How to Hard Plumb an above Ground Pool With PVC Pipe
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Hard plumbing an above ground pool with PVC pipe involves:

  • Carefully planning the layout of the pipes and fittings
  • Cutting and assembling the pipes
  • Gluing them together securely
  • Connecting the various pool components

Once everything is in place, testing the system for leaks is important to ensure a properly functioning pool. This guide will provide you with the necessary steps and tips to successfully hard plumb your above ground pool using PVC pipe.

Table of Contents

Understanding The Basics Of Hard Plumbing

When setting up an above ground pool, one of the essential aspects to consider is the plumbing system. Hard plumbing refers to using PVC pipes to create a durable and long-lasting plumbing system for your pool. Hard plumbing offers several benefits, unlike flexible hoses, including better water flow, increased durability, and easier maintenance. In this blog post, we will explore the components of a hard plumbing system for above ground pools and discuss its numerous benefits.

Components of a Hard Plumbing System

In order to successfully hard plumb an above ground pool with PVC pipe, it’s important to understand the key components involved. Here are the essential elements that make up a hard plumbing system:

Main drainThe main drain is responsible for removing debris from the bottom of the pool. It connects to the pool’s filtration system.
SkimmerThe skimmer is located on the side of the pool and collects debris floating on the water’s surface. It connects to the pool’s filtration system.
PumpThe pump is the heart of the plumbing system, responsible for circulating water through the pool’s filtration system.
FilterThe filter removes impurities from the water, keeping it clean and clear. It is connected to the pump and returns the filtered water back to the pool.
Return jetsThe return jets are responsible for distributing filtered water back into the pool. They can be strategically positioned to ensure even circulation.

Benefits of Hard Plumb an above Ground Pool With PVC Pipe

Hard plumbing offers several advantages over traditional flexible hose systems for above ground pools. Here are some key benefits worth considering:

  1. Improved water flow: Hard plumbing systems provide better water flow compared to flexible hoses. The smooth interior of PVC pipes minimizes friction, allowing for efficient water circulation throughout the pool.
  2. Enhanced durability: PVC pipes used in hard plumbing are known for their durability. They are resistant to corrosion, damage from UV rays, and wear and tear, ensuring a long-lasting plumbing system for your pool.
  3. Easier maintenance: Hard plumbing systems are easier to maintain compared to flexible hose systems. Properly installed PVC pipes can minimize leaks and reduce the need for constant adjustments or repairs.
  4. Increased energy efficiency: Due to the improved water flow and reduced friction, hard plumbing systems can help reduce energy consumption as the pool’s filtration system operates more efficiently.

Understanding the basics of hard plumbing and considering the various components involved can create a reliable and efficient plumbing system for your above ground pool. The benefits of hard plumbing, including improved water flow, enhanced durability, easier maintenance, and increased energy efficiency, make it a worthwhile investment. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts, where we will dive deeper into the process of hard plumbing an above ground pool with PVC pipe.

Planning And Preparation

Before you begin the process of hard plumbing your above ground pool with PVC pipe, it’s important to carefully plan and prepare. Taking the time to gather the necessary tools and materials will ensure a smooth and efficient installation. 

Additionally, accurately measuring and marking the pool area will help you visualize the layout and map out the necessary piping. This section will explore each of these steps in detail to help you get started on the right foot.

Gathering the necessary tools and materials

In order to successfully hard plumb your above ground pool, you will need a specific set of tools and materials. Having these items on hand before you begin will save you time and the frustration of running to the hardware store mid-installation. Here’s a list of the essential tools and materials you’ll need:

PVC Pipe CutterPVC Pipe (various sizes)
PVC PrimerPVC Fittings (elbows, tees, couplings)
PVC CementUnion Fittings
Adjustable WrenchCheck Valve
Teflon TapeThreaded Adapters
HacksawPool Valve Fittings
Appropriate PliersPool Skimmer and Return Fittings

By ensuring you have all of these tools and materials on hand, you’ll be prepared to tackle the installation process without any unnecessary interruptions.

