Australian households have a rising demand for above-ground swimming pools. Many homeowners now prefer them to in-ground pools, as the former are more affordable and easier to install and maintain. They also do not take up too much space in the backyard. Since above-ground pools are not as permanent as the traditional structures, you will need a few things for their improvement so that your family can fully enjoy and maximise their use. Here are 16 must-have accessories for this kind of pool.
1. Pool steps
Above-ground pools aren't as accessible as traditional pools. You can't simply dip, jump, or walk down the steps to get into the water. Whilst accessibility is a challenge for this type, you can add a set of pool steps to make it more convenient. Bestway pools usually come with a ladder when you purchase a set. But this fitting -- in most cases -- may not be as sturdy, durable, and wide as you'd like it to be, so you'll still need to install another entry point that's more accessible. Fortunately, pool steps come in a variety of designs and options that offer load-bearing stability. This accessory will require mounting and bolting to ensure the structure’s steadiness. Be sure to get a qualified professional for the installation.
2. Pool heating mat
A relaxing dip in the pool won't be as much fun if the water is freezing cold. Invest in a heating mat accessory to trap the thermal energy that will keep the water warm. Pool heating mats also lessen water evaporation and preserve the pool chemicals. If there’s no mat that covers it and the pool water is always exposed, you’ll need to add more chemicals to balance the water's composition. Pool heating mats also keep off leaves and other debris from getting into the water, so you won't have to clean the water often. This accessory is convenient to have, regardless of the type of pool structure you build in your backyard.
3. Pool vacuum
The presence of sediments and debris is unavoidable if you have a pool in the backyard, so it would be good to have a pool vacuum to easily clean off stuff that might float in the water. You can get either a manual or automatic pool vacuum, depending on your budget and preference. To use the manual type, you will have to go around the pool area as if you are vacuuming a carpet in your living room. An automatic pool vacuum, on the other hand, won't require much human intervention. You can plop and leave it in the water to collect the dirt.
Skimmers catch any leaves or debris that fall into the pool. This equipment prevents the debris from settling down or sticking to the walls. It can be easily attached to the sides of an above-ground pool. It has a convenient basket that may be pulled out and cleaned regularly.
5. Algae brush
Algae are a pain to work with, but you would have to contend with them if you are a pool owner. Above-ground pools are especially prone to algae formation due to poor air circulation; thus, the pool becomes a breeding ground for organisms. It’s useful, therefore, to have an algae brush to prevent the organisms from collecting on the pool's walls or steps. Use this brush along with your pool vacuum and skimmers to regularly scrub off the surface. Choose a good brush with nylon bristles to avoid damaging the pool’s liner.
6. Pool lights
The Australian Standards require at least one underwater light in pool structures. However, most above-ground pools don't come with this feature. You must buy this accessory to comply with the safety requirements. It makes sense to have pool lights because you need to see what's in the water if you want to enjoy swimming during the night. Lights also prevent accidents because they enhance visibility. Obviously, it's not safe to swim in a dark pool. However, take note that light requires electricity, so you have to be careful about installing this in an area filled with water. Let a professional handle the installation to prevent grounding or electrocution. As for the options, pool lights come in a variety of voltage, colours, and brightness. They enhance the aesthetics of your backyard pool and they are a great addition if you enjoy hosting pool parties. You can either go with the simple and classic white lights or pick ones with colours that could liven up your celebration.
7. Water test strips
Water testing is an essential part of pool maintenance. It determines the presence of bacteria or algae that might make you and your kids sick after swimming. Water testing was not as handy and as affordable as it is today. In the past, you had to hire someone to do the tests and you won’t get the results right away. Now, you can easily buy and stock up on strips from pool supply stores and then conduct the tests yourself. To use water test strips, dip one in the water for a few seconds and then check the colour in the gradation scale that comes with the packet. The gradation scale will indicate whether you have to add chlorine, bromine, acid, and base in the pool water.
8. Salt water chlorine generator
A salt water chlorine generator is an alternative to electronic chlorine generator. However, this equipment is much more suitable to use as it does not require any plumbing. You can just hang it on the wall of your above-ground pool and plug it next to a power outlet. You also won't need to stock up on chlorine tablets if you have this accessory because the generator has a feature that provides a continuous chlorination process. The use of salt water chlorine, as opposed to regular chlorine, reduces the strong chlorine odour. It also prevents swimmers from having red eyes because there are less harmful chemicals present in the water. About 80 per cent of Australian households prefer salt water chlorine. Apparently, it also makes the water feel smoother and silkier on the skin.
