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Maintaining Above Ground Pools Is A Must

By: Lisa Waters

Many families are selecting above ground pools because these are less expensive than in ground versions. However, these pools require the same type of maintenance and neglecting it is a huge mistake. Proper maintenance not only keeps the water clear and healthy for swimmers, it extends the life of the pool, making that hard-earned investment well worth the cost. Anyone considering an above ground swimming pool should master the maintenance duties.

Several areas should be addressed in addition to the regular chemical treatments. An above ground pool usually consists of a vinyl liner suspended by a wooden frame and surrounded by a fence or decking. Vinyl is subject to fading and tearing, especially when the pool is located in direct sunlight and is regularly used. Weather conditions cause wood to become brittle, splinter, and fade.

If the pool is more than ten years old, inspect the fence, decking, and wood frame for damage. Applying wood sealer to the wood surfaces every two to three years makes the wood last longer. However, even the most diligent maintenance may not prevent a deck from developing soft spots that require reinforcement or repair. A bolster of 2x4s can be used along the side or underneath the deck to provide support. Each year, check the railing for splinters and sand these. In addition, test the stability of the railing and make the area more secure, if necessary.

When a vinyl liner is properly cared for, it will last for a long time. Even when a leak occurs, it can usually be easily patched with an underwater patching kit. Swimmers should be able to enjoy the pool for many more years, saving the pool owner a huge expense. When liner replacement is eventually required, an expert should be called. This project is difficult so consumers should not attempt it on their own.

Regularly cleaning the liner keeps it free of debris that can cause damage. Prior to covering the pool in the fall and immediately after opening it in the spring, the liner should be given a thorough cleaning. Swimmers appreciate not brushing up against algae when they grab the side of the pool. They also like the smooth feeling of a clean bottom liner rather than pebbles, dirt, and other debris. Dirt at the bottom of the pool is stirred up by swimmers, irritating skin and eyes.

A sand filter is often used and it requires occasional maintenance. Replacing sand every two years keeps it clean so it is more effective. Sand collects the microscopic particles that a vacuum and brush often miss. These particles accumulate in the sand, making it dirty. This can cause the pressure valve to run too high.

The valve should be periodically checked to ensure that the pressure is correct. Backwashing and rinsing are required when pressure is not optimal. When closing the pool for the fall, drain the filter. Leaving water in it can result in cracking or breaking when water freezes during cold temperatures. Perform these tasks properly and the pool should last for years!

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