Measuring and marking the pool area

Accurate measurements and proper markings are crucial for hard plumbing your above ground pool. Before you start cutting and gluing PVC pipes, take the time to measure and mark the pool area to visualize the layout and ensure everything fits together seamlessly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with this process:

  1. Start by measuring the distance from the pool’s skimmer to the pump location. This will help determine the length of PVC pipe you’ll need.
  2. Next, measure the distance from the pump location to the pool’s return. This will also affect the length of the PVC pipe required.
  3. Use a tape measure or spray paint to mark the locations where the pipes will be connected to the pool skimmer, pump, and return.
  4. Consider any necessary turns or angles, and mark those on the ground as well.

By carefully measuring and marking the pool area, you can visualize the entire plumbing system and plan the layout accordingly. This will ensure a neat and organized installation that functions effectively.

Selecting And Sizing Pvc Pipes And Fittings

When it comes to hard plumbing an above ground pool with PVC pipe, selecting the right pipes and fittings is crucial for a successful installation. In this section, we will discuss two important factors to consider: choosing the appropriate PVC pipe size and determining the type of fittings needed.

Choosing the Appropriate PVC Pipe Size

To ensure optimal flow and performance in your above ground pool plumbing system, choosing the appropriate PVC pipe size is essential. The size you select will depend on factors such as the total flow rate, head pressure, and the distance the water needs to travel.

Here’s a helpful table to guide you in choosing the right PVC pipe size for your above ground pool:

Flow RatePipe Size
Up to 30 GPM1.5 inches
30-60 GPM2 inches
60-90 GPM2.5 inches
Above 90 GPM3 inches

It is important to note that these are general guidelines, and you may need to consult with a professional or refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific pool model.

Determining the Type of Fittings Needed

Once you have determined the appropriate PVC pipe size, the next step is to determine the type of fittings needed for your above ground pool plumbing system. The fittings you choose will depend on the layout and design of your pool, as well as the specific connections required.

Here are some common types of PVC fittings used in above ground pool plumbing:

  • Elbows: Used to change the direction of the pipe.
  • Tees: Used to create connections at 90-degree angles.
  • Couplings: Used to join two pipes together.
  • Adapters: Used to connect pipes of different sizes or types.
  • Valves: Used to control the flow of water.

It is important to ensure that all fittings are compatible with your chosen PVC pipe size. Additionally, make sure to use PVC cement to securely bond the fittings to the pipes and create leak-free connections.

Choosing the appropriate PVC pipe size and determining the type of fittings needed can ensure a properly functioning and efficient above ground pool plumbing system. Remember to consult with professionals or refer to manufacturer guidelines for specific recommendations based on your pool model.

Digging Trenches And Preparing The Ground

When it comes to installing an above ground pool, hard plumbing with PVC pipe is a popular choice. Not only does it provide a more efficient flow of water, but it also ensures a neater and more professional-looking installation. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of hard plumbing an above ground pool with PVC pipe, focusing on the crucial step of digging trenches and preparing the ground.

Clearing Out the Area Around the Pool

Before you can start digging trenches for the PVC pipes, clearing the area around the pool is essential. Remove any obstructions, such as rocks, plants, or debris, that might interfere with the installation. Make sure the ground is even and level by using a shovel or rake to smooth out any bumps or uneven spots. This will ensure a solid foundation for your pool’s plumbing system.

