Swimming is a beneficial and fun activity; nothing beats the convenience of owning your own pool to enjoy that pastime whenever the sun is shining and the weather is warm enough. Swimming pools do require their fair share of maintenance, however. Part of the routine of pool ownership is opening it up when winter is well and truly finished. How long it takes to open a swimming pool for the Spring can largely depend on whether or not you have a plan. Simply go through the following steps of how to open a swimming pool to get back to enjoying your time in the water.
Step 1: Tidy the Surroundings
Before opening the pool, take a moment to survey the surrounding area. Eliminate those elements that may cause issues later, after opening the pool. Trim overgrown trees and hedges away from the pool. Sweep away leaves from the area around an in-ground pool. If you have deck furniture flanking your pool, clean and make any necessary repairs to it before proceeding with the swimming pool itself.
Step 2: Check for Damage
Wear and tear are always a concern after a season of winter weather. Check up on such pool equipment as safety rails, rescue equipment, diving boards, ladders, and slides. Clean them and perform any necessary maintenance on these pieces of swimming pool equipment. Check for cracks, rust, and other signs of wear and tear.
Step 3: Inventory Pool Chemicals
Readying a swimming pool requires certain chemicals. You will want to have them all ready to put into action before beginning to open your swimming pool. Make sure you have everything you need, checking the expiration dates as you go. Replace any that have passed that deadline date, disposing of the old chemicals properly. If you find any chemicals that were not properly sealed prior to storage, replace those as well. Chemicals for your pool include chlorine tablets or granules, shock treatment, algaecide, increaser or decreaser chemicals for calcium, pH, and alkalinity, and stain treatment. Also have good test strips on hand for checking the swimming pool’s calcium hardness, chlorine levels, total alkalinity, and pH.
Step 4: Draining and Cleaning the Pool Cover
Whether your pool is covered by a solid safety cover or a winter cover, any standing water atop the cover needs to be removed before removing the cover itself. If the water pooled there is substantial, consider using a cover pump to perform this task. After that, sweep the cover or use a blower on it for the removal of leaves and debris.
Step 5: Removing the Pool Cover
In this step, you may need a helping hand if your pool is large or if you utilized a safety cover over the winter. Small amounts of debris landing in the pool are not a problem. You will be first vacuuming, then shocking the swimming pool before you enter the waters and start enjoying use of your pool again. Give the cover a good rinsing with a hose and then thoroughly clean it with a formulated cleaner. Allow it to dry. Storage is important in preserving the life of your pool cover; keep it safely removed from rodents, insects, and the elements. Roll your clean and dry cover up tightly before storing it in a garage or shed.
Step 6: Inspecting the Pool
Now that the cover is in order, the pool needs to receive a good once-over prior to opening. You should carry out the following inspections and actions to ensure safe and enjoyable pool time in the warm days to come. First, remove winterizing plugs or drain plugs from wall returns and surface skimmers, restoring directional fittings. Then, inspect the return lines, pump, and filter for potential parts that have seen wear or damage, replacing anything necessary. Reattach underwater pool lights if you removed them.
Check tile, removing scale and stains from calcium with a tile cleaner or a tile brush and baking soda. Pumice stones can be helpful for tough stains. Check for chips in plaster and indentations on the pool’s coping and deck. Finally, inspect the pool’s interior for damage, making any necessary repairs.
Step 7: Halfway There: Partial Filling and Debris Cleaning
You may be yearning to immerse yourself in the pool, but first, you need to fill it midway. Once the water is at the proper point, you can clean twigs, leaves, and other debris from the bottom of the pool using a brush for walls and floors. Get your brush for algae and your pool vacuum ready to go and take debris from the leaf basket.
Step 8: Filter and Test the Water
It is now time to get your pool filter running. Turn it on, letting it run from half a day to a full 24 hours so that it can mix up old and new water. Then test it with current testing strips. The final step will be adding pool chemicals according to the test results.
Step 9: Chemical Additions for First-Timers
Your first time adding chemicals to your pool can be stressful. Break it down into the following simple steps. First, balance alkalinity, raising it with soda ash or baking soda or lowering it with muriatic acid. Your goal is a range between 80 and 120 ppm. Next, you need to balance pH conditions. Again, increase with baking soda or soda ash and decrease with muriatic acid. For a pleasant swimming environment, aim for a base level at 7.4. Then get your calcium hardness balanced. You can increase hardness with calcium chloride. Aim for a range of 200 to 400 ppm. Then shock your pool. Add two pounds per 10,000 gallons of chlorine shock. Post-shocking, the chlorine should be at a level of 10 ppm.
Your pool should be ready and raring for swimming action at this point. If the shock has left the water cloudy, you can always add clarifier to your pool water. Then you should do another set of tests with test strips. With this reassurance that you have achieved the proper chemical levels for your pool, you can don your swimming suit and start paddling around your pool.
Once your pool is up and running for the season, it might be time to make some upgrades. Global Pool Products is your source for American made pool slides, ladders, railings, games and swim up bars to help you maximize your fun in the sun this summer.