Last spring, I purchased an Intex Ultra-Frame Rectangular Pool Set. It came with the frame, liner, ground cloth, sand pump filter, ladder, cover, and an instructional maintenance DVD. Of course, we would have to buy chemicals and a test kit, but I also wanted a few other supplies to make the maintenance as easy as it possibly could be. I now own just about every tool to keep it looking clean and clear.
I will go through what I purchased extra and how useful it is.
I owned an in-ground pool for a few years in the past, and I knew the importance of a skimmer. It caught all the annoying stuff that floats around the top of the water so you are not obsessively trying to scoop it with a net. Sometimes those things are leaves, but often they are bugs! I was not aware that you could purchase a skimmer for an above-ground pool.
After voicing that concern to my husband, he went on Amazon and found a skimmer for our Intex pool. I was absolutely delighted! For what it does, it is indispensable to the maintenance of our pool. For well under $50, it saves so much time and energy, because I do not have to worry about debris floating on top of the water and scooping it out with a skimmer net myself.
It is especially helpful when it is that time of year where there is a fair amount of things falling from trees. In the spring when you are desperately trying to get the pool open in time for the warm weather, there are so many other obstacles, like algae, to deal with. This takes one element away.
Once or so a day, I just take the basket out and dump out everything that was collected that would have been floating on top, or even eventually would have floated to the bottom. This is one of the best investments for your above-ground pool that you can make in my opinion. It would be worth it if it were triple the price.
Just be sure to get the right one for your particular pool. My pool did not come with one, but your pool might. If not, you could try your local pool store but, like everything else, Amazon always has a great selection and great prices.
There will be no way around it, you will have to vacuum the bottom of the pool at times. It is inevitable that small debris will end up settling to the bottom that you can't just scoop out with a net without making a big mess.
I do feel that vacuuming is harder to do for an above-ground pool (without a deck) than it is with an in-ground pool. I can get my 18 ft x 19 ft pool vacuumed in about about 15 to 20 minutes. It used to take a lot more time with a 30,000-gallon pool with a deep end. It takes me a little longer and a couple extra steps if I vacuum, because I have to attach a hose to let water out through the filter, just as you would to backwash the filter. I tend to do that if there is a lot of algae settled on the bottom to avoid just spewing it back into the water. If I just vacuum using the filter, I can skip that step.
When vacuuming, it is important to go slow, especially with pesky algae, to avoid stirring it up. If there are larger pieces of debris at the bottom of your pool, you can usually get away with just using a net with an extendable pole. However, there will be times when the vacuum is necessary for getting algae that has settled on the bottom after treatments, as a net can't hold the algae and it would just go back into the pool. I find that I vacuum much more often when I am opening the pool and that I need to do it less frequently throughout the summer.
Of course, you will add shock and chlorine (either liquid or granules) to your pool from times to time. I really like having a couple chlorine tables in a chlorine floater.
I find that throughout the season, that is all that I need for my 18 ft x 9 ft pool. I'm sure that won't be the case for a larger pool. You don't have to have one of these, but it is nice to have. I like that mine has a thermometer on it to tell me the temperature of the water. It is nice to know that even when you're not putting chemicals in the pool, there is a bit of chlorine going in all the times.
There are lots of options with nets and brushes. What I recommend the most is a deep net, versus a skimmer net.
If you have a pool skimmer, the skimmer net will be kind of useless. You would use a deeper net much more. That would allow you to get stuff off the bottom of the pool, as well as skim the top if you need to.
I also suggest getting an 18" wall pool brush. This will be helpful brushing algae off of the bottom and, especially, the sides of the pool.
With my 52" deep pool, I tend to use an extendable pole to vacuum the bottom and a shorter pole to scoop things out of the water, even from the bottom. I also use the extendable pole to brush the pool, especially the bottom.
If I just brush the sides, I can get away with the shorter one. Having both sizes is nice but not necessary. If I had to buy just one, I would definitely buy the extendable one for sure. The shorter pole is just nice because it is a little lighter.
We purchased a vacuum hose. I can’t remember the exact length we bought, but it is plenty big enough for our small pool. Just purchase the length accordingly.
We also bought a filter backwash hose. This is used to attach to the filter when we backwash or vacuum to waste. Ours is blue and it looks like a roll of tape. You will need this.
Of course, if you use a sand filter, you will need chemicals and test kit. I use the following.
For whatever reason, I never seem to have to use a pH decreaser. I have it and haven't used it yet.
I also find that for my 4,000- to 4,500-gallon pool, a couple chlorine tablets in the floater maintains a good chlorine level once the pool has been opened up and cleared. I favor liquid chlorine when I do use regular chlorine, and I dilute it in a bucket of pool water and disperse into the pool. Since I don't have a deep end on my pool, I have to be careful with chlorine and shock granules. I bleached out one side of my pool with shock, because I sprinkled it in and it settled on the bottom.
Algaecide is great to get rid of green from algae. I use it quite a bit in the beginning to get the pool open and then throughout the season, I add a maintenance dose once every one to two weeks. Then I vacuum the next day if any algae has sunk to the bottom.
Clarifier is great when trying to get the pool blue and crystal clear. Usually you add it a few hours after brushing and adding algaecide, and it will take away any cloudiness there is. Sometimes you think the water is perfectly clear, until you add some clarifier and look at it the next day.
There are different types of test kits as well for you to test the chemical levels. I have used the drops that you add to a bit of pool water and see the color. I am currently using Clorox test strips that you dip and compare the colors to the chart. I highly recommend those. You can scan the strips into a free app and get a detailed reading of the strip. However, it drove me a bit crazy. It was too accurate. I prefer just to compare the color of the strip to the chart, but it is nice that it is available. The strips themselves are easy to use.
Do you have any tools, tips, or tricks to maintain your pool? I'd love to hear from you!