Creating a Trench for the PVC Pipes

Now that the area around the pool is cleared, it’s time to create a trench for the PVC pipes. The trench should run from the pool’s equipment pad to the pool itself, ensuring that the pipes are buried underground for a clean and organized look. Here’s how you can create the trench:

  1. Using a shovel or a trenching tool, start digging a trench that is approximately 12 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the PVC pipes. Ensure the trench is straight and level, as this will prevent any issues with water flow later on.
  2. As you dig the trench, be mindful of any underground utilities such as gas lines or electrical cables. It’s crucial to avoid damaging these utilities, so consider using a utility locator or consulting with a professional if you’re uncertain.
  3. Once the trench is dug, you may need to add a layer of sand at the bottom to provide a cushion for the PVC pipes. This will help prevent any potential damage or leaks.
  4. Now, it’s time to lay the PVC pipes in the trench. Start from the pool’s equipment pad and work your way towards the pool. Ensure that the pipes are laid straight and level, making any necessary connections or fittings along the way.
  5. Once the pipes are in place, backfill the trench with soil, ensuring that the pipes remain secure and stable. Tamp down the soil gently as you go to minimize any settling or movement.

Following these steps, you can create a solid foundation for your pool’s plumbing system, ensuring efficient water flow and a clean installation. Remember to check local building codes and regulations before undertaking any excavation or plumbing work. With proper preparation and execution, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your above ground pool!

Assembling The Pvc Pipe System

When it comes to hard plumbing an above ground pool with PVC pipe, assembling the PVC pipe system is crucial. This involves gluing the PVC pipes and fittings together and properly aligning them to ensure a secure and leak-proof connection.

Gluing PVC pipes and fittings together

To ensure a strong and durable connection, it’s important to glue the PVC pipes and fittings properly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

  1. Start by cleaning the ends of the PVC pipes and fittings you’ll join. Use a clean cloth or rag to remove any dirt, debris, or moisture.
  2. Apply primer to the cleaned surfaces. This will help improve the adhesion of the glue to the PVC material.
  3. Next, apply PVC glue to both the pipe end and the fitting socket. Make sure to apply an even layer of glue, covering the entire surface.
  4. Insert the pipe into the fitting socket, making sure it goes in fully. It is slightly twisted to spread the glue evenly and create a secure bond.
  5. Hold the pipe and fitting in place for a few seconds to allow the glue to set. This will ensure a strong connection.
  6. Repeat the same process for your PVC pipe system’s other pipes and fittings.

Properly aligning the pipes and fittings.

Proper alignment of the pipes and fittings is essential to avoid leaks and ensure optimal water flow. Here are a few tips to help you align them correctly:

  • Before gluing the pipes and fittings, dry fit them first. This means fitting them together without glue to check if they align properly.
  • If you notice any misalignment, make adjustments by gently rotating the pipes or fittings until they are properly aligned.
  • Use a level or plumb bob to ensure that the pipes are straight and vertically aligned. This will help maintain proper water flow.
  • It’s also important to ensure that the pipes have enough clearance from the ground or any other obstructions. This will prevent damage and make it easier to perform maintenance tasks in the future.

Following these steps to glue the PVC pipes and fittings together and properly align them, you can create a reliable and efficient PVC pipe system for your above ground pool.

Installing Valves And Gate

Adding valves to control water flow and installing a gate to redirect water are crucial steps in hard plumbing an above ground pool with PVC pipes. These components provide you with control over the water circulation, allowing you to adjust and regulate the flow as needed. By following these detailed instructions, you can ensure the proper installation and functionality of valves and gates for your pool system.

Adding valves to control water flow

To begin the process of adding valves to control water flow, you will need the following materials:

  • PVC ball valves
  • PVC glue
  • PVC primer
  • PVC pipe cutters
  • Measuring tape

Follow these steps to successfully add valves:

  1. Measure the PVC pipe to determine the appropriate location for the valves.
  2. Using PVC pipe cutters, cut the pipe at the desired locations.
  3. Apply PVC primer to the cut ends of the pipe.
  4. Apply PVC glue to both the pipe ends and the valve connectors.
  5. Attach the valves to the pipe ends, ensuring a tight and secure fit.
  6. Allow the glue to dry completely before proceeding with the next steps.

