Above Ground Pool Maintenance

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

  3.69 out of 5 stars on 43 ratings
(Click on a star to add your rating)

Maintenance of above ground pools is not for the squeamish. There is a lot of responsibility that comes along with having a body of water in your backyard. But the benefits of cooling off in the summer, watching your kids have a blast and even having a little fun yourself make it all worthwhile. For clean, healthy and of course sparkling water, study up on the science of above ground pool maintenance. Click for more Above Ground Pools

Step by Step


Step 1

The pump and filter form the heart of any above ground pool maintenance program, helping to keep your pool water clear. Pumps provide the force to circulate the water and push it through the filter. Ideally, you want to turn over all of the water in an above ground pool within an eight hour time period. This means that every drop of water has circulated through the filter within eight hours. The best time to run your pump is during the day, usually for 8 - 12 hours at a time. It is also important that the water circulates around the perimeter of your pool. Water in motion makes it harder for bacteria and algae to take hold and also directs more debris to your skimmer where it can be captured by your filter. Adjust the eyeball jets in your inlets to move your pool water in a circular motion.

Step 2

Your above ground pool filter is there to catch and remove both visible debris and microscopic particles. Sand and D.E. filters are cleaned by backwashing when the filter's pressure gauge indicates levels 8 to 10 lbs. above normal (always follow manufacturer instructions). Cartridge filters have a cartridge inside that can be removed and washed using a garden hose. Eventually, the cartridge will need to be replaced to ensure that the filter is working effectively.

Step 3

All above ground pools have areas with little or no circulation. These areas of minimal circulation are the breeding grounds for problems like algae growth. The walls and floor should be brushed and vacuumed once a week. Even if you use an automatic above ground pool cleaner, brushing once a week is a must.

Step 4

Test your water regularly for two key factors: pH and sanitizers. By testing at least three times per week you will begin to understand how bather load, weather (rain and sun) and chemical application affect your pool water. Regular testing of pH and sanitizer levels will ensure crystal clear water all season long. A digital test strip reader will make this quicker and easier. It is vital that proper pH is maintained in your pool at all times. If the pH is outside 7.2 to 7.6 it will greatly reduce the effectiveness of pool chemicals. Test your pH level at least three (3) times a week and use either a pH Reducer or pH Increaser to bring the pH into the proper range. If you find it difficult to maintain your pH, check your total alkalinity and be sure it is in the ideal range. Adjust total alkalinity levels accordingly.

Step 5

Chlorine tablets are the most common and efficient sanitizer to use in above ground pools. These tablets are compressed so that they dissolve slowly and steadily release free chlorine into your water to wipe out bacteria and keep your water clean. Chlorine also comes in sticks and granules. Whichever form you decide to use, you’ll want to look for stabilized chlorine which is processed to protect it from the sun's damaging rays, making the chemical last longer and work more effectively. Always keep chlorine in your skimmer, floater, or automatic feeder for continuous sanitizing.

Step 6

As debris builds up in the water - from perspiration, suntan oil, hair spray and unfortunately, urine - it can cause eye and skin irritation and dull water. Often, chlorine is blamed for irritation and odor when in fact the real culprit is contaminants which tie up chlorine, keeping it from effectively sanitizing the water. When this happens, you should use shock which is basically a concentrated chemical treatment (usually chlorine). Shocking your above ground pool once a week will oxidize contaminants, freeing up the chlorine, and keeping your water crystal clear. Regular shock treatments will also kill resistant algae in the water. There are a variety of different products available including non-chlorine shock and shock designed for hard water areas.

Step 7

Since algae are visible, it tends to be the pool problem that is most disturbing to pool owners. This is not surprising as no one wants to see black, green or yellow fuzz growing in their pool. In reality, it is not the algae that are harmful but the waste they produce by converting sunlight into food. This waste then feeds bacteria which is the real problem. Algae spores travel through the air and enter pool water. With just a few hours of sunlight on a warm day, algae can colonize your pool if your chlorine level is too low. The best way to combat algae is to never let them get started. Regularly checking to make sure your chemical levels are adequate and your pool water is balanced is vital. Adding algaecide is another preventative measure which will help prevent all types of algae from getting a foothold in your pool. You can use algaecide weekly to discourage algae growth.

Step 8

If algae have already taken hold in your pool, there are some basic steps to follow. First, shock your pool and keep your water circulating 24 hours a day if possible. You are looking to achieve 10 ppm of chlorine. After shocking, you will need to brush and vacuum the entire pool. Follow up with an algaecide designed for your particular algae problem (most common are black, green and mustard algae). Brush and vacuum again and try to repeat this everyday. Check chlorine and add more if it’s below 5 ppm. It is also recommended that you regularly clean your filter during this process.


