How to Maintain Your Above Ground Pool

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Whether you’ve got an inexpensive or high-end above ground swimming pool, regular maintenance and cleaning is key to ensuring your pool will last as long as it can.

Maintaining your above ground pool comes down to 3 simple components:

  • Filtering.
  • Cleaning.
  • Chemical balance.

Most above ground pool sets will already come with everything you need to get into the habit of regular maintenance and cleaning.

The simplest way to make sure your pool’s water stays clean and safe and that its liner and equipment last as long as possible is to perform both daily and weekly maintenance and cleaning routines. Check out the CDC’s maintenance recommendations for public swimming pools.

Daily Above Ground Pool Maintenance Routine:

  1. Run the filter for at least 10 to 12 hours every day. The easiest way to do this is to hook up a pool timer that automatically shuts the filter on and off.
  2. Test the water. Purchase a test strip kit to make checking water pH and chlorine/sanitizer levels quick and easy.
  3. Add chlorine. The easiest way to maintain proper chlorine levels is to purchase chlorine tablets that fit in a floater or the filter cartridge. This way, you’ll just need to replace the tablet.
  4. Brush the liner walls. A quick brush of the walls at the end of the day helps fight against any beginning stages of slimy algae build-up that can form in your pool.
  5. Skim the surface. Remove any surface debris with a pool skimmer to help the filter from becoming overloaded.

Total daily maintenance and cleaning time shouldn’t take you much more than 10 minutes. Some of the steps like cleaning and brushing can be allocated to the kids as their membership fee.

Weekly Above Ground Pool Cleaning:

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  1. Vacuum the pool. If you don’t have an automatic vacuum running, manually vacuuming the pool on a weekly cadence is a good substitute.
  2. Shock the pool. Along with maintaining chlorine levels, shocking the pool regularly gets rid of water contaminants that deplete chlorine and dirty up the water.
  3. Use an Algaecide. A small amount of algaecide can further prevent algae build up in hard to reach places and aid your chlorine in events of a summer rain.
  4. Clean the pool ladder and accessories. Regular cleaning of other semi-permanent pool fixtures prevents slime build up.
  5. Clean the pool filter. Remove and inspect the filter. Rinse it off and clean it with a filter cleaner before replacing it.

These weekly maintenance steps can be completed in under an hour each week.

What happens when you don’t clean your above ground pool?

Neglecting to clean and maintain your above ground pool can lead to unsafe water conditions and damaged liners and pool equipment. Failing to maintain chemical and pH levels and clean the pool can lead to:

  • Murky/cloudy water.
  • Green water.
  • Algae growth and slimy pool walls and ladders.
  • Skin and eye irritation.
  • Clogged filters and broken pumps.

Regular maintenance for above ground pools is important for a few reasons:

  • Above ground pools are smaller than typical in-ground pools, which means the same amount of people are swimming in less water.
  • Above ground pools get warmer faster. Warm water is nice to swim in, but it’s also great for bacteria and algae growth.
  • The pumps and filters included with most above ground pools are not the best. Without regular cleaning, they’re sure to become overloaded or stop working altogether.

Above Ground Pool Maintenance Made Easy

Following the steps listed above will help ensure your above ground pool stays clean and lasts for many summers to come. The hardest part (and it’s not that hard) will be getting you and your family into a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule. Some easy ways to do that include:

  • Keeping a log. In a notebook or on a large whiteboard, list out the daily and weekly pool maintenance steps along with checkboxes for the dates and times completed. This will help you stay accountable for pool maintenance.
  • Invest in a better pump, filter, and circulator. While the pump and filter that come with your above ground pool will work, your pool will get cleaner and stay cleaner more easily with an upgraded system.
  • Perform daily maintenance when you wake up in the morning or when the pool is done being used at night.
  • Perform weekly maintenance on the same day each week.

Here are some good tools and supplies to have to make sure you can clean and maintain your above ground pool:

  • Pole with skimmer, brush, and vacuum attachments.
  • Chlorine tablets and 24/7 floater bucket.
  • Water tester kit.
  • Spare chlorine tablets and chemicals.
  • Shock kit.
  • Filter cleaner.
  • Hand brush for the ladder.

On top of regular cleaning and maintenance, you can also:

  • Keep a cover on the pool when it’s not being used. This prevents excess debris from clogging up the filter.
  • Use the pool! Regular use with help circulate the water through the pump and filter system.

And that’s it! Following those simple steps will help you keep your pool clean, safe, and lasting all summer long for many summers to come.


Other pages in this section will get into some of the specifics of pool cleaning and maintenance. We’ll cover topics including:

In the meantime, get out there and start enjoying your above ground swimming pool!

How to Lower Alkalinity in Your Above Ground Pool

Testing your pool’s water regularly is an important part of above ground pool ownership. One common issues many pool owners face is high alkalinity levels.

High alkalinity can cause problems for your pool’s water, liner, and pump system. Water can become cloudy, calcium deposits can build up, and pressure can build inside the pump and filter.

If your alkalinity readings are high, you can lower them with:

  • Sodium Bisulfate (powder).
    • or
  • Muriatic Acid (liquid).

In either case, you’ll need to refer to the chemical manufacturer’s label to determine how much of the solution you’ll need to use.

After putting the solution in your pool, you’ll need to wait at least a few hours before swimming. Test your water readings after a while to make sure you’ve successfully lowered the alkaline levels.

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