Above Ground Swimming Pool Maintenance Guide
Similar to in-ground swimming pools, their above ground counterparts require regular maintenance in order to keep the water crystal clear, inviting and most importantly, healthy. Performing regular maintenance on your above ground pool is also a surefire way to prolong the equipment’s lifespan. It is necessary to mention that while pools with automatic cleaning equipment (automatic pool cleaner or robotic pool cleaner) are actually good investments, they are not perfect.
Above Ground Swimming Pool Maintenance Guide
To put it simply, you will have to assist it by brushing dirt from the sides or skimming out debris and leaves, for instance. Let’s review the main pool parts that need regular maintenance, how often you should clean them and some efficient methods to get the desired results.
Because the pumps provide the force to keep the water circulating in the swimming pool, it is important that you check it periodically (every day if possible) to see if it is working properly. Verifying if the pump is in good condition implies looking at the water in the pool and observing the suction and actual movement of the water. Even though the additional pump maintenance instructions will be available in the user’s manual, remember that a good and efficient pump must be able to move all of the pool’s water within 8 hours. In the eventuality that your pump does not perform as described above, it could be a sign of a malfunction, which you should address immediately.
Ideally, the filters of the pool should be cleaned as often as possible. Considering that the main function of the pool is to catch and remove particles and debris, they are very prone to altering the water’s appearance and composition. Similar to the pump, you will need to read the user’s manual to identify the type of filters and the proper cleaning procedures.
For some filters, it is easier to determine when you need to backwash them. For instance the D.E. and sand filters need to be cleaned when the pressure gauge reaches an abnormal level, usually of 8 to 10 lbs. On the other hand, while the cartridge filters do not benefit from indicators, they can be washed with a garden hose each time you notice minor alterations of the water.
Pool Water Balance
Maintaining the swimming pool’s water balance typically implies verifying the pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness levels. Essentially, the optimal levels of the aforementioned elements mean that the sanitation system is working properly and is keeping the bacteria away. At the same time, balanced pool water implies less risk of corrosion and build-ups on various components. Testing for water balance should reveal the following levels:
- Calcium hardness: between 200 and 500 ppm (monthly)
- pH levels: within 7.2 to 7.6 (daily)
- Total Alkalinity: between 60 to 120 ppm (daily/weekly)
- Free available chlorine: 1 to 5 ppm (daily)
- Stabilizer: 20 to 50 ppm (biweekly)
Before you can determine if the aforementioned levels are appropriate in the water’s pool, first you need to know the capacity of the pool. Luckily, this is a two-step process:
Step 1: Find out the average depth of the pool by dividing the sum of the shallow and deep ends depths by two
Step 2: Calculate the capacity of the pool by multiplying the length, average depth and width
Sanitizing your pool implies adding a few antibacterial chemicals in the water that restrict the formation of bacteria and the development of algae. Even though the most commonly used pool sanitizing products are the chlorine tablets, sticks or granules, make sure that they contain stabilizing chlorine as well as the pool chlorinator.
The stabilizing chlorine products are usually processed slower and their effectiveness is not diminished by the sunlight and UV rays. A suggestion to minimize the effect of UV rays on the chlorine is to add it late afternoon or in the evening. Regardless of when you add it, make sure to spread it equally so that it distributed evenly all across the water of the pool.
It is important to note that chlorine can only be added in the pool if the pH and alkaline levels of water are optimal. At the same time, the amount of chlorine you can add into the pool depends on existing chlorine levels.
Shocking the Pool
Irrespective of how much maintenance you perform, the water will inevitably become contaminated with chloramines, which are debris buildups resulted from oils, perspiration, cosmetics and chlorine. On a side note, chloramines should not be confused with chlorine, which is wrongfully blamed for eye and skin irritations, murky water as well as the formation of algae and bacteria.
This issue can be addressed or prevented via a concentrated chemical treatment dubbed as shock every week: because it contains a high concentration of chlorine, the solution will oxidize the contaminants and free up the chlorines resulting in crystal clear and healthy water in the pool. In addition to destroying contaminants, the shock solutions are also recommended to use on very persistent algae formations.
Dealing with Algae Growth
Despite the fact that the best above ground swimming pools include efficient pumps, the water movement and circulation are reduced compared to in-ground pools. Because such water conditions lead to the development of algae and bacteria, it is advisable to brush and vacuum the floor and walls of the pool every week. On a side note, this is also recommended for pools incorporating an automatic cleaner/vacuum system.
While it is obvious that nobody wants to see yellow, green or black fuzz in their swimming pool, it is necessary to mention that they algae themselves are not harmful. The danger actually resides in the waste they produce, as the excretion constitutes the main food of bacteria.
A Final Recommendation
Despite the fact that cleaning your above ground swimming pool is not easy or simple, keep in mind that the more you postpone the maintenance, the more challenging it will get. Therefore, if you want to remain healthy and be able to enjoy all those fun activities around the pool, make sure you create a schedule for maintenance.