(1 to 40 of 80)

Inyopools  Posted: 08/28/2017 13:11 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Poolgal - You have to be persistent. Shock the pool. Brush down the sides. Clean the filter. If you still see a green or yellow tint the next day, repeat the process- shock, brush and clean. And you might have to repeat the process again. It is important that you brush the wall and clean the filter each time to get rid of the algae residue. Make sure your chemicals are balanced, especially Ph.

Poolgal  Posted: 08/27/2017 16:31 PM 

I have a 30 x 52 in round pool, how much chlorine per week, it looks green, shocked and most of the green went away, however still some. What is my next option? Trying to keep pool up until October

Inyopools  Posted: 08/14/2017 13:24 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Oobee - Your hardness is ok. Chlorine is high but where you would expect it to be after shocking the pool. Ph is high. You will have to add an amount of acid depending on the size of your pool. Wait on Alk. It may change as your other chemicals come into balance. CYA is ok for now.

Oobee  Posted: 08/10/2017 17:48 PM 

I need some advice on my pool. Pool was shocked this morning.
Hardness 250
Total chlorine errored out.
Free chlorine 10
P.H. 8.4
AlK 0
Cyarric acid 30 to 50

Pool is looking green and sad

Inyopools  Posted: 07/30/2017 13:27 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Jessica - Chlorine requirement changes radically depending on the season, people in the pool, organic material getting onto the pool etc. The easiest way to control your chlorine requirement is to take a sample into a local pool store ever other week and have them measure it (usually for free). They can then tell you how much chlorine is in your system and how much you have to add.

Jessica  Posted: 07/27/2017 18:54 PM 

I have a 17' by 52" above ground pool, how often and how much chlorine should I use?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/21/2017 13:52 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

debn - Liners are designed to fit snug against the wall and floor of the pool. Any excess or folds will be hard to keep clean and subject to moving around and tearing.

debn  Posted: 07/19/2017 16:29 PM 

I bought a new liner 30 by 15. first replacement since I bought the pool 20 yrs ago. I have installed it and have leftover liner. I folded it up to fit in several places. Will it be okay? I think my pool is actually 25 by 15

Inyopools  Posted: 07/17/2017 11:06 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Claudia - I would brush the pool before and after shocking. As for reducing alkalinity level, try using air to aerate your pool. See this article on the internet- "Using Air and Acid to Quickly Get Perfect pH/Alkalinity".

Claudia  Posted: 07/13/2017 19:06 PM 

Please i need advise. Should i brush and clean the pool before shocking?
how to reduce the alkalinity level. (above the ground pool 3500 gallons)

Thanks a lot!

Inyopools  Posted: 06/30/2017 12:01 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Anonymous (water loss) - Not sure I understand your question. If you are replacing the whole filter, you need to shut off the AG pool input and output ports. Buy Rubber Expansion Plugs to insert in both of the ports to stop flow to and from the pump.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/28/2017 14:16 PM 

How do you change the filter without loosing so much water?

Inyopools  Posted: 06/26/2017 11:51 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Anonymous (floatron) - Unfortunately, we do not carry the Floatron system so we don't have any history on it. All I can do is point you to the internet where it appears to have a favorable rating.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/24/2017 1:21 AM 

Thinking about getting a floatron for our 24 above ground pool. Can you give me some advice about the floatron?

Inyopools  Posted: 06/12/2017 12:34 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Karen - The best way to get the correct levels of chemical required is to take a sample of your pool water into a local pool supply store and have them measure it. They will give you a list of what amounts of chemicals you need - usually for free. They are looking for your chemical business.

Inyopools  Posted: 06/11/2017 21:54 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

lilcloudy - This Dirt Devil D2500 Above Ground Pool Cleaner is a good economical choice for an AG pool cleaner.

Karen  Posted: 06/10/2017 18:47 PM 

Am not sure how much chemicals to add
to an above ground pool 3200 gallons and 3 ft of water

lilcloudy  Posted: 06/09/2017 18:12 PM 

I have a 15' above ground pool with a 1/2 hp sand filter. I need to buy a vacuum, any suggestions that wont break the bank?

Inyopools  Posted: 06/04/2017 11:44 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

lezlilen - See our newer blog on "How to Clean a Green Pool". It stresses very high chlorine levels and persistence and is proven to work.

lezlilen  Posted: 06/01/2017 21:14 PM 

we have a 28 foot round above ground pool that is light green. This is our 3rd year with this pool. Our chlorine is testing very high, but the ph and alkalinity is within normal range. We have brushed it, vaccummed it, backwashed it and everything. We are even running our filter 24 hours a day. My husband is getting so aggrevated. What could be wrong?

Inyopools  Posted: 05/31/2017 10:58 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Tivis - You probably have to add more shock and keep at it. See our blog on "How to Clean a Green Pool". It is a proven procedure for getting the green out of your pool.

