Above Ground Pool Size & Depth

mpiliero

Well-known member
Mar 14, 2018
64
East Northport, NY
Hi all,

Thanks in advance for your time! I am new to the forum, so hope I do this "right."

We are looking to put up our first pool this summer - primarily for our 5 and 7 year olds to use. We've done a fair amount of research and are seriously consdering an Intex pool for several reasons, but one of the most important being they are available in appropriate depths for our non-swimming 5 year old.

At any rate, we are considering two models at this point:
14' x 14' x 42" - No real questions here; this water depth would be 36" according to information online. We are looking for something 37" or less (that is the height of the chin of my 5 year old)
16' x 16' x 48" - This pool has a "full" water height of 42".

Our question is this:
Do you think it is possible to fill the larger 16 x 16 pool to only 36'" or 37"? Our main concern is the way the rectangular Intex pools "bow" in on the long side until they are filled to capacity (we have watched lots of videos on YouTube that demonstrate this). We are trying to figure out whether a square pool would also fill in this way. We could probably live with a "bit" of a bow for the season, but would prefer not.

In case you are wondering, the reason we are considering the 16' x 16' is for the overall larger size and thinking it will take longer for the kids to "grow out" of it (we would plan to fill to capacity as the 5 year old gets taller).

Along the lines of above, is 36" plenty of space for kids to swim (meaning learning strokes)?

Thanks for any help/guidance anyone can provide!
 

mpiliero

Well-known member
Mar 14, 2018
64
East Northport, NY
MOD note: I merged your two threads as they both have good questions you need answered. Kim TFP MOD

Hi all,

We are in the planning stages of installing our first above ground pool. We are planning to start with an Intex metal frame pool due to lower cost/commitment and the fact that they have pools with various depths available, which will be more appropriate for our young children.

We are currently debating between an Intex 14ft x 14ft x 42" (water depth = 36") pool versus a 16ft x 16ft x 48" (water depth = 42").

We have 5 and 7 year old boys and are hoping to get 2-3 years of use out of this pool. FYI - "Chin height" of our 5 year old is 37".

The smaller pool is a better fit from a water depth perspective (for now). We would like to gather opinions regarding whether the 14 x 14 will likely be "big enough" for them to enjoy for the next 2-3 years, and whether 36" of water is "enough" for play and learning to swim.

There do not seem to be many reviews online regarding these square Intex pools so any feedback/opinions welcome (even if you don't have a square pool)!

Thanks very much for any advice you can provide!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
45,528
Tallahassee, FL
The determining factor will be how deep the skimmer and returns are. That water has to cover the return (eyeball where the water comes back to the pool from the filter). The water also has to be in the middle of the skimmer (rectangle thing where the water is pulled out of the pool to go to the filter).

I hope this helps a little bit.
 

Roy Lyon

Bronze Supporter
Jun 19, 2016
16
Boron
I think you would be happy with either one . We started out with a 16' round intex and went to a 18 now we have a 12x24 52. I think if use a over the wall skimmer you could lower your water level down othe deeper one to about 39 inches and be ok. Hope this helps there is alot of great help on tis site Roy
 

mpiliero

Well-known member
Mar 14, 2018
64
East Northport, NY
Re: Above Ground Pool Size & Depth

Thank you very much. I think we will be using an over the wall skimmer, so we should be ok there. However, I have a follow up question regarding the water return (disclaimer: I am just learning about pools, so I'm sorry if this is obvious). I had been thinking the water level would have to cover the intake (where the water gets drawn out), but not necessarily the return. Is it important for the return to be covered with water as well?

- - - Updated - - -

I think you would be happy with either one . We started out with a 16' round intex and went to a 18 now we have a 12x24 52. I think if use a over the wall skimmer you could lower your water level down othe deeper one to about 39 inches and be ok. Hope this helps there is alot of great help on tis site Roy
Thank you, Roy Lyon. I have a follow up question regarding your statement: "you could lower your water level down othe deeper one to about 39 inches and be ok".

Is the above based on your experience with the height of the intake/returns on the pools you have had? Or how far the over-the-wall filter would likely extend? I have come across some discussions of people extending how far down the filter can sit, so we would consider that as well (if there weren't other contra-indications to under-filling the pool).

Thanks again for the help!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
45,528
Tallahassee, FL
The problem with the return allowing the water to splash into the pool is it will push your pH up fast. If you do not mind using muratic acid to lower it when needed (guessing at least every other day) then it will work.

Kim:kim:
 

lightmaster

TFP Guide
Jun 22, 2017
801
Baxley, GA
Which ever pool you get, when you do fill it up, use a measuring tape in the water to determine the depth to calculate your gallons. This way you'll have a more accurate number for calculating chemicals.
 

