Updated: Mar 4
With the inevitable heatwave on the Ozzy horizon, and concern over Covid, you may be trying to find ways to stay cool without visiting your local beach or pool. We have been tracking the growing popularity of above ground pools. In fact, in the Northern Hemisphere, this summer, above ground pool sales skyrocketed as a direct result of lockdown. Before the start of summer, leading manufacturers like Bestway and Intex had sold out. "Many people, who weren't pool-owners before Covid, bought an above ground pool this season. Sales reached a fever pitch, and above ground pools have shot into spotlight," said Guy van der Walt, the inventor of PLUGZIT.
Because the above-ground pool suddenly became the latest antidote to the anguish of being locked down in your own home, getting your hands on one became difficult and prices went up. "Many people changed their summer plans to go abroad and instead either stayed at home or went camping. Most European beaches were closed or bathers limited visitors" explains Guy. He noticed a surge in demand starting the last week of March continuing all through Summer. "After toilet paper, it seemed to me that people wanted an above-ground pool. And once they had a pool, the problems started because many buyers were new pool owners and there are things the manual in the box doesn't tell you."
Scope out your space
Above-ground pools are not complicated to install compared to their inground cousins, but there are things you should want to know and consider before buying (assuming you can find one in stock). Every town is different, and when it comes to Australian pool laws it is better to be informed than not.
You'll want to check out your garden to make sure it is suitable for the size and shape of the above-ground pool you want. You need the ground to be level and clear of large debris and protruding stones. If you miss this vital step, you might find you are searching google for "how to fix a hole in my above ground pool".
A fun situation can quickly turn dangerous when it comes to curious and nimble young children around swimming pools. That’s why it’s important to make sure your pool fencing, if needed, meets all the safety requirements in whichever state you live. Above-ground pool sides may be used as barriers when they are at least 1.2 metres high. A barrier must always be placed around items that can be climbed, especially a pool ladder. If your pool sides are not, then you pool fence must:
not leave a gap at the bottom bigger than 10cm from the finished ground level
not have gaps of more than 10cm between any vertical bars in the fence
It’s also a good idea to call your insurance provider to check your homeowners coverage. Child safety considerations are important and the the number one safety rule is to never leave a child unattended near a pool. If the sides of your above ground pool are 1.2m or higher then you will you install a safety ladder. These ladders make diving a temptation. No diving is the number two safety rule.
As soon as you are comfortable with how much space you have, where you will install it, the rules and regulations, you can start the fun part. Where to shop. When it comes to cost, for above ground pools, most people spend between $400 and $4,000 on the pool itself. You may need to hire someone to level your ground or you may find the pump your pool comes with is not strong enough. Point here, always keep a bit on the side to plan for contingency.
Soft- vs. hard-sided pools
Above ground pools come in two categories: soft-sided (vinyl) and hard-sided. A soft-sided above ground pool is the less expensive of the two. A hard-sided above ground pool, typically made from steel or heavy-duty PVC, lasts longer but you may have to eventually replace the liner, which doesn’t come cheap. Above ground pools also come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Something all above ground pool owners know is that it is only a matter of time until you get a hole. It can be caused by your neighbour's cat clawing the liner, or you hit a stone when mowing your lawn. When you find yourself in this position, do not panic. This is where PLUGZIT comes in. Forget the hassle and worry of finding glues, patches and tape, instead, quickly attach PLUGZIT through the hole and carry on as normal.
Know when to hire a professional
Many of these pools are sold as “easy to install” but the reality is not all pools are equal. The level of difficulty depends on its size and your own ability to move and lift objects. If you are an experienced DIY’er then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. You may need to phone a friend or rope in your reluctant teenager. If you find the task daunting then look to hire an installation professional. Should you buy your pool from a local store then see if they offer a package that includes set-up and possibly even guidance through any permit process you may have.