Above Ground Pools 7 Cheat Sheet Secrets
Is an above ground pool right for you?
Summer heat, ugh! Above ground pools absolutely are an option! You darn well know summer this year, like all the other years past, will be hot. Sweltering. Miserable. So, take the heat off with a pool! That is, provided you do not have a pool already, and have somewhere to set up a pool!
The Acerbic Hole
You may or may not have heard this saying: “A pool is a hole in the ground you pour money into.” This is similar to the old “A boat is a hole in the water you pour money in,” and while sardonic, both sayings are accurate in the extreme. Does this hold true when discussing above ground pools? Well, yes, to an extent. However, there are other both positive and negative aspects to having an above ground pool. First, the positive, because, honestly, the negative are silly and, well, negative.
In this article I plan on covering that which we have experienced, and on future articles, customization and plain fun stuff we have done with our Intex above ground pool.
Some of the positives are:
- A smaller area
- Easier to clean
- Way easier to cover
- Much less expensive to obtain and maintain
- They are temporary
- Refreshing as an inground pool
- Generally warmer water
Breaking down the bullet points
Obviously if you are reading this article, you’re seriously considering swim fun and refreshment. And why wouldn’t you? I fought it for years, being all stoic and stuff. I could live with the heat. Humans managed to live thousands of years sans air conditioning. Our AC broke and we refused to fix it – electric rates and all that.
“I can manage just fine without submerging myself in water…” Well, all that has changed. Our kids moved back in, and brought their above ground pool with them. Man, it made all the difference last summer! So, the positives, but also, we have repaired our AC as well, so this summer will be stellar! And, well, slightly expensive as well.
A Smaller Area
Above ground pools take up way less space than in ground pools do. Realistically, all you need is a level area of ground slightly bigger than the pool itself. Using ALL the space you have is less than optimal, however. Above ground pools need to have some walk around space outside, and space for the equipment. Yes, there is equipment, even if you don’t take your above ground pool to the same level as we did.
As you can see, we added a border around the area, and rubber mulch, so that water could get on the ground and make a mess. Plus the mulch stuff covers up the ground liner. You may not be able to tell, but out above ground pool is on fairly level ground. There’s about a 1/4″ slope from the far side to the close side.
Cleaning above ground pools is a snap – mostly
You may not know how much work goes into a pool, in ground, or above ground. If you’re not willing to put in a few hours working on your pool every week, at the very least, then just go get a gym membership or something. Swim there.
You see, it’s expensive, not to mention silly, to hire a company to care for an above ground pool. Yet, like their in ground cousins, above ground pools do require maintenance. Basically, look at it like this: for every hour you, yourself, spend in the pool each week, you will spend 2+ hours maintaining it. What kind of maintenance? Vacuuming it, skimming it. Adjusting the chemicals. Replacing and cleaning filters. Brushing it.
However, the over all maintenance is a lot less than you must put into an above ground pool, especially when looking at long term costs and energy! you will never have to use acid on the walls. You won’t neded to replace the Gunnite. Since above ground pools are, well, above ground, you will not have in ground leaks or heaving concrete decks, coping that heaves, tiles popping off, so many items that no one really thinks about! Consider this: pool are seen through idealistic eyes, not realistic eyes.
Yes, even if you don’t use your above ground pool at all, you will burn still 2 hours a week, every week, unless you…
Slap a lid on it!
It’s WAY easier to put a cover on above ground pools than on in ground pools! As a matter of fact, while there are covers for $300 and up, way up, for in ground pools, you rarely see them in use.
However, as many homes as I have been to over the years, there is a near guarantee: Almost no one uses above ground pool covers either! And that’s a a shame.
We filled up our pool last year, and have not drained it since. For the whole winter we had the cover on it, and the pumps/filters, running. When we removed the cover, I honestly expected the pool be be green. It wasn’t, it was nearly perfect!
oh, sure, we had to adjust the chemicals, but the water was nearly pristine!
Not only does a pool cover keep out much of the debris, like leaves, but it also helps to warm above ground pools!
