With the official start of summer just weeks away, it’s time to make sure that your in-ground swimming pool is all ready to go for pool season. Opening it up should be a low stress, highly anticipated event for your entire family. Here are nine steps that should make opening your pool easy and efficient.
Step 1: Remove leaves and winter debris You will probably have fall and winter leaves, dirt, and general weather buildup on and around the pool. Before taking off the cover, make sure you get everything off. Using a leaf rake, gently scrape off any dried-on leaves or algae. You can also tie your pool brush onto the end of a long pole to brush it off. If you have a leaf blower, they work well to get the loose debris off. Take the time to blow off your patio and deck areas, too.
Step 2: Remove the cover It’s important that you do this properly. Removing the cover is a delicate task. If there’s standing water on the cover, you’ll first want to pump it off, so it doesn’t run into the pool. Once the cover is clean, remove it by fan-folding it, with folds being no more than five feet wide. Storing your cover properly is also an important step to removing it. Invest in a heavy-duty plastic container with a lid that can be secured. This will prevent bugs and rodents from eating or making a nest in your cover. Also, if you are using water tubes to secure your cover, ensure that they are empty and dry before storing them.
Step 3: Check the water level Check the skimmer water level. For the pump to function properly, the water needs to be in the middle of the skimmer opening to ensure proper circulation. Add water accordingly. While waiting for the pool to fill, check and test all your handrails, ladders, diving boards, and slides for loose bolts or other potentially unsafe conditions.
Step 4: Check the condition of the water If the water appears cloudy, it means that there is still dirt and debris in the pool. Using a skimmer, clean off what you can see. Also, reach down to the bottom to remove anything that may have settled during the winter. Look closely at the walls to see if any algae or moss is clinging to the surfaces.
Step 5: Check the filtration system Now that the water has been cleaned out, it’s time to check the filtration system. You might need to change the sand or the cartridge (depending on the type of system you have). Next, put the filter valve in the filtering mode, adjust all the pipes, and start filtering. Before you do, make sure that the valves and the rings are adequately lubricated and are working properly. If you have a multi-port valve, make sure you check the air bleeder, sight glass, and pressure gauge. Allow the system to run for 8-12 hours. If your pump doesn’t catch prime and begin pumping, check that the pump lid is tight. Make sure that the hose adapter coming into the pump is tight and sealed with Teflon tape, and that there aren’t and splits or kinks in the incoming hose.
Step 6: Check the pH levels After the 8-12 hour run time, check the pH level, total alkalinity, hardness of water due to calcium, and so forth. Fill the test tube with water retrieved from at least 18 inches below the surface, collected away from the pump inlet. Add the test-specific amount of agent and cap the tube and shake. Don’t use your finger to cover the tube as oils introduced from your hand can compromise the results. Add chemicals in proper order to balance the water. Here is an article about the ABC’s of pool chemistry for your reference. You can also call the showroom and one of the pool professionals at Hawaiian Pool Builders can come out and test these levels for you.
Step 7: Don’t dive in yet. The filter has to be cleaned every day until the water is clear. Expect the entire process to take about a week. You may need to add more chlorine to keep it at the proper level. Only when the water is clear, and you can see the bottom will it be time to take the initial plunge.
Step 8: Take inventory of supplies and safety features Check all the safety items related to pool safety. Is your first-aid kit fully stocked and within easy reach? Is your cleaning equipment in proper working order? Is the gate and latch secure to prevent accidental access or to secure your pool area when you are away? Re-install your accessories. Your pool ladders, diving boards and step rails should all be checked to make sure that the nuts and bolts are secure, and they aren’t showing any signs of rust. It’s a good idea to check and keep them lubricated throughout the summer months.
Step 9: Invite your friends over to lend a hand You may not be able to take dive in, but, you can still enjoy friends for a great afternoon and evening. Fire up your grill to give it the first run of the season. Enjoy the evening air fireside on your patio furniture, or play some games.
The above-mentioned ways of readying your pool after a long winter spell will ensure that you can enjoy months of frolicking in the warm waters safely and without needing to worry about the stability and integrity of the internal works that keep the pool water clean.
Now you can relax knowing that you’ve accomplished a chore that will set you, your family and friends up to enjoy the entire summer.
At Hawaiian Pool Builders, we are here to answer any questions you may have during this process.