Vacuuming your above-ground pool is standard maintenance that removes dirt and debris from your pool’s bed and microscopic algae spores waiting to sprout. Swimming in slimy, green water is neither enjoyable nor healthy, so learning how to vacuum an above-ground pool.
Vacuuming the pool regularly is a practical way to remove impurities from the water and ensure a safe swimming environment. Vacuuming an above-ground pool can be done in many ways and is much easier than keeping your water chemistry in check.
In our guide, you can learn more about vacuuming above-ground pools. By the end, you’ll know all the gear you need and how to vacuum an above-ground pool and clear the filter system the right way without using automatic cleaners. (Find the Best Robotic Pool Cleaners)
What Setting Do You Put Your Pool Filter On When Vacuuming?
At the very least once a week, vacuum your pool. Skimmers can remove floating leaves, dirt, and debris. Most debris that enter a pool float for 3-4 hours before sinking to the bottom.
What you need:
- A telescopic pole.
- A vacuum hose pipe.
- A vacuum head.
Step 1: Remove leaves and other debris from the surface
Before you start to vacuum your pool, begin by scooping up all the surface debris. Large leaves and debris frequently clog the vacuum head or hose tubing if not removed first.
- Remove any debris on the pool’s surface using your pool rake, skimmer, or scoop net.
- Getting rid of as much debris as possible before vacuuming the pool makes it easier to vacuum physically.
- Various automatic pool cleaners and devices can do this (some come with dual scrubbing brushes), but they are expensive. The result is the same, plus you save money using a leaf skimmer or leaf rake rather than robotic pool cleaners to vacuum the pool.
Step 2: Assemble your vacuum head, vacuum hose, and extension pole
Attaching the vacuum head to the telescoping pole and hose is the next step. This should be done after any large leaves and debris on the surface of an above-ground swimming pool have been removed.
- If you are confident, the float-up debris is clear, connect the swivel end of the vacuum hose to the vacuum head.
- The vacuum head should then be connected to the extension pole or fiberglass pole. Secure it tightly in place to avoid the pole slipping and coming off during the vacuuming process.
Step 3: Submerge the vacuum assembly into your pool water
Lower all your equipment into the water, including the suction head, hose, extension pole, or the entire vacuum assembly, until the vacuum head hits the bottom of the above-ground pool. (Find the Best Above Ground Pool Liner)
- Lean the extension pole against the pool’s side after locking it into place. Before fastening the pole into place, make sure the water-return outlet can easily reach it.
- When air is discharged from the hose, ensure the vacuum assembly does not float back to the surface. In that scenario, the vacuum head reaches the bottom, and the pole should be tightly secured. Additionally, make sure the pole is within easy reach of the water return outlet.
Step 4: Fill the vacuum hose with water
Fill the pool’s water-return outlet with water by holding the hose’s free end in front of it.
- While holding the pole firmly in one hand, fill the hose with water to prevent the vacuum assembly from floating back to the surface when the air is discharged.
- Continue to fill the pool until the vacuum head dipped in the water produces no more air bubbles.
By submerging the hose and allowing it to fill with water, you free any trapped air. Priming the hose is a technique of removing trapped air from the hose, which would otherwise pull into the pump and obstruct the airflow. Make sure the hose is primed until the vacuum head has no more air bubbles.
Step 5: Attach your hose pipe to the skimmer
- Pull the water-filled hose away from the pool’s water-return exit and connect it to the skimmer or any dedicated suction port.
- A normal pool vacuum uses the suction force in the skimmer lines. A skimmer is a wonderful way for vacuuming your pool manually and doesn’t have a dedicated suction port.
- Before the hose can be connected to most skimmers, the basket must be removed. To start the vacuum, locate the nearest hose port toward the bottom of the skimmer and connect your skimmer disc to the skimmer located above the suction port.
- If the vacuum hose end needs to be drawn out of the water to fit the skimmer disc, do so promptly so that the hose does not fill with air.
Step 6: Vacuum your above ground pool
When cleaning pools, you need to stand so you can see the bottom of your pool. It can be a challenge compared to an inground pool. (Learn How To Clean A Pool That Has Been Sitting)
- Guide the vacuum head back and forth across the pool’s bottom and sides with the telescopic pole. When vacuuming the above-ground pool floor, slightly overlap the earlier path.
- If your vacuum head isn’t always submerged in water, you’ll lose your prime as you let too much air into the hose, and you’ll need to start your manual vacuum prime again.
