How to Treat an Above Ground Pool for the First Time

Best Selling Pool Treatment Chemicals

Not sure how to how to treat an above ground pool for the first time? We got you! But before that, some amazing stats.

Currently, most Americans on a budget are shifting from public to residential pools to derive the health benefits of swimming. Today, there are over 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the US, including above-ground pools. It is, therefore, necessary for pool owners to learn the art of treating the swimming pool and ensure that it is safe for use.

While treating the pool for the first time may seem a daunting chore, this blog will simplify it and make the task exciting by taking you through everything you need to know.

Treating Above Ground Pool

Treating the pool is a sanitization process that involves cleaning off visible dirt and maintaining pool hygiene.

The above-ground swimming pools are constructed on the ground and differ from the inground pool or inflatable kids’ pools. Nonetheless, the different pools are treated similarly using the same pool chemicals.

When you open your pool for the first time, add pool chemicals to make your swimming water purer and cleaner. In addition, the chemicals help to kill germs, maintain the required pH, and steer off anything that might hinder the water transparency.

Pool Treatment Chemicals

Assorted pool chemicals

It is essential to familiarize yourself with the different pool treatment chemicals, and below are the most common ones:

1. Chlorine

Chlorine is the most used pool treatment chemical. It comes in various forms; powder, liquid, and tablets. Chlorine sanitizes pool water by killing microorganisms. It also oxidizes visible materials such as dirt, which is then collected by the filter. The optimum chlorine level for your pool should range between 1-3 ppm.

2. pH Increasers and Decreasers

pH tests measure the acidity or alkalinity of your pool water. The standard recommended pH range for swimming water is 7.2 to 8, but the optimum level is between 7.4 and 7.6. If the water is too acidic (below 7.2), the metallic parts of your pool system will begin rusting. To counter this, raise the pH level using pH increasers like borax and soda ash. However, if the pH level is above 8, then alkalinity is high. Therefore, you should adjust the pH level with chemicals like muriatic acid and sodium bisulfate.

3. Calcium Hardness Regulator

Balancing the calcium hardness is different from balancing the pH levels and total alkalinity. To adjust it, use calcium hardness increasers or decreasers. The ideal calcium hardness ranges between 200 and 400 ppm.

4. Granular Shock Chlorine

This chemical is used for super chlorination, commonly referred to as ‘chlorine shock’ or ‘pool shock.’ The shock uses two kinds of chlorine compounds. Contrarily, pool shock does not increase chlorine levels in the water.

5. Cyanuric Acid

The cyanuric acid shields chlorine against UV rays. When these rays hit chlorinated water, it oxidizes the chlorine, rendering it useless to the pool. Hence, it prevents the reduction of chlorine levels.

When maintained at 30-50 ppm, cyanuric acid becomes an effective stabilizer for an outdoor swimming pool.

6. Algaecide

Algae are the green substance that grows in your pool if the conditions are right. To prevent it, always regulate the chlorine levels appropriately.

Algae in pool

The algaecide chemical helps clear algae in pools. You may want to backwash the filter afterward. Depending on the infestation, algaecide should not exceed 200 ppm.

How to Use Chemicals to Treat Above the Ground Pool

Treating the pool for the first time is an exciting experience when you have the know-how. So when ready to open your pool, here is everything you need to know about the treatment process.

Step 1: Fill the Pool With Fresh Water

The best water for swimming pools is clear freshwater. It is free from salts hence pose fewer risks to your pool system compared to hard water.

Filling a pool requires thousands of gallons of water, but an extra hose can help you fill faster. For precaution, use a sock filter to prevent debris from getting into the pool and protect the liner from scratches.

Step 2: Prepare your Water Test Checklist

It is important to test the water when it has reached the optimum refill level. You will have to measure the pH value, calcium hardness, total alkalinity, chlorine level, and cyanuric acid level in your checklist. You will need a test kit to perform these procedures.

Step 3: Test the Pool Water

It is best to avoid surface water. Instead, draw water from around ten inches deep and perform each test separately per the manufacturer’s instructions. In addition, you may consider these tips to get accurate results.

Step 4: Record Your Readings

Results may take a few minutes to hours. What matters is that they are accurate. It is advisable to record the readings accurately because they determine the quantity of treatment needed.

Step 5: Add Salts

Depending on your results, and using the chart provided by the salt manufacturers, add the measure of salts you need. Salts need to be added gradually into the pool. So doing helps in preventing wrong readings and consequent overuse.

Step 6: Add Chemicals

Guided by the test strips, add the required pool treatment.

It is best to add each chemical independently.

Start with adjusting the total alkalinity because it aids in stabilizing the pH value readings. Then add pH adjustors and maintain pH levels at 7.2-7.5. Anything in between these pH levels will promote chlorine efficacy. Next, fix the calcium hardness as per the instructions. Afterward, add the required amount of chlorine to sanitize the water. Finally, add cyanuric acid, the chlorine stabilizer.

