How Do Above Ground Pools Work

How Do Above Ground Pools Work?

When summertime rolls around, there’s nothing better than having a pool in your backyard to cool off. But pools can be incredibly expensive to install. One option that’s more budget-friendly is an above ground pool.

Above ground pools are an easy-to-install, less expensive alternative to traditional in-ground pools. But if you’ve never swum in one before, you may be wondering: How do above ground pools work, anyway?

While there are many above ground pools on the market, most of them are basically the same in structure. Here we’ll take a look at the basic structure of above ground pools and explain how they work.

The basic structure of an above ground pool

Firstly, your above ground pool needs a good structure to support itself. Without the earth to keep it in place like an in-ground pool, it needs strong walls to hold all that water in. Here are the basic parts of an above ground pool.

1. Walls

Traditionally constructed from galvanized steel, the walls give the pool its strength. The walls are often coated in materials such as vinyl in order to help make the pool durable and waterproof.

After all, no one wants a rusty pool in their back yard.

It’s the strength of the walls that decide whether your pool can take in the water weight. The walls also stop the water from flowing outside.

Essentially, without strong walls, your above ground pool won’t be able to stand up or hold water.

2. Frame

The frame of an above ground pool secures the wall and also provides added strength. Think of the frame as the skeleton of an above ground pool. The frame is often coated with steel or resin for additional durability.

3. Top Rail (or Top Ledge)

The top rail, or top ledge, is usually made of steel or aluminum. The rail conceals the wall edge from swimmers, ensuring there are no sharp edges to rub up against.

The top rail also serves as a point on which to attach steps and ladders leading into the pool.

While it may be tempting, the top rail should not be used as a diving board or jumping-off point. Using it in that way will definitely reduce the lifespan of your above ground pool.

4. Bottom Rim

The bottom rims provide additional structure and stability to the above ground pool. Think of them as the foundation.

Bottom rims are typically in-ground, meaning they can be prone to damage from lawn chemicals or the elements. While bottom rims are often made of steel, thy are prone to rusting.

The most durable bottom rims are actually made of resin. While they cost a bit more, a resin bottom rim will ensure your above ground pool lasts a long time.

Maintaining the stability of your above ground pool

The next thing is to look at how stable and durable your pool will be, which can be done with the help of the vinyl liner.

The liner is what keeps the pool safe from rusting and other corrosion. However, the problem with them is that you would need to replace them every five to ten years.

Add to it the fact that you need to buy specific vinyl liners for your pool as they are size specific.

How do above ground pools work?

Now you understand the basic structure of an above ground pool and how it stays standing. But what about the water that fills the pool — how is it kept clean and flowing?

The answer to this lies in the equipment that an above ground pool has, namely the skimmer and the pump and filter system. Without these, an above ground pool would be no better than a baby pool filled with stagnant water.

Let’s take a look at how the skimmer and the pump and filter system work with one another.

 1. Skimmer

Attached near the top of the pool, the skimmer helps keep the water clean. It filters out any sizable debris such as grass, dirt, insects, etc. It’s similar to the pool skimmer and vacuum you’ve probably seen in any in-ground pool.

Without the skimmer, an above ground pool would quickly get dirty and filled with debris. Debris collects in the well of the skimmer where it can easily be retrieved and disposed of, keeping your pool clean to swim in.

2. Pump and filter system

The filter system you’ll need for your above ground pool depends on the size of the pool. You need the filter system to be near the skimmer and have a return port that is connected to flexible hoses.

This ensures that when the pool water is pulled in through the skimmer, it is filtered and then gets returned to the pool through the return port. The pump and filter system ensures that the water in your pool remains flowing and fresh.

Final thoughts

Above ground pools can be a great alternative to more expensive in-ground pools. However, they definitely do require some maintenance such as being treated with chemicals regularly.

It’s important for you to know how above ground pools work before you actually buy one to ensure you’re prepared. While an above ground pool won’t increase the value of your home like an in-ground pool, it will make summers more enjoyable.

Learn more about above ground pools

Ready to learn more about above ground pools? If so, be sure to read our articles answering questions like What’s the Best Way to Level an Above Ground Pool?, Can Above Ground Pools Be Heated? and Can Above Ground Pools Be Converted to Salt Water?

You’ll also want to learn important basic information like how much to fill an above ground pool as well as how to empty an above ground pool.

Or perhaps you’re curious if above ground pools can have different depths or if above ground pools can be buried. We’ve got all the answers to those questions and more.

Ready to shop for an above ground pool?

Summertime is coming, so now may be a good time to start shopping for an above ground pool. Check out our choices for the best above ground pools to buy right now.

And once it’s time to deck your new pool out with accessories, we’ve also got picks for the best above ground pool lights and the best solar heaters for above ground pools.

Just don’t forget to add your above ground pool to your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure safety for your family.

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