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How to Maintain an Above Ground Pool

Posted by Watson's on Dec 15, 2023 12:00:00 PM

Owning an above ground pool can be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family. But like any investment, pools require regular care and maintenance to keep your water clean equipment functioning and prevent any costly repairs down the road. By following this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about maintaining your above ground pool from opening to closing season and all year long.

Click here to read our complete pool maintenance guide.

What Goes Into Maintaining an Above Ground Pool?

Properly caring for your above ground pool involves several routine tasks and checks to ensure your water stays balanced and your pool remains in tip-top shape. Let’s explore the key areas of above ground pool maintenance and what you should be doing.


Water Testing

Frequently testing your pool’s chemical levels is crucial for clean, safe swimming water. You'll want to test for chlorine, pH levels, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid at least 2-3 times per week during swimming season. Purchase a complete test kit or strips and aim to keep your levels in the ideal ranges. When they fall out of balance, make appropriate chemical additions as needed.


Regular Cleaning

In addition to monitoring water chemistry, you'll also need to tackle basic cleaning like skimming debris, brushing walls, and emptying skimmer and pump baskets. Plan to spend 15-30 minutes each day tending to your pool's surfaces and removing leaves, bugs, and other dirt that can accumulate. Vacuuming weekly and using pool clarifier helps pull contaminants from the water as well.


Seasonal Cleaning

Certain maintenance chores like draining and deep cleaning your swimming pool are best left to the beginning and end of swim season. In spring, give the pool walls and floor a thorough scrubbing before refilling. At fall closing time, drain and clean out all equipment to remove calcium scale buildup and algae that may have formed.


Filter Care

The above ground pool filter is the unsung hero that keeps water free of particles and debris. Schedule time every 2-4 weeks during peak season to rinse or backwash cartridge, DE, and sand filters. Replace cartridges once a year or as needed. Keep your pump basket emptied of leaves and gunk too for optimal filtration.


Ladder Maintenance

It’s easy to forget about your pool ladder when focusing on water and equipment. However, a broken ladder can lead to safety issues and make it difficult to enter or exit the pool. Annually clean and lubricate all ladder joints, bolts, and moving parts. Check for deterioration or loose bolts that may need repair or replacement.

How to Maintain an Above Ground Pool
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Preparing Above Ground Pools for Weather Changes

The beginning of spring and fall’s cooler weather requires switching maintenance routines to protect your pool investment. Follow these tips to transition your above ground pool from one season to the next. For those with above ground pools in the chilly Midwest region, take note of the additional guidance on protecting your pool through harsh winters.


Why Pools Need Seasonal Care

Outdoor pools are designed for use in warm weather when water temperatures allow for safe and comfortable swimming. Once low temps arrive, you'll need to take steps to winterize equipment and prevent algae growth that occurs more readily in cold water. This is especially important for frigid Midwest areas which can experience sub-zero temperatures. In spring, refilling and starting systems backup must be done properly to avoid damaging components or delaying opening day.


Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

When preparing your above ground pool for its long winter rest, drain all water to below the skimmer opening using your pool pump. For Midwest owners, drain all water fully to avoid freeze and thaw cycles cracking fittings. Add a dose of winterizing chemicals to stabilize water chemistry before draining. Disconnect and thoroughly drain hoses, pumps, filters, and other components before storing them indoors. Frozen water left inside can expand and cause part failure. Install a tight winter cover tightly secured by water tubes for maximum protection from falling leaves and animals. In windy regions, reinforce covers with stakes and ropes.


Opening Your Pool in Spring

In early spring, access and clean out the entire pool including steps and walls, once ice has fully thawed. Make repairs to any cracks or leaks in the liner caused by shifting wintertime soil. Midwest owners should check the plumbing for cracks from frozen components. Reinstall ladders, rails, filters, pumps, and other accessories. Refill the pool slowly, balancing chemicals as you go to avoid damage. Turn on equipment and check for leaks that may have formed over winter. Attach hoses and begin circulating water. Lastly, use a pool opener chemical to shock sanitize at start-up and ward against early algae blooms.


Common Above Ground Pool Issues and Fixes

Even with diligent care, problems can pop up in any above ground pool over time. Catching issues early allows for quick remedies before small repairs become huge headaches. Here are some common troubles and tips for getting your pool back to perfect.


Leaks and Tears in Pool Liner

Above ground pools depend on intact, watertight pool liners to hold water. Over years of use, liners can develop leaks and tears leading to major water loss. For small holes less than 2-3 inches, patching kits can often repair the damage.

Bigger rips will require liner replacement. Catch leaks early and keep liner seams protected to avoid liner failure.


Cloudy Water and Algae Growth

Green, hazy pool water is never a welcome sight on a hot day. Cloudiness is typically caused by insufficient sanitizer, poor filtration, or pH imbalances, allowing algae spores to multiply. Shock treat the pool with chlorine to destroy algae. Adjust chemical levels and run filtration for an extended time to clear up the water.


Equipment Failure

Essential pool parts like pumps, filters, and cleaners can malfunction after seasons of use. Loss of filtration, reduced water flow, leaking valves, and error codes point to issues needing repair. Contact a pool service professional for diagnosis and replacement of any defective or broken parts. Keep spare pump seals and filter cartridges on hand too.

By closely adhering to a routine maintenance schedule, you can avoid many common pool problems before they start. But even the most well-cared for above ground pools can sometimes experience hiccups. Stay vigilant with chemical testing, cleaning, and equipment checks to catch problems while they are still minor. Follow the tips above to troubleshoot issues as soon as they appear.

With weekly work and attention, you can keep your above ground pool looking beautiful and running smoothly all season long. Don't let maintenance duties intimidate you. Create a regular schedule that fits your needs. The effort you put in now allows your family to enjoy crystal clear, clean water whenever the swim mood strikes. Follow this guide and your above ground oasis with provide years of safe, fun memories.

Click here to read our guide on pool maintenance.

Above ground pool maintenance accessories.
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Latest Models in Above Ground Pools

When shopping for the latest models in above ground pools, you want access to the newest and best models available. At Watson’s, we carry an unmatched selection of round and oval above ground pools featuring today’s top designs and innovations.

Our lineup includes models from leading brands like Trendium and Wilbar that come in a range of sizes and depths to meet your unique needs.

With so many above ground pool styles and options to consider, the choices can feel overwhelming. That’s why Watson’s pool experts are here to simplify the process. Our knowledgeable staff can assess your yard space, family needs, and budget to match you with the ideal above ground pool.

We’ll help you select the perfect size and shape, recommend pool accessories, and get you set up with the right maintenance products. Investing in an above ground pool is an exciting decision. With the assistance of Watson’s pool pros, you can dive into summer with total backyard confidence!

Stop by any Watson’s location and speak with an above ground pool specialist today. We have the know-how to translate your family’s wishes into poolside fun that will last for summers to come.



How often should I shock my above ground pool?

Shock your above ground pool about once a week during peak summer use. Add extra shock after heavy rains, large gatherings, or if water appears dull. Shocking helps maintain proper sanitizer levels.


What should I do if my above ground pool water is green?

Green, cloudy water is caused by algae. Shock the pool with chlorine or algaecide. Scrub walls and floors to remove algae. Run the filter constantly until water clarity improves. Balance chemicals.


When should I run my above ground pool pump and filter?

Ideally, run your above ground pool pump and filter for 8-12 hours daily in summer. Reduce times during spring and fall. In winter, run briefly every 2-3 weeks to prevent freezing.

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