Are you a new pool owner?
If yes, you must be supremely excited to have your very own swimming pool that you can use at any time of the day to relax and heal from the stresses of the day.
However, as a new pool owner, it’s natural to have some specific (read: important) questions regarding its care, maintenance, and the overall guide on how to use the pool safely.
In this article, we’ll cover everything including different pool sizes and types, various materials used for creating them, different types of pool filters, how to care and maintain your pool, and so on.
Continue reading this post to learn everything you should know about owning the pool the right way!
- 1 Pool Types
- 1.1 In-Ground Pools VS Above Ground Pools
- 1.2 Indoor VS Outdoor Pools
- 1.3 Materials Used
- 1.4 Pool Sizes and Shapes
- 2 How Many Gallons of Water an Average Pool Size Has?
- 3 What’s the Yearly Cost of Having a Pool?
- 4 Pool Maintenance
- 5 Winter Pool Care
- 6 Should I Empty the Pool?
- 7 How to Drain a Pool?
- 8 Different Types of Pool Filters and their Pros and Cons
- 9 Conclusion
When it comes to swimming pools, there are many types. In this section, we’ll compare and contrast between the most popular types of swimming pools – in-ground vs above ground pools and indoor vs outdoor pools. Let’s wade into the details of these pool types.
In-Ground Pools VS Above Ground Pools
The cost is a good starting point to discuss the major differences between these pools. In-ground pools come at varying costs depending on their type. The cost usually ranges from $5000 – $8000.
However, pools manufactured from highly durable and long-lasting material such as concrete costs more, somewhere around $30,000 – $50,000.
On the other hand, the price range of above ground starts at $900 and can lead up to $3000. Comparatively, above-ground pools are less expensive than in-ground pools.
Like all pools, the price of in-ground and above ground pools can vary because of the pool size you choose, installation equipment and components used, specialized features added, fencing and decoration incorporated, and the likes.
Remember, the grander your pool, the greater its overall cost.
Above-ground pools can be taken up as a seamless DIY project as it requires little expertise. The in-ground version comes with a set of a kit and an instructional manual that can be used for a quick and easy installation.
While above-ground pools hardly take a few days to install, the fitting of in-ground pools is time-consuming as their installation can extend over a week or more. Additionally, the fixture of in-ground pools requires the expertise of skilled professionals.
It can’t be done by a layman.
In-ground pools come in limited shapes. However, the concrete ones are fully customizable. On the other hand, above ground pools come mostly in a round or oval shape.
Permanent or Temporary
In-ground pools are considered a permanent addition to an outdoor/indoor space. When it comes to selling the property, in-ground pools are harder to be removed.
After the detraction, in-ground pools may leave the space looking unpleasant. However, above ground pools can be a temporary installation even though they demand excessive time and money.
When it comes to maintaining water quality, you are required to clean, filter, and maintain chemical balance in both pools at all times.
Since in-ground pools are in the ground, they do not have exposed walls that can damage them by accident. They are also less likely to get ruined by other elements. In case either of this happens, repairs are more expensive than the overall cost of an above ground pool.
Indoor VS Outdoor Pools
Ease of Maintenance
Indoor pools are easier to maintain than outdoor pools. They get lesser dirt and junk than outdoor pools and hence pertain less maintenance cost.
The ease of maintenance also depends on the size of your pool. A small indoor pool will be a lot easier to take care of than a large outdoor pool and vice versa.
You can’t use outdoor pools during heavy rainfall or storm. But that’s not the case with indoor pools.
Despite what the weather is like, you can use an indoor pool with ease and comfort. In other words, indoor pools are fit to use all year round.
Note that an indoor pool is expensive to install at any time of the year. However, an outdoor pool is cheaper to install during the off season – winter.
Indoor pools require a well-constructed ventilation system with proper air distribution and efficient exhaust air to eliminate harmful disinfectants from the environment.
This is an important consideration for effective pool maintenance. In the case of outdoor pools, having a ventilation system is not necessary.
