Some people dream of having a pool in their yard their whole lives. And most of us would agree that there’s nothing quite like it.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to jump in for a cool swim after working all day? Or get in a few laps every morning for a refreshing workout?
But what’s surprising is that a lot of people don’t realize that there are options available to them other than building an inground pool or throwing up a cheap blow-up model.
The world of above ground pools has changed A LOT, my friend. These days, you can choose from a variety of different shapes and sizes that are as easy on the budget as they are to maintain.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still find those cheap varieties that you might as well throw away after one season. But if you know what you’re looking for, your above ground pool can last for quite a few years.
Now, we don’t often spend a ton of time on one particular brand because most of the time, there are several great products that will do the trick. But in this case, we’re just gonna tell you that you can’t go wrong with Intex for above ground pools.
What is an Intex pool?
Intex pools are above ground pools that come in a variety of styles, but all of them are easy to set up and easy to maintain. They have sizes to fit any space and prices to fit any budget.
Intex also happens to be a very trusted brand in the pool industry, which is why we recommend them. After all, even a budget-friendly pool is an investment. So, quality and longevity are usually top priorities.
Another great thing about these pools is that they often come with their own sets that can include ladders, pumps, covers, and vacuums. These are accessories you need for any above ground pool, so the fact that they come with their own means you spend less money and less time looking for the ones that will work with yours.
Types of Intex pools
There is obviously more than one type of above ground pool, and Intex boasts several of its own designs. The one you choose will depend on the amount of space you have available, how long you want to leave it up, and the type of use it will get on a daily basis.
The Easy Set model is their most basic style. They’re inflatable and come in the smallest sizes. They’re also extremely affordable, easy to set up, and easy to take down.
To set these up, you simply inflate the top ring, which floats on top of the water. They are all round and come in 8 ft x 30 in, 6 ft x 20 in, 10 ft x 30 in, 12 ft x 30 in, 13 ft x 33 in, 15 ft x 33 in, 15 ft x 42 in, 15 ft x 48 in, and 18 ft x 48 in. Whew! That’s a lot of sizes!
Intex calls this their “classic” line of backyard pools. They’re a step above the Easy Set pools in that they’re more durable and built to last longer.
But don’t let the solid assembly fool you. They’re also easy to assemble and maintain.
These round pools are constructed with a steel frame that’s powder-coated for better weather resistance. They’re also encircled with a reinforced sturdy band that supports the pool material to keep it intact and where it’s supposed to be.
These come in three sizes: 10 ft x 30 in, 12 ft x 30 in, and 15 ft x 48 in.
These pools are also constructed with powder-coated steel frames, but they are a little fancier than the other models due to their sleeker design and snazzy silver color.
These come in a pretty big variety of sizes but also come in various shapes, so you can install them in any size and shape of yard.
Sizes range from 10-20 feet in diameter and 30-48 inches in depth. And you can get it in oval, round, or rectangle.
The Ultra XTR Frame pool is what Intex considers its top-of-the-line model. It has a slew of upgraded materials to be more water-resistant and way more durable.
This pool has a tougher liner made out of thick polyester mesh and PVC. And it has a scientifically tested frame made out of galvanized steel and horizontal beams that won’t rust or weather.
But maybe the most impressive improvement is their filtration system that they upgraded to provide better circulation and water clarity.
This one ranges in size from 14-18 feet and comes in either round or rectangular shape.
Intex pools vs traditional pools
Now, you might be wondering why we’re touting Intex above ground pools over all the other models on the market. So, here’s the rundown.
First of all, we feel that you get the most bang for your buck with Intex. Not only are they more affordable than a lot of other brands, but they’re also much easier to assemble.
And when we say easier to assemble, there is almost ZERO effort for most models. You can snap this baby together this morning and be swimming by this afternoon.
Also, most Intex pools come with their own kits, including pumps and filters that are the perfect size for the pool. Until you’ve had to pick one out and install it yourself, you’ll never know what an awesome thing that is!
Keep in mind that the systems these pools do come with are cartridge filters and pumps. We love these and they’re super easy to maintain, but some people prefer other types of filters.
If that’s the case, you can certainly purchase your own, but we recommend starting with what it comes with. You might like it if you try it out!
How to set up an Intex Metal Frame Pool
The first thing you need to do before setting up an above ground pool is to level the ground where it will be placed. Don’t worry. It’s not as hard as it sounds!
Most of the time, you can find fairly level ground to place it on. And keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect. A little sand in some low spots and a shovel to chip away any high spots and you’re probably all set.
