If the process of getting your kids ready for a day at the pool (and then trying to drag them away at closing time) has you thinking a pool of your own would be a better investment, you may be wondering about the timing of your construction. It may seem wise to get the site prepared and the necessary electrical and plumbing lines installed before the ground freezes; on the other hand, you may worry that the winter exposure of these lines without the protection of the pool and deck could cause problems before you've even begun. Read on to learn more about the whens and hows of plumbing an above-ground pool.
What additional plumbing will you need before your pool can be installed?
Although above-ground pools can seem like significantly less work than in-ground pools (and, indeed, don't require nearly as much excavation and drainage work), they do still require some additional plumbing and a source of electricity to power the pumps, skimmers, and filtration equipment.
First, you'll need some PVC piping – either the rigid or flexible type. Rigid piping is generally considered more durable (and more impervious to insects), but it can be harder to install; flexible PVC piping is simple to install but may require more ongoing maintenance. These pipes will be hooked to your home's water supply or the water main and should either run parallel on the ground's surface or tunnel underground to the site where your pool is to be built.
It's important to note that those who plan to tunnel their PVC piping (for aesthetic or safety purposes) should use rigid piping rather than the flexible kind. There have been a number of consumer complaints regarding termite damage or other problems with flexible PVC pipe that has been buried – the same properties that allow this pipe to flex for easy installation also make it easier for termites and other insects to chew tiny holes in the seams, causing leaks that may require excavation and replacement.
After your piping has been run, you're nearly finished – you'll need only to connect these pipes to the pump and drainage lines (which generally aren't available until after you purchase your pool). Once you've turned on the water supply to your new plumbing, your pump should be ready to force water through each of your pool's jets.
When is the best time to install the necessary plumbing for an above-ground pool?
There is no perfect time of year to install or extend plumbing lines for a new pool – however, many homeowners do find it worthwhile to undertake these steps during the fall and winter months, as most plumbers and pool contractors will be booked through the spring and early summer. Not only can having this work performed during the off-season be more convenient, but it can cost much less.
If you do opt to have your plumbing lines extended during the fall and winter, you'll want to keep them as empty as you can. Without the ability to "drip" these lines to prevent freezing, any water remaining in the supply and drainage lines during the winter could freeze and burst, all but ensuring you'll be dealing with plumbing repairs at a time when you were hoping to be putting the final touches on your new pool. Although PVC is composed of a tough plastic rather than iron or copper like many pipes, this material can become brittle when exposed to cold temperatures and is more likely to crack or snap rather than burst. Fortunately, it should be fairly simple for your plumber or pool contractor to install an additional valve that allows you to shut off the water supply to your pool at will.
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