Are you getting your property ready for the warmer weather? Are you starting to think about opening your pool?
If you're a new pool owner, getting your swimming basin ready for use can seem like a daunting task. Yet once you've done it a few times, pool opening can become second nature.
Here are some of our favorite pool opening tips for beginners.
Remove the Pool Cover
Your pool has probably accumulated some interesting gunk during the winter months. If your debris is dry, you can sweep it off and give it a quick vacuum with a hose or pressure washer.
If, however, you've got some liquid goop, you can rent a cover pump to remove the stuff before you take the pool cover off. You'll want to do this with a friend to make the job easier. Each of you can start off by grabbing sides at the shallow end.
If you've got a solid winter cover, you can remove it by fan-folding it into three-to-five-foot folds.
If your cover is mesh, you'll need to remove the springs or fasteners first. You can do this with a removal tool or Allen wrench. Next, fold the cover loosely in an accordion fashion.
Clean and Store the Cover
Once you've removed your pool cover, you can take it to a spot where it will be easy to rinse off. This could be your driveway or somewhere else with a hard slope.
Next, sweep the cover and wash it down with a hose. You'll want to let it dry completely before you store it to keep extra dirt from sticking on.
Finally, you can roll or fan-fold your pool cover. Wrap it with a rope or straps to keep it tight.
The cover can get stored in a garage or indoors. If possible, keep it up higher so it won't become a nesting place for insects or rodents.
Reconnect Your Water Filter
The next step for inground pools will be to reconnect the lines, hoses, and plugs of your water filter. The owner's manual or company website is a good place to look if you aren't familiar with how to do this.
You'll need to add plumbing lubricant to gaskets, and pipe sealant to the threads of plugs. It's also important to remove freeze plugs on returns so you can install the jets. In addition, you'll have to remove the freeze plugs that are in the skimmers and put the skimmer baskets in.
Add Water and Clean
You can fill your pool up with water until it's in the middle of the skimmer weirs. Next, it's time to clean your pool water.
You can start by skimming off any floating debris with a skimmer net. You can then use a vacuum to take care of the debris at the bottom.
If you have a manual vacuum, you'll need to make sure all of your valves are open at the pump. You can then set it to "Recirculate."
There should then be a steady flow of water in the pump. If you don't see it, you may need to fill the lines with a hose.
Next, place the vacuum head and hose in the pool to fill it with water. Hold it over a return jet so the air gets blown out of the hose. You can have someone turn off the filter when the bubbles stop, but you'll need to keep the end of the hose underwater.
Finally, you can set the filter to "waste." This can send dirty water directly to your drain. You can then slowly vacuum the bottom of the pool.
Once you're finished, you can disconnect the hose and set the system back to "recirculate." Your water is now clean. You can place your ladder and accessories back in the pool.
Check for Leaks and Start Your Engines
Before you start your pool, make sure you check it for leaks, cracks, and split hoses. Make sure your valves are in the open position and your pump is full of water. There also shouldn't be any extra air.
You can now turn the power on in your pool. If you discover any damage, you'll need to turn it off and contact your pool service provider.
Test Your Water
Once your pool's been rolling for twenty-four hours, you can test it using a water chemistry kit. You can hold the strips under the water and compare them to the guide on the package.
Test kits are also available. These mix pool water with a reacting solution and you can view the color for results. When you run out of solutions, you can replace bottles rather than the entire kit.
It's important not to purchase more chemical testing than you'll need in one season. This is because they'll become less effective over time.
Your kit can get used for testing PH levels and alkalinity. Your PH should be somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6. If it isn't, you may need to add a PH increase or decrease.
Your pool's alkalinity should be between 80 and 150 parts per million. You may need to add an alkalinity increase if it's low.
You'll also need to test your pool water for calcium hardness. If it's too low, you could be corroding your pool's surfaces.
You can use a test strip for calcium hardness. Ideal levels are between 200 and 400 ppm.
In addition, you'll want to test your pool for chlorine content. Ideal chlorine levels for swimming pools are between 1 and 3 parts per million.
You may also need to add pool shock to get rid of anything toxic that's lingering. Algaecide can also get rid of remaining contaminants.
Run the Filter
You can open the pressure valve on your pool filter when the water starts to clear. You'll need to make sure you're pump is off.
Next, you can turn the pump back on. Once the water begins to flow from the relief valve, you can close it.
When you first open your pool, you can let the pump run for about twenty-four hours per day. Once pool season starts, it should run for about eight to twelve hours each day.
Enjoy Your Pool
Once the filter has run for about a day and your pool is clean, you can begin enjoying your pool! You'll need to make sure to set up a maintenance schedule for the rest of the season.
You've probably got lots of accessories you like to break out for the swimming season. You'll need to wash off your patio furniture and pool floats before everyone begins to use them.
Dish soap and a hose may be enough to get you started. However, you may also want to check out local pool suppliers for specialty cleaners.
If floats or tubes are damaged or in disrepair, don't take a chance. You'll need to replace them as soon as possible.
If your outdoor furniture is rusted or scraped, you won't be welcoming many visitors this season. Paint, repair, or replace it as needed.
It's important that you're landscaping is in tip-top shape when your pool opens. Tree branches could drop leaves into the pool and leave you with higher maintenance bills.
Most inground pool owners need to remove their handrails, diving boards, and ladders during the winter season for safety. It's important to check them for any wear, damage, or stress marks. If they are severely damaged, you may need to replace them.
If the surface of your diving board has been worn and the surface is no longer non-skid, you may be able to refinish it using a kit. Otherwise, it will need to be replaced.
If the tiles in your pool are dingy or faded, you can use a little tile cleaner before you fill it with water. Otherwise, try cleaning it off with a little baking soda and a sponge. Don't use any household cleaners, as these could add chemicals that will harm your pool water.
It's important to make sure that you install a fence around your pool if you plan on entertaining families with small children. You'll also need to make sure that gate and pool alarms are working. In addition, you can hang "No Running" or "No Diving" signs in the pool area for safety.
Opening Your Pool
Along with other rituals, opening your pool symbolizes the start of the summer season. With the right cleaning and safety measures, your family will be enjoying their first swim in no time.
Don't stop getting smart about your pool now. For expert pool supplies, contact us today.