When installing an above-ground pool, there are a couple of decisions to be made on where things go. One of these decisions is where to install the pool’s equipment.
New above-ground pool owners typically consider two things when deciding where to put the pool’s equipment (pump/filter). One is in reference to where their power source is and the other is choosing an area away from the house so they don’t see or hear it.
AN ABOVE-GROUND POOL’S EQUIPMENT USUALLY IS PLACED DIRECTLY NEXT TO THE POOL
Some pool projects are bigger than others. And with the bigger ones, some will want to install the pump and filter further away from the pool. Some will want the equipment installed somewhere next to the house and far away from the pool.
This can be done using PVC piping. It just takes digging a trench and doing some basic plumbing.
For the vast majority of above-ground swimming pools though, the equipment(pump/filter) is set directly next to the pool. And it can be set anywhere around the pool that you choose.
It is best to decide where the pump and filter will be going before the pool is installed. The reason – Because the openings in the pool’s wall for the skimmer and return fitting are pre-cut. You will want to place these openings in the area that you want the pump and filter to go.
If adding a solar heating system, consider where the panels are going in reference to the pool’s equipment.
11 TIPS ON WHERE TO PUT THE PUMP AND FILTER
For the most part, this will be an easy decision. Since the pump and filter cannot be easily moved later, it’s good to make sure you put it in a good place first.
Tip #1 Install the Equipment (pump/filter) Next to the Pool
Unless you are doing an extensive project in your yard with multiple facets, keeping it simple is best.
The pump and filter for your above-ground pool will usually come in one box and be one unit. This means it will come with a base for the pump and filter to fit on, two – six-foot-long plastic flex hoses, and all the fittings needed to connect the equipment to the pool.
The flex hoses are six feet long, which means that the pump and filter will have to be set close to the pool. This is good because next to the pool is where I recommend.
Replacing those plastic hoses with PVC hard piping is recommended. Hoses are the first thing you will have to replace. Hard piping the equipment definitely adds to the job though.
Tip #2 Add Two Valves to the Equipment
Most pump/filter packs for above-ground pools don’t come with valves. And they should.
An above-ground swimming pool is above the ground. Duh!! This means that the water level will be higher than the pump and filter will be. And what that means is when you open the pump or filter to clean, water will overflow everywhere. Unless you have valves.
Having two valves (one to block the skimmer and one for the return line) will be great when having to service your pool’s equipment.
Tip #3 Wait to run the electrical
Your pump will need electricity to run. Some will just use an extension cord while others will install something safer and more permanent.
If you are going to run permanent electricity to your pump, it’s best to install the pool and set the pump and filter in place BEFORE running your electrical line.
Swimming pool pumps have either a three-foot-long electric cord (if made in the USA) or a six-foot cord (if made in China), so you won’t have a lot of space to move the equipment if the electric outlet is in place first.
Things happen when installing an above-ground pool. Sometimes you will run into something in the ground which will make you have to move where the pool is going. And even the slightest placement of the pool will affect where the pump is going. If you have already run the electricity, then that can cause more hassle than you would think.
Tip #4 Most Want to Hide the Equipment from Everything
Most will want to place the pump and filter where they can’t be seen or heard. I recommend this.
Placing the pool’s equipment away from the house and any foot traffic is preferred as you don’t want to see or hear it if possible. Usually, pool owners will want the equipment towards the back of the pool and away from the house.
NOTE: If placing the equipment in the back of the pool and next to the fence, make sure to have plenty of room around the equipment so you can access it easily. Don’t cram it in the corner of the yard where it’s hard to get to.
Tip #5 Some Want the Equipment Closest to their Power Source
Knowing where the power source is coming from is definitely something to consider when placing the pool’s equipment.
There can be quite a difference in the distance from the front part of the pool and the backside in terms of running electric power. And running electricity is not cheap or easy, especially if your earth is hard or you have a lot of tree roots.
Having the pool equipment closest to the power source usually means that the pump and filter will be closest to the house and very visible. This is the drawback to having it placed for this reason.
Many don’t care about seeing the equipment. Some want to be able to see it and if that’s what you want, then yes, save some money and put the equipment up front.
I’m a fan of hiding the equipment behind the pool though.
Tip #6 Placing the Equipment (pump/filter) Under the Future Deck
This is a very common want. Many will want to place their pool’s pump and filter in an area where they are planning on building a deck.
The thinking here is that if the equipment is under the deck, it will be protected from the elements (mainly direct sun) and any kids or animals. This will also hide the equipment from being visible, which is nice.
These are solid reasonings, but I don’t recommend putting the pool’s equipment under a deck.
For me, the advantages of having the pump and filter under the deck do not outweigh the disadvantages. The pool’s equipment has to be serviced on a regular basis. When under a deck, accessing is much more difficult.
