Above Ground Pool Maintenance


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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 96)

 Posted: 3/18/2021 

Lots of discussion about replacing rusted top rails, varying opinions as to whether to lower the water level before removing a top rail. I have a 15 x 30 oval-shaped above-ground pool. I did not lower the water level and removed one 57 inch long top rail at the middle of the oval at one end with no up- wright movement. Everything remained and i was able to put the new top rail on with no problem. The mounting holes lined up perfectly. My water level was about 3 to 4 inches above the bottom of the skimmer

 Posted: 5/31/2020 

Brilliant very helpful gave me a new insight into.pool thanks again

 Posted: 3/27/2020 

I am trying to get my green pool clear for summer. I shocked it yesterday and today. I cleaned the filter out and have been sweeping it/vacuuming it. When can I shock it again? It is still green

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/31/2020 

the goal should be to maintain a particular free chlorine level to kill off the algae. This link has a video and written guide on how to clean up from an algae bloom: How to Clean a Green Pool? Follow the instructions and it should be cleared in a few days.

 Posted: 2/14/2020 

My biggest issue with my pool is my cya level going up. This past season I had to drain water 2 times . My chlorine tables have triclor in them. How can I keep it down ? Pool holds 13,500 gallons of water

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 2/17/2020 

Liquid chlorine or standard bleach will up your chlorine level without adding any stabilizer. I'd go that route if you want to avoid purging water. Trichlor and Di-Chlor tablets are half stabilizer, half chlorine.

 Posted: 6/11/2019 

I need to get ALL the water out of my pool. There's like fine dust on the bottom. Any suggestions?

Anonymous  Posted: 6/17/2019 

I learned the hard way. Never drain the pool no matter how bad it is. As soon as you empty and the liner dries it will start leaking.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/13/2019 

Vacuum your water to the waste line; or a sump pump.

 Posted: 4/26/2019 

i bought a 26 x 52 pool, what chemicals and how much of each do i need to start it and how much of each should i use each week?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 4/30/2019 

Give our Pool Chemical Guide a read, it goes in depth on all the chemicals needed to maintain a pool and their ranges. As we cover in Step 4, you need to test your water regularly to figure out what levels need to be balanced. A useful tool in figuring out how much of each chemical to add after reading your test results is this PoolMath Calculator.

 Posted: 4/22/2019 

Hello! I'm still learning about all the maintenance that goes into keeping the pool clean. Luckly with youtube and alot of reading....i think I'm getting it. My only question i have is when adding the chlorinating liquid to a pool, should the sand filter pump be on recirculation/circulation setting or filter? I would think circulation...i just want to be sure.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 4/23/2019 

Hello Lisa - You can keep the valve in the filter position when adding chlorine. The chlorine won't harm anything in the filter.

 Posted: 7/15/2018 

Cory - when installing the hoses be sure they lay "normal" (i.e., no loops, spirals, twists, etc.). If a hose is under tension (because it is slightly twisted from one end to the other for example), it will move about (trying to remove said twist) when the pump pressurizes it.

 Posted: 7/13/2018 

Hello Cory - The hoses should be replaced when you can squeeze them with little pressure and they collapse. The should be firm and not easy to squeeze.

 Posted: 6/15/2018 

The hoses that connect from the the pool to the filter. How frequent should they be replaced? Once i turn my filter on to run, the hoses are moving and popping off once the pressure starts.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/28/2017 

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.

 Posted: 8/27/2017 

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 Product Specialist  Posted: 8/14/2017 

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.

 Posted: 8/10/2017 

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 Product Specialist  Posted: 7/30/2017 

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.

 Posted: 7/27/2017 

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

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/21/2017 

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.

 Posted: 7/19/2017 

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 Product Specialist  Posted: 7/17/2017 

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".

 Posted: 7/13/2017 

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 Product Specialist  Posted: 6/30/2017 

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: 6/28/2017 

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

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/26/2017 

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: 6/24/2017 

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

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/12/2017 

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 Product Specialist  Posted: 6/11/2017 

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

 Posted: 6/10/2017 

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


 Posted: 6/9/2017 

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 Product Specialist  Posted: 6/4/2017 

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.

 Posted: 6/1/2017 

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 Product Specialist  Posted: 5/31/2017 

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.

 Posted: 5/30/2017 

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 Product Specialist  Posted: 5/22/2017 

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)".

 Posted: 5/20/2017 

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?