Much less expensive to obtain and maintain
You can get decent sized above ground pools for $399 up to $3000, depending on where you are buying it, and what you want in terms of size and amenities. Sand filter, or carriage filter? Pump gallons per hour. All of the above figures into your out the door cost.
Best of all, you can order above ground pools online and have them delivered. Or, simply pop into Walmart and pick one up. Then, it’s just a matter of setting the pool up. None of the above applies to in ground pools! And, honestly, it’s only a little harder to set up above ground pools than it is the old school inflatable pools of your youth!
Above ground pools are temporary
With in ground pools you need to dig a great big hole in the ground. This is where, later, you are going to toss all your money! Permits are required, plumbing, electrical lines, it’s a major undertaking! It’s also worth noting that this great big holes is pretty much forever. Back in the day, here anyway, if you tired of your pool you could simply fill it in with dirt. Nowadays that is illegal. You have to dig the darned this up!
While an inground pool is nice to look at, and nice to swim in, the only real advantages are they are deeper than above ground pools, and are generally larger. This means you can dive into the deep end, in the former, and you can swim laps in the latter case. Neither of these options are available with an above ground pools.
Also, I have to say, our Intex above ground pool is a blast! We have made so many great memories in the last year!
Generally, a vinyl pool, which most above ground pools are comprised of, lined with, are 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than Gunnite pools. Even in ground vinyl liner pools, like Island Pools from Secard Pools state this. But, at a starting price of over $31000 they are a good alternative to the standard Gunnite pools. These pools are what I fantasize about when I’m in our pool!
Downsides and Perceptions
The are downsides to having an above ground pool, such as…
- They are for poor people
- Ugly ugly ugly
- They are use-abuse-throwaway items.
- They are as expensive to operate as in ground pools
- Just glorified blow up kiddie pools
Above ground pools are for poor people
Well, yes, and no. While they certainly more affordable than in ground pools, they are certainly not just for poor people. they are for people who want to soak, but don’t want to go through the hassle, and permanence, of an in ground pool. However, the fact that they are cheaper, people with less disposable income do tend to buy them far more often than people of means.
They are ugly?
Well, yes, yes, in a way they are. Above ground pools are not as attractive as, say, a well lit lagoon style in ground infinity pool. Yet, once you are in the water, it’s just water confined in a barrier, the same as an inground pool.
They are trashy?
While not the same as the above, ugly, there is some truth to this entry none-the-less. I have visited thousands of homes over the years. Many thousands! And whenever I find an above ground pool, it’s usually derelict, empty, dirty, and just waiting for a trip to the local trash dump.
The challenge here is not the pools themselves. The problem is the demographic that typically buys above ground pools. Lower education levels, lower income. The really startling thing is that if an above ground pool looks abused, there is a fair bet that the inside of the home looks likewise abused.
Expensive to Operate?
Yes, most people will spend money on chemicals, filters, and materials on your above ground pool. Those who do not will have an unsightly green mosquito attracting mess in their yard.
However, the cost to operate above ground pools is much less than that of an inground pool! Think about it, you will likely not have a pool heater. you will never have to replace tiles, Gunnite, pool lights, and on and on!
Glorified kiddy pools?
This one is not even close. Do you remember the kiddie pools of the past? The smell of the water, the grass cuttings that followed you into the pool, all of that? They are basically just outdoor bathtubs, that’s all. Aside from being above ground, there is not other correlation!
In my experience & summary
In my videos, which I have added to this article, you will see just how much fun Bucky and Family have had in their pool over the past year.
So far as above ground pools are concerned, I absolutely LOVE our Intex pool. And while I have not bought 30 different pols to try them out, I can, without blinking, tout the quality of our pool.
If you are willing to put in a little work, each week, to maintain your above ground pool, keep it clean and maintained, you will get years of use and enjoyment of it. If you have room in your yard, I highly recommend getting one.
Think it about it this way: you live only once. That which you give in life, you get. The energy you put into anything is rewarded by results, sometimes great, sometimes not so much.
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