Outdoor pools are at a much greater risk of facing algae growth.
This is due to direct sunlight that encourages the growth of algae in the pool. But since indoor pools are usually protected by a ceiling or shaded covering, they do not suffer from algae growth.
A concrete pool is a personalized swimming solution. It can be installed anywhere you want and offer a range of design options.
With this one, you can pick your pool’s preferred size, shape, depth, and add features such as rockeries, steps, vanishing edges, and lots more. You also have unlimited finishing options such as ceramic tiles, quartz, pebbles, vinyl lining, and so on.
Concrete pools can be of two types – gunite or shotcrete. Gunite is a dry mix-up while shotcrete is wet concrete.
The latter is already mixed with water before it comes out of a hose while gunite remains dry until it mixes with water at the nozzle when it’s about to be sprayed. The gunite process is cheaper than shotcrete but requires the assistance of a skilled professional.
Vinyl pools come with a vinyl sheet between the structure of the pool and water.
This type of construction makes vinyl pools extremely reliable and long-lasting. Their smooth and nonporous surface keeps contaminants like algae away. Because of these reasons, vinyl pools demand lower maintenance.
Another great advantage of vinyl pools is that they are faster to install. They make for a great DIY project for accomplished or, at least, confident do-it-yourselfers.
What’s more, is that vinyl pools are quite an affordable choice than all other types of pools including concrete and fiberglass pools.
There’s no limitation in terms of design options as vinyl pools have to offer a lot. Unlike yesteryears, today, vinyl pools come in a wide range of features and add-ons that can make your splish-splash time luxurious.
Fiberglass pools are manufactured from a mold in a controlled environment. Since they are built off-site, the installation takes place much faster, just a couple of days at max.
Fiberglass pools are low maintenance in the sense that the material is smooth, durable, and non-porous. Since they are maintenance-free, they stay clean and top-notch at all times.
Unlike vinyl pools, fiberglass pools do not feature linear which means you don’t have to worry about puncturing the linear. Due to this, fiberglass pools are much more long-lasting and less likely to be impaired.
One of the downsides of fiberglass pools is that they are quite costly. But owing to their durability and low-maintenance, they prove to be less costly in the long-term.
You can also do creative things with a fiberglass pool. For instance, you can incorporate beautiful water features, tiles, pool lights, spas, walls, etc., into your pool.
While fiberglass pools are worth every penny, remember, they come in limited sizes and shapes. This is because they are made from a specific type of mold that can be customized in a certain look only.
Pool Sizes and Shapes
Oval pools, as the name specifies, come in a pretty big oval shape.
They rightly fit in big yards and appeal large spaces due to their equally large size. These pools look incredibly good surrounded by palm trees, waterfalls, and sedimentary rock formations.
Rectangular pools are the most common types of pools out there.
They usually feature in spaces that lack an abundance of space such as apartment buildings, penthouses, or skyscrapers. Since they are relatively smaller in size, they can easily fit in balconies and the likes.
Kidney pools are similar to oval pools but longer and wider. The pool shape is round from both ends and is curved inwards from the middle.
Of all the pool types, kidney pools are extremely stylish and creative. But what makes them so attractive is that they are equally practical.
As the name suggests, the L pool is shaped like the “capital L”. The vertical line of L is normally kept shorter in length and narrower in width.
The other stem of the pool is wider so that a bunch of people can hang out together in the pool. The L pool is a good option for a yard with special needs. You can also go for this pool if you want your outdoor/indoor area to look unique.
The best thing about circular pools is that they are available in all sizes from large, to medium, to small, to in-between.
Experts find building enclosures for circular pools far easier. This allows them to maintain their pool water quality and save it from all sorts of contaminations.
Freeform pools are not defined by any specific shape but have a natural style. They can fit into any kind of space.
This type of pool gives you the freedom to include different water features, rock features, stone decking, waterfalls, and lots more. If your house features a beautiful natural landscape, freeform pools can fit around it and elevate the pool’s beauty.
How Many Gallons of Water an Average Pool Size Has?
