Pros: Super easy to install, low priced, nice size
Cons: Need perfectly level ground to install.
Review of Intex Easy Set 15' x 42" Above-Ground Pool (June 13, 2005)
We recently moved to a bigger house with lots of land. I promised myself years ago that if we ever moved to a place with land, I would get a swimming pool. However, with finances a bit tight due to expenses related to the move and even a tighter time schedule, I needed to limit my pool to something that would be quick and easy to install and relatively inexpensive.
A neighbor of mine, in our old neighborhood, recently bought an above ground pool and claimed it took him several days to set up his pool. It also cost him about $1,300 for the pool at an end-of-the-season sale. He loves his pool, but I remember hearing about the complaints of spreading out the sand, and having to bolt all of the frame pieces together and stretch out the lining, etc. What a turn-off!
One day, I was perusing through a store circular when an ad for an Intex Easy Set 15 pool caught my eye. The picture showed a beautiful looking pool, filled with water, and a group of happy people sitting in the pool. All of the people in the pool look happy and cool. The pool was perfectly symmetrically round. There was no frame holding up the pool. The ad boasted that the pool could be ready for water in 10 minutes. I found this very intriguing.
Several days went by since I saw the ad, and I was driving down a local road nearby where I work, when one of these pools caught my eye. I stopped by car, pulled over and took a look. Fantastic! I rushed to the store to buy one on my way home from work.
The pool only cost $120 on sale. It came complete with everything except the water and chemicals needed to keep the water clean. The pool weighed well over 100 pounds, so it was a bit heavy for one guy to get it in a shopping cart (and the stores help was scarce, of course). I managed. I thought this would make a wonderful Mothers Day gift for my wife!
Of course, on Mothers Day my wife was delighted with her gift. She also liked the idea of having a pool in the yard. She left it up to me to set everything up and decide where to place the pool. Spotting a location was not as easy as I thought it might be. You need a perfectly level piece of ground at least as large as the diameter of the pool. Even though we have acres of land, there were few areas that were perfectly level, and those were not located in an appropriate area (e.g., above the septic tank, near poison ivy vines, near the driveway, etc.) I decided on a location in the backyard that was kind of level, with a slight slant. I figured this was good enough ..
Fortunately for me, I have a good quality hand truck with big wheels, so I was able to lug the pool the setup spot easily. I opened the box and pulled out the directions. There was that boast again: Ready for water in 10 minutes! I decided to time myself. First, I decided to cut the grass down low in the area I was installing the pool (this did not count in the overall timing). After mowing, the ground looked even less flat than before.
I then stretched out the hose and an extension cord to make sure I could fill the pool and run the pump. Both of these checked out fine. Then, I pulled out the tarp used for the underlayment (this replaces the need for sand). I then muscled the pool lining out of the box and rolled it out over the tarp. After doing so, I glanced at my watch. 15 minutes already hmmm Next, I pulled out my compressor and filled the outer ring with air. This took a bit of time to do, even using a professional air compressor, which Im sure many ordinary homeowners dont own. I couldnt imagine blowing up the ring with a hand pump. Yikes! That would take forever!
I then assembled the pump assembly, according to the instructions, and attached it to the pool. One thing that is very nice about the pump is the very long (10 feet?) electrical cord that comes with it. The pump was easy to setup and it worked out almost effortlessly. However, like everything else, it took LOTS of time. The pool was ready for water after nearly two hours of preparation. Still, no complaints a heck of a lot better than what my old neighbor had to go through!
I started running the water in the pool, took off my shoes, and got in to stretch out the little wrinkles in the lining by pushing the wall liner as the pool filled. This was not mentioned in the directions, but it was something I learned to do from helping to set up pools in the past. I let the pool fill while I went in for lunch. When I returned an hour later, the pool already had about an inch of water in it and it was stretching out nicely. Several hours later, the pool had about two feet of water and the walls were taking form. I noticed that water level was slightly higher in the area that slopped down hill.
I then went to work assembling the accompanying ladder and skimmer. This was an easy task and only required one small wrench. I put some lawn chairs and a beach umbrella out to the side of the pool. A couple of hours latter, the pool was completely filled and I turned on the circulating pump. The pump is very quiet, and not very powerful. During operation, you can hardly tell it is on. As expected, the water inside was bitterly cold. I forgot to purchase chlorine for the water, so I substituted a bottle of chlorine bleach to shock the pool water.
The next day, my young daughter ran out to the pool and called out: Daddy, I want to go in the pool. Can we go in the pool? Please?! We changed into our bathing suits and went in together. The water was very cold, but I got used to it fast. She just sat on top of the ladder with her feet in the water. I coaxed her to just jump on in, so she did, and lunged for the wall toward the side that slopped slightly downward, and the side collapsed and she was flushed out of the pool with several gallons of water. I quickly pulled the wall up again, and managed to save the pool from draining completely. Lesson #1: Do not sit or lean on the pool walls! They can collapse!
Several days latter, after the sun heated the pool water a bit, we went in again. This time we splashed around for hours with no problems and had a great time. Not expecting to be in the pool that long, I got some pretty intense sun burn. My daughter is pretty smart, because she put on lots of sun block.
The next day there was no pool fun for me I got too much sun burn the day before. My wife went out with my son and daughter and they played in the pool all afternoon. At the end of the day, I went to the pool to pull out the ladder, when I noticed something very strange. The pool shape became disfigured, as if it were rolling down the slight slope!!! Holy cow! From the inside, the water pushed down on the wall, so that the low end is now partly on the floor. The incline is not that great probably less than five degrees. This sucks!
