Shopping for a Pool
Allied Pools is the largest above-ground pool retailer in Wisconsin. Because of our size, we are able to offer many more styles and brands of swimming pools than anyone else at a very competitive price. The following are things you should consider before making a purchasing decision.
What Should I Consider When Shopping for a Pool?
- Your local codes and permit requirements. – Each municipality is different and the set back requirements will determine the size of pool that will fit in your yard. Also, the height of the pool wall may determine if a fence is required. All permits are the customer’s responsibilities.
- Measure your yard ahead of time.– This will save you a significant amount of time in your shopping process. Round pools start at 12 feet in diameter and increase in 3 foot intervals ( 15′, 18′, 21′, 24′, 27′, 30′, 33′). Oval pools start at 24′x12′ and go up to 43′x21′.
- Round pool versus oval pool. – The round pool is the most commonly purchased pool because you receive a significantly larger pool for your investment. The advantages of an oval pool are it can fit in narrow yards that do not accommodate a round pool and you can have a deep end / shallow end in an oval pool. SAFETY WARNING: NEVER DIVE OR JUMP INTO AN ABOVE-GROUND POOL.
- Self installation versus hiring an installer. – Many people put up their own pool and if this is your desire please tell your Allied salesperson ahead of time because we do have some models which are easier to install than others. If you prefer to have your swimming pool professionally installed, Allied Pools can even install your pool for you! We often offer install specials on select models.
Back to top
Why Is The Height Of The Pool Important?
- The standard 48″ pool wall height pool. This height pool has been around for over 45 years.
- The 52″ pool wall height arrived on the scene in 1996. By increasing the wall height the pool user gains an additional 8% of pool depth and eliminates the requirement for a fence around the pool in many municipalities.
- The 54″ pool wall height arrived in 2003 and again provides the pool user with additional depth and reduced fence requirements. For safety purposes, the majority of pools now have flat bottoms because deep ends promote jumping and diving. For that reason, pools have evolved from the old standard of 48″ wall height to the new leading standard of 54″.
Back to top
What Materials Are Pool Made Of And Why Is That Important?
- Standard Steel Pool – Above-ground pools originated with an all-steel frame which provides a solid structure, but because of its construction most warranties are short and prorated. CUSTOMER ALERT!! – Do not be misled by the words “lifetime warranty” or “lifetime guarantee.” Ask the salesperson to give you the specific warranty. At Allied Pools and Spas, “lifetime” means 100% replacement of item while you, the original buyer, has ownership. Many retailers say lifetime but they mean prorated and after year 1, 2, or 3 you may have to pay as much as 80% of retail price under their lifetime warranty.
- Standard Steel Pool with Stainless Steel Rims – By utilizing stainless steel rims in place of standard steel rims, the pool manufacturer has eliminated the pool piece that fails the most. This allows for a longer warranty period, but still prorated.
- Resin Pools – These pools have provided manufacturers with a much greater ability to contour, shape and color the framework of the pool. The pool is much more durable and is not susceptible to scratching, rusting, or corroding.
- Some of the latest designs include a blend of some resin, and some steel components. In many cases this design will offer the benefits of a resin top rail, with the strength and integrity of a steel structure. The latest look involves a multi-step process that actually paints the vertical posts of the pool to completely blend in with the pattern that is on the wall of the pool. This is a strikingly beautiful clean and sleek look. This is something that can only be achieved with a high gauge galvanized steel vertical post.
Back to top
What comes with my pool purchase?
It is very important to determine exactly what is included in your pool purchase. The following are some common items you should know about in order to make an informed buying decision.
Back to top
Choosing a Pool Filter System.
There are 3 types of pool filter Systems.
- Sand Filter – This system has been around the longest and provides for cleaning of dirt particles by trapping dirt in the sand that is inside of filter.
Advantage: Filter holds a significant amount of dirt before becoming clogged. Low upfront price to purchaser.
