Pool Care Cheat Sheet: 10+ Above Ground Pool Maintenance Tips
Published October 16, 2023
If you’re an owner of an above ground pool, you already know the advantages of having one from enjoying the crystal-clear waters to fun-filled moments with family and friends. However these advantages come with a responsibility – proper above ground pool maintenance.
In this guide, we’ve created an above ground pool care cheat sheet to help you keep your pool in pristine condition. From chemical balance to equipment upkeep, winterization to seasonal covering, this list covers it all.
Dive into our proven-and-tested recommendations to ensure that your above ground pool remains a source of endless enjoyment, season after season.
Above Ground Pool Maintenance Tips
1. Follow a Schedule
The first step in how to clean an above ground pool is religiously following a schedule. Consistency is key when it comes to pool maintenance and there are things that you have to do daily, weekly, or monthly. Following a strict schedule can help ensure that your pool stays clear and safe to swim in.
Some tasks that you have to do daily are testing the pH and chlorine level, running your pumps, and checking the water level. While weekly tasks include shocking the pool and checking the skimmer baskets.
We’ll discuss these tasks in detail in the other tips on how to take care of a pool below.
2. Check Water Circulation
There is nothing more prone to bacterial and algal growth than a stagnant pool of water. That is why tips on pool maintenance for beginners always put emphasis on the importance of checking your water circulation daily.
Water circulation is highly dependent on the pump and filter. Here is how your water circulates through the pumps, filter and back to your pool so you know which parts to check in case there’s a problem with circulation:
- Pump sucks water from the pool through the skimmer.
- Water then travels through the pump into the filter.
- Filter cleans out particles that make your pool water dirty.
- Water is pushed back into the pool through pool jets.
3. Test the Pool Pump and Filter
The heart of your pool’s maintenance system is the pool pump, including the filter, as it keeps your water running. Aside from regularly inspecting the pump and filter, one of the best practices when it comes to above ground pool cleaning is to keep your pump open even if you won’t be using the pool.
Regularly opening your pump can help you maintain a cleaner pool and save you from cleaning a larger amount of dirt from your pool water.
4. Clean the Skimmer Basket
Checking the skimmer basket once or twice a week should always be included when we’re talking about how to maintain a pool. Emptying the skimmer basket should be done to prevent potential problems as it can make it harder for the pump to circulate the water.
Additionally, critters like frogs can get stuck in your skimmer, so you will want to make sure those are removed immediately.
To clean the skimmer basket, turn off your pool pump and empty the removable basket under the skimmer lid, then replace.
5. Take Note of Above Ground Pool Chemicals
Taking note of the above ground pool chemicals is crucial to prevent algae growth or skin irritation. Properly balanced chemicals will ensure that your pool water remains safe and comfortable for swimming.
Some of the above ground pool chemicals you must check are the following:
- pH level: The ideal pH level for an above ground pool is between 7.4 to 7.6. Maintaining the correct pH level is important because a pH too high or too low can lead to various pool problems. Such problems include cloudy water and irritated eyes.
You can add sodium carbonate as a pH level increaser while sodium bisulfate is used as a pH level reducer.
- Alkalinity: The level of alkalinity goes hand in hand with the pH level. Low alkaline levels in above ground pools can cause the pH level to easily fluctuate and affect the physical appearance of pools. For above ground pools maintenance, the ideal alkalinity is between 80 and 120 ppm.
- Chlorine: The ideal chlorine level is between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm. This keeps the water clean by eliminating bacteria, microorganisms, and algae. However, it tends to decrease with exposure to the sun, swimmers, and chemicals from sunscreens.
6. Always Shock the Pool
Aside from the chemicals mentioned above, shocking the pool is also an important part of above ground pool cleaning. “Shocking” is the process of adding a highly-concentrated dose of chlorine to eliminate bacteria and other organisms. Although this should be done weekly, it is also highly-recommended to be done after a storm, unexpected contaminations, or an algae breakout.
For increased safety, take note in your pool care cheat sheet that this should be done during the night to prevent the sunlight from dissolving the chlorine. It is also advised to refrain from swimming until the following day and keep the pump open to ensure proper water circulation.
