Things you wish you had known

veruca

Member
Aug 4, 2016
15
Georgia
We are in the very early stages of considering an above ground pool. They aren't very popular around here -most people do inground.

Any regrets? advice? We have two college age daughters who will only be around during the summers. We won't be doing a lot of entertaining. We do want to put at least a partial deck around it. We live on 8 acres without covenants.

The local dealer sells Cornelius pools.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
48,151
Tallahassee, FL
HI! We LOVE our above ground pool. That house came with one. We almost did not buy it because we did NOT want a pool :roll: The deck was most of the way built and there is a pool house that was not finished. We finished everything up and called it good. Would not be without it now!

Think about being able to reach all areas of the pool from the outside. My deck is about 3/4 the way around my pool so I had to put cinder blocks in a couple of ares for me to stand on when I have to use the manual vacuum or leaf net to get stuff out on that side of the pool.

Kim:kim:
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: With an AGP, your set-up should be fairly simple. But a couple things I would watch for:
- Pump: I doubt you'll need a variable speed, but at least ensure you get a 2-speed for better energy efficiency.
- Filter: Regardless of the filter type (sand, cartridge, DE), make sure it's large enough. It's tough to go too big, and it should help spread-out intervals for cleaning.
- Returns: Make sure you have adequate return jets that push water to the poolside skimmer for adequate water surface movement.
- Chlorination: Don't let them talk you into any useless water treatments (ozone, copper ionization, UV, etc). Simply put, decide on whether you will add chlorine (regular bleach) manually on a daily basis, or if you will consider a salt water generator (SWG) to create free chlorine (FC). Either is fine, but avoid the other gadgets.

Hope that helps.
 

Holydoc

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2016
418
Navarre/FL
Love my above ground pool! We bought ours to try for a few years just to see if we liked having a pool. If we decided we did not like it, we could just take it down and resod. If we did like it, we could have an inground put in. However now that we have an above ground, we are having second thoughts about and inground. You see the advantages of the above-ground is that you do not have the runoff of chemicals, and dirt into your pool everytime it rains. It is high enough that critters like mice, snakes, and frogs tend to not take up residence too much. It is much easier to keep pets and children from accidently wandering into it. And finally, the repair and upkeep is much easier since everything is out in the open and very assessable.

The two largest drawbacks is that it is not as aesthetically pleasing, and to get the most entertainment out of it, you must get a deck of some sort. You really want a stable place to get in and out as well as being able to sun while watching people get in and out.

So enjoy and ask any questions you may have. Worst thing I can say about above-ground pools is that the same pool has a "gazillion" different names according to the year, manufacturer, and place you bought it. It is the craziest thing I have ever seen.
 

xyz

Gold Supporter
Sep 8, 2016
641
Escondido/CA
I really really like my current setup. It would not be much different if I built a new one.

  • I'd say I wish I had a pool that had extra plumbing [sends and returns].
  • It would be great to have a separate line direct to the pool and/or Spa for my solar hot water return.
  • It would be great to have a skimmer on the opposite end of the pool because the wind almost always blows floating debris away from the skimmer.
  • I wish I had 4-6 of the 2" lights vs the the large intellibright.
  • I wish I had gone gray for the color of my pool coating
  • I wish I had larger tile around the waterline
  • I wish my spa was a foot larger
  • I wish I had a motorized cover; but this may change once I see how well my solar heat works
  • I wish I had an S300i. My DX6 is great, so I can't rationalize getting one that is slightly better
  • I wish I had the Raypack 406 [I have the 336]. BTUs are BTUs, and the 406 will just be faster
  • I'd like my main drain and skimmer each to have dedicated lines vs the skimmer with the float valve bypass; I suppose this is a nice failsave--but one I've never needed.
  • I wish I had plumbed backwash and rinse with regular valves vs a filter valve. I'm not completely sure about this, but I don't know that I'd replace it if I had it to do over again.
  • I wish I had a diving board
  • I wish I had those deck jet water features that can be lit at night

Well that is a pretty good list!

 

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Teald024

TFP Guide
Hi, welcome to TFP! You will be glad you joined us.