Roy Lyon

Bronze Supporter
Jun 19, 2016
16
Boron
Hi its been awhile since I had my round pool but I'm pretty sure the water fittings should still be under water T 38 inches. Maybe someone in th e abovegound pool section could measure how high their fittings are. I'll check mine tonight but mine is a 52" deep 48"inches of water.Roy
 

mpiliero

Well-known member
Mar 14, 2018
64
East Northport, NY
Thanks very much to all! If anyone would be willing to make those measurements and get back to me at some point, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Lightmaster - It would be particularly helpful if you would be willing since you have the 48" pool (whenever you have a chance).
 

lightmaster

TFP Guide
Jun 22, 2017
801
Baxley, GA
Re: Above Ground Pool Size & Depth

Thanks very much to all! If anyone would be willing to make those measurements and get back to me at some point, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Lightmaster - It would be particularly helpful if you would be willing since you have the 48" pool (whenever you have a chance).
We're headed home now. I'll measure and post tonight once we unpack the car.

- - - Updated - - -

We do have a 1 year old and a 4 year old that both love swimming in it and it's filled completely. 4 year old picked up swimming without life vest (still has adult in pool obviously for safety) in just a few weeks last summer.
 

mpiliero

Well-known member
Mar 14, 2018
64
East Northport, NY
Re: Above Ground Pool Size & Depth

Wow - that's amazing about your 4 year old! Maybe we will be so lucky this summer, but I'm not too optimistic. :) We have a 5 and 7 year old. 7 year old can do a few strokes, but no real progress with 5 year old to date. They've taken a few swim lessons, but we've never had a pool available on a regular basis.
 

lightmaster

TFP Guide
Jun 22, 2017
801
Baxley, GA
Re: Above Ground Pool Size & Depth

He can't do any particular stroke yet, just doggy paddle to keep his head up. Regular access to a pool and a love of getting in and getting wet, they'll start swimming quickly
 

lightmaster

TFP Guide
Jun 22, 2017
801
Baxley, GA
Re: Above Ground Pool Size & Depth

My return fitting needs 36" of water to completely cover it, but I would say a minimum of 37-38" of water to make sure it doesn't disturb the surface too much and therefore raise your pH faster.

You could buy 2 of these fittings and replace the stock return with 1 and use a 1-1/2" threaded cap to close it. Then carefully cut a hole lower and put the second one in it or put the stock return fitting in if you plan to use the pump that comes with it and it's proprietary hose fittings. When you cut the lower hole, hold the fitting up to it and trace a circle with a sharpie that's just a hair bigger than the threads that go through it.
 

lightmaster

TFP Guide
Jun 22, 2017
801
Baxley, GA
When you do get your AG pool, make sure you dig up the grass and level off the dirt under it. Once you add water, you'll definitely notice if it's not level. Also, while I regrettably didn't do it myself, adding an inch or 2 of sand under the pool makes the bottom feel softer.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,767
Central California
Re: Above Ground Pool Size & Depth

My return fitting needs 36" of water to completely cover it, but I would say a minimum of 37-38" of water to make sure it doesn't disturb the surface too much and therefore raise your pH faster.

You could buy 2 of these fittings and replace the stock return with 1 and use a 1-1/2" threaded cap to close it. Then carefully cut a hole lower and put the second one in it or put the stock return fitting in if you plan to use the pump that comes with it and it's proprietary hose fittings. When you cut the lower hole, hold the fitting up to it and trace a circle with a sharpie that's just a hair bigger than the threads that go through it.
Lightmaster, that link for the fittings didn't resolve to anything.

If an AG pool's returns are threaded, like my pool's returns are threaded (to accept eyeball fixtures), or if they can be converted to threaded (I think maybe that's what Lightmaster was suggesting), then you don't have to cut another hole. Just use some PVC fittings and a few piece of pipe, configured into an L shape, and lower the exit of the return to whatever you need. Then as you fill the pool higher, as the kids grow, you can shorten the vertical piece of the L as needed (or not). When they can swim well enough, then take the temp PVC contraption out all together and put in an eyeball. No need for a second hole. Plus, if you put the PVC together with some 45° elbows and a little imagination, you'll be able to turn the PVC pipe upwards for a little aeration, or some fun fountain action, when the mood strikes...

You're not going to need this kludge for long. They'll grow fast, and with their own pool they'll be swimming this summer. Ours were both swimming well by five. Yours just need some pool time!
 

lightmaster

TFP Guide
Jun 22, 2017
801
Baxley, GA
Re: Above Ground Pool Size & Depth

Lightmaster, that link for the fittings didn't resolve to anything.

If an AG pool's returns are threaded, like my pool's returns are threaded (to accept eyeball fixtures), or if they can be converted to threaded (I think maybe that's what Lightmaster was suggesting), then you don't have to cut another hole. Just use some PVC fittings and a few piece of pipe, configured into an L shape, and lower the exit of the return to whatever you need. Then as you fill the pool higher, as the kids grow, you can shorten the vertical piece of the L as needed (or not). When they can swim well enough, then take the temp PVC contraption out all together and put in an eyeball. No need for a second hole. Plus, if you put the PVC together with some 45° elbows and a little imagination, you'll be able to turn the PVC pipe upwards for a little aeration, or some fun fountain action, when the mood strikes...

You're not going to need this kludge for long. They'll grow fast, and with their own pool they'll be swimming this summer. Ours were both swimming well by five. Yours just need some pool time!
Should work now.

What I was suggesting was to close up the original return fitting, and cut a home for a new return fitting that's lower down.

- - - Updated - - -

Intex fittings are not normal threading (as best as I can remember, I removed anything Intex/Bestway from my pool a while ago).