Installing a gate to redirect water

Installing a gate to redirect water is essential for proper water circulation and distribution within the pool system. Here’s how you can install a gate:

  1. Measure the area where you want to position the gate.
  2. Ensure that the gate is aligned properly with the other PVC pipes.
  3. Apply PVC primer to the connecting surfaces.
  4. Apply PVC glue to both the gate connectors and the pipe ends.
  5. Join the gate, and the pipe ends together firmly.
  6. Allow the glue to dry completely before moving forward.

Note: It’s crucial to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific valves and gate you are using, as different products may have slightly different installation methods.

By adding valves to control water flow and installing a gate to redirect water, you have taken steps toward optimizing the function and efficiency of your above ground pool’s plumbing system. Ensure all connections are secure, and test the water flow and redirection after installation to address any potential issues.

Connecting The Pool Equipment

Attaching the filter, pump, and heater to the PVC system is essential in hard plumbing an above ground pool. By properly connecting these components, you can ensure efficient water circulation and maintain optimal pool temperature. In this section, we will guide you through the process of connecting your pool equipment using PVC pipes.

Attaching the filter, pump, and heater to the PVC system

When it comes to connecting the filter, pump, and heater to the PVC system, it is crucial to follow a systematic approach to ensure a tight and leak-free connection. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Choose the right PVC fittings: Before starting the installation process, make sure you have the appropriate PVC fittings for your filter, pump, and heater. These fittings should match the pipe diameter and be compatible with your connecting equipment.
  2. Position the equipment: Begin by positioning your filter, pump, and heater in their designated locations near the pool. Ensure that they are close enough to each other for easy connection.
  3. Measure and cut the PVC pipes: Measure the distance between each equipment and use a PVC pipe cutter to cut the required lengths of PVC pipe. Be precise in your measurements to achieve accurate connections.
  4. Assemble the fittings: Using PVC primer and cement, attach the appropriate fittings to the ends of the PVC pipes. Apply primer to the outside of the PVC pipe and the inside of the fitting. Then, apply cement to both surfaces and quickly connect them while twisting slightly to ensure a secure bond. Repeat this process for each connection.
  5. Connect the equipment: With the fittings in place, connect the PVC pipes to the corresponding ports on the filter, pump, and heater. Apply a small amount of PVC cement to each joint to further strengthen the connection.
  6. Support the pipes: After connecting the equipment, use pipe straps or clamps to secure the PVC pipes to a stable surface. This will help prevent any stress on the connections and ensure long-term durability.

Securing connections and checking for leaks

Once you have connected the filter, pump, and heater to the PVC system, securing the connections properly and checking for any possible leaks is crucial. Follow these steps to ensure a leak-free system:

  • Tighten all fittings: Use a pipe wrench or adjustable pliers to tighten all the fittings, ensuring they are snug and properly aligned. This will help minimize the risk of leaks.
  • Perform a visual inspection: Carefully examine all the connections for any signs of leakage. Look for visible gaps, cracks, or gaps in the pipes or fittings. If you notice any issues, disassemble the connections, apply fresh primer and cement, and reassemble them.
  • Pressurize the system: Before filling the pool with water, it is advisable to pressurize the PVC system to identify any hidden leaks. Attach a pressure gauge to a hose bib or a test plug in the system and gradually increase the pressure. Monitor the gauge for any fluctuations or noticeable drops indicating a leak.
  • Fixing leaks: If you detect any leaks, mark the affected area and drain the system. Once drained, fix the leaks by reapplying primer and cement to the joints. Allow ample time for the cement to dry before pressurizing the system again.
  • Repeat the inspection: Once you have addressed any leaks, perform a final visual inspection and pressure test to ensure the connections are secure and leak-free. Only proceed to fill the pool with water once you are confident in the integrity of the PVC system.

Following these steps, you can effectively connect your filter, pump, and heater to the PVC system, secure the connections, and check for leaks. Maintaining a properly connected and leak-free PVC system will optimize the performance of your above ground pool and prolong its lifespan.

