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How to Vacuum an Above-Ground Pool With or Without a Pump

A vacuum is an excellent tool for cleaning your above-ground pool, but there is no reason to worry when you don’t have one. The above-ground pool market is full of pools that don’t have a filter, and they still have high customer reviews and sales.  So how do you vacuum an above-ground pool with or without a pump?

Above-ground pools can be a hassle to clean when they don’t have a vacuum or pump system. However, there are some actions to take that will ensure that your pool stays free from debris and algae that take more time but will get your pool ready for business. Read on and learn how to vacuum an above-ground pool without a pump.

Vacuuming an Above-Ground Pool With a Pump

Above-ground pools with a filtration system are easy to take care of as long as you take action against algae and debris that could enter the pool. The filter also allows you to suck out debris or pump out water that could have leaves or gunk in it. Pumping the pool is involved but will become habitual after a few tries.

Prepping the Pool is the First Step

You need to do a few things before you can begin vacuuming. For example, the pool might have a cover, or a mass of leaves or algae must be treated before you can get after it. By prepping the pool, you make the job much easier on your vacuum and extend the life of your pool.

The things to do when prepping the above-ground pool for vacuuming are:

  • Brush the Pool – With a soft-bristled brush, you should scrub the inside walls of the pool. This will break loose any debris that might be stuck, and once freed, the filter will process it.
  • Pump Out – If your pool has a pumping set, you should pump out any excess water. Pumping will allow you to get leaves and other large debris out of the water and let the filter get tiny particles that are invisible to the eye.
  • Assemble the Vacuum – Prepping your gear for the next step is the last part. The vacuum will have pieces like the head and hose that must be placed in the appropriate positions to ensure their functionality.

Prepping will help the vacuum be as efficient as possible and ensures that significant bits of dirt or leaves are freed from the walls. In addition, pumping out gallons of water will allow you to remove significant bits like sticks and pine cones.

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.

Get Underwater with Your Above-Ground Pool Vacuum

Now that the hose and head are in place, you must get it into the water. At this point, the critical thing is ensuring that the vacuum head is on the pool floor. If it isn’t, the process could take longer and will not work until the head and hose are filled with water.

Some things to look for when priming the vacuum are:

  • Water Return Valve – You must place the end of the hose against the water return valve. Doing so ensures that the hose is filled with water, and once the vacuum starts, it will suck it out into the filter basket.
  • Get Vacuuming – Once the hose is filled, you should attach it to the skimmer basket and ensure it has a tight seal. As soon as the seal is made, you will notice the suction transfer to the head. Use long, even strokes to clean the bottom of the pool.

Remember that you must maintain a steady maintenance schedule to keep your pool clean, and adding chemicals is essential. If no chemicals are added, you will have to take down algae and other slimes that will form.

Here’s a video showing how to vacuum without a pump, with more info below:

How to Vacuum without a Pump

Vacuuming without a pump is more involved, and debris is collected with a net before removal. In addition, like prepping for the vacuuming phase, you will have to do some cleaning yourself and add chemicals.

Cleaning is the Critical Piece of the Puzzle

You can’t vacuum without a filter and the pieces to create suction. If this is the case with your pool, the best you can do is give it a thorough cleaning and put in new water as often as you need.

The things you must do to clean your above-ground pool without a vacuum are as follows:

  • Sweep – Use a brush to sweep the pool’s sides and bottom. The filter should have enough power to remove any particles you can’t see. Without a filter, you must agitate the pool by moving water to catch things in your net.
  • Chemicals – Another great way to keep your above-ground pool clean is by using various chemicals in the water. For example, shocking the water will kill bacteria, and adding chlorine tablets is an excellent way to protect it from algae.
  • Algaecide – If you are losing the battle against algae and murky water, the best thing to do is use an algaecide. It will rid your water of unwanted algae and produce crystal-clear water.

Cleaning and chemicals are the best way to protect your pool without a vacuum. By brushing the sides and bottom, you allow particles to be processed by the filter, and adding a few chemicals will keep the water clean and healthy.

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.


Vacuuming your above-ground pool with a pump is easy once you have done it a few times. The important thing to remember is that you are creating suction on both ends, so the attachments must be solid, and no air can escape. If there are leaks, the process will not work, and you could harm the pump on your pool.

If your pool does not have a pump, you must undertake a long process that could see you using excess chemicals and tons of elbow grease.

The important thing to do is sweep the sides and allow your net to pick up any available particles. Chemicals will keep the water clear and clean while fighting algae and pests.

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