Above Ground Pool Maintenance Schedule

Above Ground Pool Maintenance Schedule


Above ground pool maintenance is a lot like car maintenance, a "pay me now, or pay me [more] later" type of thing. If your cleaning, chemistry or circulation is off-target, you can develop water problems and pool liner issues, which can be expensive to correct.

Aboveground pools with small or ineffective filter systems leave little room for error, especially when frugality trumps water quality; like if the pump is not run long enough each day, or needed chemical adjustments or sanitizers are not added, for example.

To avoid algae and other pool problems that are costly and time consuming, you've got to perform certain regular tasks. Here's a checklist for above ground pool owners, a schedule of daily, weekly and monthly pool maintenance tasks.


  • Run the pool filter everyday, for 12-18 hours daily.
  • Water level should be around mid-skimmer; not too high, not too low.
  • Test pH level, should be between 7.4-7.6.
  • Test chlorine level, should be between 2.0-4.0 ppm.
  • Empty skimmer and pump baskets, as needed.
  • Inspect filter pressure and pump operation.
  • Observe pool cleaner operation, if you have one.

On a daily basis, your pool pump needs to operate, for at least 12 hours (longer when the water becomes warm), to push the water through the filter, and prevent stagnation.

From the moment you open the pool, your pool needs to have a constant chlorine level. A complete test kit like the Taylor K2005, or 7-way test strips is recommended, to do full pool water analysis. Another option is to use the Taylor Troubleshooter test kit for pH, Chlorine and Alkalinity, and AquaChek test strips for your calcium and cyanuric tests.

Chlorine is very pH dependent, and as pH levels rise, the killing power of chlorine is reduced dramatically. Add pH increaser or pH decreaser, as needed, to maintain pH levels in the range of 7.2-7.6.

Using a permanent marker, write your clean, starting filter pressure on the filter tank, or directly on the pressure gauge lens, so you know the clean pressure reading. Then you will also know when to backwash, or clean the filter; when pressure rises 7-9 psi above clean.


  • Skim the surface, vacuum and fully brush the pool, in that order.
  • Test total alkalinity, should be between 80-120 ppm.
  • Clean the pool deck and surrounding areas, helps keep the pool clean.
  • Add maintenance doses of algaecide, clarifier, metal control.
  • Add chlorine tablets to refill the floater or chlorinator.
  • Backwash or clean filter, only if pressure gauge rises 7-9 psi.

To clean your above ground pool, you'll need pool cleaning tools, like a tele-pole, skim-net or leaf rake, pool brush, and a vacuum hose and vacuum head for vinyl pools. Brushing is important to remove films and dust particles from surfaces, where they can be filtered out of the water.

Pool pH is very alkaline dependent. Your total alkalinity level helps your pH remain stable. If too low, your pH level can fluctuate easily, and if too high, your pH level can be difficult to adjust.

Maintenance doses of algaecide and clarifier are very important for above ground pools, which can quickly turn swampy if chlorine or filtration suffers. Algaecide acts as a backup to such situations, and clarifiers help small filters immensely, to prevent cloudy water and algae blooms.

Add enough chlorine tablets to raise the chlorine level into the 2-4 ppm range, and strive for consistency. Most above ground pools use 2-4 of the 3" chlorine tablets per week, in a chlorine floater or chlorinator.


  • Test calcium hardness level, should be between 200-400 ppm.
  • Test cyanuric acid level, should be between 30-50 ppm.
  • Shock the pool in the evening, using 2 lb. of pool shock per 10000 gallons.
  • Check for hidden algae which can form behind steps and ladders.
  • Clean the water line and inside skimmer walls with Tile & Vinyl Cleaner.

Calcium hardness is a measurement of the hardness (or softness) of your pool water. Not as crucial for above ground pools, but water that is too soft can make it easier for vinyl liner stains to appear, can cause foaming, and can interfere with proper sanitation. Add Calcium Hardness Increaser if below 150 ppm.

Cyanuric acid is a chlorine stabilizer, protecting your chlorine from the sun. Chlorine tablets contain a small amount of cya, but to start, add stabilizer to reach an initial level of 30 ppm.

To shock an above ground pool, pour the pool shock into a 5 gallon bucket of water and stir for 1 minute to dissolve. Pour around the edge of the pool, and brush up any granules, to prevent vinyl liner bleaching.

Use a mild vinyl cleaner and a soft sponge to clean the water line area, removing oil, dirt and scale. Keeping the inside of the pool wall skimmer clean will reduce the amount of gunk that forms at the water line.

In Summary:

Above ground pool maintenance schedules are important to keeping your pool clean and clear, and preventing struggles with algae, cloudy water or unsafe swimming conditions.

Make your own checklist for above ground pool maintenance, whether you do it, or someone else - it's got to be done. Invest the time and money to take care of your pool properly, and save time and money all summer long!

Browse Eguide Categories