There are many accessories to consider when buying an Above Ground Pool to extend your season, reduce maintenance and simplify ownership. Here is a list of a few popular accessories:
A. Heaters- There are 3 popular choices of pool heaters.
1. Natural gas or propane heaters which will cost between $900 and $2000 plus installation. Gas heaters are the most expensive option in the long run due to operational costs and the cost of fuel.
2. Electric Heat pumps are becoming more popular because the cost of operation is so low. Though the electric heat pump costs more than a gas heater - $2000 to $3500 plus installation - when compared to a gas heater, the heat pump will pay for itself in 3-5 years since the cost of electricity is so low.
3. Solar heating systems are available as low as $200 for small DIY kits however these kits will only produce heat in ideal conditions. In order for solar heaters to provide any heat to the pool, the heating system must receive sunlight for most, if not all of the day. Most pools will require more panels or collectors than the manufacturers’ state to notice significant heat gain. The cost will be $400 to $2,000.
B. Liner upgrade – Your midrange and less expensive pools are typically packaged with overlap liners. Overlap liners are the lowest quality liners available and are included to meet a low price point. It is highly recommended that you upgrade to a “hung” or “beaded” liner. Beaded liners are typically a higher and thicker grade vinyl and are an excellent option to ensure that your investment lasts a long time. You can expect the upgraded cost from an overlap to beaded liner to be anywhere from $100 to $350 depending on the size of the pool.
C. Filtration – Reputable pool companies will include a filter system that is designed to keep your water clean with an approximate 12 hour per day run time. Be sure your pool has an adequade filtration system. When you are purchasing your pool, if upgraded filter media is available, it is a good investment. Lastly, be sure to buy product with locally available parts.
D. Lights - Current technology has brought the price of pool lights down substantially and now with the advancements of LED technology, it is possible to get color changing lights. Many brands of quality lights are available for aboveground pools for the $250 to $700 price range.
E. Fountains – There are plenty of fountains that thread into the return, and deck fountains available today at reasonable prices. Keep in mind that any pool with fountains will experience additional water loss and evaporation - so if water is difficult for you to get, you may not want this option. Return fountains are available for around $25 and deck jets cost $175 to $350 a piece.
F. Chlorine generators – Also known as “saltwater pools” – pools with chlorine generators are very convenient and improve your water quality, feel, and clarity a great deal. Due to the technical nature of the product, many pool companies don’t offer this product. There has been a great deal of discussion about salt corroding metal and damaging concrete surfaces. We have been installing chlorine generators for 15 years and have seen very little downside. The problems seem to have some relation to the type of salt you use. The higher quality pool salts include other chemicals that buffer the water and the corrosive tendencies of salt, while the “plain” salt does not. I recommend you consult your pool professional before making a decision. A good chlorine generator starts at $300 up to $1000. For more information on salt water pools, please refer to our blog post “Do saltwater pools work?” from May 2016.
Some of these options can be added to your pool after it has been installed to help with your budgeting. Keep in mind that the lowest price is not always the best choice when making a long term investment like this. Your local pool professional is your best source for knowledge and though you may pay more than you would on the internet it will likely be a good investment.
Robert Sullivan is the author of this information. He began installing aboveground pools in upstate NY in the late 1970’s and now owns the largest pool company in his market. He has been directly involved in pricing, marketing, selling and building several thousand aboveground pools.