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Above Ground Pools – Make an Informed Choice
Nothing is more fun and inviting than a backyard pool. Beating the summer heat with family and friends is one of the greatest pleasures of summer. With the huge popularity of above ground swimming pools, this essential backyard water feature is not only fun, but also affordable.
Getting the right pool for your home and budget can be daunting. So many choices and such strange terminology; hopper bottom, skimmer, return lines, bay, etc. It’s actually not that hard to cut through the noise and find the above ground pool that’s right for you.
Above ground pools come in two forms; round and oval. These molds come in a range of sizes that most manufacturers sell. The most popular size is the 24-foot round pool, but round pools come in diameters from 12 feet to 33 feet. Oval pools typically start at 12 feet by 20-24 feet and go up to 21 feet. x 41 feet. Your pool area and budget will combine to suggest the size that will work best. An ideal pool site will have at least 6-8 hours of sun in the summer and should be as level and unobstructed as possible. Trees in particular can be a nuisance if they are too close to a pool. Power lines or telephone poles are down! Note that many oval pools have side supports or supports that can extend up to 2-3 feet from the base of the pool. Some newer oval designs have removed the supports that allow the oval pools to go where the ovals never were.
Above ground pools are almost always made of either steel or resin/plastic. Steel pools have been around for over 40 years. Resin pools are relatively new. Corrosion is always a problem with steel pools and resin pools will definitely not rust. Resin pools tend to cost more, but according to industry data, the average lifespan of an above-ground pool is between 4 and 5 years. Rust may not be a factor! The choice is yours. In recent years, the pools have become deeper. The standard 48-inch-high pool is now surpassed by 52-inch and even 54-inch-high models.
To retain water, your pool needs a vinyl liner. There is a great selection of patterns from simple blues to exotic looking tile patterns and even a mat that mimics a tropical reef full of fish and coral! Most pool packages are sold with an overlap style liner. These liners wrap over the top of the pool wall and adhere to the outside of the pool. The trim is held in place by the top rail. You will also see beaded trims. They snap into a thin receiving strip just below the top rail on the inside of the pool and eliminate the overlap. Pearl liners are usually an upgrade and cost more, but they are usually a heavier 25-gauge vinyl rather than the 20-gauge that is common in lap liners.
The most important purchase after the pool itself is the filtration system. If you make an informed choice, your pool will run cleaner and require less work. Sand and cartridge filters are the usual choices for above ground pools. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Filter sand is cheap, but if neglected, it can become unpleasant and sand filters are a chore to clean and refill. Cartridge filters require less maintenance, but the cartridges wear out and can cost over $200.00 to replace.
The heart of any pool filtration system is the pump. A good pump, properly matched to the size of your pool, will provide many years of reliable operation. Don’t buy too much power. Pools should have clean filtered water and not mimic Old Faithful. Most above ground and many above ground pools work well with no more than 1 hp. pump and motor combination. Small to medium above ground pools do well with ¾ hp units. Properly sizing the pump will use less electricity and less wear and tear on hoses and filters.
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