Disadvantages: Filters the least of all filter systems. Requires regular backwashing throughout pool season to clean sand which also drains water from pool increasing cost to owner. Requires sand to be removed in the fall and replaced with new sand in the spring. Depending on filter size, this will be 100 to 200 pounds of sand. Sand filters also have many moving parts, this means there are a lot of gaskets and o-rings that will need to be lubricated or replaced on an annul basis. This filter system has a moderate to high long term cost of ownership
- Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filter – This type of filter will eliminate the dirt particles by trapping the dirt in the DE powder that is inside the filter.
Advantage: Filter can trap the finest particle of dirt of all filter Systems.
Disadvantage: Requires numerous cleanings throughout the pool season because the DE filter holds the least amount of dirt before filter is clogged. This filter has several mechanical moving parts including gaskets, o-rings, clips and other parts which require maintenance. This filter system has a high long term cost of ownership.
- High Flow Cartridge Filter – The most basic filter system, which works similarly to your car’s air filter system. Water passes through the cartridge and dirt is trapped in the folds of the filter.
Advantage: Very simple to use with much finer particulate filtration than that of sand. There are very few moving parts and o-rings or gaskets that need to be replaced, which means a filter system that is maintenance free through many years of use. This filter system has a low long term cost of ownership.
Disadvantage: Some filters are undersized in horsepower and cartridge size. (Minimum requirements should be a 1 horsepower pump and a 100 square foot cartridge).
Back to top
Choosing a Pool Sanitization System.
There are 4 types of pool sanitization systems available. Choosing the wrong one could cost you a lot of time and money.
- Biguanide (PHMB) – Non-chlorine chemical system primarily used in applications where the pool owner has an acute allergy to chlorine.
Advantages: No chorine used and very little chemical odor. Safe for people with sensitivity to chlorine.
Disadvantages: This system cannot destroy organic contamination and therefore the pool owner must add concentrated hydrogen peroxide on a regular basis. Over time micro organisms can develop a biguanide resistance which can take the form of pink slime or water mold. It can be very costly to eliminate these biguanide-resistant micro organisms from the pool. This chemical system has a very high cost to the pool owner
- Salt – This system uses a chlorine generator to produce chlorine from salt (NaCl – Sodium Chloride) by separating the Sodium (Na) from the Chloride (Cl).
Advantages: low maintenance cost once purchased and easy to use.
Disadvantages: Very high upfront purchase price brings into question as to whether this system really saves the pool owner any money at all. Any long terms saving could take upwards of 15 years to realize. That is provided the system does not break down during that time as this system also has a very high repair cost in the event of a problem. High quantities of chlorine used in pool making it a poor choice for people with sensitivity skin.
- Chlorine – This is the most commonly used pool sanitization system.
Advantages: Highly effective at killing micro-organisms and as it is also an oxidizer it is highly effective at destroying and removing organic contamination.
Disadvantages: Moderate cost to maintain. You have to maintain a 3ppm chlorine count in the water at all times increasing the amount of time required for manual maintenance. This system can produce an unpleasant chemical odor.
- Nature 2 Element Filter – This is the newest technology in sanitization systems. This system uses an inline element filter with built in chlorinator.
Advantages: This all natural sanitizer reduces the amount of free chlorine used in the pool by as much as 60% – 80% and eliminates the use of algaecides with the exception of opening and closing your pool. Less chlorine means less chemical odor and a reduction in manual maintenance to only weekly maintenances. This is an effective yet safe system for people with sensitive skin. This system has a relatively low cost in relation to Biguanide or Chlorine alone and has a considerably lower upfront cost in comparison to the salt system. It is an effective sanitization system that makes pool sanitization a breeze.
Disadvantage: High upfront cost relative to Biguanide or Chlorine alone.
