment in tip-top shape isn't easy, but it's not hard either, and the benefits of cooling off in the summer and watching your friends and family have a good time definitely make it all worthwhile.
Below is a guide for how to maintain an above ground pool. Following a few simple steps will make your summer of pleasure a safe and healthy one.
Pool Water Balancing
Water balancing is vital to the health of your pool. If you want a healthy body of water to swim in then use water testing kits to be sure you've achieved an ideal balance. Below is a guideline to help you establish the proper chemistry in your pool.
- Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
- pH: 7.2-7.6
- Calcium: 250-400 ppm
- Chlorine: 2.0-4.0
Regularly checking to make sure chemical levels are adequate and pool water is balanced prevents different types of algae from growing. Too much alkalinity reduces the effectiveness of pool chemicals like chlorine, so it is vital to balance pH. An alkalinity reducer or increaser will help combat this problem. Chlorine kills bacteria, and maintaining calcium levels prevent hard water build-up. Test the aforementioned elements at least once a week to maintain a stable body of water.
Healthy pools require the use of a sanitizing system to kill bacteria and prevent algae. The most common pool sanitizer is chlorine, often in the form of a tablet, granule, or stick. Alternative sanitizers are also becoming popular. It's common for people to want to reduce their chlorine exposure.
A cartridge filtration system is a great way to sanitize your pool also. Pool professionals might recommend Nature2 CF mineral sanitizer because it reduces the amount of chlorine residual required. It's economical, simple to install, and a great low maintenance option.
If you choose to use chlorine look for stabilized chlorine. It's processed to protect it from the sun's damaging rays, making the chemical last longer and work effectively. Keep chlorine in your skimmer, floater, or automatic feeder for continuous sanitizing. And don't forget to test it at least weekly.
A pool clarifier eliminates cloudiness caused by oils, sunscreen, lotion, and cosmetics. Keeping the pool free of these chemicals helps prevent skin irritation. It's also a great way to prevent algae from taking root. There are synthetic clarifiers. Petroleum based clarifiers are earth-friendly and typically contain no harsh or toxic chemicals. They are effective and help to maintain cleanliness.
To prevent chloramines from contaminating the water you must use shock treatments. These concentrated chlorine treatments break down chloramines. Doing this prevents debris buildup and oxidizes organic contaminants, freeing up the chlorine and keeping pool water crystal clear.
It also kills resistant algae, and eliminates problems with irritation and odor due to user contamination like hair spray, suntan oil, perspiration, and unfortunately, urine.
There are two types of shock available: chlorine and non-chlorine. There is also shock available for hard water areas. If an algae takes hold of your pool follow these steps to clean it up.
- Shock your pool and keep the water circulating for 24 hours.
- Brush and vacuum the entire pool
- Follow up with algaecide that's designed for your particular algae problem
- Brush and vacuum again and try to repeat daily
- Check the chlorine level and add more if needed
- Regularly clean the filter during this process
Cleaning and Periodic Pool Maintenance
Pump and filter
The pump provides the force to circulate water and push it through the filter. The filter catches and removes both visible debris and microscopic particles. Run the pump and filter during the day, 8-12 hours at a time, as water in motion prevents bacteria growth.
There are two kinds of filtering systems: sand and cartridge. Bear in mind that sand and D.E. filters are cleaned by backwashing when the filter's pressure gauge indicates levels 8-10 lbs. above normal. Cartridge filters have a cartridge inside that can be removed and washed with a garden hose. It will need to be replaced eventually.
Not only is it important to keep water circulating, but it is also important to use a vacuum to keep walls and floor clean. A vacuum captures dirt and debris and helps prevent algae from growing.
It can also clean areas with little or no circulation, and since these areas are breeding grounds for bacteria, it's an important factor that should not be overlooked.
Even automatic cleaners need help. That's why it's important to use a brush to clean pool walls and floor, too. It's recommended that you brush pool walls and floor once a week for best results. Brushing the pool surface actually removes bacteria or other contaminants that might be adhering to the walls and floor.
A skimmer is handy as it makes removing dirt and debris from pool water easy. No pool should be without a skimmer. It helps keep it looking clean, and makes removing leaves and other surface debris effortless.
How to Winterize Your Above Ground Pool
- Remove the pool ladder and store it in a dry, sheltered area. The same goes for chemicals and other pool equipment. Make sure all chemicals are sealed properly and keep the pool vacuum, automatic cleaner, skimmer, brush, floaters, and toys in a dry indoor or covered area.
- Make sure the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness in the existing water are balanced. Once balance is achieved add a winter chemical kit before removing the filter. Once winter chemicals are added, you won't have to do it again for the rest of the season.
- Run the filter for 1 hour or as recommended on the winter chemical kit.
- Lower the water level of the pool below the skimmers and inlets. Cover skimmers and inlets with winterized covers or inserts to prevent freezing or cracking.
- Disconnect the motor and pump from the base of the pool. Drain water, clean out, and wipe dry. Store these in a dry location with the other pool accessories.
- Drain the pool filter tank and hoses. Wipe out the carriage of the cartridge filter, discard the old cartridge filter, and store the equipment in a dry location as well.
- Clean out sand filter area, dry it and discard the old sand filter; store it in a dry location.
- If applicable, dispose of diatomite in a Diatomaceous Earth Filter. Rinse out tank and dry. Soak all hoses overnight in a container of warm soapy dishwater. The next day, rinse hoses thoroughly to clean off all remaining buildup.
- Cover the above ground pool with a year round pool covers or winter cover. Ensure the cover is secured tightly.