How to Fill an Above Ground Pool


If you’re ready to fill your above ground swimming pool, I’m going to assume you’ve already taken care of everything else.

It’s set up where you want it and the necessary plumbing is installed or you have someone scheduled to install it.

But the big question is, “How do you fill it up? Where does all that water come from?”


Not to worry. You have a few options. You just have to find the one that works best for you in the area where you live.

City Water

This is usually the best and most convenient water to use to fill your pool. It just involves hooking up your water hose and placing the other end directly into your pool. However, it’s not always the cheapest choice. 

City or municipal water bills can be quite high and the bigger your pool, the higher the cost. If you decide to go this route, it’s best to figure out how much water your pool holds by checking out your owner’s manual or calling the manufacturer. Then, call your city water department and ask them for an estimate. 

Many cities will work with you to give you a discount when you’re going to be using large amounts like this. This is because your sewage bill is usually connected to your water usage proportionately.

So, if you let them know what the high usage is for, they can sometimes knock off the sewage charges for that amount. And in areas where city water is your only choice for filling your pool, I highly suggest that you don’t fill your pool without first finding out the cost.

If you can swing the cost, city water is the best choice for your pool because it’s already balanced and safe for consumption. Not that you’ll be drinking your whole pool, but if it’s safe for consumption, it’s safe for swimming.

You still might have to add some chlorine to begin with, but you won’t be fighting all the contaminants you might find in other sources. 

Water Delivery

This method is way faster than trying to fill your pool with a water hose. Bulk water delivery trucks will bring water right to your house and fill your pool up in a matter of minutes. This option may not be available in every city. You’ll have to do a little research to find out if it is in yours. 

Places where pools are common, such as cities in Florida and California, are usually running over with companies that offer this service.

And while you can probably find plenty of them online, it’s best to ask for recommendations from your local pool supply store or people you know. They can vary quite a bit in cost and you’ll want to make sure you get the best deal.

When you do find a respectable company, you’ll need to get some information together for them. They’ll want to know the measurements of your pool and how many gallons of water it holds. You can figure this out yourself, but it’s probably easier just to consult your owner’s manual or check the manufacturer’s website.

You’ll also need to know some things from them. For example, is there water treated? Some services offer this for a small fee, some balance the water no matter what, and some don’t mess with it at all. If they don’t treat their water, you may just have to shock it and balance it before anyone swims in it.

Additionally, you’ll have to find out how far their hoses will reach if your pool is very far from where they’ll park. If they make the trip out and can’t reach your pool, you’ll probably still be charged at least part of the fee.

Next, make sure your pool is as clean as you can get it. No sense wasting time fighting off contaminants after it’s full. You’ll have plenty of time to do that the rest of the summer. 

Some water delivery companies will also pump out and dispose of your old pool water for you. So, keep that in mind for next season. This can save you time and money if you ever need to start over with fresh water. 

The other way to have water delivered to you is through the fire department. Not too many fire departments do this anymore, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If they do agree to it, they usually don’t charge much, or they might ask for a donation. 

Well Water

Obviously, if you have a well, this is probably the least expensive option for you.

However, there are some disadvantages you’ll need to consider.

If you have a purifier or softener system hooked up to your well water, chances are it’s just for the water coming into the house. That means hooking a hose up to the outside spigot won’t deliver the cleanest water. It might be cloudy, smelly, or just plain dirty.

This is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It just means it will take more work and chemicals to get the water chemistry balanced for swimming. But if you’re trying to cut corners on time and money, this isn’t ideal.

Secondly, wells can go dry. It happens all the time. And filling up a swimming pool will use a huge amount of your supply.

If you already use well water on your property, you probably already know the risks, but it’s still something to consider if you hadn’t thought of it before. 

Thirdly, well pumps don’t last forever and using it for that many gallons at a time is a lot of work. If you decide to go ahead and use it, just make sure you give it a break every half hour or so to keep it from burning out. 

Some Helpful Tips for Filling Your Pool

  • Filter your water. If you use any method to fill your pool that involves a garden hose, it’s a good idea to use a garden hose filter. These are inexpensive little attachments that simply screw on to the end of your hose and filter out all kinds of contaminants. Trust me, it will save you tons of trouble when you’re trying to balance the water.

  • Keep an eye on the pool liner while you’re filling it. It’s not uncommon for the liner to slip or wrinkle in places while it sits there waiting to be filled. And if it does, you’ll have a heck of a time straightening it out once a few thousand gallons of water are on top of it.

  • Call around to get the best deal. Remember, just using the water available to you isn’t always the best choice. You might find that water delivery in your area is a few hundred bucks cheaper than using city water.

  • Shock your pool soon after it’s filled. You may find the water doesn’t need too much adjusting if you use city water, a filter, or a delivery service that treats it themselves. But in most cases, you’ll need to add some chemicals. Shocking your pool is the best way to sort of start it from ground zero and then add what it needs to get it balanced. 

  • Install all the railing and fittings before you start filling. The railing around the top will help keep the liner in place. It’s also much easier to do before there’s heavy water pulling down the liner and getting in the way. 

Jump In!

Finding water for your pool isn’t usually a difficult task. The choice you make will just depend on what’s available to you. And if you have multiple options, it might boil down to which one’s the cheapest. 

Whatever you decide, just make sure you follow a weekly pool maintenance routine to keep your water clean and safe for swimming.

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