It’s never fun to have to crawl under a deck. And you may be in good shape when you have the pool installed, but that thing will be there for years. And if your back gets worse later, you’ll have a hell of a time accessing your pump and filter under the deck in the future.
I mention this because it is so common. I have heard many people say that they can no longer get to their pump and filter as easily as they could when the pool was built.
Because of this, I have often been paid to move the pool’s equipment from under an existing deck to an open area behind it. And it’s not cheap to move a pool’s equipment as it needs to be PVC plumbed to its new location.
Also, if the equipment is under the deck, that usually means the skimmer and return fitting is under the deck too. With the skimmer having to be accessed from the top (to empty the basket and set the vacuum), an opening in the deck has to be made for that. And that can be a pain for some.
Lastly, wasps like to make nests under pool decks. You may not want to have to deal with (or at least worry about) bees(wasps) while in such a tight spot.
Tip #7 Placing the Equipment away from the (future) Deck (PREFERRED)
Some will want to make sure and put the pool’s equipment away from any existing or future deck. This is a good idea in my opinion.
It’s best to have good open access to the pool’s equipment. This is where you do regular maintenance, so you want to be easy on your back. You also want to be able to see everything well in case there’s a future leak or part that needs replacing.
Some are concerned with too much direct sunlight on their pool equipment. If that is you, then build a “dog-house” type of cover for it. Just make sure the cover pulls away easily and completely.
Tip #8 Put Down Patio Stones for the Pool’s Equipment
The equipment for an above-ground pool will usually come with its own platform to place the pump and filter on. This platform or base can sit directly on the earth, but it’s much nicer if it sits on patio stones.
It’s really nice to have an area of leveled patio stones down that is bigger than the plastic equipment platform provided with your pump and filer.
Having this will make the equipment area look better and stay cleaner. You don’t want any grass growing under or around the motor of the pool pump, so having patio stones down will help prevent this.
Above-ground pool equipment packs come in different shapes and sizes. Remove the platform from the equipment’s box and get its dimensions. Then get enough patio stones of whatever size you like and level them on the ground where the pump and filter are going. For most filter packs, you’ll want to have a 2’x3’ area of level patio stones. You can go as big as you want. The more level area of stone, the better.
Tip #9 Avoid Low Areas
Most yards aren’t exactly level. Your pool will be level (hopefully) but the yard around it will not be. This means that there will be high areas of the yard next to the pool and low areas.
Does your yard flood at all during or after a hard rain? If so, consider where the pump and filter (pool’s equipment) are going. You don’t want to place the equipment anywhere that may hold water.
If the spot next to the pool that you want to place the pump and filter is low, that’s ok. Just build up that area with earth before placing the equipment. And build up a much bigger area than the footprint of the equipment. You don’t want any part of that area to hold water.
And consider erosion as well. You don’t want rainwater carrying away any earth next to the equipment OR the pool.
Tip #10 If the pool is Semi-inground, Consider the Height of the Pump
Most above-ground swimming pool pumps are gravity-fed only. This means that they cannot draw water upward.
Because of this, an above-ground pool pump must be placed below the level of the pool.
I only recommend installing an above-ground pool halfway down maximum. If your pool is only 2’ -2.5’ in the ground, then this won’t be an issue. Some will bury the pool further down though, and when that happens, the pump has to remain below the level of the pool.
Those who sink their pools far into the ground will have to put their equipment in a pit so the pump stays lower than the pool. This is a pain.
Some will opt to get an inground pump. inground pumps can draw water up, so they can be installed at any level, which is great. The drawback to an inground pool pump is they are considerably more expensive AND you usually have to buy an inground filter separately. And they are more expensive too.
Also, inground pumps don’t have cords and have to be hardwired. This can add to the cost as well.
Tip #11 You can place the pool’s equipment away from the pool, but it will take some work
As a general rule, I don’t recommend setting an above-ground pool’s equipment away from the pool. Unless there’s really good reason, it’s easier and better if everything is close to the pool.
If you do have a good reason to set the pool’s pump and filter away from the pool, then here are a few tips.
A Use schedule 40 PVC – Don’t use the thin wall PVC that is used with things like irrigation. This is a swimming pool. You want the pipe to be durable.
B Dig the trench deeper than you want to – You’ll be burying the pipes that connect the pump and filter to the pool. Don’t bury them just beneath the grass. Go down more than that. You don’t want them to get easily broken if someone is digging around that area of the yard years from now.
C If self-installing, wait until the pool is filled and the pump is running before burying the pipes – This is just to verify that you did a good plumbing job and that there are no leaks before burying and hiding your work.
D Install valves near the pump and filter – When PVC plumbing above ground pool equipment, you absolutely want to glue in shut-off valves. Install the valves close to the pump and filter.
This is so you don’t have to go far when servicing the equipment and need to shut the valves off.