Learn my tips and tricks for above ground pool maintenance. Taking care of your pool doesn’t have to be so hard!
You might also like this post on how to make an easy pool float storage.
I constantly hear people say that pools are hard to take care of or are expensive to maintain and I’m so confused every time I hear it.
We have an above-ground pool and it’s really easy to take care of. Today I’m sharing my simplified above-ground pool maintenance tips.
Check out this post on how we store our pool floats!
Why We Chose an Above Ground Pool
When we first moved in, we used our pool as an excuse for downtime. We called it a mandatory fun time and it was a much-needed excuse to take a break from a house that needed tons of work.
After living here for 5 years, I’m so grateful for our pool. We desperately needed that fun time and it gave us a chance to connect as a family during that time. Our house is a lot closer to being finished now and we still use the pool almost daily.
It’s a great escape from the heat, but it also helps with our electric bill because no one wants to come in to use the bathroom if the house is freezing cold. Most of the time, we don’t even turn on the air conditioner until July (but it helps that I really love being warm.)
We chose an above-ground pool because, at the time, we didn’t have enough open land for an in-ground pool. We have since cleared out a lot of trees, but I’m still happy with our decision of an in-ground pool because our swimming season is so short in central Maryland.
It’s the perfect size for our family and is still deep enough to have fun, even though my kids are now taller than me.
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Simplified Above Ground Pool Maintenance
This is how we take care of our pool. It’s probably not “correct”, but it works. We don’t have time to measure our chemicals or measure pH balances. We use a similar approach in our hot tub and it works fine too.
Above ground pool maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult!
What chemicals do you need for an above ground pool?
There are tons and tons of chemicals for pools, but even at it’s worst, we only rely on a few for pool maintenance.
We buy these chlorine tablets in bulk and try to keep 2-3 in a floating chlorine dispenser at all times.
We love this floating dispenser that has a temperature gauge on it, but the thermometer only lasts about a year.
Chlorine is the most important thing to keep up with. It will keep the pool from getting slimy or green. Use it generously.
(By the way, even with 2-3 tablets, our pool never smells like chlorine or irritates our skin.)
We shock the pool about once a week. If you have a lot of other people over or small children, you’ll need to shock it more. Pour in shock in the evening for best results.
If your pool turns green, add several packets of shock and let the pump run. Run the backwash on your pump if necessary to clean the filter or sand.
Algaecide is only used when we’re desperate. And I don’t think we’ve had to use it since we got a new pump.
This stuff makes your pool foamy and unusable, so we hate using it. As the algae die, it creates debris that needs to be vacuumed up.
Other Pool Maintenance Items
Make sure you clean the skimmer basket. When it fills up, the pump slows down and doesn’t work as well. We have to clean ours daily, but we swim daily, so it’s easy.
Our current pump doesn’t have a filter, but our last pump did. It needs to be removed and rinsed at least once a week, but probably twice would be better. Have multiple filters so that you can rinse them thoroughly.
I noticed that the filters clogged up a lot more when we wore sunscreen. (We wear long sleeve rash guards and large hats instead to protect our skin instead of relying on sunscreen that gets washed off.)
Backwash on the Pump
We have a sand filter, so it works pretty well. If the water flow slows down or if the water gets cloudy, we just set the pump to backwash, which pushes the dirty water out. Let it run until the water runs clear (or if it’s pretty clear 2-3 minutes.)
The backwash function is also the way to reset your pump if your pressure drops to 0. Let it run for about 10 seconds. Then turn it back to normal.
Note: Don’t walk away during this process, or you might forget and lose half your pool water… Not that that has ever happened to us…
Keep your pump running, even while not in use. It keeps your pool clean. And it doesn’t cost that much to run. (I can’t say the same about our hot tub though…)
We’ve had a few different pools and pumps and a good pump makes the biggest difference in pool maintenance. Buy the best that you can afford! It will save you time and money in the long run.
We have a similar vacuum that came with the pool and it’s great for small debris. Hubby prefers using just the hose and diving underwater to suck up the mess. (Walking in a circle for a few minutes, pushing all the debris to the center, so this is easy.)
Robot Vacuum Cleaners
We also have a robot vacuum and this is probably the most expensive part of maintaining a pool, but it’s not necessary.
It’s perfect for big messes, like when you open or close a pool and leaves fall in. One day we will perfect the opening/closing process, but so far, we end up with a mess of leaves every time.
Robot cleaners are amazing. Drop it in, plug it in, and turn it on. Make sure that you get one specifically for above-ground pools (they are much cheaper than the big ones.) This is our favorite one because it has a large bag to collect a ton of debris.
It takes about 30 minutes for the robot vacuum to finish its circuit. Make sure you remove the robot right away and clean out the bag.
The bags are made out of the same thing as cloth diapers, so they can be washed in a washing machine after you remove the large debris. (Hair and smaller leaf debris can be hard to clean out with a water hose, so I prefer washing them.)
It’s nice to have extra bags for when the dirty ones are in the laundry.
The bad side about robot vacuums is that they only last about 3 years. Which adds up. But if your pool is surrounded by trees, it’s worth the added cost to help clean up excess leaves.
Other Pool Cleaning Tips
- Avoid toys that break down in chlorinated water. Pool noodles are the worst about this. They clog up paper filters.
- If the pool starts feeling slimy, add more chlorine. But you can also use a brush to scrub the bottom and sides of the pool.
- Rain, extremely hot weather, and excess people will disrupt your water pH. So shock the pool after those events.
Other Pool Issues
If your pool water changes color or you have other problems, take a sample of the water to your local pool store. They can tell you exactly how to fix it!
They will also give you bottles to use for future visits, but it’s totally fine to bring a water sample in a plastic container with a lid.
The experts at the pool stores will analyze the water and tell you which chemicals you need to balance the water. It can be expensive, but it works quickly when you follow their directions.
Typically these issues only occur when something has drastically changed.
In my experience, our issues occurred once when our pump went out, once when we went on vacation and didn’t maintain the pool as usual, and every now and then from drastic weather changes (way more rain than normal.)
If you have well water, you may experience issues too. It took a few years, but we had to add chemicals to remove metals from the water.
Overall, maintaining an above-ground pool is pretty easy though. When you keep it clean, you can avoid the bigger issues and avoid the other chemicals.
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