As a long time above ground pool owner I have found that the most frustrating part of pool maintenance is vacuuming out the dirt, sand, etc. whether initially for those of us who drain our pools just below the intake for the Winter (with those less than efficient pool covers) or those who do a fresh refill at the onset of each new season.
I have another article on site about how to recycle your old filters (JUST for the vacuum process and NOT for daily use). but in doing a lot of research I have stumbled upon a method to make the pool vacuuming process more efficient, less time consuming and now being used with delight by many of our neighbors with a very minimal of cost and by minimal, I mean truly small and set up for any pool, whether with a ground pump or side mounted pump easy to accomplish.
So, what items do you need to "purchase"? Four (4) micro mesh clothes (available at any auto parts store or retailer like WalMart/KMart in the automotive section) (Note these clothes are used for buffing car wax or the waterless car products and are inexpensive). In research these are not only soft but of a very dense mesh that will allow water to pass through because of the size of the water molecule but traps dirt, sand etc. You will also need 1 roll of vinyl electrical tape (no you don't have to mess with any wiring, the tape is just one that will stick to itself, even when submerged.)
Preparation of pool. You will need to be sure that your outlet hose from your pump is able to reach over the side of your pool and into the water. Those with the metal legs will find that this hose will "usually" slide through the open area by the pool leg, for those with inflatable sides and/or ground pumps, you may (to keep from having to buy a longer hose) have to elevate your pump with a small chair, table, etc. (DO NOT USE METAL...this is merely a safety item).
With the outlet hose disconnected and hanging over the side of the pool or now in the water you have two (2) options for your micro fiber cloth. Some will securely tape two (2) laid atop each other and them formed around the outlet hose with a pocket (DO NOT FLUSH MOUNT CLOTH TO OUTLET HOSE) and plan to swap it out when 1/2 of your pool is vacuumed or do what I recommend and many concur with, machine sew two (2) of the cloths together just inside the existing seam and then in turn machine sew your two (2) halves together leaving an openong (for your output hose) on one (1) corner. Securely tape your micro fiber "pocket filter" on to your outlet hose with electrical tape.
Vacuum your pool.
I keep my older filters that I flush with the kitchen sprayer using HOT water and let dry for all my vacuum projects and found that if not horribly matted with algae or gunk works well for minimizing filter purchases.
It should be noted that though I personally have a older Intex pump from my smaller blow up ring pool that I use exclusively for my vacuuming (after getting frustrated with the 22 foot pool set up having to put the adapter on the strainer and having it pop off all the time), our neighbors (with 2 exceptions) are using the standard configuation with equally impressive results.
Usually at 1/2 way through the vacuum process, it is a good idea to turn off your pump, exchange filters (again having saved older flushed filters will save you money), removing your micro fiber cloth, take it inside, flush it thoroughly with hot or warm water (if you use the recommended 4 sewn together, flip it inside out for cleaning); once clean re-install and finish up, then reconnect your output flow hose to your pool.
After a rain and wind storm where our 22 foot pool got that nasty dirt deposit in the bottom (mind you I have a larger brush vacuum head as Intex was just too small and inefficient in my opinion) it took me 40 minutes to clean the entire pool. After waiting a couple of hours to check for any settlements and having cleaned out my micro fiber filter, touch up around the sides took 6 minutes. In a job that normally would have taken several frustrating hours, numerous filter changes and marginal results, I now had a clear pristine pool in 46 minutes.
I would like to note that our pool sits on a sand pad and yes, it filters out the dirt AND sand.
For ground mounted pumps, once you have finished you may need to flush your pump for any sand or other accumulation that even in normal use hides under the filter.
My own pool has a salt water system on it as algae was a big problem in our blow up ring pool, but it should be noted that we live in the country and the water source is from a well (for top off) and was initially filled with water brought in by truck. No further algae issue with the salt water system or bottom slime.