9. Liner repair kit
Above-ground pools can be punctured, ripped or torn. Whilst it's more hardwearing than an inflatable spa, even the most careful users may find some minor damage because of the nature of its design and composition. Fortunately, you can easily repair a hole if you keep a stock of liner repair kit. The quicker you patch it up, the less you have to worry about further damage. Make sure to allow the repaired area to completely dry before refilling the pool with water. The repair should hold well for at least three years if you've done a good patch.
10. Pool shock
A pool shock eliminates that strong hotel pool smell that comes from the water. It will help to shock a pool once a week to avoid this nasty odour and to sanitise the water’s environment. Shocking is also necessary after a severe storm or if there were certain pool accidents. For instance, if someone peed or pooped in the pool or if the water was invaded with algae, then shocking the pool would be effective in killing the germs and contaminants. A pool shock is a chemical that you can buy at pool supply stores.
11. Pool floats and toys
You'll enjoy swimming and lounging in your above-ground swimming pool more if you have pool floats and toys. There's no shortage of choices for these accessories, no matter how big your pool is, as floats and toys come in different shapes and designs. These accessories also provide hours of fun in the water for every member of the family, particularly the kids. You'll definitely want to have pool toys to help them become more active and better swimmers.
12. Storage bins
Keep floats and toys organised and stored away in pool storage bins when not in use. This way, your pool stuff won't get blown away, destroyed, or lost, especially if you spent a lot of money buying these things. You'll also find storage bins convenient for drying the pool toys, so they won’t attract mildew or become embedded with bacteria.
13. Bluetooth waterproof speakers
Pump up your pool party or set up a relaxing and soothing night with cool mood music coming from Bluetooth waterproof speakers. You don’t have to bring out a heavy set of audio system, as there are non-wired accessories that can broadcast the songs from your phone and other connected wireless gadgets. You can even let these accessories float in the water because they are waterproof.
14. Umbrella sleeves
Set up some umbrella sleeves around your above-ground pool to protect you and your family from the sun's rays. These accessories provide a cooling shade that allow you to enjoy the water comfortably. Choose an umbrella with sleeves that balance the pole properly. It won’t provide much protection if it’s too narrow and it might topple with a slight blow of the wind if it’s too wide. Use pole extenders if you want the umbrella's height to rest a bit higher. Experiment on the best positions before deciding on a permanent place for the umbrella sleeves as the sun moves constantly throughout the day.
If you have a smaller pool, then perhaps a canopy would be a better choice than umbrella sleeves. Canopies cover a larger ground and would even protect you from the rain if you'd like to take a dip in the pool when there's a slight shower.
16. Pool bottom padding
A pool bottom padding may help the pool liner last longer because it protects the walls against abrasions. This accessory may also help swimmers feel more comfortable, knowing that there's an extra padded area or cushion between the pool walls and the ground. There are commercially available pads that might cost more, depending on how big your requirement is. You may also want to use sand as padding because it's relatively inexpensive. However, insects and other pests may creep and create a tunnel in the sand beneath the pool so you need to always be on the lookout for such formation. Other padding options include traditional carpet padding, floor underlayment, and regular foam.
Caring for above-ground pools
A typical above-ground swimming pool has a lifespan of about seven to ten years, whilst its liners might need replacement within five years of purchase. However, you can extend the life of your pool if you observe proper care and maintenance. For instance, avoid setting up your pool near walls, structures, or objects that might puncture it. Remind your children not to play next to it in the backyard. They might think that the pool's walls are strong enough as a baseball backstop, or they might rest their bikes against it. The chemicals you use to balance the pool water might also contribute to the brittleness of the pool liner's vinyl. Whilst it's necessary, you may consider scaling down the use of these chemicals and stick to the normal amount. You may require other accessories for cleaning, to avoid using too much chemicals all the time. In the winter when the pool is used less, consider unmounting the pool steps and store them in a sheltered area. Run the filter for at least an hour before disconnecting the motor, pump, hoses, and drain. Clean these parts well before storing in a dry location. Do a full sweep of the inner walls and then drain the water completely. Let the pool dry for 24 hours before covering it tightly, until you have to open it again for spring. For your above-ground pool concerns and needs, look at our inventory at Outbax. Let us know if you have any questions.