Above ground pools come in many different sizes, some are small portable pools and these won’t require any maintenance. Larger above ground pools are like any other swimming pool, they may be slightly smaller and perhaps not as deep but will still use a circulation pump and a filtration system. Large above ground pools will also need chemicals like, chlorine, pool acid and algae removing chemicals. In order to keep your above ground pool clean and hygienic, you’ll need to follow a maintenance program. Some procedures need to be followed regularly and others less often.
Maintaining the Correct PH
The PH level of your pool is important in that an incorrect PH level can cause skin irritations and can be harmful to the eyes. Keeping the water in your above ground pool clear and healthy for your family, requires that check the PH level of the pool water at least once a week.
The most common way to test the PH level is with a testing kit. This consists of a plastic water sample holder that has color-coded markings to help you read the PH. You use two solutions that come in bottles that look similar to eye-drop dispensers. One is for testing the acid level and the other is for alkaline. You add a few drops (as indicated on the bottle) to each side of the test sample. The color of the water in the sample tester after you’ve added the drops will correspond to one of the colors marked on the sample container – this color will indicate whether you need to raise or lower the PH level.
You can also get an electronic PH meter, that’s much simpler to use. You simply need to place the probe of the PH meter into your pool water and it will give you the PH reading. The ideal PH for pool water is 7.4 – this is the PH level of the human eye.
To lower the PH level of the pool, one usually uses hydrochloric acid, this is sold as pool acid and is commonly available. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is the most common chemical used to raise the PH.
The water in your above ground pool can be a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. In summer when the water is the perfect temperature for bacterial growth is when you’ll be using the pool, so it’s important to keep the water hygienic.
Like any other pool, your above ground pool needs to be dosed regularly with chlorine. I usually do this daily, by adding a cup of granular chlorine every evening. It’s important to add chlorine to your pool around sunset because sunlight deteriorates chlorine and makes it less effective. It’s best to leave your pool pump switched off for at least 4-hours after adding chlorine to the water. You don’t want the chlorine to end up in the sand filter – you want it to stay in the pool.
If you’re not that keen on constantly adding chlorine to your pool, you can get an automatic chlorinator. These devices are installed on the return pipe from your pool pump leading to the water inlet of your pool. The automatic chlorinator uses solid chlorine tablets and the water is directed through chlorinator. To control the amount of chlorine, you’re able to restrict the flow of water through the chlorinator if you require less chlorine or increase the flow for more chlorine.
Physically cleaning the pool is also important. Not only does dirt in your above ground pool look unsightly, it also aids the growth of bacteria. There are many different automatic pool cleaners that will do all or most of the work for you. Though you may have to use a brush to clean the walls of your above ground pool from time to time. Using a skimming net, you can remove floating debris, this is particularly important after a storm when there will be a lot floating leaves and other debris in your pool.
An above ground pool is as prone to algae growth as any other. It’s advisable to use an algae treatment once a year to prevent algae from growing in the pool. Once algae gets a hold, it can be difficult to get rid of. Fortunately, above ground pools normally use plastic or vinyl liners and it’s easier to remove algae from these surfaces.
Water circulation is critical to maintaining good pool hygiene. This is even more important when dealing with an above ground pool that doesn’t have a very powerful pump. Your pool pump should run for 12-18 hours daily. Regularly check the pressure gauge to make sure that the pump is working properly. A low water pressure usually means that debris basket is full or there might a blockage in your automatic pool cleaner.
Maintaining your Pool Pump and Filter
Mechanically, your pool pump doesn’t usually require any maintenance. Above ground pools normally use a smaller pump than most others, but you’ll be treating them the same. At the water intake for the pump, you have a debris collection basket – this needs to be checked and cleaned regularly. It’s a good idea to check the basket a few times a week and always after a heavy storm.
Once every few years, you should replace the sand in your sand filter. There’s no strict rule as to when this should be done, but 3-5 years is a reasonable time frame for this. It’s important to run a backwash cycle at least once a month. This reverses the water flow through the sand filter and cleans it, expelling the dirt through the backwash pipe.
Other than this, there’s not much else that needs to be done to keep your above ground pool in tip-top shape. Periodically check the lining and frame of the pool to make sure it’s in good condition.