This depends on the type of pool you have. When it comes to in-ground swimming pools, a 12 x 24-foot rectangular pool with a depth of 5 feet holds about 10,800 gallons of water.
However, a standard 12-foot round above-ground pool with a depth of 48 inches accumulates up to 3200 gallons of water.
What’s the Yearly Cost of Having a Pool?
After paying the initial cost of the pool, you will have to squeeze out its repair and maintenance expenses at some point.
On average, the basic annual cost to upkeep a pool is somewhere around $1200 to $1800. Together with pool damage repairs and utilities, pool powers end up spending from $3000 – $5000 per year.
Please note, this is a rough estimate for annual pool repair and maintenance costs. Depending on the pool services you use and the number of times you utilize them, your annual cost can spike up.
How to Vacuum a Pool?
Vacuuming your swimming pool is a necessary step for maintaining your pool in a good condition.
While vacuuming the pool may seem the kind of task that is best-left-to-the-experts, it’s isn’t quite so. You can vacuum your own pool by yourself in these 3 easy steps:
Prime Your Vacuum Hose
First and foremost, you need to remove the air from your vacuum system. This is important to do because air pockets can make your system lose suction. Doing it ahead of time can help your unit operate more effectively.
To prime your vacuum, you will need to push in the vacuum head onto the telescoping pole and take one end of your hose and fix it on top of the vacuum head.
Submerge the cleaner into the pool’s water and let the air flow out of the hose, which you will know through air bubbles floating up in the water.
Attach the Hose to the Skimmer
The next step is to attach the open end of the hose to a skimmer inlet. But before you do that, make sure you have removed the strainer basket. Then attach your open vacuum hose into the suction of the skimmer.
The last and most important step is to vacuum the pool. Using the telescoping pole, you can move the vacuum head cleaner in every corner of the pool and do it until the water has cleaned up.
In case you lose the suction, you will need to go through the steps one and two again.
Vacuuming Using a Garden Hose
Another way to vacuum the pool is by using a vacuuming system that connects a garden hose. This is a good option for those who have a small pool. For this method, you will have to follow these simple steps:
- Attach the telescoping pole to the vacuum cleaner’s head.
- Now, connect one end of the hose to the other end of the telescoping pole. Make sure the other end of the hose is well-attached to its spigot.
- Fix a vacuum bag to the opening side of the vacuum.
- Turn on the water source and push the vacuum into the pool.
- Allow your vacuum to move all across the pool surface until all the dirt and debris is removed. Don’t rush through this step or else you won’t be able to get rid of all the contamination.
- Last but not least, turn on the filtration system to eliminate any remaining debris.
Winter Pool Care
While summer is every pool owner’s favorite time, you can’t ignore your precious pool during winters.
Your pool needs TLC in winter just as much it does in the blazing hot summer. The question at this point is – what steps should you take to winterize your pool successfully? Read on to find out!
Clean the Pool
Before you close your pool for the off season, you must clean it in advance. Vacuum the entire pool by following the steps listed above.
Make sure you brush the pool walls and remove any residual floating through a filtration system. Doing so will save you from unpleasant surprises when you open your pool during the summer season.
Test Your Pool Water
Testing water is easy. All you need is a water testing kit or a few test strips. For a more accurate result, take your pool water sample to your local pool store and allow them to test it for you.
As you won’t be maintaining the water level during winters, it’s advised to have these ranges on higher end as they will dial down eventually.
Test the Alkalinity
As mentioned earlier that the alkalinity level should be around 100 ppm to 150 ppm, don’t mind if the range goes up as it will naturally come down over time.
If the alkalinity is not up to par, you can use an alkalinity increaser such as sodium bicarbonate. In case the alkalinity level is too high, notch it down by adding muriatic acid in pool water. Ideally, you should tweak the alkalinity range before checking the pH level.
Add in Chemicals
Using winterizing chemicals will help the pool water to maintain its balance during the cold season. An advantage of having balanced water is that it’s less likely to cause any damage to your pool and its components.