Tivis  Posted: 05/30/2017 16:23 PM 

Hey, we have had our pool open now for about a month, we have put all the chemicals in it and done everything we need to for it and it's still green the chlorine levels are at or above 10ppm can I put more shock in the pool with the chlorine levels that high?
We have spent the whole month putting in chemicals and back washing and vacuuming and everything and it is still green. It finally turned a lighter green after I tried a new shock and algacide.

Inyopools  Posted: 05/22/2017 23:00 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Cassandra - Assuming your pool has a pump and filter installed, your will need a vacuum hose to clean off the bottom debris and a pool brush to sweep off the sides. Then you should have chemical test strips to measure and maintain the basic chemicals in your pool. The main chemicals that have to be checked at least weekly are chlorine, Ph, calcium hardness, alkalinity, and stabilizer. See our guide on "How To Maintain A Swimming Pool Part 1 (Chemicals)".

Cassandra  Posted: 05/20/2017 20:28 PM 

I just bought an above ground pool that holds about 3500 gallons of water. What do I need to start with to get it going?

Inyopools  Posted: 05/14/2017 11:42 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Samantha Morgan - Turn off the pump. Try stopping the water around the leaks by placing a piece of plastic over the holes on the inside of the pool. Dry the outside suction and release fittings. Then try applying a silicon glue around the threads of the fittings.

Inyopools  Posted: 05/11/2017 23:45 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Cris - The tablets are designed to release chlorine continuously while you are swimming in your pool. Most people run their pumps 8 hours a day but that varies according to the size of your pump, the season, and the number of people normally swimming in the pool.

Cris  Posted: 05/11/2017 4:02 AM 

I'm just wondering how long after can my kids jump back into pool after adding a chlorinating tablet? And do I have to have the filter pump running 24/7?

Samantha Morgan  Posted: 05/10/2017 10:04 AM 

On my adapter a & b on the outside of pool it is leaking like around the thread that the suction and release valves are . How can I fix that of water is in pool

Inyopools  Posted: 02/27/2017 15:10 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

JESSY - See our video on "How to Clean a Green Swimming Pool (Algae)". It written for in-ground pools but will work for above ground pools as well.

JESSY  Posted: 02/27/2017 14:15 PM 


Inyopools  Posted: 10/18/2016 15:46 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Jeana - Unfortunately, we are not set up to do pool maintenance. We only sell pool parts.

Jeana  Posted: 10/18/2016 13:30 PM 

Can I get a quote on cleaning an 18ft above ground pool e mail response please

Inyopools  Posted: 09/16/2016 11:48 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

woody - There is really no effective way of eliminating calcium from well water. Your best bet is to brush the vinyl liner at the water line every month.

woody  Posted: 09/12/2016 19:39 PM 

I am changing liner on above ground pool, and will be refilling with my well water. We have lots of minerals in the water. what do you recommend to treat the water when filling? (The old liner had white mineral deposits at water line.)

Inyopools  Posted: 07/05/2016 10:17 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Dirty Again...Arrugh - If you had a lot of debris in your pool, you might have to backwash and rinse your filter 2 -3 times to get the debris out of the sand. If you haven't replaced your sand in 5 years, it might be time to replace it. Also, check the spider gasket in your multiport valve to make sure it is not damaged.

Dirty Again...Arrugh  Posted: 07/01/2016 4:34 AM 

I clean the pool, then backwash the sand filter until the water flowing out isn't dirty, then I rinse the sand in the filter, then I start the filtration cycle and within hours I have a dirty pool bottom again. It like I never cleaned it. There isn't a wind storm or nearby construction etc to cause this dirt. I believe all of the dirt is staying in the filter and not cleaning out with backwashing. Any ideas on why this is happening? Thank you in advance for your ideas.

Inyopools  Posted: 06/27/2016 14:52 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Confused - Maintaining your pool's chemical balance is the key to keeping your pool clear. You must keep your chlorine level up. Have your pool store test your pool’s phosphate and stabilizer levels when he tests the basic chemicals. Stabilizer (CYA) keeps the sun from burning off the chlorine in the pool. A high phosphate level can reduce you chlorine level quickly. Once your pool has turned green, it takes extra effort to clear it up. See step 8 of this guide.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/25/2016 17:30 PM 

I'm so confused.
Our pool will be super clear and over night it turns green.
I have visited our nearest pool store so much they know me by first name.
I have so many kiddos here during the summer that I'm so frustrated.

Inyopools  Posted: 06/06/2016 17:42 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Chlorine – If you have a small AB pool, you might want to use one or two Floaters to distribute your chlorine around the pool. You can use liquid chlorine, but it’s a hassle to keep adding it to the pool. If your pool is larger, you might consider a regular chlorinator. See our guide on “ How to Use a Pool Chlorinator”.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/05/2016 19:39 PM 

We just got a sand filter for our agp, but I'm unsure where and what kind of chlorine to use with it. I bought 1" tablets and liquid chlorine. ANY HELP?