Pool Care Pool Water Chemistry

How to Fill an Above Ground Pool with Water?

After completing an above-ground pool project or an above-ground pool setup, the next step is to fill it with water. It’s the most crucial step in a pool; there’s no way you can swim in a swimming pool without water. Or can you? No. It would be best if you filled above-ground pool to enjoy the dip.

The process is easy, but there are two or three things involved, and that’s why I prepared this article. If you’re an absolute beginner, this guide will take you from a beginner level to an expert level regarding matters filling an above-ground pool. Let’s jump right in.

Things to do Before Filling Your Above-Ground Pool

Filling your above-ground pool is a crucial step. It’s the first of the many tasks required to make your above-ground pool operational. If you do it right, then the rest of the functions like chemical balancing and maintenance will be a breeze.

Here is a set of things you have to do before you can refill your swimming pool. They will make the process easy, straightforward and ensure it’s a success.

Determine How Much Water You Need

How Much Water Do You Need For Your Above-Ground Pool? Assuming you are filling a new swimming pool or you bought a house and found an empty above-ground pool, you’ll need to know its capacity before you can refill it.

You have to do some simple calculations to determine the pool volume on gallons. By doing so, you’ll avoid overspending on the amount of water you buy or draining dry your well. It can also help you save on any other refills that might come later.

Of course, you can do all the calculations using an online calculate. But if you’re a DIY kind of guy, you will want to understand the pool volume’s math.

How to determine above-ground pool capacity

Step 1: Determine its shape and measurements

What shape is your pool? Check the top of your swimming pool to determine its shape. Most above-ground pools are either circular, rectangular, oval. And since they are an above-ground pool, the depth will be the same unless in a particular case.

If you bought your pool, the manufacturer will have the capacity measured for you and recorded in the user manual. You don’t need to go to step two.

Step 2: Do the Math

If you built the pool or bought a house and found the swimming pool and no manual anywhere, you’ll have to do the calculations yourself.

Square or Rectangular Above-Ground Pools

Length x width x depth x 7.5 = volume (in gallons)
7.5 is the number of gallons in each cubic foot

Circular Above-Ground Pools

π (3.14) x radius squared(r2) x depth x 7.5 = volume (in gallons)
In short form: π x r2 x depth x 7.5 = volume (in gallons)
Radius = the distance across the pool top/2
π = pi, a mathematical constant.

Irregular Shaped Above-Ground Pools

If you have a multi-shape above-ground pool, separate the shapes by taking each shape’s measurements and calculate their volume. You can then add up individual volumes to get the total.

Length × Width × Depth × 7.5 for each piece and then add them up.

Determine the Best Water Source for Filling Above-Ground Pool

Now that you have the amount of water your above pool needs, you can proceed to find the best water source to use to fill it. You can either use well water, city water or go for a water delivery service.

All three options are viable, but you consider the amount available in the well and your budget. Another thing, will the city water service allow you to use the water to fill an above-ground pool.

Well Water

Well water is preferably the most budget-friendly option you can choose to fill your above-ground pool. However, there are 1,2,3s that you need to consider before deciding to hook a filling hose to your well pump.

One of the disadvantages of using well water is, the water can get your pool cloudy, smelly, or super dirty. It can also fill it with metals that the water absorbs as it passes through the underground.

Even if you’ve hooked up a purifier or softener to the well water supply, it’s probably for home consumption. That won’t prevent anything since these units are designed to remove the contaminants to a consumption-safe level.

It means, if you use the well water as it’s even with your home water purifier and softener, it will take you more time, work, and chemicals to get the pool water clean and chemistry balanced.

But that shouldn’t worry you much. You can connect a hose filter for pool water to clean the water and remove most metals in it.

Also, get your well water tested by taking a sample to a licensed water tester near you to know what contaminants you’re dealing with.

You might think your 10,000 above-ground pool isn’t huge but wait until it dries yours well. It happens all the time, with most people connecting their refilling hose without even know the well capacity.

