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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 immense popularity of above ground pools, this great backyard water feature is not only fun, but affordable.
Getting the right pool for your home and budget can be a daunting task. So many choices and such strange terminology; hopper bottom, skimmer, return lines, creek, etc.. It’s really not that difficult 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 forms are available in a number of sizes that most manufacturers sell. The most popular size is the 24 ft round pool, but round pools are available in diameters from 12 ft to 33 ft. Oval pools usually start at 12 ft by 20-24 ft and become as large as 21 ft. x 41 ft. The area for your pool and your budget will combine to suggest the size that works best. The ideal location of the pool will get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight during the summer and should be as flat and unobstructed as possible. Trees in particular can be annoying if too close to a pool. Power lines or telephone poles are just out! Keep in mind that many oval pools have side supports or buttresses that can protrude up to 2-3 feet from the base of the pool. Some newer oval designs have eliminated the buttresses allowing oval pools to go where ovals have never gone before.
Above ground pools are almost always made of 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 of course do not rust. Resin pools generally cost more, but industry figures put the average life of an above ground pool between 4 and 5 years. Rust may not be a factor! The choice is yours. The pools have become deeper in recent years. The standard 48 inch high pool is now being surpassed by 52 inch and even 54 inch models.
To keep the water out, your pool needs a vinyl liner. There is a great selection of patterns from simple blue to exotic tile patterns and even a liner that mimics a tropical reef complete with fish and coral! Most pool packages are sold with an overlay style liner. These liners wrap over the top of the pool wall and stick to the outside of the pool. The liner is held in place by the top rail. You may also see beaded liners. These snap into a thin receiving strip just below the top rail inside the pool and eliminate the overlap. Bead liners tend to be an upgrade and cost more, but are usually a heavier vinyl, 25 gauge rather than the 20 gauge common in overlap 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 be less work. Sand and cartridge filters are the options usually available for above ground pools. Each has advantages and disadvantages. The filter sand is cheap, but if neglected it can turn into a disaster and the sand filters are a job to clean and replace. Cartridge filters require less maintenance, but cartridges wear out and can cost upwards of $200.00 to replace.
The heart of any pool filtration system is the pump. A good pump, correctly adjusted to the size of your pool, will give many years of reliable service. Don’t buy too much power. Pools need to have clean filtered water not imitate Old Faithful. Most above and many in-ground pools work well with no more than 1 hp. pump and motor combination. Small to medium sized above ground pools do well with ¾ hp units. Proper sizing of the pump will use less electricity and less use of pipes and filters.
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