What You Should Do To Properly Open The Pool After Winter
After three long months of chilly breeze and wearing five layers of clothing, everyone should be excited about the rising temperature and the shining sun. If you have a swimming pool, then you should be doubly ecstatic!
But, as you have probably known, keeping the pool safe and in excellent shape is literally a draining experience. If it’s your first time opening a pool after the winter, expect some horror movie stuff in there. Of course, you always have the option of hiring a pool service, but the cost involved could even be scarier than the pool’s dark green slush of who knows what.
A more practical option is to let a friend (or friends) help you in the project, perhaps bribing them with some beer and Sloppy Joes and and agree to let them bathe in the pool all spring and summer. After all, if you have taken the proper steps in securing the pool, it probably wouldn’t take long to get that pool safe and crystal clear for swimming.
But before opening the pool, you may want to do an inventory of the tools you may need.
Things You’ll Need To Open The Pool
Depending on the location and the extent of the work, you may need:
- Shrub-trimming tool. After opening the pool, it is almost a guarantee that you’re going to clean it. However, there’s no point in opening and cleaning the pool if some shrub or tree keeps spraying it over with leaves. It’ll make the cleaning process harder than it should have. To prevent that from happening, clear away the overhanging branches or trim overgrown hedges before proceeding to the real business.
- Broom. There will be stray leaves loitering around the pool, so you and your buddy should sweep them away. The wind could blow them into the water, making your work more complicated than it has to be. You don’t want that, so you better be ready with a broom.
- Cover cleaner. The winter cover took all the strain and pressure after all those months, and it should be chock-full of debris. You’ll save some money if you clean the cover well and put it away safely for future use.
- Allen or Hex wrench. An Allen or hex wrench is a tool you need if you’re using a mesh cover for your pool. The cover is usually fastened around the pool, and you’ll need an Allen or hex wrench to pry the anchors open. If you’re using a solid cover, then there is no use for an Allen wrench.
- Other cleaning materials such as a pool net, pool vacuum, and a pool brush. If you want to go old-school and flex your muscles, you can manually clean the pool using the tools mentioned above. Still, a more convenient, albeit pricier option, is using a robotic or automated pool cleaner. These things, unlike manual pool vacuums, scrub the floors, clear away dirt and debris, and even scrape swimming pool walls, saving you a lot of precious time.
- Test strips and chemicals such as muriatic acid, baking soda, chlorine, and calcium chloride. These materials are used to check the pool water’s balance, from the pH levels, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Chlorine is also used in shocking the pool.
After preparation and reconnaissance, then it’s time for the moment of truth. The following instructions may be skipped or interchanged based on your pool area’s unique conditions and how dirty the pool got.
Reminders and Procedure on How to Open Your Pool
- Before opening Pandora’s box, AKA the pool cover, rid it first of any junk that found its way on top. Assuming you did your due diligence and used a pool cover pump during the winter months, the cover should be relatively dry and easy to fold.
- Now it’s time to remove the cover. Fold it in sections accordion style. This method is easier, and it prevents whatever debris that’s left from falling off the pool.
- Clean the pool cover. These things are not cheap, and it’s a bummer if you’d have to change pool covers every year. Ensure that it’s completely dry before storing it indoors, safely away from rats and other animals that may mistake it for a summer home.
- Be a good soldier and inspect all of the pool’s equipment for possible damages. There may be plugs, filters, pumps, and lights that need replacement or repair. It’s also a good idea to lubricate and grease bolts and hinges of your diving board if you have one.
- After a thorough inspection and possible equipment replacement, see if the pool’s water level goes below the midpoint of the opening of the skimmer. If it does, fill up your pool halfway using the garden hose. The midpoint line is the perfect spot so you can clean debris and brush algae off the pool floor. Again, you can do it manually or invest in a robotic cleaner to do the job for you. This way, you and your buddies could go back to the house, eat lunch, and relax as the robotic cleaner cleans the pool.
- The next step is reactivating the water circulation system by turning on the filter and pump. Make sure that there are no leaks and no loose fittings. If there are any, it’s time to replace those parts. Now, if the filter is up and running, play the waiting game and let it run for the next 12-14 hours. This allows time for the old and new water to mix before treating the water.
- Speaking of water treatment, you must test the water first for alkalinity, pH levels, and hardness. You can employ a pool professional to do this, but you can do it yourself by using test kits since the whole point is to save money. The sequence should be alkalinity testing first , then pH testing, and calcium hardness testing. If you don’t feel confident enough to do these tests, be on the safe side and go to the local pool store to get help.
After balancing the alkalinity, pH levels, and calcium hardness of the water, shock it by using chlorine. The suggested amount for a double shock is two pounds of chlorine for every 10,000 gallons of water. This will effectively get rid of those pesky algae and make the pool safer.
- At this point, the pool water’s chemistry should be down pat. The only other thing to do is to keep the filter running for 24 hours and test the water again to err on the side of caution. If everything checks out, you’re ready for the next step.
- Isn’t this too obvious? Call your buddies over for a day of splashing and a poolside barbeque! Remember that the swim season will be for several months, so set up a maintenance schedule to keep the pool in tip-top shape.
Why Maintain Your Swimming Pool
The pool environment could be a breeding ground for bacteria, algae, and other pathogens if not properly maintained. Sure, this takes a lot of time, but the family’s health and everyone you love are worth much more than the cost of maintenance.
Another good reason why you should take complete care of your pool is it boosts your home’s resale value. You may not be thinking about it now, but circumstances change, and you may have to do it in the future. Having a well-maintained pool will ensure that you won’t have to sell your house for cents on the dollar.
However, a pool alone takes an average of around $30,000 to construct, not to mention other expenses involved in caring for it. If there are children and pets around, you may have to install pool alarms and safety fences for them.
Nevertheless, a more cost-effective safety option is automatic pool covers. Not only would it keep kids and pets from accidentally falling over the pool, but it also prevents leaves and other debris from contaminating the pool when it’s not in use. That way, you can be sure that pool maintenance would not end up punching holes in your pocket.