If you use well water, you probably know the risk of getting it dry. The best move would be to use a well volume calculator to see if it can

Another thing, well pump aren’t built for long hours operation. Using it to draw too many gallons might burn it out. You will need to give it a break after a half-hour.

City Water

This is usually the best and most convenient water to use to fill your pool. It just involves hooking up your garden hose and placing the other end directly into your swimming pool. However, it’s not always the cheapest choice.

It is considered the most convenient water source for those that use it. If you have a water tap in your backyard and receive water bills every month, you’re using the city water.

And all you need to fill above-ground pool is to hook up your garden hose and place it inside your swimming pool.

However, it will cost; you have to settle some bills higher than your regular payments. And the bigger the swimming pool, the higher the cost.

If you decide to use city water, know how much they will charge you especially considering if you exceed a certain volume, they might start charging you at a commercial rate, higher than normal. Call the city water department and ask for an estimate.

In most cases, the city water department can work with you and give you a discount when using high water amounts. That’s because you pay for sewage bills together with the water bill proportionately.

If you explain your usage, the company might reduce the sewage charges for the water use bill. If City water is your only option for filling your above-ground pool, it’d be best to find the cost first before proceeding with the fill.

If they can lower the cost, then city water might be your best option. Its water is already balanced for safe consumption. However, the levels are reduced to safe human consumption, meaning; it might still contain some metals.

And considering you will be using huge amounts, you might still consider using a hose filter to remove the contaminants entirely.

Water Delivery

If you need the swimming pool to be ready within a day or two, water delivery might be your best option. It’s the fastest among the three.

When you hire the service, a huge water delivery or more will deliver the water and drain it to your pool directly to your swimming pool and fill it in minutes.

The option isn’t available in all cities, and it might be quite costly. You will need to research to find the best water delivery service near you.

Cities where pools are common such as LA, California, and Florida, have water delivery services since most of these service providers run the swimming pools.

Yes, it’s easy to find some online but ask for recommendations from your friends or those local pool supplies near you.

The water delivery services can be quite expensive. You might want to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Compare the online quotes before hiring a company to deliver the water.

Once you find a reliable water delivery company, they will ask you for some information before they can deliver.

Remember the pool volume calculation you did earlier? You will need the pool volume here. The company will ask how much water you need.

Don’t forget to ask them questions too. Examples of the questions to ask are; is the water treated and filtered? Is there a discount on the water delivery? Ask any question you may have about the water delivery.

Some companies might even add a small fee and deliver balanced water, while others don’t tamper with it at all. If not treated, you will need to carry the normal shock and balancing before opening the swimming pool to the swimmers.

Also, understand how long their hoses reach to know if they can reach your pool if it’s far from where they will pack the delivery trucks. Remember, you might be charged if they make the trip and the water doesn’t reach your pool.

Fire Department

Another way you can get water to fill above-ground pool is via the fire department. However, this trick is fading away. Not many fire departments fill the swimming pool anymore.

But it can go in your favor if you asked. Normally, the Fire department doesn’t charge much as they might even ask you for a donation.

Clean Your Pool

Before you can fill your above-ground pool, it’d be best to clean and get rid of all the loose debris. If it’s a new swimming pool, wipe the white dust with a wet cloth.

If it’s a newly built concrete or tiled above-ground pool, remove all the cement and rough edges that might be hanging out.

If you bought a house and found the pool without water, check for defects and repair them if reparable. If stained, this is the best time to clean it thoroughly. If a normal pool cleaner isn’t doing the trick, get a stain remover.

I do think you will want to deal with the cleaning task after filling the pool. The cleaning won’t be as easy. Cleaning it before filling the water is the best time.

Filter Your Water

Now that you know what method to use to fill your swimming pool, it’s time to run the hose to the swimming pool can get it filled.

