Many parts of the country are still struggling to shake off the last bits of winter. But here in the Southeast, spring is just around the corner. With spring comes longer days, warmer weather, and the perfect time to open your swimming pool.
This year, prepare your pool for a fun swimming season by following these essential tips. They will make opening your pool much easier and get you out and enjoying some fun in the sun in no time!
Cleaning Your Pool Cover
After a long winter, your pool cover needs a good cleaning. If you haven’t cleaned your pool cover since last fall, you may have quite a mess on your hands. Even if you cleared it from time to time over the winter, chances are you have some work to do. It is important to remove any debris or standing water from your cover before taking it off.
The most important part of taking off your pool cover is making sure that when you open your swimming pool, none of the debris from the cover winds up in your pool. Depending on how dirty your pool cover is, it may take several hours to clear it of debris.
If you have a solid pool cover, you need to deal with any standing water. Solid pool covers should be kept free of water all winter since too much water can actually collapse a cover. If you own a solid cover, you should probably invest in a pump made especially for emptying water that collects on the pool cover. You can get one at your local pool shop, and they are not overly expensive.
Now that you are ready to open your swimming pool, set up your pump and make sure you get rid of all the water on the cover. The cover needs to be as dry as possible. Once you have gotten rid of as much water as possible, use a pool brush or a plastic rake to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris that have collected on the pool cover. Never use a metal rake. Metal rakes can tear a solid pool cover, which would be a very costly mistake.
Removing and Storing the Pool Cover
Once you have cleaned your cover, remove it and lay it flat to ensure that it is totally clean. Wipe off any remaining leaves or debris that is stuck to it. The next step is crucial. Lay out the cover and let it dry completely. You will need at least 48 hours without any precipitation to get it fully dry. Make sure to flatten out any creases or folds that could hold moisture. After the pool cover has dried completely, fold it neatly and store it for next winter.
Taking proper care of your pool cover is extremely important, as it will keep it in good condition and make closing your pool much easier next fall.
Examine, Clean, and Fill Your Pool
Once the pool cover has been removed, it is crucial to examine your pool closely and inspect for any damage that may have occurred during the winter months. Check your pool filter for clogs or tears. Make sure that the filter and skimmer baskets are clear before you turn on the pump. If you have a pool with a vinyl liner, check the liner for tears and damage. If needed, address any repairs that need to be made at this stage. Don’t start to run your pump until you are sure there is no damage to the pool.
Once the pool is examined, and any repairs are completed, you are ready to refill your pool. When you closed your pool, you should have dropped the water level by several inches. Now is time to get your pool back to the appropriate water level for the swimming season. After months of being covered without any refilling or maintenance, it is likely that your pool will be lower on water than you left it anyway.
You can use regular tap water to fill your pool. Just use your garden hose. If you have especially hard water in your area, if you need a lot of water, or if water is expensive, you can purchase water from a truck. But if your pool is only a few inches low, that should not be necessary.
Once the has been filled, brush and vacuum your pool. Pay close attention to the walls, floors, and steps as these areas tend to gather debris. Giving your pool a thorough clean will help to make the chemicals more effective when they are added.
Adjust Chemicals and Balance the Water
When it comes time to open your pool, the easiest way to get all of the chemicals you will need is to purchase a kit. Pool opening kits typically include the following items: multi-purpose pool shock, algaecide, pool care pill treatments, and test strips. They also give specific directions on how to test your water for pH, calcium, and alkalinity.
Balancing your pool when you open it shouldn’t be that different from balancing it during the swimming season. The main difference is that the water will probably need more adjusting the first time around. The water balance can shift a lot over the winter, and the added tap water will throw off the balance even more.
After adding chemicals and getting the appropriate pH, calcium, and alkalinity, you are ready to chlorinate your pool. After a long winter without water maintenance, you will need to shock your pool. Refer to your pool opening kit for the recommended dosage. If any algae have developed in your pool, you may need to shock it more than once, following each round with a thorough brushing and vacuuming.
The last step in preparing your pool is to add algaecide and pool care pills. Always refer to the pool manual for proper dosage. Be sure to avoid entering the pool while it is being treated, and wait until the free chlorine level drops below 4 ppm to start swimming. Ideally, the free chlorine should remain between 1 and 3 ppm during the swimming season.
Professional Pool Opening
Following these simple steps will make opening your pool much easier, saving you time and money. You will be prepared to enjoy a healthy, clean, and sparkling pool. Of course, to expedite the process, consider contacting a pool maintenance company like The Pool Butler! We specialize in opening pools each spring, and our technicians will have it done in a jiffy. You can skip the hassle and be enjoying your pool in just a few days.