Also, try to rake the ground and make sure there are no sharp objects or rocks that could cause lumps in the bottom of the pool.
Next, place the ground cover your pool came with or a tarp large enough to cover the area on the level ground. Spread it out evenly and then place the pool directly on top.
You’ll also need to spread the pool liner out evenly. It helps to let it sit out in the sun for a couple of hours to warm it up and make it more pliable.
Now you’ll just follow the instructions for inserting all the supports into the tee joints and fasten them with the provided pins and washers. You’ll do this around the entire parameter of the pool.
Once those are all connected, you’ll attach the metal frame supports to them. It’s important in this step to make sure you’re passing the vertical supports through both the belt and lower rope as shown here in this pic from Level Ground Pool:
Photo credit: https://www.levelgroundpool.com/images/pool-setup5.JPG
Lastly, fill the pool to an inch or so deep and work on smoothing out any wrinkles on the bottom. It helps to walk around and push the vinyl around with your feet.
All that’s left to do now is to fill it up with water, attach the pump, and add your chemicals (more on that next).
What chemicals do I need for my Intex pool?
Keeping your water clean and sanitized is not only good for its swimmers. It’s also good for the pool.
Sure, there are lots of products out there that do the same thing and the quality is not always dependent on the brand. But our advice is to stick to trusted pool brands unless you are extremely confident you know what all the ingredients do.
*NOTE: When filling up your pool, you can save yourself some time and energy in balancing the chemistry by making sure the water is filtered as it’s going in. A simple gadget like a garden hose filter will remove any excess chlorine, calcium, metals, or pesticides that might be lurking in your water supply.
Here’s what you need:
- Pool testing kit
- Sanitizer (bromine or chlorine — can be granules, liquid, or tablets)
- Alkalinity/pH increaser (sodium bicarbonate)
- Alkalinity/pH decreaser (sodium bisulfate)
- Calcium hardness increaser (calcium chloride)
- Cyanuric acid/CYA (if your chlorine is not stabilized)
Putting Chemicals In Your Pool for the First Time? Here’s the Step-by-Step.
1. Test your pH level.
PH measures how acidic or basic the water is. It should always be between 7.4 and 7.6.
You’ll notice there’s not a lot of wiggle room with this number. That’s because it affects almost everything.
Having out-of-balance pH levels on either side of the spectrum can get uncomfortable for swimmers, causing skin and eye irritation. But it can also wear down your pool equipment.
With pH levels that are too high, your pool equipment could start to develop scaling. But if it’s too low, you could start to see erosion and etching.
Now, because Intex pools don’t have a lot of metal parts, you may not see the immediate effects of unbalanced pH levels.
However, since it also affects the germ-killing power of your sanitizer, you probably will start to notice dirty water or algae growth.
2. Test your Total Alkalinity (TA) level.
The proper TA level for a swimming pool is between 80-120 parts per million (ppm). And this is what stabilizes your pH balance.
For this reason, pH and TA levels closely follow one another. If one gets out of balance, the other one does too.
Fortunately, the treatment is the same for both — sodium bicarbonate to increase it and sodium bisulfate to decrease it. However, almost without fail, if your TA is off, it will be because it’s too low.
3. Check your calcium hardness.
When you hear people talk about hard or soft water, this is what they’re talking about. This level should be between 100 and 300 ppm.
Water that’s too hard has a calcium hardness level that’s too high. It can dry out your skin and leave calcium buildup on your equipment.
But if it’s too soft, it can feel slimy and make your skin feel itchy and irritated.
The regional water supply tends to dictate how hard or soft your pool water is. So if you already know your local water leans one way or the other, you’ll have a better idea of what chemicals to keep on hand.
To increase the calcium hardness, you can use a calcium increaser (calcium chloride). But the only truly effective way to decrease it is to dilute the water.
4. Add sanitizer.
You could say sanitizer is the most important chemical for your pool. It kills germs and keeps algae at bay when it’s working the way it should.
Keep in mind, though, that if any of the other chemicals get out of balance, your sanitizer can’t do its job. But I digress…
Adding sanitizer to your pool isn’t too difficult. You’ll need the size of your pool (in gallons) and the instructions for your chemicals.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll stick with chlorine. While some people prefer to go a gentler route with bromine, chlorine is still the most effective option on the market.
However, you, of course, are free to use whatever you choose. The application doesn’t change much whether you use chlorine or bromine. You’ll just need to follow the instructions on the container.
