Intex 12' x 30" Above Ground - Upgrading Pump/Filter, Adding Heat Pump - future plans


Jul 5, 2020
Charlotte, NC
Hello TFP!
Long time lurker, first time poster. We have had one of the cheap Intex AGP 12' x 30" since the start of Covid in Spring 2020. This pool has been fine for our family of 4 the last couple of years, but as the kids grow (8 and 6 years old), it is starting to feel a bit small, so I think we will be updating before next season. We will probably be going to either an 18'-21' round or perhaps a 12'x20' rectangle.

However, before then, I would like to make some upgrades to the Intex this year to make it better for us, and re-use those upgrades when we get the new pool next season. We are in Charlotte, NC, so summers are hot and humid so you would think our pool would be comfortable, however, our back yard is heavily shaded and our pool rarely ever approaches even 76 degrees. It's pretty much freezing all summer, even on 95 degree days. So, to make it more usable to our family, I would like to add a heat pump and then re-use it when we get the bigger pool, knowing we will want to heat it also. I have been looking at 50k-60k BTU heat pumps, thinking those would serve our future needs with the previously mentioned upgraded pools we might get next season. Some I've been looking at: Fibropool FH120 (nice becuase no 220V wiring to worry about), Fibropool FH055, Raypak Crosswind models - 45k, 61k, etc., and many others.

I also thought going along with the heat pump we should upgrade from the small cartridge filter pump that came with the Intex to something larger - perhaps a sand filter and pump. I'm thinking either a Hayward or the Intex SX2100.

So some questions - has anyone else done something like this? I've seen some threads where people proposed doing it, but I haven't seen the finished product by anyone. Any advice on particular models of heat pump and filter/pump to get for current and future needs? What kind of issues will I face for converting plumbing from 1.25" tubes on the current Intex pool?

Thanks a lot!


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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
This thread may be helpful....

When you get a larger pool the small heat pump will be less effective and useful. Consider getting a HP sized for your future pool if you want to reuse it.
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Jul 5, 2020
Charlotte, NC
Awesome thanks for the advice! I have ordered a Raypak Crosswind 60k BTU heater. I figure that will be enough even if I go with a 10k-12k gallon above ground next year. I also have ordered a Black & Decker variable speed pump (1HP) and a Hayward 50 sq foot Cartridge filter. I think I would like to do the upgrade to cut the liner to accommodate 1.5” pipe instead of the 1.25”. I have seen some good YouTube tutorials on it.

What is everyone using for the inlet and filter hose hole covers (I don’t know if that’s the right term)? Is this what I need to do that upgrade?Intex 26004 eBay

Also, I’m using this YouTube video for inspiration. YouTube link

Am I on the right track? Anything else I should know?
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