I decided to leave the pool alone, the way it is, rather than empty it and refill it. If I have to empty it and refill it, I will probably level the ground with my tractor first. But, a week has gone by and nothing has changed. The pool is still a lot of fun to splash around in. Other than this weird incident, everything else is fine. I have since bought some chlorine tablets and a dispenser to help sanitize the water. The water is nice and clean, and the skimmer works very well to remove occasional bugs and grass from the waters surface.
I have not tried the accompanying cover on the pool yet, only because it seems to be too much work to open and close the cover every day. The cover is a round vinyl sheet that fits snugly over the ring. The ladder is very sturdy and light-weight, for easy removal.
Here are some tips, suggestions and recommendations I have learned that help make pool life easier and safer:
1. Remove the ladder each time you are finished swimming, so no small children wander into the pool.
2. Add chlorine tablets at night during the day, the sun makes the chlorine dissolve too quickly.
3. I keep a large sized rubber mat at the base of the pool, under the ladder, to keep grass and debris from being tracked into the pool.
4. Install the pool in direct sunlight (to keep the water warmer) and away from trees (to help keep leaves out).
5. Make sure the ground is flat and level before installing the pool.
6. Install the pool in an area where it can be seen clearly from a room within the house, to help prevent misuse.
7. Do not lean on, sit on, or climb on the surrounding air ring.
8. If the pump breaks, you can easily replace it with a sump pump or other pump. I would suggest a bit more horse power, but not really necessary.
9. Set up lawn chairs near the pool to hold towels, while you are in the water.
10. When initially setting up the pool, a hand truck is a BIG help in move the box to the setup location.
After all is said and done, I asked myself: Would I get this pool again? In my circumstance, in a heartbeat! It is easy to install and maintain and lots of fun to splash around in and relax in just like a regular pool, with less install time and initial expense. The jury is still out on how well this pool will stand up in the long run. I will surely take it down at the end of the season. If I decide to install it next summer, I will level the ground before adding the water and allow myself a little more than 10 minutes to set it up! Thanks for reading my review and best wishes for a wonderful summer!
Update added June 22, 2005:
It has now been over a month since installing this pool. I decided to drain the pool in order to level the ground under the pool. As a result of the pool not being level, I feel the circulation pump is not working very efficiently. So, I unplugged the pump and pulled the drain plug out. I expected the water to gush out like gang busters, but instead it just trickled out. Also, I noticed that the drain plug is located about 5 inches from the bottom of the pool, so to completely drain the pool I will either need to bail water (bah!) or use a sump pump (horray!). We all look forward to a quick refill of the pool for the hot days of summer ahead of us, after leveling the ground! Thanks again for reading my review!
Update added August 15, 2006:
It has been over a year later owning this pool. Last year, I took it down, cleaned it out, and stored it in my barn. I reset it up on a completely level ground in mid-May. I also replaced the cheap circulating pump that came with the pool with a real 1HP pump and sand filter system. Regular use of the pool made cleaning the water a breeze as all of the small particles that could suspend in the water were filtered out. Even though the pool was placed on completely level ground, it still managed to roll away a bit, but nothing nearly as bad as last year. I also found a small hole on the bottom of the pool, that I easily patched with the pool patch kit that came with the pool. My young children look forward to swimming in the pool every evening when I get home from work. Cheers!
Updated added June 11, 2007
This will be my third year using this pool! I pulled out of storage in late May, leveled the ground (again). This time, I pushed up dirt slightly along the perimeter of the base of the pool to make a shallow concave area, prior to laying out the ground cover. Then I rolled out the pool and stretched it out. When I went to blow up the ring with my compressor, I found a real bummer of a problem. A rodent must have gotten into the storage shed where I stored the pool over the winter. It chewed through the air nipple where air is added to the ring!!! Yikes! I thought about it for a minute, then looked over the rest of the pool to see if there were any other damage. Nope, just that one area. I was able to easily repair the damage. Here is what I did: I went to Lowes and purchased a small tube of vinyl repair glue (specifically made for pool linings). I then went into a dollar store and purchased a cheap blow up tool. This cost....you got it! A dollar! I cut off the air nipple leaving about a three inch diameter circle of vinyl surronding the air nipple. I then cut out the chewed up nozzle off of the pool air ring. I insert the new air nipple inside of the existing hole, then glued it in place. This got a bit messy. I let it dry for several hours before inflating. When I did inflate it, air leaked out of one of sides. I put a little more glue in the area of the leak. Then I made a 4 inch diameter round patch, cut a small circle out of the middle, and glued that over the air nipple. I let that dry, and voila! It works great! It has been inflated for several weeks now with no problems. I continued installing everything else. I also purchased yet a new filter system for the pool (not that anything was wrong with the old one, but this one came with a DE filter and it was practically brand new and cost me only $50. The pool setup beautifully! No rolling at all so far, the water is sparkling clean - cleaner than ever before!!! We've been swimming for over three weeks now and all is perfect! Have an enjoyable and safe summer!
Update added June 9, 2008
Year 4 and still going strong! I setup the pool in a new location this year - closer to the house and on a more level area. The pool did not roll at all! All else looks pretty much the same as last year, albeit some of the parts are showing sign of aging (ladder showing a little rust, skimmer ripping along edge, stains on the sides (from mud?), and liner has permanent wrinkles in it. The children still love this pool! Happy summer!