We just installed our AGP last summer and have really enjoyed it so far. The biggest thing that I wish I knew before buying a pool, was to have found this forum sooner. I'm not just saying that... its true! If nothing else, I would have been a more informed buyer. I usually want and ask for lots of details about what I am buying and I did ask the seller lots of questions. So much so that I think the salesman was just humoring me to get the sale. And I think my wife apologized to the guy at least twice. But, I didn't really have anyone to ask about what I was buying, so I really didn't know if they were selling me "headlight fluid" or if an ozone generator was needed or not. I was never taught the real concept of pool chemicals or how they work. I did look up model numbers to at least check for any major mfg issues.

Sure the seller had a "lazy mans package" full of great gadgets, and a startup class and a closing class to get all us new owners up to speed on the required chemicals and how to maintain the pool. What they don't tell you is that you don't and won't really need much of what they sell. That's fairly surprising since they are a pool $tore and all. All of what we use can be bought at a grocery store or local hardware store.

I will confess that I did buy that great sounding "lazy mans package". Not with the intent to be lazy, but because it did have the better equipment and "easiest" sanitation methods. It had a lot of the additional accessories wrapped up into one cost (ladder, steps, solar cover, winter cover, pole w/skimmer, brush, etc) and I was able to save money as a package deal. Just make sure they aren't throwing in extra "stuff" that isn't needed. You luckily have a chance to get it right, right from the start.

Be sure to ask for specific model numbers for the pump, filter, heaters, etc and ask about the various options/upgrades they offer. Feel free to post the info here and ask questions. Ask as much as you need to. There are a lot of knowledgeable people here that are more than willing to give you free, and more importantly, honest advice.

I would recommend thinking long and hard about how you plan to maintain the sanitizer level (chlorine). There are a few different ways, each with its own benefits. Don't let the salesman talk you into ozone or UV. Many here will say that they do not provide a significant benefit as a chlorine supplement is still needed. Most store will also try to sell you a tablet chlorine feeder. They sound very attractive, but do have issues of their own. Read this How to How to Chlorinate Your Pool . It will help you understand the various methods.

Right after the pool was installed, I was so excited to get it running, I made the mistake of going to the pool store and buying a bunch of chemicals that the pool store recommended, only to find this gem of a forum 2 weeks later, reading & learning, and found that I didn't need 80% of what I just bought. Be careful with your other chemical choices. Read up on the general info in Pool School and there is a section for Construction .

Put some good thought into where on your property you want the pool to be. Do you want it close to the house for ease of use so that you don't have to lug your stuff to it. A bit further away to get it in a sunny part of the yard, keep it away from leaf dropping trees, for noise control?

We did buy an A frame ladder system. It works good for myself and the kids, but my wife wishes it was a bit more stable. I am now in the process of designing a desk that I'm going to build in the Spring. Also, some ladders work well with decks and some do not. Be sure to buy the appropriate type.

Definitely go with at least a 2 speed pump. You will save on electricity this way. LS most of the time, with HS to clean or if you really need to get the water moving.

But don't go too big on the pump. Oversizing the pump is not helpful. But do make sure the filter (and swg if you go this way) are oversized. This will lead to longer time between maintenance periods.

Make sure the skimmer is installed downwind, this will let the natural breeze push the debris into the skimmer and not fight it.

Use real ball valves in the piping, many come with cheap gate valves and will leak or fail.


Take some time to browse around the forum and Pool School. Hopefully it will help you with your pool buying decisions.

- - - Updated - - -

Wow, that post was way longer than I thought. :eek: I hope you made it to the end.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
48,151
Tallahassee, FL
Hi, welcome to TFP! You will be glad you joined us.

We just installed our AGP last summer and have really enjoyed it so far. The biggest thing that I wish I knew before buying a pool, was to have found this forum sooner. I'm not just saying that... its true! If nothing else, I would have been a more informed buyer. I usually want and ask for lots of details about what I am buying and I did ask the seller lots of questions. So much so that I think the salesman was just humoring me to get the sale. And I think my wife apologized to the guy at least twice. But, I didn't really have anyone to ask about what I was buying, so I really didn't know if they were selling me "headlight fluid" or if an ozone generator was needed or not. I was never taught the real concept of pool chemicals or how they work. I did look up model numbers to at least check for any major mfg issues.