- Vacuum the entire pool manually until it’s completely clean. For vacuuming the pool bottom, thoroughness and patience are vital. If you vacuum the pool too quickly, sediments on at the pool’s bed will be disturbed into the above pool water, and you’ll miss these with the vacuum.
- After manually vacuum, remove dirt and debris from the pump strainer basket and backwash cartridge filter as needed.
Step 7: Dismantle your vacuum equipment
- Detach your vacuum hose from the skimmer/ suction port.
- Disassemble the vacuum equipment once vacuuming your above-ground pool.
- Turn off the pool’s pump and switch the filter valve to backwash. Here, the sand in the pool’s filtration system handles blocking debris, grime, and oil.
- The backwash reverses the water flow to flush the dirty water down the drain through a waste pipe.
- Enable the backwash and pump for at least 2 minutes, or until the water in the sight glass is clear.
- Switch off your pump and rinse the filter for one minute by turning the filter valve to the rinse position or using a garden hose to help.
- Finally, empty your filter skimmer basket, clean your hair receptacle, turn on the pump, and turn the filter valve to filter.
How Does a Pool Vacuum Work for Above Ground Pool?
There are many different types and brands of pool vacuums to select from, and each has other characteristics that make the procedure easier.
Vacuum the Pool by Hand
When vacuuming a pool with a manual pool vacuum, also known as a portable pool cleaner, you must manually push the vacuum over the various surfaces you want to clean.
Some manual pool vacuums have more suction strength than automatic pool vacuums, allowing you to clean your pool thoroughly.
manual pool vacuum is good for concentrating on particularly contaminated areas, while an automatic pool vacuum sweeps the entire pool for a thorough clean.
Manual pool vacuums are weighted for easy underwater use and can be battery-operated or rechargeable. They’ll need a pool pole that can be extended and a vacuum hose.
To put it together, attach the vacuum head to the hose and then secure the pole in position. Follow the directions that came with your model for connecting a pool vacuum and whether to turn on or off your pool pump. For the most excellent cleaning results, take your time and cover all surfaces.
Automatic Pool Vacuum
The procedure of vacuuming large pools using an automatic pool cleaner, or a robotic pool cleaner is entirely hands-free.
To clean the surfaces and circulate the water, the vacuum crawls about the pool’s floor. It does not need any work on your behalf aside from the first setup. Use your automatic pool vacuum regularly for the best results.
They are usually composed of metal or steel and come in simple shapes such as circles, ovals, or rectangles. In an above-ground pool, both manual and motorized pool vacuums can be used.
- Lower the vacuum into the water until the head reaches the bottom.
- Hold the vacuum pole down with one hand while keeping it locked in place. Make sure the head stays in touch with the pool floor or the vacuum will lose suction.
- To make this process easier, lean the telescoping pole against the pool’s side.
- Hold the free end of the vacuum hose in front of the water return outlet, and let it fill with water. The vacuum head will start to produce bubbles.
- Pull the hose away from the outlet once no more bubbles appear and all the air has gone, but make sure it is still fully buried.
- Place the plate into your pool wall skimmer right over the suction vent
- Insert the open end of your hose into the vacuum plate and your skimmer inlet. This kicks off the vacuuming process.
- Slowly sway the vacuum head in straight lines around the pool’s bottom until it’s clean.
For pools coming equipped with sand filters, the vacuuming process is quite similar:
- Once you fill the vacuum hose with water. Connect its end to the vacuum plate or skimmer disk, and then place it onto the suction vent to begin the vacuum process.
- Move the vacuum head along the floor of your pool in a slow and steady motion.
- Dirt and debris are transferred through the vacuum plate into the pump. It will then move through the sand filter, which is part of the pool filter system.
- Depending on the chosen settings, the sand filter should capture the excess particles.
- Make sure to backwash your sand filter after you’ve finished vacuuming the pool before you turn on the pump in the filter mode.
You would frequently vacuum a pool as part of your pool maintenance to keep your swimming pool clean and ready for enjoyment. Take time to learn how to use a pool vacuum properly, and the process will be much easier. (Learn How Much Chlorine Per Gallon)
Do You Vacuum a Pool on Backwash or Waste?
Vacuum your pool when the filter valve is set to “backwash.” When a pool is vacuumed with the sand filter valve set to “filter,” the dirt and debris flows through the pump to be caught by the filter.
You turn on the pump with the waste setting to flush all the dirt and debris down a waste line to leave your pool clean.
Note: Live and dead algae can pass through your filter to your pool even after cleaning.