How to Care for and Chlorinate an Intex Metal Frame Pool
A 16' x 48" Intex Pool
Intex Pools: Affordable Summer Fun
While permanent above-ground pools cost over $5,000 to install, Intex metal frame pools cost less than $500. The Intex brand is perfect for the consumer who wants to "try out" an above-ground pool system without investing a lot of money. Many people want a decent sized pool for the kids, but don't want to install a permanent swimming fixture in the yard. Intex offers several pool sizes which last for a couple of years: perfect for a budget-conscious family with young children.
Intex offers two basic pool types: the "Easy Set" pool with an inflatable ring on the top of the pool, and the metal-frame pools.
The Intex Easy-Set Option: Drawbacks
The Easy Set pools come in sizes ranging from 8' across x 30" deep to a rather large 18' across x 48" deep. These pools require an absolutely level surface prior to set up, or the pool may collapse and cause injury or property damage. The Easy-Set pools may also fail due to a puncture of the top inflatable ring. A pool ring inflated on a hot summer day may also cause the ring to appear deflated in the evening, because the air inside the ring is at a lower pressure than the ambient air when the temperature drops. Some customers complain that the Easy Set pools develop a slimy film on the underside of the inflated ring, and that the overall diameter of the pool is less than stated on the packaging (the top of the pool slants inward, so the labeled size is for the diameter of the bottom of the pool).
Black stains may appear on the inflatable ring of the Easy-Set pool: this is caused by floating sunscreen and is impossible to eliminate once it occurs. To prevent the black stains from forming, the Easy-Set ring must be cleaned after each use of the pool.
Choosing an Intex Swimming Pool
The Intex metal frame pools solve many of the problems seen in the Easy-Set pools. The metal frame pools contain no inflatable parts to puncture. The liner, however, may be punctured by sharp objects: it is wise to lay a ground cloth prior to setting up a metal-frame pool. The diameter stated on the Intex packaging is less deceptive, because the walls of the metal frame pools are vertical: the distance across the pool is the same at the top of the pool and at the bottom of the pool. The metal frame pools will hold more water than an Easy-Set pool of the same depth: the Easy-Set pools may only be filled to 80% of capacity, but the metal frame pools may be filled to 90% of capacity.
The Intex metal-frame pool options come in sizes ranging from 10' across x 30" deep to a whopping 24' across by 52" deep. An "Ultra Frame" pool style is also available, and boasts a stronger liner and an easier assembly method (no locking pins are required).
Metal Frame Pool Set-Up
Setting up the Intex pool is easy, but the ground preparation prior to set-up may be challenging. The ground must be absolutely level prior to setting up the pool: an uneven slope may cause the pool to collapse and cause injury. Sand should not be used for leveling the ground under the pool, because the sand will shift once the water weight is added, creating an unstable and dangerous base.
To level the ground, it is best to dig out the high side of the slope. A box level can be placed on a long pipe or piece of timber to gauge whether the surface is even. Leveling the ground can be back-breaking work if the soil is rocky or clay-filled: a rented roto-tiller will make this process much easier.
Once the ground is leveled, it is wise to lay a weed-preventing cloth over the dirt. This will prevent any grass from growing into the pool liner. Some types of grass (specifically, St. Augustine and Bermuda) have been known to puncture the pool liners of Intex pools.
The pool assembly is very easy. The liner is placed on the prepared ground and spread out: do not drag the liner about or a tear may form. The horizontal bars are threaded through the sleeves at the top of the pool, and T-bars are used to connect each bar with locking pins. The vertical supports are added last: the legs simply snap into the T-bars and the pool is set up. The time required to set up the pool is only 30 minutes.
How to Set Up an Intex Metal Frame Pool
Filling an Above Ground Pool
Many people simply fill their Intex pools with a water hose attached to the city water line. Other options include water-supply companies, which will fill up the pool in a fraction of the time using a truck with a pump. If access to well water is available, this can be a cost-saving option. Some city water and sewer lines charge a "dumping fee" for excessive amounts of water used, but waive the fee for water used in swimming pools. It is a good idea to contact the local water utility to ask about a "dumping fee" waiver, if applicable.
