Frequently Asked Questions
The answer isn’t clear-cut. Different cities have different regulations. It’s quite common for cities to require a permit for an above-ground pool, but it’s also quite common for you not to require one. Check with your local zoning department.
Yes, but not 100%. Pool alarm technology has come a long way. Today pool alarms can detect when an object that weighs about what a child weighs falls into the pool and sounds an alarm. Pool alarms should be used as a last resort. Don’t use it as a primary way to keep your kids safe. They do work, but they can’t be relied on.
Any verbal agreement made between you and your contractor should be made in writing. Any promises that aren’t in writing aren’t valid. Make sure that all the financial agreements and expectations are spelled out in a crystal clear manner. Make sure the amounts and the payment terms are clear. The exact work and materials used to construct the pool should be in the contract. Make sure there’s a clause in the contract that says what happens if the contractor is late on completing the work. It helps to have a lawyer look over the document before signing it.
Having a swimming pool is safe, as long as kids around the pool know how to swim and the pool is properly maintained. Improperly maintained pools can cause illnesses. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) rates of pool-related illnesses have actually been going up. If you’re going to buy a swimming pool, make sure you really understand how to maintain the pool to prevent bacteria growth.
Ideally, you should service your pool once a week. The first few weeks will be a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it servicing your pool doesn’t take more than an hour a week. Every once in a while, something may go wrong. If that happens, then you’ll have to spend a bit more time on maintenance.
If you have kids who can’t swim, or if you plan on going for long periods of time without using your pool, then yes, you should absolutely buy a cover. If you have more questions, the best place to get them answered is to talk to a pool professional. Most will be happy to answer your questions for free.
When the water leaves the pool through the drains, it needs to pass through a filtration system. This purifies the water by pulling out debris and allows clean water to return to the pool, keeping the pH balance stable and keeping the water from getting cloudy.
The filter system in a pool is fairly large and is usually kept above ground for easy access and maintenance. It looks something like a gigantic metal urn connected to various pipes.
In order to make the pool run efficiently, an electrical pump system needs to be used.
The pump system is simply a small pump casing connected to the various drains and pipes that service the pool. It’s usually kept out of sight from the rest of the pool, in part because it’s not really appealing to look at (similar to the reason human internal organs are kept inside the body, not outside) and in part because keeping the pump out of sight also keeps it safe
A pool without a drain is going to turn unsafe (and frankly disgusting) very quickly. Typically, a swimming pool has one or two main drains in addition to the other more specialized drains we’ll be talking about just below.
The main drains in a pool need to be placed at the lowest point in the pool basin. Their job is to get rid of all the heavy debris that collects in a pool–and you’d better believe that there will be plenty of heavy debris that collects in a pool. The debris exits the pool through the main drains and passes through the pipe systems to the pool filter.
Main drains help to clear all of the heavy debris from a pool. Skimmer drains help to clear all of the light debris that floats on the surface of a pool. This may seem like a minor or simply cosmetic problem, but even over the space of one day a serious amount of debris can form on the surface of the water in your pool, from fallen leaves to summer insects to worse. The skimmer drain allows water to sluice cleanly from the top of the pool through the skimmer basket, filtering out large amounts of the debris before it can enter the filtration system.
Once water leaves the filter, it can go to one of two places. One is the city sewer system. The other is the pool. The return valve is the connection from the bottom of the filter tank (where clean water collects) to the pool itself.
When choosing bells and whistles for your pool, the most prudent thing to think about is safety. Some kind of pool exit is a must to prevent people from injuring themselves by slipping when they’re climbing out of a pool along the side.
Ladders are a cheap option, but bench seatings or molded steps are usually safer and more visually attractive.
The answer depends on the size of the pool and the climate outside. Generally speaking, you’ll want to run your pool about six hours a day during less hot months, probably from the time you start using the pool up to about Memorial Day.
When the weather is hotter and the pool gets used more often, it’s more important to maintain water quality in order to avoid damage from the climate and from dirt and grit in the water. After Memorial Day until roughly Labor Day, it’s a good idea to run your pool filter for at least twelve or so hours every day.
At the very least, make sure your pool motor is running whenever people are actually using the pool. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll keep your water looking nice and clean in 99% of situations.
Add the chlorine somewhere in the filtration process if possible. An auto-feeder will take care of this automatically, of course. If you don’t have one, the best place to put chlorine is usually in the skimmer baskets.
Since the skimmer baskets have a direct line to the filtration system, you can make sure that the chlorine flows into the filtered water easily and efficiently without bunching up in various parts of the pool. The floating weir also regulates the amount of water in the skimmer baskets and prevents much of it from floating back into the dirty pool water.
That’s not a joke. Some parts of installing a pool are very simple: digging out the backyard, installing rebar steel or other pool frameworks, cutting holes for drains in vinyl pool liners, even spraying gunite or other concrete mixes. For the most part, this is just a matter of some calculation and construction know-how, and there’s no reason you can’t simply do this portion of the work yourself.
What you don’t want to do yourself unless you’re very, very clear on what you’re doing is to install the filtration system, pumps, and drains. Pools, for all their basic simplicity (water flows out the drains, passes through the filter, back in through the returns, rinse, repeat), are actually quite sophisticated when it comes to the minutiae of water pressure, managing drain loads, and other similar issues.
A single miscalculation can lead to serious safety issues when it comes to drain suction, water buildup, or stress and strain on your pump motor. At the very least, it’ll lead to a significantly shorter lifespan for your pool. And a major problem with miscalculations in your pool setup is the fact that unless you’re willing to dig up your entire yard again and spend tons of money draining and refilling your pool, it’s impossible to fix errors in your pool’s construction.