Always take note of the chemical contents when using chemicals from different suppliers. For instance, some manufactures supply stabilized chlorine. In this case, you need less or no chlorine stabilizer to prevent chlorine lock.

Cleaning Equipment for Above Ground Pools

To well maintain a treated pool, it is important to clean it regularly. Quality cleaning tools come in handy in cleaning your pool.

Below is a list of common swimming pool cleaning equipment.

1. Skimmer

Using a skimmer is the easiest way to remove floating matter like insects, leaves, and pieces of plastics from your pool. Their greatest mechanism is trapping by sieving. You can choose a manual skimmer or automatic for your pool.


2. Skimmer Baskets

The skimmer baskets are crucial parts of your pool. They help prevent your pool from clogging the filter by collecting large debris and smaller animals like mice. For efficiency, it is essential to empty your baskets weekly. During the autumn season, you can empty it at least thrice a week, as more leaves are falling.

3. Pool Brush

A pool brush is handy in scrubbing the pool surfaces- sides, floors, decks, and even the railings. They also sweep away debris well.

They come in a variety of sizes and designs. The best pool brush should eliminate tough stains from your pool surface. It is advisable to choose one with a flexible frame because they clean the corners well.

4. Pool Vacuum

Pool vacuum does most pool cleaning: it collects floating matter and sunk debris like sand. Depending on your budget and preference, you can purchase either manual or automatic pool. Here is a video recommendation for the best pool vacuum cleaners.

Tips on Pool Treatment Timing

  • For efficient pool maintenance, follow the instructions in the manual because they guide you on the quantity and frequency of pool chemicals to use.
  • Some chemicals take up to 24 hours to properly circulate, while others much less time. Therefore, do not be hasty in to test and add more treatment than required.
  • Always take note that the sun reduces chlorine levels. It is therefore advisable to use chlorine treatment in the evening than morning for maximum action.

The Value of the Test Kit

They are alias test strips and are must-haves even after opening your pool. They are handy in testing the various parameters of pool water balance. Thus with the help of charts and instructions that come along when purchasing the test kits, you can maintain your pool by yourself.

Swimming pool test kit

7 Things That Will Make Your Pool Dirty

1. Dry organic matter

Dry leaves and twigs falling from the trees to your pool make it dirty. This situation is worse during the fall season when blown items cover your pool. It is therefore essential to remove the floating dirt before they sink and clog the pool.

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2. Litter

A rest between swimming sessions is vital. Swimmers often sit on the pool deck to snack. In the event, food particles and wrapping sometimes fall into the pool. If not removed, it can cause mold and fungus build-ups.

3. Toys

Children can be naughty and throw their non-pool toys into the water. Whether their toys float or sink, it is best if they are removed from the pool.

Child playing with toys near pool

4. Algae

The first sign of algae in your pool is slimy water. Its infestation contaminates your swimming pool and deprives it of its sparkle. Always clean the pool surfaces before adding algaecide.

5. Bacteria

These are microscopic living organisms that thrive on both living and nonliving bodies. For example, swimmers’ skin is the major source of bacteria in the swimming pool.

It would help if you never tolerated these microorganisms in your pool. Some of them, such as E. coli, norovirus, and Cryptosporidium, cause illnesses. One way to best control bacteria in your is bathing before swimming.

6. Damages

Any damage to the pool system risks contamination. Damages range from broken baskets, faulty pumps, or clogged filters. These could cause inefficiencies in water treatment and add to your maintenance costs.

Parts of Swimming Pool System

7. Incoming Water

Evaporation happens throughout and causes a decrease in your pool’s water level. Thus, you often need to replenish your pool with water.

Most people refill their pool from taps or reservoirs using hose pipes even though these sources may contain debris that will eventually settle on your pool floor. This can be very discouraging if you put considerable effort into having a clean pool because it renders your endeavors futile.

Rainwater may get contaminated as it disperses from the clouds and combines with pollutants like dust and harmful gases in the air. These impurities end up polluting your swimming pool.

Refilling a pool with a hose

Pool Maintenance Practices

With the right equipment, it is easy to clean your swimming pool. However, sometimes, you cannot eliminate all dirt.

The following routines will help you with pool maintenance.

  1. Drain out the pool and do thorough surface cleaning. The fastest way to drain gallons of water is by using a sump pump.
  2. Backwash the pool filter because cartridge filters and sand filters need frequent unclogging.
  3. Floc your pool to reduce cloudiness
  4. Shock pool water with chlorine. A double shock is always recommended for a freshly refilled pool.
  5. Check the filter pressure gauge weekly. Normal pressure should be 50 PSI.
  6. Cover your pool when not in use.
  7. Regularly check your system to detect problems early and save yourself from preventable issues.

Precautions when Cleaning the Pool

You need to take extra care when handling chemicals to avoid harm. The following are standard precautions.

  1. Always follow manufacturers’ instructions.
  2. Do not mix different chemicals.
  3. Store any chemical out of children’s reach.

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