How to Buy an Above Ground Swimming Pool

An above ground swimming pool is a wonderful way to enjoy your outdoor living space during the warm months of spring, summer and early fall. This backyard oasis is a great place to cool-off, play and exercise. Above ground pools are a cost-effective option with several price points that vary based on the unit's size and the material from which it was fabricated. To find the best model, you should also consider several other important factors, such as the amount of available space in your yard. Ask your local zoning department whether you need a permit to install a pool. Your insurance company can provide information regarding additional coverage available through your homeowner's policy. Use the following guide to help you select the best above ground swimming pool for your lifestyle and budget.


Select a Location to Install the Pool

It may not be initially obvious, but the first step in buying an above ground swimming pool is to figure out where you are going to put it.  The pool should be visible from your house so that you can observe children and other people swimming and playing in the water. You should keep the pool away from overhanging trees and other sources of leaves and debris. A sunny location ensures that the pool receives as much sunshine as possible throughout the day. The more radiant heat that the water receives, the warmer it will be. The site must also have water and electricity to operate the pool pump and filter.


Choose a Shape and Size

Measure the dimensions of your proposed pool site to determine the size and shape of the unit that will fit in that location. You should also consider the primary purpose of the pool as well as the average number of swimmers using it on a regular basis. Above ground pools are available in round, rectangle and oval designs. Round pools are usually less expensive, offer more room to swim and are easier to install than rectangle- and oval-shaped pools. The configuration of a rectangular or oval pool enables users to swim laps and play games like water volleyball. Rectangle- and oval-shaped pools require more sidewall bracing than round pools.

While the diameter of a round swimming pool can be up to 33 feet, the length of a rectangular pool can reach 25 feet. Oval pools are available in lengths up to 43 feet. The depth of the water in an above ground pool can vary from 30 to 52 inches. Your proposed site must have walkway space that permits you to access the entire pool as well as ample room for the pump and filter.


Choose the Pool Construction

Above ground pools are available in a variety of colors and materials. The pool usually consists of a vinyl liner supported by a steel, aluminum or resin framework. The most durable material, steel can last up to 20 years. Less expensive than steel-frame pools, aluminum-framework models are easier to install and disassemble if the pool has to be relocated. Even though manufacturers rustproof these materials, steel and aluminum frames eventually develop surface pits because of oxidization. Although a resin above ground pool is more expensive than metal-frame pools, they have several advantages. During the manufacturing process, companies can mold and contour the resin to create curved seats, railings and other features like rounded tops. Resin does not corrode, and the frame does not conduct heat like those made from metal.

Homeowners also have the option of selecting soft-sided vinyl pools that are inflated each swimming season. When the weather turns cooler, you can deflate and store this inexpensive pool during the winter. A popup pool has an inflatable ring at the top. As it fills with water, the pool will automatically expand to the proper configuration without additional supports. Another type of temporary pool is manufactured from several layers of long-lasting, reinforced PVC that are held in place by a lightweight framework similar to a permanent above ground pool. They are available in round and oval designs as well. While temporary pools do not have the same life span as resin or metal-frame pools, they are less expensive and easier to relocate.


Select Your Equipment

In addition to the above ground pool, you also need to purchase a pump and filter as well as the other equipment required to keep the water clean. It is important that the pool and filter be durable and easy to operate. The pump and filter must also be large enough to keep the water clean without placing excess strain on the equipment. An automatic pool cleaner vacuums dirt and debris from the bottom of the pool. You should also determine the costs associated with the type and quantity of pool chemicals and test kits required to make the water safe for swimmers. Depending upon your climate, you may want to consider purchasing a pool heater, which can prolong the swimming season.


Choose Your Accessories

After evaluating your installation site, selecting a pool and choosing the required equipment, you may need other accessories for above ground pools. Depending upon the size of the pool, you may need a ladder to enter and exit the water. A cover helps retain heat while preventing dirt and debris from falling into the pool.