New to TFP but have looked at this site from time to time and found answers to questions without having to post. I have always been impressed with the expertise and quality of advice given from the members that reside here. Now I am venturing into new territory so I figured I would join and maybe share some of my growing pains so that others new to this hobby if you want to call it that can learn.
First I have had an 18' Intex Ultra frame pool for 5 years I went through the same growing pains I am sure all newbies go through that didn't understand the basics. LEVEL LEVEL LEVEL!! First year I put the pool up I tried it on an area that LOOKED level . After filling it 3/4's of the way I saw that wasn't going to work and drained it back down and tried to level it. Watched a few videos and attempted to lower the ground some and raise it in other areas.
Keep in mind as your about to laugh at all my techniques I bought the pool on a whim at Target on sale for 399 and I had a 50 dollar gift card. So I was not terribly into this project for a ton on money and I figured worst case was I would just take it back if it became more of a hassle then it was worth.
Anyways that first year after trying my leveling job with a rototiller and a 2 x 4 with a 4ft level. I got the pool within 2 inches of level. Considering it was out at least 6 inches before I drained it the first time this wasn't too bad.. My fix for this was to drain the pool about 3/4 and then use a jack and a 2x4 to raise the legs on the low side and use bricks and patio blocks to raise the pool.
I know!! Incredibly unsafe but it worked. While I am sure it created some stress on the pool when it was full. The pool not only held up very well but was level Not very proud of it and my wife was deathly scared at first that the thing would burst apart, but after the first few times getting in it and even horsing around in it. The thing held up just fine. After the season I tore it down for the winter and had no issues whatsoever with the frame or liner.
Next year I rented a sod cutter and drew out the circle and really determined to get it level. Used a 2x4 with my 4 ft level and I thought I was good. It looked very pretty before I put the pool on it. Of coarse what happened was the low side that I raised once again, the dirt was still loose and when the weight went on it, it sunk down and created the same **** 2 inch out of level that I had before. Given into defeat I once again raised the low side with bricks and patio blocks and prayed it would make it another year till I could fix it again. All went well and it survied yet another year.
As they say 3rd times a charm!! 3rd year realizing my mistake I proceeded to level again but this time making sure I tamped down the dirt on the low side so it was well compacted and then checked my leveling. Finally after the third year all was good!!
This pool has been indestructible all things considered. It was stored outside but in my shed over the winters. Each year I got it out I wondered if it would leak, or if the poles would be rusted, and each year it held up and I have had zero issues with it. 5 years straight and not put up the first 2 years under the best conditions this thing has held up and I got my money out of it. The only issue I had was last year after I setup the stock cartridge filter system went out after I filled the pool, so I was quickly trying to find a new one the week before memorial day. Huge nightmare! I saw the Sand Filters were on sale on amazon and now was as good as any to upgrade. Knew very little about them, but through this forum and others I gathered enough info to set it up and get it working without an issue. I must say I could kick myself for not doing this sooner. Good riddance cartridges!!
That brings me to this year. I have been so impressed by my 18' that I decided to upgrade to a 22' pool and build and attach a deck with a covered awning About 1/4 of the way around the pool. Shooting for 6' x 16' L Shaped deck.
Anyways that brings me to a why I am here. Pool has been ordered and should be here by next week. I have read the pros and cons of leaving these things up for the winter. I really do not want to tear down and set this thing up yearly. I would prefer to set it up once and be done. If the thing lasts 5 years I consider it money well spent and would gladly replace with another. Especially since I caught this one on sale for 549.00.
I live in PA and we get snow and it gets cold. This year we had the blizzard so we got 26" of snow. That's not the norm, but we can get years where we get snow regularly and 1 foot of snow is not uncommon around here. Temps in January and February can stay below freezing and can go in the single digits for days at a time. So my fear is I may be setting myself up for a huge disaster by doing this, but I am willing to give this thing a shot after I ran the last one through some pretty rigid conditions and it held up just fine.
Things I have questions about are
1. Best type of Winter Cover to buy. ( Keep in mind I will have a deck. I think I am going to raise the deck above the frame so I will have room to get the cover on ) Or I can anchor it to the deck but I really don't know if I like that idea. Anyone with experience please chime in.
2. Anyone with Salt water systems have experience with closing this type of pool and what are the things I should take special care with?
3. I don't really care about the water. I will certainly condition it as recommended, but my plan would be once spring rolls around I would drain the pool 90 percent and replace with fresh water. I have city water and it will run me less than 150 bucks to fill it.
4. Recommended base? I just used two tarps for 5 years. Thinking of using sand or some foam this time since the pool will be more permanent. Plus the tarp.
5. Any helpful tips that will go a long way to keeping this thing in great shape being exposed to the weather all year long?
Once again thanks a bunch for any advice and I will be sure to take pictures of the project when it gets underway. If the weather holds up I will start my leveling project this weekend. I am dreading this part but I have learned a ton and will either use a laser level or a transit to get this right the first time because I cant afford to be out of level with this thing since I am putting a deck onto it.