Family Find | Intex 16 ft x 48 in Ultra Frame Above Ground Pool Set

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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.

intex ultraframe swimming pool

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.

intext ultra frame joint

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.

If you want to avoid handling multiple chemicals, the saltwater system is a great option. It’s used in addition to the filter pump that comes with the pool and the only thing you have to add to your pool is salt.

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.

intex salt water pump system


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.

leaning intex pool

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.

Buy It

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.

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  1. says

    I bet your kids are going to have TONS of fun in that pool this summer? How deep is it? I wish our yard were bigger, this is one of those things we wouldn’t ever be able to get until we are out of our townhome.

    • says

      The height of the pool frame is 48″ but we only filled it to about 38″ so Kaydee could easily walk in there. Now Emma, she has to be held.

  2. says

    We have an above ground pool, and you better believe it is very expensive. Getting our pool ready to be swam in is costing so muhc. But after all that it really is worth it. The kids will really enjoy it while we get to be a nervous wreck!

  3. Karen Smith says

    THANK YOU for this!!! We are getting ready to purchase this same pool with the salt water pump and your info has been GREAT help. We would have found ourselves out of luck in the extension cord department had you not provided this information.
    THANK YOU AGAIN…Happy Swimming!

  4. Priscilla says

    Hi! We just bought this pool, well technically I did so that I can jump in with my 6 month old since its about to be blazing hot in our great state of Texas. Can I ask what you do that you can stay at home with 3 children? I miss my little bundle of joy and not being able to be there for him any more (I had about 3 months maternity leave).. any advice to a new mom?

    Congrats on the pool beig up I hope you enjoy it and sounds like you have an awesome thing going with your kiddos — kuddos =)

    • says

      Oh Priscilla – I definitely understand how you feel. I worked outside the home off and on the first year of my son’s life and being away from him was torture. I have been very fortunate to have a husband willing to work so hard to support our family on one income — at least until I started blogging. It’s a hobby that also happens to be my “job” at home.

      I hope you enjoy that pool — I can’t imagine how hot Texas must be. I’m always whining about Illinois heat which I’m sure doesn’t compare in the slightest.

  5. Erin Barnard says

    Hi Cat,

    I’m just wondering how your pool is holding up. We installed the same pool and have the same issues with the poles looking like they are leaning.

    • says

      Erin, our pool is still leaning like in the picture but it’s held up well and hasn’t caved in yet (thank goodness). Next year we really need to pay attention to the leveling and adjust the poles while it’s filling.