The following tips for above-ground pool care help protect your investment and keep your pool and water healthy. While regular pool maintenance might seem like a drag, it ensures that you, your family, and your friends can keep enjoying the water, and it prevents greater inconveniences and expenses down the road (just like regular car maintenance).
If you don’t take good care of your above-ground pool, algae and bacteria quickly become a concern. The water becomes discolored and cloudy, the sides of the pool are prone to slimy buildup, and pool equipment can become damaged. And these problems don’t just make your pool look, smell, and feel unappealing—they can cause eye and skin irritation when you swim and even lead to illness.
Remember, when you decide to add an above-ground swimming pool to your yard, you’re taking on the responsibility of regular maintenance. Use these tips for above-ground pool care and get in the habit of taking care of the essentials on schedule. It’s well worth it. Enjoy the water!
How to Maintain an Above-Ground Pool
- Establish an above-ground pool cleaning and maintenance routine
- Enlist other members of the household to pitch in as appropriate so nobody gets overwhelmed
- Refer to the owner’s manual for detailed instructions on caring for your particular pool type, materials, and equipment; follow all recommended maintenance, cleaning, and care instructions
- Maintain a mid-skimmer water level; don’t let the water depth rise or fall beyond this
- Use a pool skimmer to remove debris from the water and empty the skimmer baskets—preferably every day
- Always be on the lookout for sticks and other hard or sharp debris that can damage an above-ground pool’s lining
- Run the filter according to the manual; generally, the more you run it the better, shooting for at least 10 to 12 hours per day (and longer when the water is particularly warm)
- Check the manual to learn when and how to backwash sand or diatomaceous earth filters or remove and clean cartridge filters; usually, it should be done when the pressure gauge reads 8 to 10 psi above normal, so check the gauge as part of your daily maintenance routine
- If you have a pool deck around your above-ground pool, sweep or hose it down it regularly to prevent dirt and other material from ending up in the water
- Brush the pool siding with an appropriate type of bristle about once per week, and don’t forget the ladder (while you’re at it, check under and behind steps and ladders for algae growth)
- Vacuum the pool after each brushing with a device and attachments recommended by the manufacturer
- Check the alkalinity, pH, and chlorine levels of your above-ground pool at least once per week; alkalinity should be maintained between 80 and 120 ppm, pH should fall between 7.2 and 7.6, and chlorine should be between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm
- Use manufacturer-recommended pool additives to adjust these levels as necessary
- Add a water clarifier about once per week to reduce the water cloudiness that can result from runoff of sunscreen, tanning oil, makeup, and other care and cosmetic products
- Check calcium levels at least once per month and maintain a level between 200 and 400 ppm
- Perform shock treatments of your above-ground pool water at least once per month as recommended by the manufacturer, carefully following all instructions for the shock treatment you use
- Follow up each shock treatment by adding an algaecide to the pool
- Scrub the water line and clean the skimmer walls about monthly with a material-appropriate brush and cleanser
- Read up on winterizing an above-ground pool if you live in a place where it dips below freezing during the winter months