Pressure Testing And Troubleshooting

Once you have hard plumbed your above ground pool with PVC pipes, it is crucial to conduct a pressure test to ensure the integrity of the system. This test will help you identify any leaks or potential issues that may arise, allowing you to troubleshoot and fix them before filling the pool with water.

Conducting a pressure test to ensure system integrity

To conduct a pressure test, follow these steps:

  1. Close all valves and connections in the PVC piping system.
  2. Attach a pressure gauge to the system, preferably at the highest point.
  3. Use a compressor to gradually increase the air pressure in the pipes.
  4. Monitor the pressure gauge and check for any sudden drops or fluctuations.
  5. If the pressure remains steady, it indicates a leak-free system.
  6. If the pressure drops, carefully inspect all connections, fittings, and joints for leaks.
  7. Apply a soapy water solution to the suspected areas and look for any bubble formation indicating a leak.
  8. Tighten or replace any faulty components to ensure system integrity.
  9. Repeat the pressure test after making necessary repairs to confirm that the system is leak-free.

Troubleshooting common issues and fixing leaks

During the pressure test, if you notice any leaks or other issues, it is crucial to address them promptly. Here are some common troubleshooting steps for fixing leaks in your PVC plumbing system:

  1. Identify the source of the leak by visually inspecting all connections and fittings.
  2. Ensure that all connections are tightly secured using PVC primer and cement.
  3. If a joint is leaking, disassemble it, clean both ends and reassemble with new PVC primer and cement.
  4. Apply an appropriate PVC pipe repair epoxy for cracks or small holes in the pipes.
  5. For larger leaks or extensive damage, replace the faulty section of the PVC pipe.

Remember to always follow manufacturer guidelines and safety precautions when working with PVC pipes and conducting repairs. Properly sealed and leak-free plumbing ensures your above ground pool’s optimal performance and longevity.

Backfilling And Finishing Touches

After successfully hard plumbing your above ground pool with PVC pipe, the next step is to focus on backfilling and adding the finishing touches to ensure the system is secure and functioning optimally. This stage is crucial as it involves properly filling the trench and compacting the soil, testing the system, and making any final adjustments.

Filling in the trench and compacting the soil

With the PVC pipe now securely connected, it’s time to fill in the trench surrounding the plumbing lines. This step is essential to protect the pipes from potential damage and ensure stability for your above ground pool. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Start by using a shovel to carefully backfill the trench with soil. Take your time and ensure that the soil is evenly distributed along the length of the trench.
  2. As you fill in the trench, use a tamper or compactor to compact the soil. This will help prevent future settling, which could lead to damage or misalignment of the plumbing lines.
  3. Continue adding soil and compacting it until the trench is completely filled and level with the surrounding ground. Be sure to use caution while compacting to avoid putting excessive pressure on the pipes.

Testing the system and making final adjustments

Once the backfilling process is complete, testing the system before considering the project finished is crucial. Testing the hard plumbing will ensure that there are no leaks or issues that need to be addressed. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Turn on the pool pump and allow water to flow through the system. Pay close attention to any signs of leakage or abnormal water flow.
  2. If there are any leaks, use PVC primer and cement to seal them. Apply the primer and cement according to the manufacturer’s instructions, carefully securing any loose connections or joints.
  3. In addition to checking for leaks, evaluate the water flow and make any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal circulation in your above ground pool.
  4. After making the final adjustments, test the system again to confirm that all issues have been resolved and the water flow is functioning as intended.

Once you have successfully completed the backfilling process, compacted the soil, and tested the system with any necessary adjustments, your hard plumbing installation for the above ground pool is complete. The satisfaction of knowing that your pool is properly connected, well-sealed, and functioning smoothly is worth the effort and attention to detail at this stage.

