Above Ground Pool FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions For Pool Owners

In this section of above ground pool faq I will talk about topics like how to level the ground and finding instructions for your above ground pool.  I will discuss steel pool walls and dirt blowing out of the discharge hose into your above ground pool.  For a complete list of questions about above ground swimming pools visit the questions index page.  Visit the ask the pool pro section to ask any question you may have about above ground pools.

54. Why is my liner pulling down from the pool wall?

vinyl liner dry rot
The most common reason for this is the pool was drained, the liner shrank and upon refilling it is starting to come loose at the top. If this happens and if the excess liner was tucked back into the pool you should be able to remove a few top rails and reset the liner. If the liner was pulled over the wall and the excess not cut off you should be OK also. If the liner was pulled over and trimmed you are out of luck and out of liner. Once in a while, if the liner was not pulled over the wall far enough, after a few years it might start coming loose. Again, if the excess liner was tucked back into the pool you should be able to reset it. When installing a liner, never cut the excess liner, instead make a fold in the liner leaving 2" to 3" hanging over the outside of the wall and tuck the rest back into the pool.

55. Can I convert my beaded liner pool to an overlap liner?

install vinyl liner coping
In most cases this is possible with only having to add the coping strips. On most pools with beaded liners there is a bead receiver that attaches to the pool wall and the liner fits into the groove on the inside of the pool. It is usually possible to remove the receiver, install the liner over the wall, put the plastic coping strips over the liner and then install the receiver pieces over the coping. The receiver works like the metal rods on overlap pools. If your liner has a bead that hooks directly over the side wall with metal rods holding it in place, this too can be easily converted. Buy coping with the new liner and install the metal rods back over the coping. The only type pool I have seen that can not be converted are the ones where the wall consists of interlocking panels as opposed to a continuous roll. The liner has to have a smooth surface to overlap onto to prevent being torn.

56. Should I level the pool area with sand or dirt?

Always use dirt for leveling. The sand should be used as an even cushion for the liner to sit on. The dirt should be well packed before installing the pool. When the dirt is packed and the outer rim in place and level, the sand should then be brought in and placed in the center of the pool. Only when the walls are up should the sand be spread out.

57. Why am I loosing my filter pressure when I hook up my vacuum?

above ground pool filter
Be sure to get all the air out of the vacuum hose, or any other cleaning device, before hooking into the skimmer. The best way to do this is by inserting the vacuum into the pool with one end of the hose attached and then holding the other end of the hose over the return eyeball and forcing all the air out. When the air bubbles quit coming up from the bottom of the pool it is time to hook into the skimmer. It is also best to always vacuum with a clean filter. Either backwash or clean your cartridges before and after vacuuming.

58. Where can I find instructions to help with an above ground swimming pool installation?

If you know the pools manufacturer sometimes you can download instructions from their web site or ask them to mail you a set. I have never liked manufacturer instructions because they seem to leave out so much helpful information and the little diagrams are tough to follow. By early spring I hope to have my own set of generic instructions ready for their first downloads, until then check my pool e-book page or my pool directions page. They will be complete with real pictures of actual installations. Check back in March if you would be interested in these. If this type of construction is not your thing you could find pool contractors at Home Advisor.   The service is free and they could match you with local pool experts. In some cities finding contractors who work on above ground pools can be pretty hard. Home Advisor was able to find contractors for a lot of my visitors last summer, maybe they could help you.

59. Can I leave my old liner in the pool and put a new one over it?

I don't usually recommend this. When a pool is emptied the old liner shrinks and starts to wrinkle. Any wrinkles or folds in the old liner will show through when the new liner is installed. It is very difficult to get an old liner to lay smooth and flat enough for a new liner to look nice installed over it. The other drawback is this, when changing liners it is a good idea to make sure the sand or pool base is smooth and free of foot prints. This would require removing the old liner. There are times when grass or roots are a big problem that I may remove all the sand, put down the old liner, and reinstall the sand, before installing the new liner.

60. I let my pool sit empty and my liner shrank, what can I do?

If the liner is older than a few years I would replace it. If it is relatively new you could try waiting until the hottest part of the day and start filling the pool. Watch closely as the pool fills for any signs of the wall caving in or of the liner pulling out from the top. If it pulls out from the top it can usually be reset. Above ground pools should not be left empty unless you plan on changing liners.

If it is time to replace the old liner here is good place to look for great prices. Pool Liners

61. Why does dirt come out of the return when I am vacuuming the pool?

Sand and cartridge filters do a great job of trapping the dirt. It is very important to clean the filter before and after vacuuming. You will have a lot more suction with a clean filter. Sometimes it is necessary to stop vacuuming and clean the filter before you can finish just to keep the suction up. There is no point in vacuuming a pool with no suction at the vacuum head. If you are following these steps and still have dirt blowing back into the pool it is probably an algae problem, not a filter problem. Certain types of algae will flow through the filter and settle back to the bottom of the pool and 30 minutes after you vacuum it looks the same as before you started. The best remedy I have seen for this is vinyl shock treatment added to the water and vacuuming the algae off the bottom in the vacuum to waist mode. It is also a good idea to run the filter nonstop until the problem clears up.

62. What do you recommend, steel walls or aluminum walls?

In Arizona we have a lot better luck with a well coated steel wall.  The aluminum walls don't rust the way steel walls do, but they do tend to corrode and within a couple years I have seen this type of wall with hundreds of little holes all over it. The steel walls will usually start rusting at the bottom where they come in contact with dirt. This is normal and the walls should still last many years. Two other points to remember about making a pool wall last longer, if the liner leaks, patch it or replace it. The more expensive the pool is usually means the wall is better coated and will last longer.


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