How to Clean and Maintain Above-Ground Swimming Pool


So you have already solved your problem of wanting to have a pool but don’t want the hassle of all the digging and the messy construction. What’s next? Having an above-ground swimming pool is really thrilling, especially when you think of all the moments you would have with your family or even that much needed and much deserved “me-time”; but only if it is cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Your investment will only stay in tip-top shape and safe if it is taken care of properly.

Let us admit, who wants cleaning and maintaining an above-ground pool when it can be time-consuming and very tiring? But with the help of the right tools, the result is completely worth it.

Here is a quick guide on how to clean and maintain your little paradise:

#1 Vacuuming the pool

It is very easy to worry only about the water when you think of cleaning your swimming pool. But keeping the floor and the walls clean is also as equally important. Use a good-quality vacuum to clean the walls and the floor of your above-ground swimming pool thoroughly. Through it, you can capture all the dirt and debris that can collect on the walls and prevent algae and bacteria from growing.

An advice on how to use a vacuum to clean your swimming pool is to first submerge the vacuum’s hose and head inside the pool and then hook it up to the filter.

A vacuum is a good cleaning device especially for areas in the pool where water circulation is low. These are the high breeding grounds for bacteria and hence, cleaning these areas becomes even more important for the overall safety of your above-ground swimming pool water.

#2 Cleaning the filters and the motor

Most above-ground swimming pools use three different types of filters – cartridge, sand, and diatomaceous earth filters (DE filters).

Filters are used to screen out particles and debris from the water in the swimming pools. When cleaning them, always refer to your manufacturer’s directions on how to do it properly. The other important part of the pool is the motor or the pump that helps to circulate the water through the filter and push it through.

For optimum functioning, it is best to run the motor and the filter in the pool every day for at least 8 to 12 hours at a stretch. When the water in the pool comes into motion, it prevents bacterial and other microscopic particles from growing and keeps the water healthy.

Your cleaning methodology and frequency can depend on the type of filter your pool is using. It is easier to clean a cartridge filter as all you need to do is to remove the cartridge, clean it, and put it back inside the filter. However, the cartridge needs to be replaced from time to time so that it remains efficient enough in removing debris and dust from the pool water.

#3 Cleaning the skimmer

Many pools use skimmers to remove debris from the bottom of the pool. They also help in making the pool look clean by removing leaves and debris from the water efficiently. Cleaning the skimmer at least once a week ensures that it works to its full capacity.

For it to operate at its maximum capacity, the water level in your pool should be just right. Keep the water level between one-third and one-half up from the skimmer’s opening.

When the water is too high, it moves slowly through the skimmer which results in the debris bypassing the skimmer and sitting at the bottom of the pool. On the other hand, when the water level is low, the skimmer does not have enough pressure to suck debris in and instead takes air that affects the life of the skimmer too.

#4 Having a brush always helps

Many new-tech above-ground swimming pools come with in-built automatic cleaning mechanisms. But even the best automatic cleaners need manual intervention. This is where a brush can come handy to give the walls of the pool a good rub to remove any stubborn algae or debris from it.

Brushing your pool not only gets rid of the bacteria and algae, it also helps in water circulation in the pool that further adds to its overall health. You can also add special algaecides to the water to kill the algae if it is very hard and does not easily come off using a brush. Follow the instructions on the packaging on how to use the chemical.

#5 Performing regular shock treatments

Shock treatment refers to regularly checking the water in the pool and adding the needed chemicals if they are insufficient. However, this must strictly be performed based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Sock treatments help in cleaning the water and removing traces of dirt, bacteria, algae or any other organic matter from the pool.

Generally, shock treatments contain concentrated chlorine that oxidizes the contaminants in the water which frees up the chlorine and makes the water in the pool crystal clear.

If you are not sure about doing a shock treatment yourself, you can use some professional help. On average, pool cleaning services, as provided by CostFigures, can range from $40 to $200.

#6 Balancing the pH of the water

The “potential of hydrogen” or more commonly known as “pH” refers to the ability of the water in your pool to neutralize acidity. So it is not harmful for swimming and does not negatively impact your body.

Besides the pH, it is also important to know how much of the other chemicals are present in the water such as chlorine that is used as a disinfectant to sanitize the water, calcium that helps to maintain the hardness of water so it does not ruin your body, and other dissolved solids like magnesium, sodium, bicarbonates, etc.

Ensuring that the pool water has the required quantities of all of these constituents is called water balancing. You can make use of special water testing kits to check water balance and ensure that the water in the pool will be healthy for your body. There are a few things that a water balancing kit can check like the following:

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    pH level – must be in the range of 7.2 to 7.6
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    Calcium – must be in the range of 250 to 400 parts per million or ppm
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    Alkalinity – must be between 80 and 120 ppm
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    Chlorine – must be between 2.0 and 4.0. ppm

It is important that the water in the pool is checked properly for the right amounts of these four elements which help in keeping mold and algae from forming in the pool.

Things to Remember When Using Chemicals

You may think that since chemicals used in pool cleaning are diluted in water, probably in small amounts, that they are not to be taken seriously. But on the contrary, there are a lot of things to consider when using them like the following:

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    Always read the labels of each chemical before using. There may be some things you didn’t know about it even if you have been using it for a long time.
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    Make sure that children do not have access to them to avoid accidental inducing or injury.
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    Pool cleaning chemicals are intended to be mixed with pool water. Therefore, they should be added separately and individually. Never attempt to mix several chemicals before adding them to the pool to avoid adverse reactions.
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    Chlorine tablets are the most convenient and effective sanitizer for above-ground pools as they dissolve slowly and at a consistent rate which is very advantageous if you want pool water’s continuous protection from bacteria.
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    Make sure that filters are running prior to adding the chemicals.


Above-ground swimming pools can quickly become the breeding grounds for bacteria and algae that can result in unsafe swimming conditions for your family. That is the reason why they need to be taken good care of round-the-year so that they are hygienic and healthy whenever you are ready to take the next plunge.

Ideally, you should clean your above-ground swimming pool at least once a week on the average during the swimming season to ensure that the swimming water is clean and safe.

Remember, the longer gaps you take in cleaning your pool, the harder it will be to clean and remove all the stubborn debris, algae, and mold. With the right devices, equipment, and kits, you can manage cleaning your swimming pool in the house without involving expensive cleaning services.

The best way to handle the job is to make a checklist of all the things you need when cleaning the pool. If the list looks big, messy, and somewhat intimidating, that is when you can see which parts can be handled by expert cleaners in your area.