The easiest way to keep your sanitizer in check is to use an automatic chlorinator. These are usually little floating devices that hold chlorine tablets and dispense the appropriate amount at the appropriate time.
The great thing about tablets is that they are usually stabilized with CYA, which keeps it from being used up too quickly.
You can also choose liquid or granular chlorine, which serves the same purpose. You’ll just have to add it manually according to dosage requirements.Add enough chlorine to raise your chlorine level to at least 3 ppm. We suggest you add it slowly and test in between to keep from adding too much.
5. Stabilize your chlorine.
If you opt for regular ol’ chlorine that doesn’t contain CYA, now is when you’ll need to add some.
It can be a little tricky to get right, but it needs to measure between 40-50 ppm.
If you add too much, you risk counteracting your chlorine’s effectiveness, not to mention you’ll have to dilute the water and sort of start all over.
But too little won’t keep it from being burned up by germs and UV rays.
In other words, work up to the full dosage suggestion slowly.
6. Add algaecide.
Not everyone uses algaecide, especially at first. But using this product can save you some headaches down the road.
Algaecide is not just something you use after you already have an outbreak. It’s best to use it from the very beginning and keep any spores from blooming.
Use this as part of your regular pool maintenance and you’ll probably never have to deal with it.
Intex Pool Care: 7 Tips
- Keep a weekly maintenance schedule and try not to miss it. This should include balancing the water chemistry, removing debris, and vacuuming out the bottom.
- Cover your Intex pool when it’s not being used. A pool cover can go a long way toward keeping your water warm and clean.
- Always use a garden hose filter when filling your pool. We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. It can keep you from having to use as many chemicals to keep things balanced.
- Keep an eye out for dead algae. These blooms are sometimes too small to make it to the filter so they sink to the bottom. If you’re not able to vacuum it all out, try a flocculant that will bind all the small particles together, making them easier to remove.
- Even pools in warmer climates can get a little too cold to jump right into. Heating it the right way can make swimming a much more enjoyable experience. There are several ways to do this. One is using a solar cover or blanket that absorbs the sun’s rays and radiates warmth through the water. Another is to purchase a heat pump or pool heater for above ground pools. These can be solar, gas, or electric.
- Run your pool pump for 10-12 hours a day every day that you can. This will keep the water circulating, distributing the chemicals, and filtering out the gunk.
- Replace the filter at least once a year if you have a cartridge system. And clean it off every couple of months with a hose.
How to clean an intex pool
Pools get dirty. There’s no way around it! And keeping it clean is a chore, but that’s something you probably figured out before you ever bought one.
This might not seem like a big deal. After all, a lot of people swim in lakes and other murky bodies of water. But unless you want a swamp thing going on in your backyard, you’ll want to stay on top of your maintenance.
So, how exactly do you clean your new intex pool? Here we go…
The first thing you’ll need to do is to remove any visible debris with a skimmer (that’s that big net on a long pole). This is something that should be done daily because the longer debris is in the water, the better chance it has of clogging your filters or breaking down and getting icky.
Next, with a nylon bristle pool brush, brush down the walls as thoroughly as you can. Then use your pool vacuum to suck up anything loose.
Brushing and vacuuming should be done at least once a week. But if you find it’s getting to be a huge chore because of the buildup, you may need to do it more often. This is usually the case for pools that get a lot of use and pools that are located close to trees.
Once this is done, you’ll want to retest your chemicals and balance anything that’s off.
How to shock your intex pool
Aside from your daily tasks, your pool will also need to be shocked (or super-chlorinated) regularly. This is a high-dose chlorine treatment that sort of resets your chemicals and gets them balanced again.
What it does is to break down those contaminants that the chlorine has bonded to trying to kill. It frees up the chlorine to go back to doing its job in killing more contaminants.
We always recommend shocking your Intex pool at a minimum of twice a month, but preferably once a week. It usually especially needs to be shocked after a change in weather or when you’ve had a lot of swimmers.
This is a simple process that just requires following the directions on the product container. You’ll typically have to prep the product by mixing it with some water in a 5-gallon bucket if it’s a granular shock. But other products can be poured right into the water. The most important thing to do is to follow dosage instructions to a tee.
After you’ve added the shock to your pool water, you’ll need to leave it alone for a few hours (or preferably overnight) and let it do its thing.
Then, get out your handy little testing kit and check all your levels.
Don’t let anyone get into the pool until all your chemicals are back in normal range. This might require some balancing, but mainly, you’re watching for the chlorine levels to return to under 3.0 ppm.
