Tired of the cold weather? Bet you can’t wait to get your swimming pool summer ready.
If you’re at the back-end of a long off-season and are waiting into your pool then you sure don’t want any unexpected surprises popping up. If you’ve been showing your pool the right amount of TLC during winter then you know the importance of opening it correctly for summer. Follow this guide and open your pool the right way for plenty of lazy summer afternoons.
Don’t drain your pool:
Unless you’ve completely skipped out on winter pool maintenance and have uncovered a swamp, there’s not a need to drain your pool. Even if you’re worried that your pool might freeze over the course of winter, leave it filled up. Why? There’s a strong possibility of the pool popping out of the ground. It’s a serious potential problem that most pool owners aren’t aware of.
If you do need to drain your pool at any stage, make sure it’s done by a pool cleaning professional.
Get your pool ready to open:
The first real step you’re going to take is preparing your pool for what’s known as a ‘chemical open’. Peel off part of your pool cover and begin by putting together your pool’s filtration system and cleaning out all the baskets. Then, top up your water if the level has fallen during winter. The final step of your preparation will be to clean your filters.
Test your water:
Getting your pool’s chemical balance right is one of the most important parts of pool ownership, period. You want to start off on the right foot when opening your pool for summer, so take a water sample to your local pool shop. Most pool shops will perform the test for free. They’ll tell you all about your water’s mineral content and pH levels, and will tell you what needs to be adjusted and by how much.
Another good idea is to buy some pool chemistry test strips. Then, you can perform quick tests yourself to check the pH level of your water.
Get your chemical balance right:
From the way your pool water looks to how irritating it is on your eyes, a chemical balance is a key to a healthy pool. Here’s how your chemical levels should measure:
pH levels: Your pH levels should ideally be between 7.2 and 7.6, with 7.4 being optimum. Use soda ash to increase your pool’s pH level, or use muriatic acid/sodium bisulfate to reduce it.
Fun fact: the pH level of a human tear is 7.0.
[insert pH scale infographic here]
Total alkalinity: Alkalinity keeps your pool’s pH levels consistent. Though, your pool’s total alkalinity needs to be at the right level to do this. Total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120. Use sodium bicarbonate to increase total alkalinity or use muriatic acid to decrease.
Calcium hardness (parts per million): Water can be either soft or hard. If you don’t put enough calcium in your water it could damage pool surfaces i.e. tiles, as it will feed on the calcium found in the grout on tiles. Calcium hardness should be from 150 to 250 ppm.
Chlorine: Chlorine levels should be between 1 to 3 ppm. For in-ground backyard pools, chlorine tablets are a popular choice. Chlorine tablets tend to have low acid levels, meaning they will eat away at the metal. Therefore, it is a good idea to get a plastic chlorinator and attach it to your filter system. You’ll need a pro to hook it up for you.
Let your pool water clear:
Unfortunately, it’s not time to jump in just yet. This process lasts about one week. Keep an eye on your chemical levels every day for the next week and adjust accordingly. Then, once your water has completely cleared up, you may take off your pool cover. Provided that your pool cover did its job over the winter, there shouldn’t be any leaves or debris at the bottom of your pool. If there is, you’ll have to vacuum those.
Here’s where most pool owners get it wrong – ongoing TLC. Over the course of the whole pool season, you should keep your filters clean, test your chemical levels and keep them in check, and vacuum your pool at least once per week.
A pool provides you a unique opportunity for fun and family time to spend together — enjoy it!
Thanks for all the fantastic advice from Pool Magic Pool Care, a pool cleaning business based in Adelaide, Australia.