7. Vacuum and Brush Your Pool Regularly
Having an outdoor above ground pool exposes it to debris such as leaves and twigs. One of the best practices when it comes to above ground pool maintenance is to vacuum and brush your pool once or twice a week. But if you’re using your pool pretty often, it’s best to do this more regularly.
Your pool filter won’t be able to remove all dirt from the floor and walls of your pool, manually removing them by vacuuming and brushing can help you avoid bigger clean ups. This practice also prevents algae build ups and helps chlorine be more effective.
8. Maintain the Wall and Liners
As above ground pools have exposed walls and liners, these are two of the things that you must always keep an eye on. Well-kept walls and liners can help you avoid leaks and extend their lifespan.
To avoid these from being damaged, refrain from leaning on the pool walls as it might cause creasing and trigger breakage. When it comes to cleaning maintenance, as mentioned above, brushing your walls once or twice a week is the recommended step to prevent dirt and unwanted algae growth.
When it comes to the liners, rusting is the most common problem. Keeping the alkalinity at the desired level will help you prevent this from happening.
9. Winterize the Pool
Not all above ground pools are used all-year round due to season changes. But this doesn’t mean that maintenance is also on vacation during these seasons.
It is important to winterize your pool or prepare it for the season as part of your above ground pool maintenance.
It is actually more advisable to keep a minimal amount of water in your pool instead of completely draining it, so the first step is to reduce water levels and clean it thoroughly. Next add winter chemicals such as antifreeze, chlorine, algaecides, and oxidizers.
Then you would want to make sure that pool equipment that wont be used during the winter are stored somewhere dry to avoid damage. This includes the pump, filter, skimmer, pool lines, ladders, and any other accessories and supplies around or inside your pool.
10. Cover With a Blanket
Covering your pool with a durable pool cover is essential when you are not using it regardless of the season.
In addition to protecting your pool during the winter, a cover can prevent debris, leaves, and insects from getting into the pool water. This reduces the amount of time and effort needed for the overall cleaning and maintenance.
11. Keep a Sump Pump to Prevent House Leaks
Even though your above ground pool is not placed near your house, it’s always a good idea to have a sump pump ready in case there is a potential leak.
This pump can help prevent house leaks by removing excess water from the area around your pool during heavy rainfall or when the water level rises. By taking this precaution, you can avoid potential damage to your home and overall property.
Maintaining an above ground pool can be easy with the right knowledge and a few tips at hand.
From the importance of regular water circulation and right chemical balance to understanding how you can keep the pool clean even during off season, this pool maintenance cheat sheet offers a comprehensive guide to keeping your above ground pool swimmable at all times. By following these tips, pool owners can not only ensure the safety and health of their swimmers but also extend the longevity of their pool.
Consistency is key in pool maintenance, and the cheat sheet emphasizes the need for a regular schedule to tackle common issues such as algae growth, debris accumulation, and chemical imbalances. With these practical insights, pool owners can confidently maintain their pools while saving time, money, and energy.
Ultimately, we aim to empower pool owners with the knowledge and tools necessary to make pool maintenance a manageable and enjoyable task. By implementing these tips, you can spend more time splashing in the water and less time worrying about pool problems.
1. What is the best way to remove leaves and debris from my pool?
Aside from the skimmer basket, regularly vacuuming your pool is one of the best ways to remove leaves and debris from your pool floor.
2. How often should I test the water quality in my pool?
It is recommended to test the water quality in your above ground pool at least twice a week. This allows you to monitor the chlorine and pH levels and make any necessary adjustments.
3. How can I maintain the proper chemical balance in my pool?
To maintain the proper chemical balance in your above ground pool, regularly test the water and adjust the chemical levels as needed. Additionally, shock your pool at least once a week to help with maintenance.
4. How can I prevent algae growth in my above ground pool?
To prevent algae growth in your above ground pool, make sure to regularly clean and scrub the walls and floor of the pool. Keep the chlorine levels within the recommended range and use an algaecide as a preventive measure. Also, ensure proper circulation and filtration of the water by running the pump and filter regularly.
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