The kids and I are crazy excited that summer is just about here, for us, about a week away. They’ll all be out of school for a few months and aside from a couple cheer camps for Kaydee and football camp for Matt, we’re going to have a lot of time on our hands at home during some pretty hot weather. Going to Knight’s Action Water Park costs over $100 per day for our family of five so it’s pretty expensive to go there just for a day of sun and water. Instead, we decided to invest in a pool for our backyard.
After some research and price shopping we finally stopped in Sears and found the Intex 16 ft (diameter) by 48 in (deep) Ultra Frame pool that was affordable and big enough to accommodate our family.
Initially I was worried that setting up this pool would be a major undertaking but it really surprised me. Out of the box it took my husband and I less than 30 minutes to set up the rust-resistant, galvanized Steel Frames which snap together easily. The shell of the pool is made of laminated sidewalls, three layers thick. The material feels incredibly strong, soft and flexible.
The most difficult and time consuming part of the set up process for me was getting the filter pump (provided with set) and saltwater system (purchased separeately) set up to work together. The assembly instructions are ridiculously confusing. Even after watching the included instruction DVD and reading the detailed instruction pamphlet I found myself so frustrated I had to take a break and come back to it later. However, I did manage to finally get it set up and working properly.
The only thing left to do was fill the pool which took about 3 days running the water constantly from Noon to 10pm and of course dump in the appropriate number of bags of salt. The rest was a waiting game. The filter pump needs to run for 24 hours before adding the salt, then the salt needs to dissolve for another 24 hours before starting the salt water pump so all in all, it took about a week to have the pool ready for swimming.
Then of course the weather took a nose dive into temperatures in the 60′s. Figures, right?
Intex Pool Set Accessories
In addition to the pool frame itself, the Intex pool set comes some great accessories including a Ladder, Ground Cloth, Pool Cover, Maintenance Kit and Wall Mounted Skimmer. I love the fact that all of these products were included in the packaging however I did choose to purchase a separate Intex Saltwater System.
The great thing about using the saltwater system is how easy it is to monitor your pool water. The system has a control panel that allows you to set a run timer and notifies you with flashing lights and alarm if the there’s low flow, low salt, high salt or needs service. The display also provides warning codes which can be deciphered on the label just below the control panel.
Pool Ownership Costs and Problems
One thing about buying a pool I wish I knew beforehand and considered was the expenses beyond the purchase of the actual pool. If you want to avoid using multiple chemicals to maintain clean water you’ll want to invest in a salt water system which ups the initial price considerably. Then there’s the cost of buying salt, test strips, maintenance accessories and of course the water to fill the pool. We haven’t gotten our water bill yet but I have a feeling it will be astronomical.
Cost of Owning an Above Ground Pool
- Intex 16 x 48 Ultra Frame Pool Set – $450
- Intex Saltwater System – $199
- 4 bags of pool salt – $25 (plus more as needed)
- GFCI extension cord (optional) – $70
- Water test strips and accessories – $20 and up
- Cost of water – ???
- TOTAL START UP COST = $770 and up
Another thing to consider is the area where you’ll be setting up your pool. The first issue we ran into was thinking our backyard was level, then filling the pool to find that there’s a slight slope. The water is now deeper on one side of the pool and the support legs are leaning. I don’t know if they’ll hold but I suppose we’ll find out. Next year we’ll need to make adjustments to our yard so the pool will be level, adding more cost to this project.
Even more importantly, make sure your pump cords are long enough to reach an outdoor outlet. After setting up and filling the pool we realized we were short by over 10 feet. My husband called Intex customer service to see if they made longer cords or if an extension cord was possible. Unfortunately, customer service was less than helpful offering us no solution. A standard outdoor extension cord CANNOT be used with your pool. However, after visiting Lowe’s we found a special GFCI extension cord which cost an additional $70 to our pool costs.
Overall, I’m completely in love with this pool and can’t wait to spend the summer splashing with my kids.
Want to buy this pool for your backyard? Below you’ll find links to all of the products we purchased to make our little backyard pool dreams come true.