Filling a 16' x 48" Intex Metal Frame Pool
Intex Pool Filters: How to Cure Cloudy Water
Intex pool filters may not prevent the water from getting cloudy: many customer reviews state that the filter quality is often sub-par for the size of the pool. It is possible to boost the efficiency of an Intex pool filter by adding diatomaceous earth (DE). DE can be purchased at any local DIY store or pool supply store, and will help to keep the water in an Intex pool sparkling and clear.
A small amount of DE is needed: approximately 1/4-1/2 cup of DE will help clear a large Intex pool from cloudy residue. Too much DE will cause the pool filter to clog and malfunction. Too add the DE to the Intex pool filter:
- Add about 1/3 cup of DE to a small bucket filled with water.
- Turn on the filter and pump system to the Intex pool.
- Mix the DE and water in the bucket to create a suspension.
- Very quickly, submerge the bucket and place the open end over the water inlet to the pump and filter. A small gap will be required at the top of the bucket opening, so that the pump can pull the DE into the filter system.
- Once the pool has begun to clear, remove the filter and spray it with a hose to remove the DE.
- Repeat this process as necessary to achieve a crystal-clear Intex pool.
Heating an Intex Pool
Electric heaters should never be used with an Intex pool. The danger of an electrical short is high, and can cause death to any person inside the pool. The only safe way to heat an Intex pool is by using a solar blanket. Intex sells solar blankets (which look like bubble-wrap), though these blankets do not have high user ratings.
A better solution is to purchase a solar cover independently: Midwest sells a high-grade solar blanket for about $40, and this solar cover receives 5-star reviews from customers. One satisfied customer stated: "You want toasty warm water in your pool? You will get it with this solar blanket. Would recommend this very much."
Chlorinating an Intex Pool
The best option is to purchase the Intex saltwater pool system. This pool system effectively removes all bacteria and algae from the water, without the high levels of chemical required with a traditional chlorine chemical system. The saltwater system does not create an ocean-like saltwater environment: the level of salt in the water is only 1/10 of that in the sea. The only negative to the saltwater pool system is the cost: at almost $200, it is nearly as expensive as the pool itself!
The more traditional method to chlorinate an Intex pool is to purchase Shock: this is a heavy level of chemical chlorine, which will kill bacteria quickly. The downside of this method is that the pool is unusable for a couple of days, until the chemicals dissipate. A floating chlorine dispenser is not enough to keep bacteria levels down: occasional shocks are required to keep the water clean.
A pool water monitoring kit is necessary to adjust the chlorine and pH levels of the pool. Clorine, alkaline pH adjusters, and acid are available at any local hardware or pool store.
Necessary Intex Pool Accessories
The following pool accessories are necessary for maintaining an Intex pool:
- An above ground pool vacuum.
- A skimmer (long net on a pole).
- Floating chlorine tablet dispenser.
- Pool maintenance kit (pH and chlorine testing kit).
- Pool cover to keep the pool clean/prevent evaporation of water.
- Shock chemicals or a saltwater system.
- Solar blanket to heat the water.
Storing an Intex Pool in the Winter.
For those who live in areas where the temperature does not drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the Intex pool may be left up year-round. The pool should be taken down in areas which expect freezing temperatures. To accomplish this:
- Drain the pool. Every Intex pool comes with a drain valve: a hose may be attached to direct water to a convenient location for dumping.
- A sump pump may be necessary to drain the final few inches of water.
- Clean the liner with a gentle soap and water solution, and allow it to dry thoroughly.
- Store the liner in its original box, or in a large container with no sharp edges.
- Store the poles and connectors separately, to prevent any punctures to the liner during storage.
Intex Pools: A Great Source of Summer Fun
Intex pools are an inexpensive, affordable above-ground pool option for families on a budget. The overall cost of an Intex pool is increased by the purchase of necessary accessories, but the expense is well below that of a permanent above-ground pool system.
As long as the liner is protected from punctures, an Intex pool will last for several years and will provide swimming fun for the entire family!
Questions & Answers
I keep my 16” Intex Pool Up year round. When adding the start up kit, should I fill the pool completely or add the chemicals & then add the water?
I always fill ours up completely before adding the chemicals to make sure the concentration is appropriate. The chlorine and other chemicals in a shock kit are fairly strong and I try to make sure the pool is full before adding them. We once had a terrible problem with algae in our pool and the shock couldn't clear the green water. In this case, we had to use the shock and then also vacuum out the algae as it fell to the pool floor. I was grateful to see blue water again once we managed to get all of the algae out!