Pool Water Maintenance And Care

Pool water maintenance and care are crucial for keeping your above ground pool clean and safe for swimming. Balancing pool chemicals and maintaining water quality are essential aspects of pool water maintenance. Regular maintenance routines for the PVC plumbing system also play a vital role in ensuring efficient water circulation and preventing any potential plumbing issues.

Balancing Pool Chemicals and Maintaining Water Quality

Properly balancing pool chemicals is integral to maintaining water quality and preventing issues such as algae growth and bacterial contamination. Here are some key steps you should follow:

  1. Test the water regularly using a pool water testing kit. This will help you determine the pH level, chlorine levels, and other chemical balances.
  2. Adjust the pH level if necessary. The optimal range is typically between 7.4 and 7.6. pH levels outside this range can lead to skin and eye irritation.
  3. Maintain the appropriate chlorine level. Chlorine helps disinfect the water and keep it safe for swimming. The chlorine level should ideally be between 1 and 3 ppm (parts per million).
  4. Shock the pool regularly. This involves adding a higher chlorine concentration to the water to destroy bacteria, algae, and other contaminants.
  5. Consider using algaecides and other pool water treatments as necessary to prevent algae growth and maintain crystal clear water.
  6. Regularly clean and vacuum the pool to remove debris and prevent it from affecting the water quality.

Regular Maintenance Routines for the PVC Plumbing System

Maintaining the PVC plumbing system of your above ground pool is essential for ensuring proper water circulation and minimizing the risk of leaks or blockages. Implement the following maintenance routines:

  • Inspect the PVC pipes regularly for any signs of cracks, leaks, or loose fittings. Promptly repair or replace any damaged components.
  • Clear out any debris or potential clogs from the pipes using a pipe cleaner or a plumbing snake. This will help maintain optimal water flow.
  • Check the pump and filter regularly, ensuring they are clean and functioning correctly. Clean or replace the filter as needed.
  • Inspect and clean the pool skimmer and return lines to prevent blockages that impede water flow.
  • Winterize the PVC plumbing system before the cold season to protect it from freezing temperatures. This may involve draining the pipes and adding antifreeze.
  • Consider using pipe insulation to further protect the pipes from extreme temperatures and reduce the risk of cracks or leaks.

By following these pool water maintenance and PVC plumbing system maintenance routines, you can ensure your above ground pool remains clean, safe, and in optimal condition for enjoyable swimming experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions: How To Hard Plumb An Above Ground Pool With PVC Pipe?

Can You Use Pvc Pipe For Above Ground Pools?

Yes, PVC pipe can be used for above ground pools.

Can You Use Pvc For Pool Plumbing?

Yes, PVC can be used for pool plumbing as it is durable, affordable, and resistant to corrosion.

How Do You Support Pvc Pipe Above Ground?

Supporting PVC pipe above ground is easy. Use pipe straps or hangers every 4 to 6 feet.

How Do You Winterize An Above Ground Pool With Hard Plumbing?

To winterize an above ground pool with hard plumbing, follow these steps:

  1. Start by draining the water below the skimmer line.
  2. Remove and clean all the equipment, like the pump, filter, and heater.
  3. Disconnect the plumbing connections and drain the water from the pipes.
  4. Add a winterizing chemical kit to prevent algae growth and protect the equipment.
  5. Cover the pool with a durable winter cover to keep it protected during the colder months.

Learn more


Hard plumbing an above ground pool with PVC pipe is a cost-effective and efficient way to ensure optimal water flow and durability. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily install a PVC pipe system that will withstand the test of time.

Remember to plan your layout carefully, gather the necessary materials, and use proper techniques for cutting and gluing PVC pipes. Don’t forget to test for leaks before connecting your pool equipment, and enjoy the benefits of a well-plumbed pool. Regular maintenance and inspections will help you address any issues in a timely manner and keep your pool running smoothly.

With the right knowledge and tools, you can enjoy a hassle-free swimming experience and make the most out of your above ground pool for years to come.


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