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Intex Ultra Frame Pool: Safe Above Ground Pools
Learn from my mistakes buying an Intex Ultra Frame swimming pool
If you have been considering an Intex above ground pool for your backyard swim fun, you are about to learn from my mistakes. I purchased the round Intex Ultra Frame 14' pool in June 2011. Instead of letting you rush into a purchase like I did, I'm going to give you all of the details I learned throughout that buying experience.
If you wonder whether an Intex swimming pool is right for you, keep reading.
How I ended up with an Intex above ground pool
On Saturday afternoon my boyfriend was sleeping on the couch next to me, and I was on the laptop plotting how I could convince him that we needed a pool. While I really wanted an extravagant in-ground pool with a fountain and cool lighting, the limited space in the back yard and limited cash in my bank account made me quickly scale down my options.
1. I wanted a pool under $500. I live in Colorado, so it would not be a year-round investment.
2. I wanted a pool that was big enough for swimming, so kiddie pools were out.
3. I wanted a pool that was safe for adults and children.
After a good deal of research, I set my eyes on the 15' EasySet pool. (You'll soon understand why I changed my mind.)
The conversation when my boyfriend woke up went something like this:
Me: Good morning, sleepy head.
Me: Let's go buy a pool.
You would think this was a normal request from me or something!
Difference between Intex Easy Set, Intex Ultra Frame, and Intex Metal Frame pools
So my boyfriend and I went into Target thinking we were going to buy the 15' round Intex EasySet pool. After my research, I had decided that it would be the most economical purchase for our needs. Then we began the debate. To save you the trouble, here are the pros and cons that we came up with for the Intex Easy Set, Intex Ultra Frame, and Intex Metal Frame pools.
Why the Ultra Frame above ground pool was the winner
I chose the Intex Ultra Frame above ground pool for quite a few reasons.
First, I'm not that good of a swimmer and I wanted something to hold on to for security. Plus, I figured additional stability would be good for when my boyfriend and I start a family. The Ultra Frame and Metal Frame pools have the stabilizer bar that goes around the top, while the Easy Set pool just has an inflatable plastic ring.
Second, the Metal Frame pool was more expensive for a seemingly less sturdy model. I read reviews online that talked about the Intex Metal Frame pool rusting and denting, but Ultra Frame pool owners had plenty of good things to say about this more technologically advanced model.
Finally, the Intex Ultra Frame pool cost less than the metal model but was easier to put together. Out model also came with a pool pump, filter, skimmer, and vacuum.
Overall, we thought the Intex Ultra Frame above ground pool was the best deal out of the three options. This model was also chosen as one of the best backyard swimming pools for 2011.
Join the debate over Intex pools
What do you think about the Intex Ultra Frame pool?
Above ground pool setup and installation tips
for the Intex Ultra Frame model
1. Choose the best place for the pool diameter. Remember to leave room for the ladder and for the pump equipment. Keep in mind that leaving a pool out for a few months will kill the grass underneath.
2. Level, level, level the ground. Every single review I read online said that the ground must be level or you will have problems. My boyfriend told me that our chosen spot was level, so we went to work on assembly. By the time we filled the pool, we could tell that the side toward the east sat about 2-3 inches lower than the west side. No big deal, right? Well, the water level wasn't high enough to cover the return valve, so filtered water was jetting out across the top of the pool surface. Then the sides won't stand straight up. We ended up using a jack to raise the droopy end of the pool, stick some sand and pavers underneath, and straighten the pool legs vertically.
3. Have at least two people helping with pool setup. The installation guide is straightforward and easy to follow, but two people helped to speed up the time to completion. Having two people also made adjusting the pool location and straightening the sides easier.
4. Buy a bigger pump. We bought a large saltwater pump to integrate with the pump that came in the kit, but I still think we're going to need some more power. It seems like we have to vacuum the pool every day.
5. Avoid trees if possible. Unless you don't mind lots of leaves in the new above ground swimming pool.
Additional tips from Intex
Tips for heating the pool
Competitive swimmers swim in 78 degree water. The cooler water is great for athletes because they are less likely to overheat after lengths of exertion. This temperature, unfortunately, is not ideal for the recreational swimmer. Water that is 80 - 85 degrees is nice, while 90 degree water can be quite relaxing.
When we first filled up the Intex swimming pool, the water was 55 degrees. Brrrrr! After a few days the temperature reached 72 and stayed there. It would be 68 degrees in the morning and 72 degrees by evening, no matter what the day's weather was like.
We found a site on solar pool heating online and decide to give the DIY system a try. For about $45 we purchased some irrigation hose and the necessary fittings at Home Depot. The principle was that water would flow through the black rubber hose, be heated by the sun's free energy, and the warmer water would be sent to the pool. We connected the outgoing pool pump hose to the irrigation hose and then fitted that hose to return warm water to the swimming pool. Within one day the Intex pool temperature jumped 6 degrees, to 78. We are going to try adding more rubber hose and a solar pool cover to heat the water even further.
If you do not live in an area with consistent sunshine or you want a warmer pool without the DIY steps, many companies sell gas heaters and electric heaters for above ground pools. I will list a few models below, but keep in mind that I have not used them personally.
Helpful Links for Above Ground Swimming Pools
- Solar Pool Heating
Information and plans for solar pool heating systems.
- Intex Recreation | Above Ground Pools
Intex is the world leader in above ground pools. They pride themselves on providing excellent quality, superior service, and low prices.
- CPSC Advises Consumers On Swimming Pool Safety
Pool safety tips and guidelines from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Leave a comment and let me know you stopped by. Do you have an Intex swimming pool? Share your story!