This winter was unseasonably warm for many areas. For others, the cold winter is still upon you. But as springtime approaches and the weather begins to warm up, it’s time to think about opening your swimming pool. You should begin to get out your checklist together and determine which chemicals you will need. It’s time to get outside reclaim your outdoor oasis.
Opening a pool is now easier than ever and with a few simple steps, you can be ready to enjoy your pool in no time! One of the most overlooked areas regarding opening the swimming pool is the area around your swimming pool. Remember to clean up debris from the pool deck, patio and surrounding areas. Trim trees and overgrown shrubs to avoid debris entering the swimming pool. Next, make sure that you have all the necessary chemical and equipment ready for the whole pool opening process. Quick Tip: Pool maintenance supplies that are past expiration should be properly disposed of and replaced with new chemicals. These chemicals will not give the desired result, and may be harmful to the swimming pool during the opening process.
Remove the cover on the swimming pool very carefully. Avoid combining water from the top of the cover with the pool water. Use a shop vac or pump to remove this water. After removing the cover, bring it to an area that allows the cover to properly drain. Thoroughly sweep and hose off the cover and use cleaner or treatment if it’s recommended by the manufacturer of the cover. Tightly roll, or fan-fold the cover and wrap with rope or use strapping to keep it tight. Always store the pool cover indoors or in a garage to keep it away from insects, rodents and moisture.
Next, inspect every aspect of your swimming pool. Remove all expansion plugs from the skimmer and wall returns and restore the directional fittings. Check the filter and pump for any damage or worn out parts. You may have to purchase new parts or a replacement depending on the condition of the part. Check the lighting of the pool for any damage because of the freezing temperature. Remove all calcium stains with a tile brush and tile cleaner. For tougher stains use a pumice stone. Look for any cracks in the plaster in or around your pool. It is easier to fix these now than later on in the process.
Different pool types require different inspection procedures during the opening process. Vinyl liner pools are especially prone to small tears and leaks. Check for holes or tears and make any needed repairs. The primary function of the vinyl liner is to hold water. If it is properly maintained, it can last for a very long time. Patch tears or holes promptly, before they get any bigger, following the instructions of your pool’s manufacturer. Gunite pools can develop cracks over time. Proper pool maintenance can prevent these small cracks from becoming large eye sores. It’s especially important to check for cracks at the beginning and end of the swimming season. Cracks often develop from ground shifts. Water may be lost as well. Repair cracks in accordance with guidelines on the product label or instructions from the manufacturer. Finally, in fiberglass pools hairline cracks are normal. Inspect for other damage. Since fiberglass pools have a gel coating, hairline cracks do not tend to leak or affect the integrity of the pool. As with any pool maintenance, if you do not feel comfortable performing the task yourself, contact a pool professional to do the job.
Next, let’s add some water to the pool. It is best to test the water source before even thinking about testing the pool. This test will analyze and explain any water problems that may arise. Test for proper pH levels, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and salt levels. This test can be done with any pool water testing kit. Grab the hose and fill the pool to the midpoint on the waterline tile or middle of the skimmer weirs. You can now clean leaves, twigs and debris from the pool’s bottom by using a wall and floor brush as well as the leaf basket. This is also a great time to dust off your algae brush and pool vacuum.
Next, check the condition of the pool filter. Remove the top of the filter and check the filter cartridge. If you have a sand filter, refill it to the indicated level. Check the piping in your filters for cracks or leaks. This could save you lots of time and money down the road. After proper inspection, make sure to run your filter 12-24 hours to combine the old and new water before testing or adding chemicals. As stated before, make sure your testing strips and chemicals are not expired. In order to get the best start for your pool, you should bring a water sample to a pool professional for proper analysis. Your pool professional will provide you with instructions for balancing your pool water. They can test the water’s pH level, the alkalinity, the calcium hardness and the chlorine content. In addition to shocking the pool, they may be able to also recommend that you add a stabilizer, conditioner or algaecide to your pool before it’s ready for the warm weather. Continue to run the filter for a few days, vacuuming out any debris that has settled. When the water is clear and the chlorine levels have come down, your pool is ready for swimming!
Congratulations! You’ve successfully opened your pool. Be sure all rescue and safety equipment is easily accessible. Remember - a fun pool is clean AND also safe.