Hold your horses! Are you certain the water is clean, free of debris and contaminants? I don’t think so. It wouldn’t hurt to attach a garden hose filter.

This inexpensive attachment can help you remove all types of contaminants from the water. It’s an excellent way to save you tons of trouble when balancing your pool water chemistry.

How to Fill Above-Ground Pool

Is everything set? Do you have the pool clean? Is the water source ready to deliver the water? Check to make sure everything is well established.

Once you confirm that all the things are set, you can grab the hose with the hose filter and connect one end to the well water tap or city water outlet. Run the hose to your pool and open the tap.

For a well water tap, keep a timer to remind you to give the well pump a rest after 30 minutes to prevent it from burning out.

If you’re using the water delivery services or fire delivery, ask them to run the water to your swimming pool. Connect a water filter and ask them to run the pipe to your above-ground pool for the refill.

What to Do Once You Fill Above-Ground Pool?

Filling the pool doesn’t mean it’s time to dip your body in the water or open the swimming pool to the swimmer. You still need to balance the water, open the filtration system, skim and vacuum the debris, among others.

Install the safety pool accessories

Now that your pool is filled with water, you can install any pool accessory necessary, especially the pool safety tools like the ladder or rail. If you had removed the skimmer, install it back. Connect other items in your checklist or your manuals.

Turn on the Pump and Filter

Once you gather all the items in your pool safety checklist, it’s the best time to get started with prepping your swimming for use.

Start by turning on the pool circulation and filtration system. That includes the pool pump and filter. You want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on this step. Ensure that everything is in operation and there no leaks.

Vacuum and Skim Off Debris

Now that the pool skimmer, filtration, and circulation systems are operational, take your pool vacuum, preferably a manual hand vacuum, and suck out any sand and debris sitting on the floor.

Ensure there is no debris lingering around that could damage the pool line or cause issues in the pool filter. Use a skimmer net to skim the large debris out for the water.

Add Chemicals

The pool filter is running, and the debris is out. But that doesn’t mean the water is safe for swimming. You still need to add the chemicals and balance them to be certain.

Take your test strips, liquid test kit, or digital pool test kit and get testing. Test the pool water to know what chemicals and how much you’ll need.

They vary based on the water source, pool size, and type. The testing will help you know the levels, but you’ll still need to know the quantities. If you don’t, consult with a professional.

Your pool water pH should be between 7.2 – 7.6, Total Alkalinity 120 – 150 ppm (parts per million), Calcium Hardness 175 – 225 ppm for the Vinyl Pools, and 200 – 250 ppm for the Concrete Pools, while free Chlorine should be between 1 – 3 ppm.

Here is a full guide on pool testing that could help you.

Wait for several hours after adding the chemicals. Test the water again and ensure it is stabilized.

Shock Your Pool

Algae is nasty, and if you don’t control it this early, you will have a huge problem to deal with later. The pool water is fresh, but that doesn’t guarantee it doesn’t have algae spores.

Add the pool chock and do it at night to avoid UV rays from the sun from acting on your chlorine and reducing its effectiveness.

Please wait for 24 hours and then check for the pool chemistry to make sure it’s properly balanced. After this, you can jump in and enjoy your swimming pool.

Read more on how to shock your pool here.


This guide contains important steps to help you fill your above-ground pool breezily. It makes the whole process time-saving and straightforward. Take your time to clean the swimming pool before filling it. Also, find the most convenient way to refill your swimming pool. Don’t rush the process.

While filling your above-ground pool, take it slow and monitor the pool liner if yours has one. Once it’s full (above the pool skimmer top), skim the debris, filter the water, balance the chemistry, and shock it. Wait for at least 6-hours, and your pool will be ready.

About the author

Sharif Miah

Hi! I'm Sharif, the founder of Globo Pool® and I have been working in the pool & hot tub industry for the last few years. I love to share my experiences with people & hope you are enjoying my information and lessons!

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