You can use any winterizing chemical kit available at any local store. Simply follow the instructions on the label and you will be good to go.
Remove and Store Pool Lines
The pool lines are usually at the risk of getting damaged by ice expansion during winters. Therefore, it’s better to clean, remove, and then store the lines in a safe area.
All you have to do is disconnect the lines and allow the water to flow out. Let the pipes air dry and then place them in safe storage. Do the same with the pool filter and pump.
Clean and Store Pool Accessories
When closing your pool for a season, make sure you don’t leave any of your pool accessories in there. This can be your toys, ladder, or anything else.
Staying in water for the entire cold season can corrode or contaminate your belongings for good, so make sure you clean all of your personal belongings and store them indoors when readying your pool for winter.
Install a Pool Cover
Lastly, secure your pool using a pool cover. Use a heavy-duty cable and winch for securing the cover.
In case your pool features a walk-around space, you can place water bags to help the cover stay affix. Avoid using stones or bricks as they may damage the liner of your pool.
Should I Empty the Pool?
A common concern among pool owners is to know whether or not emptying the pool for the winter is necessary. This depends on how you keep your skimmer safe during the cold season. Your skimmer can freeze and crack if you don’t use a cover plate.
In that case, you should lower the pool water below the skimmer. However, if you use a winter plate to cover your skimmer, you don’t have to empty the pool. You can keep the water level as it is. It will protect your skimmer during the winter.
How to Drain a Pool?
When it comes to draining a pool, you have two options – either use a submersible pump or a garden hose. However, we highly recommend using both. Opt for a garden hose when you have to adjust the chemistry of your pool water.
To drain the pool water, place the submersible pump in the center and at the bottom of the pool. Attach the power cord to the nearest electric outlet. Make sure you don’t have to overstretch it.
Also, see that the drainage hose is long enough to be able to dispose of the pool water to the designated area. Turn on the pump and ensure all the power cords and hoses stay connected while draining.
When there’s no water left (except for a small puddle which the pump can no longer pull out from the pool), it means, the pool has been drained of successfully.
Different Types of Pool Filters and their Pros and Cons
A pool filter is a major part of the pool’s plumbing system. It consists of both large and small drains along with a skimmer.
A pool filter is essential to help keep the water clean and balanced. Without a functioning pool filter, your swimming pool won’t be fit for use. Here are the three main types of pool filters you should know about:
Cartridge Pool Filters
Cartridge pool filters are the most popular preference for residential pools. They have a lightweight structure as they are made from polyester and have a fan-folded design.
Additionally, cartridge filters are cost-effective, eco-friendly, and demand moderate maintenance. As compared to other filters, cartridge filters clean the pool water without wasting it.
- Requires maintenance only once or twice a year
- Helps conserve water
- Do not filter as effectively as DE filters
- Some may find it difficult to use
Sand filters are an advanced method to purify pool water. The water passes into the tank through the diffuser and enters the bed of sand. Here all the dirt and debris are trapped.
Next, the water goes to the bottom of the filter from where it’s returned back to the pool. Sand filters are quite effective and durable.
- Successfully eliminates 20 – 40 micro-sized dirt and debris
- Low maintenance
- Allows backwashing
- Demands changing of sand every 5 – 8 years
- Fails to catch the tiniest of dirt and debris
- Backwashing can lead to a chemical imbalance in pool water
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters
The DE filter is known to be the best option for purifying pool water.
It eliminates even the smallest of particles, leaving the pool water quality tip-top. Of all the three filter options, DE is the most expensive one and requires excessive maintenance.
- Highly efficient and effective
- Convenient to use
- Super expensive
- Difficult to maintain
- Requires frequent replacement
- Has the potential to cause wastage of water
This is the end of our pool owner’s manual guide. We hope we successfully answered the most frequently asked questions by new as well as old pool owners.
Investing in a good-quality pool is great, but remember that, swimming pools require maintenance whether you use it or not. By following our guide by the book, we believe you can retain the quality of your pool for years to come!