The days are getting warmer and we see signs of spring all around us…you know what that means? Time to open your swimming pool!
As much as we all enjoy using our pools, opening it can be a bit of a chore. It is a lot of hard work!
Opening your swimming pool the right way means avoiding a lot of problems. As well, doing a thorough inspection of your equipment can reveal problems so you can fix them before they are expensive.
We want to make opening your swimming pool as easy as possible. Here are some tips to get you started with some tips and how-to’s.
When to Open your Swimming Pool
Here in Texas, we don’t need to worry about snow and rain, but we do get some cold snaps in mid-March and April. You want to wait until the temperature is consistently above 70 degrees before opening your swimming pool.
You may think it is a waste to run your pool before you are ready to swim in it. This is not true for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, you don’t want to wait too long. Algae can start to bloom if the pool is covered and temperatures get to warm.
Fixing this is much more expensive than the cost of running your pool for the extra time! It is much better to open your swimming pool before algae begins to bloom.
Secondly, opening your pool in cooler weather is more efficient. You do not need to run the pump for quite as long and chlorine is not used up quite as quickly in cooler water.
1. Take Care of Landscaping Around Your Swimming Pool
Before you get to spring cleaning your swimming pool, you’re going to want to look at the area around it. Trim or prune any branches that have grown and will drop debris and leaves onto your pool.
Look around your filters and pumps. Leaves may have accumulated there and will need to be removed.
Do yourself a favor and avoid fishing leaves out of your pool all summer long. Before you get started, tidy up the landscaping around your swimming pool.
Another reason is because you are about to clean your cover. The last thing you need is to have debris blowing on the cover that you just finished cleaning!
This is something you will want to keep an eye on over the summer. Tidy landscaping means a tidy pool!
2. Remove the Cover
If you winterized and closed your pool, the first thing you will want to do is remove the cover. The mistake many make is removing the cover without cleaning it first.
There is nothing worse than seeing a crystal clean pool turn green as algae on the pool cover goes into the pool. The most important thing is to make sure none of the dirt on your pool cover ends up in your swimming pool.
Over the winter, debris and water may have gathered on the pool cover. Before going any further, you’re going to want to pump the water off of the pool cover.
Make sure you don’t pump any of the water in the pool through the cover. There are pumps made especially for pool covers that are relatively inexpensive.
If there are only leaves and debris on your cover, it is fine to just sweep it off. Use a pool brush, plastic rake or broom to clean the cover.
NEVER use a metal rake to remove leaves from your pool cover -this can greatly damage your cover!
Pool covers can be quite heavy to remove – have a friend help you out!
Lay out your removed swimming pool cover in a flat area and clean it thoroughly. There are special cleaners made for this very purpose.
Then, let it dry in the sun for at least 24 hours.
Add talcum powder once it’s dry. This will prevent mildew in the summer – no one wants a stinky pool cover!
Store in a safe place where it won’t be damaged.
3. Clear Floating Debris
Regardless of whether you covered your pool, you may note that there are some leaves, pollen or other debris floating in your swimming pool. You want to remove those first – using a deep leaf net and can be used to gently lift debris from the bottom of the swimming pool!
You want to remove as much large debris as possible from your swimming pool before running a vacuum. By doing that, it will be that much easier for when you vacuum later.
4. Check your Water Levels
You may notice that your water levels seem a little low. This can be easily fixed.
Before filling it up, clean your filter first. You do this by removing your cartridge filter and spray it off.
Next, fill up your swimming pool. You can just use your regular garden hose!
You want to fill until it’s up to the middle of the skimmer. If in doubt, fill a little on the high side to account for evaporation or account for any waste during the rest of the cleaning.
What if you have hard water or you need a lot of water? You can arrange to have water delivered to fill your swimming pool.
If you only need a couple of inches, using tap water from your garden hose will work just fine.
5. Check your Water Quality
Look at your water quality. You can buy a cheap pool opening kit that has test strips and detailed instructions on testing your water.
Alternatively, take a sample of your water to a swimming pool store. They will test it (probably for free) and give a report on what you need to adjust.
Follow their advice and add the chemicals that are recommended. Balance the pH, alkalinity, calcium and chlorine. The ideal pH is between 7.4 and 7.6.
It is important to have the right chemical balance. Not having that can lead to illness and skin reactions – not something you want for your family!
If your water is incredibly dirty, you may need to add gallons of chlorine solution or “shock” your pool. If you need to do that, you will need to run the filter and backwash several times.
“Shocking” does two things: it kills algae that is in your pool and adds enough chlorine that new algae doesn’t grow.
But don’t dive in just yet! You will need to continue to clean your filter every day until your water is clear.
6. Check out Your Swimming Pool
Take a walk around the pool. Inspect everything that you can see – look for signs of wear and tear.
You may also see stains in the pool, railings that may need some repair, etc.
Make sure your pool filter does not have any clogs or tears. If your pool has a vinyl liner, there may be tears that need to be repaired.
7. Check out the Pool Equipment
If you winterize your pool, you will have a little more work to do here. You need to reconnect your heater, filter and pump.
While you’re filling up your pool, you can remove winterizing plugs from the skimmer and jets.
Take a careful look at your equipment, such as your heater and filter. Look for signs of damage that need to be addressed.
Look at the plumbing and check for leaks. If you find a leak, it can be fixed in a couple of ways:
- Should the crack be in the plumbing, replace the affected plumbing.
- If you can’t see a crack, try tightening the connection.
- If neither of those work, try lubricating the affected seal with lubricant.
- Try replacing the seal.
If none of those steps work, get in touch with a pool repair specialist.
When looking at pool equipment, don’t forget your toys! Give your slides, diving boards and even inflatable rings a good scrub!
8. Clean the Pool
As we mentioned before, make sure you first skim all of the leaves off of the top and then give your pool a good vacuum. This will get all of the dirt, algae, grime and leaves from the bottom of your swimming pool.
Take your pool brush and scrub the sides of your pool, there may be stubborn stains to remove. Pay special attention to the areas near the stairs or railings – that is where debris tends to gather.
The longer that organic debris is allowed to stay in a pool, the more of a problem it will be. You want to make sure to do a good cleaning to avoid those problems.
Why is it important? Because cleaning as much as possible will allow the chemicals to do their job efficiently.
To summarize, there are a series of steps to spring clean your pool. They are:
- Take Care of Landscaping
- Remove the Cover
- Clear Floating Debris
- Check your Water Levels
- Inspect your Water Quality
- Check out the Pool
- Check out the Pool Equipment
- Clean the Pool
We know that everyone is itching to open their swimming pools and enjoy them! A little bit of hard work will make sure that you can enjoy your summer!