After you’ve shocked your pool and checked the chemistry, turn your filtration system on and allow it to run for at least 24 hours. The shock treatment will kill all the germs but you need your filter to remove them.
Crucial Intex Pool Accessories
Some pool accessories are just for fun, some are for convenience, but some are absolutely essential. What we have here are the ones you must have from the very beginning.
For larger pools, we recommend a robotic vacuum that will run by itself and keep the pool bottom clean all the time. But if it’s not in your budget or you have a fairly small pool, a manual vacuum will do the job.
These cleaners attach to your existing filtration system and usually operate by suction generated through your pool pump. They either have their own debris collection system or a hose that takes it right through your filter.
Like a lot of other things, the type of water testing kit you get will depend on personal preference. What we’ve linked here is a test strip kit. And earlier in the article, we linked to a dropper kit.
Now, if you like the sciency, nerdy aspect of this chore like we do, you’ll probably enjoy the drop kit. Plus, some people think they’re more accurate.
But the strip kit is fast, easy, and convenient. In other words, take your pick.
You’ll need one of these to clean out larger debris that accumulates on a daily basis, such as leaves and twigs. The larger your pool, the more sturdy your net and pole need to be, so keep that in mind when shopping for one.
A floating chlorine dispenser will make your job of chemical balancing a whole lot easier. You simply pop some chlorine tablets in and it dispenses the chemical at the appropriate rate.
Many Intex pools come with their own covers, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to get one ASAP. and it doesn’t have to be a solar cover like the one we linked to here, but these do help heat your water naturally.
If you have a very small pool, a life preserver ring may not be necessary, but never hurts to keep one close by just in case. This one is made for an adult or child and has grab ropes all around.
Intex Pool Care Upgrades
While your new Intex swimming pool is great just like it comes, there are a few things you can do to upgrade it in case you’re planning to keep it around for a while.
Intex pool kits come with cartridge filtration systems. There’s nothing wrong with these. In fact, they work pretty great and are really convenient.
But some people prefer sand filters over cartridge filters for a couple of reasons. For one thing, they’re cheaper to maintain.
Instead of buying new cartridges, you simply backwash the sand and only have to replace it every 3-5 years. Secondly, it’s less expensive for the same reason.
Saltwater systems are an alternative to harsh chemicals...sort of.
What some people don’t realize is that saltwater systems do produce their own chlorine, but it’s a much safer, milder version.
That’s why some pool owners prefer them. It means no more hassle with chlorine products, no more strong fumes, no more itchy red eyes, and no more faded swimsuits and hair discoloration.
A solar pool heater will keep your water at a comfortable temperature without using extra energy and running up your bills. They’re simple to install, as long as they get sun exposure. And they use your existing pool pump so there’s no extra plumbing.
Can you leave an intex pool up year round?
If you have an Easy Set Intex Pool, the best thing to do is to store it away until next year, unless you live in a very mild climate without much winter weather. Because even though they’re made out of tough materials, the freezing and expanding water can take its toll.
If this is the type of pool you have and you decide to store it for the winter, here’s what you need to do:
Clean the pool well. That means brushing and vacuuming just like you do during weekly maintenance.
Then drain the pool and allow it to dry out in the sun thoroughly.
Deflate the rim and dust the liner with cornstarch to keep it from sticking to itself and to absorb any remaining moisture.
Now, roll the pool up neatly and store it in a dry place off the floor. Hanging racks or shelves in the garage work great.
Make sure to also store the pump and all its parts in a clean, dry place as well.
How to Winterize an Intex Pool
If you have a metal frame pool, or if you have mild winters you feel the pool can tolerate, you’ll need to do some winterizing.
To do this, you’ll need to first clean it well by brushing and vacuuming, then test and balance the water chemistry.
Next, disconnect the filtration system from the pool and remove any objects, such as ladders or pool toys from the water.
Finally, cover it up with a good pool cover.
Also, be sure to clean and drain the pump, all the hoses, and the housing. And toss out the used cartridge if you are using a cartridge filter system.
Store all your equipment and accessories in a clean and dry place.
If we didn’t say it before, congrats on your new pool! Intex pools are a lot of fun and great investments.
Of course, if you’re reading this article, you probably already know that and your family is already taking a dip in the backyard!
Just keep up with your weekly maintenance tasks and that pool should last you quite a while.
And just think, you didn’t even have to dig up your yard to join the world of elite pool owners!