Cleaning Our Above Ground Pool

by Susana Fellers
(Cropsey ILL, usa)

Our above ground pools needs cleaned and we're afraid that it will collapse when we drain the water, do we completely drain out all the water? It's 33' round and we have a deck around it. Also, how can we clean the bottom and walls without damaging the liner? Our pool is about 5 years old.

Hi Susana.

Anytime you drain an above ground pool you run the risk of the liner shrinking and not being able to refill it. If you feel you have to drain it, always leave at least a foot of water in it. If you drain, clean, and refill on a warm sunny day you should not have a problem with shrinkage.

An alternative to draining a pool is to use vinyl shock treatment and let the filter run for a few days straight. The bottom of the pool can then be vacuumed in the waste position on the filter.

Shocking, brushing and vacuuming the pool should clean it up pretty decent. If you are still left with stains you may have to live with them until your next liner change. If you choose to drain the pool in order to scrub the liner, your next liner change will probably be sooner than you would want.

Be very careful about using cleaning equipment around the outer edge of the pool. A vacuum head can easily scratch the liner along the top of the cove. Try to always stay a few inches away from the pool wall. This area should be cleaned with a towel or something very soft.

pool drained to clean

A pool cleaned this way will almost always result in having to replace the liner. Always leave a few inches of water in the pool just to be safe. If the walls of the liner seem to be pulling in, and separating from the pool wall, before you are down to a couple of inches, stop draining. Some liners will need at least a foot of water left in them.

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Cleaning a Vinyl Pool

by Candace
(Valley, Alabama USA)

I recently bought a place that has an above the ground pool. The pool was left uncovered and several trees are near. I know the bottom is probably full with leaves an the water is very green. How do I clean? Do I have to drain? Please HELP!!

Hi Candace.

Anytime you completely drain a vinyl pool you take the chance of having to change the liner. Vinyl shrinks when a pool is emptied, even for a short time.

If it was my pool, and I did not want to change the liner, I would leave about a foot of water in it. With only a foot of water you can get in the pool and clean out all the debris.

Be careful not to tear the liner with anything. Once you have it as clean as possible you should be able to refill the pool. When the pool is full shock it with chlorine and run the filter for a few days.

It may take a couple of shocks and a several rounds with the vacuum but the water should clear up and you will have saved the liner.

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Automatic Pool Vacuums

by Mary K

I need recommendations on a good automatic pool vacuum. We have a 24' x 52" Doughboy pool that is constantly dirty on the bottom! I hand vacuum it, does a good job but I'd like to purchase a good automatic cleaner.

Any suggestions please! I've been looking at the Hayward "bug" online, is it good? Thanks.

Hi Mary.

I have had good luck with the Hayward Barracuda and the Hayward Bug. I think my favorite is still the bug.

automatic pool cleaner

You can read more about my pool cleaner preference on this page.

Above Ground Pool Cleaners

This page gives more insights about automatic pool vacuums and what to avoid.

Above Ground Pool Mistakes

I mentioned on that page the importance of keeping your automatic pool cleaner in motion at all times. This is not easy to do, but you really need to try. The worst mistake you can make is to start the thing up and walk away from your pool for the day expecting to come back to a clean pool.

These cleaners take some adjustment, and even then they may have places where they just like to sit and do nothing. I usually baby sit my cleaner, I check in from time to time and make sure it is moving and cleaning. When the pool is clean I take it out. It does not run every time the pool filter does, just when he is needed.

One of these little guys might come in handy also.

Battery Powered Pool Vacuum

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Pool Cleaning Tips

by Timothy Shelton
(Anderson, S.C. U.S.A)

We have just moved into a home with an above ground pool it hasn't been used for 2 years and uncovered the whole time. I am trying to get it started now so I don't have to work so hard at it in the summer.

I have filled it up and backwashed it and then rinsed it but I can't run the pump on high, only on low. It makes a funnel and a suction sound as its running. On high it pretty much just sucks all the water down. What is this caused from and what do I do to fix it?

Basically I need to know how to get the whole thing going with out messing something up. I want it to be jump in ready when summer gets here. The water does not have frogs or anything like that but it is green, barely able to see the bottom.

I know to put shock and algaecide and chlorine tabs, but other than that I'm clueless. Shouldn't I be able to operate the pool pump on high all the time? It's like a drain and if I don't have it on filtration it will suck the pool dry it seems. Everything works though I just don't know if I should leave it on low and run it that way and just add a little more water or what. Help please


Hi Tim.

Two speed pumps are best when running longer hours on slow speed. In your case probably 24 hours a day for a week or so might clean up the water just fine. The high speed is for vacuuming, backwashing or circulating the water quickly. The reasons high speed is sucking your skimmer dry are either too little water in the pool or the flapper not operating correctly. If the flapper sticks and will not allow enough water to pass the skimmer will empty too quickly. You could try removing it and see if that solves the problem.

Most anyone who has ever used a two speed pump swears by them. The slow speed saves electricity and is a better speed for filtering dirt out of the water. Hi speed runs the water through the filter too fast to do a good job of cleaning and uses twice the electricity.

Your chemicals are correct, plenty of chlorine and vinyl shock treatment. Sometimes it's just easier to drain the pool and start over again with fresh water. With a vinyl pool you should never drain it completely. Leave about a foot of water in the pool and refill immediately. As the pool is draining you could keep the bottom brushed, allowing more of the debris to get sucked out with the water.

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Cleaning a Soft Side Pool

by Pat

I have been so busy with one thing after another and never did anything to my pool at the end of the season but put a vinyl cover on it that keeps coming off.

My pool is an above ground 18 ft round with the blue air filled ring around the top.

My question is now what do I do? The pool is still filled but I am sure the water in it is so slimy, grimy, you name it. Should I empty the pool, which will still have the grime on the sides if I do or should I put the winterizing kit chemicals in it and hope that they will clean it out?

Usually I keep up with my pool great all season and then put the winterize chemicals in it at the end of the season and it does fine. But I have had a lot of family emergency problems and folks in the hospital etc that I have had to take care of that I really did not get to close down my pool correctly this year.

Now here it sits, full, probably nasty water (I have not looked) and with a cover that keeps coming off so rain water is getting in it.


Thanks, Pat

Hi Pat.

You might be able to clean it up by using some vinyl shock treatment and a lot of scrubbing. It would probably be much easier to drain the pool and then clean it. Normal dish soap and a towel should be able to get the pool clean, you could then let it dry and store it until next summer.

inflatable ring above ground pool

It's my understanding that inflatable ring pools should be taken down at the end of every season. This might be something you should start doing in the future.

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