Back to top
Choosing a Pool Entry System
When choosing your pool entry system carefully review your options as some pool ladders are not easy for small children or large or older adults to climb. Most pool dealers will provide a deck ladder in their pool package and charge to “upgrade” you to an “A” Frame ladder. Typically you can upgrade to an “A” Frame Ladder for around $150. This type of ladder is simply 4 or 5 ladder rungs up, and 4 or 5 ladder rungs down into the water. SAFETY NOTE: Make sure outside ladder steps can be either removed or flipped up and secured in some fashion to prevent unwanted pool access.
A new innovation in this area is the pool smart step entry system. The pool smart step entry system has a standard removable ladder piece on the outside of the pool but inside has 4 or 5 true steps with one or two hand rails for support while getting into or out of the pool. The steps are excellent for small children to sit on or for mom or dad to supervise the kids. The steps are also considerable more user friendly for large or older adults with mobility difficulties. This type of pool smart step entry system can also be used with or without a deck attached to the pool.
Back to top
Choosing a Solar Cover
There are several different types of solar covers on the market today. They are normally a blue color and lay on top of your pool water to retain the heat in the pool. Recently, many companies have been coming out with cover that have a black metallic layer on them or may be darker in color. These companies are feeding into the mass assumption that a solar cover is designed to heat your pool when in fact a solar cover is not designed to heat your pool but is rather designed as a heat retention blanket. Don’t be fooled as these are actually a lesser quality solar cover, and typically break down at a higher rate due to misuse.
Back to top
Why Do I Need a Winter Cover?
Solid winter covers are the most common type of winter cover. Solid winter covers are designed to keep dirt and debris out of pool during winter. They attach to pool by use of a cable and winch system. Consider using Gladon’s cover lock or gator clips in place of cable and winch for more secure cover and simpler installation of the cover. Even if you don’t have trees, it is still suggested to use a winter cover to reduce the amount of dirt that is entered into the pool.
Back to top
What is Pool Cove and why is it important?
All above ground pools need a cove! Read any pool manufacture’s installation instructions and you will find: “The cove is a vital structural element of your pool.” A cove is needed to keep the weight of the water in the pool liner from causing it to balloon out under the bottom of the pool wall. Previously, pool cove had to be hand built, in place, using tons of sand or dirt. Liner failures due to cove washout were all too common. Corrosion occurred rapidly where metal components, at the bottom of the pool, came in contact with moisture in the sand or dirt. Hand formed coves are uneven making cleaning difficult. Pool cove is a 3 inch by 4 inch preformed product made from chemically neutral Ethafoam®, and is safe for use with all pool liners. Lightweight and easy to handle, pool cove comes in 48 inch long sections that bend easily without breaking and are compatible with all pool brands. Look for cove with a unique black plastic backing strip. The plastic strip makes it easy to install in most makes of pools and locks each section of cove into the bottom rail, allowing it to move as the pool wall expands and contracts. Unlike sand or dirt, pool cove cannot be washed out and will not hold moisture against metal components. This feature reduces corrosion and may add years of life to a pool and its components. Because pool cove is made from a high-density foam, it will not change shape or indent, making pool cleaning easier. Do-it-yourself customers agree, pool cove makes the installation process faster and easier.
Back to top
Choosing an Automatic Cleaner
Just about every pool out there will come with the basic vacuuming equipment. The automatic cleaner is one piece of equipment that helps take the work out of owning a pool. An automatic cleaner is attached to your existing filter system very easily, and goes around the bottom of the pool by itself, cleaning while it makes its every move. You can let the cleaner run while you are at work, and it will even operate while your solar cover is on the pool. Stay away from “cute” looking cleaners that have wheels on them. The wheels can corrode quickly and cause problems with the cleaner. Also, cleaners with wheels on them do not vacuum the walls of the pool. Any of the cleaners by Baracuda are excellent choices. They vacuum the bottom and the sides of the pool, and have only one actual moving part in them. Therefore there is little to go wrong with a Baracuda cleaner.
Back to top