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How to Vacuum Above Ground Pool? — Clean Your Swimming Area With Ease (2021)

Cleaning your swimming pool is an inevitable task, regardless which type you have. But for most people, figuring out the steps to vacuum an above-ground pool can be nerve-racking. You may not follow the proper procedures which can be unfavorable for your swimming pool in the end.

Fortunately, this article will break down the step-by-step vacuuming process and everything you need to know to get your pools squeaky-clean.

How to Vacuum Above-ground Pool

While robotic and automatic pool cleaners including the impressive Aquabot Breeze XLS could do the trick, manual pool vacuums are the popular choice. 

Before you get started, you'll need a vacuum head, a long vacuum hose, an extension pole (to attach to the vacuum head), and a vacuum plate.

The vac head sucks out water from the pool, and the hose (which is also connected to the head) brings it to the skimmer. Follow these steps to keep your swimming pools clean yourself.

Remove Existing Debris from the Pool Manually

From leaves, bugs, and other plant droppings, your above-ground pool may be filled with debris that can clog it. But not just at the surface. They could well be at the bottom of the pool. Therefore, you should remove this dirt before you start vacuuming.

Use your leaf rake or pool skimmer and get the dirt out of your above-ground pool before you vacuum it. Make sure it's made from plastic, so it doesn't scratch your above-ground pool. For debris that’s on the surface, a skimmer basket would do. 

Empty the Skimmer Basket

More dirt will come from vacuuming your pool. Therefore, try to get the dirt that's already in the skimmer out.

You should put a skim vac plate over the skimmer basket. That way, the basket will catch the debris in your above-ground pool and prevent them from going to your swimming pool pump.

If everything's organic, you can dump the debris in a composite pile or take it to your recycling center. Otherwise, bag the debris and throw it in your garbage. If you've got stubborn debris in the basket, you can mix water and vinegar to get them out.

Prepare and Set up the Pool

Manually removing debris from your pool doesn’t take out everything. For example, you can't use a rake or skimmer to take out oil, sand, or algae.

Therefore, before you vacuum your pool [1], you should turn on the pump. If your above-ground pool has a filter, make sure it works. You'd want the water to be running through the filter while you vacuum.

Once the particles are out of the sides of the pool, you can turn on your filter. 

Assemble Your Vacuum Hose, Extension Pole, and Vacuum Head

First, attach the vacuum head and one end of the vacuum hose. Then, attach the free end of the extension pole to the vacuum head. This pole should be long enough to get to every area of your swimming pool. Therefore, measure it before you get one to vacuum your pool.

While vacuum brands have different settings, you can safely move on to the next step as long as the hose, extension pole, and vacuum head lock safely together. 

The parts of this assembly that should be in the water are the hose and vac head.

Put the Vacuum Assembly in Your Pool

You'd want the vacuum head to touch the bottom of the pool. Then, position the assembly to ensure it doesn't rise from the pool floor to the water surface.

To prevent the pole from getting into the water, lock and place it by the pool's side.

Get Your Pool Vacuum Hose to Your Skimmer

First, place the free end of the vacuum hose in the water-return outlet. Doing this will fill the hose with water while expelling the air in it. You'll see air bubbles rising as the vacuum head moves back and forth.

The hose is free from air when the bubbles stop. And you can take out the end of the hose from the water-return outlet at this point.

When the hose is air-free, attach its open end to the vacuum plate. Then, bring the plate-hose assembly to the skimmer. Ensure you seal it over the plate-hose assembly tightly, or you won't get the suction to keep your pool debris-free.

floating woman on pool

If you don't have a skimmer plate, you can also do this directly with one end of the hose. Just get the hose to the suction port. However, you have to place your hands over the hose to ensure it's airtight before you put it in the suction hole. You have to do this quickly or the air will get back in the hose.

Whichever method you decide on, your goal should be to get debris through your skimmer to your filter system. If the vacuum loses its suction, you can repeat this process again.

Vacuum Your Pool

With everything in place, you can now start vacuuming the pool with your vacuum head. Stand away from your above-ground pool and move the vacuum head back and forth. It should still be at the bottom of the pool. Since your vacuum pump isn't automatic, use only overlapping strokes while vacuuming the entire floor of the pool with the pole.

Lock the telescoping pole and ensure it leans on the side of the pool.

Debris tends to kick up in water, and it could take hours for them to resettle. Therefore, take your time while vacuuming your pool and try not to unsettle the water.

Remove the Vacuum Hose and Maintain your Equipment

When you're done clearing the bottom of an above-ground pool, you should take care of your vacuuming equipment. 

First, detach the vacuum assembly by taking out the end of the hose from the pool's suction port. Then, remove the extension pole and keep the vacuum head.

Next, pour out the water from the hose when you're done vacuuming. You should also rinse all your vacuum equipment with water and check that dirt isn't in any of them. Then, dry your vacuum equipment before you store them in a shed or garage.

Also, get a swimming pool brush to clean the sides of your pool. Next, ensure you maintain your filter system, especially if you have a pool with a sand filter. Remember to backwash it after vacuuming and use the right setting.

Finally, empty the skimmer basket. If you need to make cleaning easier, get a cover for it. That way, you can throw out any dirt that drops in the water without having to clear out the bottom of the pool.


What setting do you put your pool filter on when vacuuming?

The setting you put your pool filter on when vacuuming pools is the 'Filter' setting routinely. This setting first leads dirty water to the filter. After cleaning, it then returns clean water to your pool. If you've got light or moderate debris in your pool, placing your filter in this setting will help clear it out. 

Do you need a vacuum for the above-ground pool?

You don't need a vacuum for the above-ground pool. With a tool for each dirt type (oil, large debris, sand, or algae), you can clear out dirt at the bottom of pools. However, using a pool vacuum for an above-ground pool is an easy and practical way to get all the dirt types out at once.


Having the right pool vacuum makes cleaning above-ground pools much easier. But you also need to know the step-by-step process and how to get started. If you follow the guidelines our team has outlined to the letter, you'll have a debris-free pool in no time.

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