Sure the seller had a "lazy mans package" full of great gadgets, and a startup class and a closing class to get all us new owners up to speed on the required chemicals and how to maintain the pool. What they don't tell you is that you don't and won't really need much of what they sell. That's fairly surprising since they are a pool $tore and all. All of what we use can be bought at a grocery store or local hardware store.

I will confess that I did buy that great sounding "lazy mans package". Not with the intent to be lazy, but because it did have the better equipment and "easiest" sanitation methods. It had a lot of the additional accessories wrapped up into one cost (ladder, steps, solar cover, winter cover, pole w/skimmer, brush, etc) and I was able to save money as a package deal. Just make sure they aren't throwing in extra "stuff" that isn't needed. You luckily have a chance to get it right, right from the start.

Be sure to ask for specific model numbers for the pump, filter, heaters, etc and ask about the various options/upgrades they offer. Feel free to post the info here and ask questions. Ask as much as you need to. There are a lot of knowledgeable people here that are more than willing to give you free, and more importantly, honest advice.

I would recommend thinking long and hard about how you plan to maintain the sanitizer level (chlorine). There are a few different ways, each with its own benefits. Don't let the salesman talk you into ozone or UV. Many here will say that they do not provide a significant benefit as a chlorine supplement is still needed. Most store will also try to sell you a tablet chlorine feeder. They sound very attractive, but do have issues of their own. Read this How to How to Chlorinate Your Pool . It will help you understand the various methods.

Right after the pool was installed, I was so excited to get it running, I made the mistake of going to the pool store and buying a bunch of chemicals that the pool store recommended, only to find this gem of a forum 2 weeks later, reading & learning, and found that I didn't need 80% of what I just bought. Be careful with your other chemical choices. Read up on the general info in Pool School and there is a section for Construction .

Put some good thought into where on your property you want the pool to be. Do you want it close to the house for ease of use so that you don't have to lug your stuff to it. A bit further away to get it in a sunny part of the yard, keep it away from leaf dropping trees, for noise control?

We did buy an A frame ladder system. It works good for myself and the kids, but my wife wishes it was a bit more stable. I am now in the process of designing a desk that I'm going to build in the Spring. Also, some ladders work well with decks and some do not. Be sure to buy the appropriate type.

Definitely go with at least a 2 speed pump. You will save on electricity this way. LS most of the time, with HS to clean or if you really need to get the water moving.

But don't go too big on the pump. Oversizing the pump is not helpful. But do make sure the filter (and swg if you go this way) are oversized. This will lead to longer time between maintenance periods.

Make sure the skimmer is installed downwind, this will let the natural breeze push the debris into the skimmer and not fight it.

Use real ball valves in the piping, many come with cheap gate valves and will leak or fail.


Take some time to browse around the forum and Pool School. Hopefully it will help you with your pool buying decisions.

- - - Updated - - -

Wow, that post was way longer than I thought. :eek: I hope you made it to the end.

THIS ^^^^^^^ is what TFP is all about!!! Members helping others! Thank you SO much for taking the time to share and help! This is an awesome post!

:hug:

Kim:kim:
 

Gomez9356

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2015
45
Winfield, KS
Our first pool had a cheap pump/cartridge filter setup and it was a battle. The new one has a DE filter and it is 100 times better!
The only thing I can add to all the great advice above is once you get your water where it needs to be, do spend that few minutes every day it takes to keep it there.
 

Wiggledog

LifeTime Supporter
May 28, 2013
110
Souderton, PA
We have had our above ground for almost 5 years. Most everyone around us has an inground but we have college age kids as well and did not want the hassle of having to sell a home with an inground pool as many see pools as a liability and a lot of work. I can't imagine living without mine! We had the center dug down to roughly 6 feet. Our pool is a 30 foot round and so we have a decent sized deep area and also shallow area for those that want shallow. We solar heat our pool so that my husband does not complain that it's "too cold" even though the thermometer reads 85! Almost all summer and into the fall it runs around 90 or above. I do laps at night so that I don't pass out from the heat! We have tons of friends over, including those with inground pools,
and everyone has a great time. The best part in this area, southeastern PA, is that inground pools raise property taxes but above ground do not. I am loving that all the way to the bank!
 

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