In-Ground Pools vs. Above Ground

Above Ground Pools vs. In-Ground

Published by Asbury Electric

When summer hits, it’s fun to enjoy the extra hours of daylight. However, summer’s sweltering heat may soon push you back to the comfort of your indoor AC. Thankfully, there is an option to stay cool outdoors. Investing in a backyard pool can revamp your summer plans and leave you refreshed instead of uncomfortable when you go outside.

Choosing a pool for your backyard is an exciting decision. However, it’s often difficult to know where to start when you’re debating between above-ground or in-ground options.

To make your decision easier, our experts at Asbury Electric compiled a list of the benefits and negatives to owning each system, so your choice fits your home and family’s needs.

Pros & Cons

When you’re weighing the pros and cons of above-ground pools versus their competitor, in-ground pools, it’s important to consider three factors in particular: cost, longevity, and maintenance. Keep reading below to understand the differences between your two options and how they’ll affect your bank, backyard, and time.

In addition to the factors above, we will also take a look at safety risks associated with each model and which safety measures are put in place to rectify those concerns.


The most obvious factor that homeowners consider when it comes to installing a pool is cost. Cheaper above-ground options are often alluring because they have lower upfront prices. However, in-ground pools shouldn’t be forgotten or overlooked. While in-ground models cost more initially, they can save you money in the long run instead. 

Installation Costs

For an above-ground pool in Gloucester, VA, or surrounding areas, installation costs are typically around $3,000. This includes getting the ground ready for the pool, checking electrical considerations, and installing the pool’s frame, pump, and filter. Including a nearby deck or landscaping around your above-ground pool can also raise your additional installation costs. 

When it comes to an in-ground pool, installation costs are often 10 times higher, starting at around $30,000. Similar to above-ground pools, in-ground pool installations provide filtration and maintenance equipment. However, in-ground pools require more prep work, contributing to their high cost. Zoning laws will determine where your pool can be dug out and placed.

Electrical Costs

It generally takes 120 volts of power to run an above-ground pool. While this can be accommodated by your electrical panel, a sub-panel is safer for operating your system. This extra above-ground electrical cost stops your pool from overloading the system that powers your entire home. Installing a sub-panel for your pool usually ranges from around $900 to $1100.

Comparing that above-ground electrical cost to an in-ground pool, the latter is often higher because it uses more energy. Doubling the above-ground pool’s capacity, in-ground pools take 240 volts of power to operate. This energy is too much for your home’s electrical panel, and you will definitely need to install a sub-panel to run your in-ground pool while keeping your lights on.


The next factor when it comes to choosing a backyard pool style is longevity. If you are planning to move in the next few years, an above-ground pool may be the better temporary solution. However, in-ground pools raise your home value, which makes them more attractive on the market, and gives you a more customizable swimming option for your current backyard.

Above Ground Pool

Most above-ground pools last around a decade if they are properly maintained and don’t suffer any major exterior damage. Some issues that can arise over the years are faulty seals leading to leaks and rust forming underneath your seal. Professional pool technicians can repair these issues for you before they develop into major problems, saving you from needing a new pool.

Your above-ground pool liner is responsible for keeping water inside your pool and preventing leaks. To strengthen the lifespan of your liner, it’s important to keep the proper balance of chemicals in your pool and add one chemical at a time, allowing it to mix into your pool’s water before adding the next one. Sharp objects and pets should also be removed from the pool area.

In-Ground Pool

On the other hand, in-ground pools last much longer, even withstanding five decades of use. While the in-ground pool’s initial costs are high, its longevity makes it an attractive option, saving you money on above-ground pool replacements each decade. Concrete and fiberglass options typically last longer than in-ground pools with vinyl liners.

When it comes to vinyl liners for your in-ground pool, it is important to keep regular toys inside your home and reserve specific pool toys for the water. Toys that aren’t designed for your pool often have sharp components that can rip your liner. Chlorine should also be dissolved before adding it to your pool because it can bleach and wear away your liner if it’s too harsh.


Finally, it’s important to consider pool maintenance when you are determining if investing in an above-ground or in-ground pool is right for you. In general, in-ground pools require more maintenance. However, both models come with weekly and seasonal duties to keep up with their aesthetics and make sure they are in their best working condition.

Weekly Pool Maintenance

When it comes to pool maintenance, it’s important to check your chlorine and pH levels daily and empty your pool’s protein skimmer. Weekly, you should check the alkalinity levels and add chlorine and dose chemicals to fight algae growth. Installing return jets can help with algae caused by common above-ground water circulation issues that pump placement can’t fix.

Seasonal Pool Maintenance

Typically, seasonal pool maintenance doesn’t involve draining your above-ground or in-ground pool. After all, water is what is holding your pool’s liner in place in both above-ground and vinyl liner in-ground pools. If you drain it to prepare for winter, you will likely damage your liner’s form and seal. Instead, chemical winterizing tools prepare your pool for the cold without hurting it.

Don’t Forget to Consider Pool Safety

While the factors above are great for determining which pool is practical for your home, it’s also important not to forget about safety. Both above-ground and in-ground pools offer safety measures to avoid accidental drowning. In general, above-ground pools tend to be safer around young children, but in-ground pools can be modified to protect your family.

Above-ground pools do not have the safety concern of toddlers falling into the pool like in-ground models because they are elevated. However, many local laws require in-ground pools to be fenced in to keep children safe. Ladders should also remain locked on above-ground models, so no one is trapped inside or forced to attempt to jump over the edge to get out.

Call Asbury Electric For Nearby Electrician Service in Gloucester

Asbury Electric is a local electrical company, meaning our electricians are part of your community and can best understand your home’s needs. Our experts always show up on time and offer satisfaction guarantees to ensure you are happy with our work. We also offer a “good hands” guarantee, putting you in contact with someone who can fix your issue, if we can’t first.

At Asbury Electric, we offer same-day service if you call before 10 am, so we can address your electrical issues immediately. In addition, we offer financing options because we understand that electrical emergencies or necessary upgrades aren’t always in your expected budget. Tried and true, we are residential electrical professionals who put our customers first.

For nearby electrician service options around Gloucester or Hampton Roads, call our electricians now. We look forward to serving you!

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