With the warm weather quickly approaching, homeowners with pools gear up for the season. After the long, cold winter, it’s time to think about enjoying the highlight of the summer: the backyard pool. In order to fully take advantage of all the fun and relaxation possible with a pool, it’s important to prepare it properly.
1. Prepare the surrounding area
Before tackling the pool itself, make sure the area surrounding it is clear and free of debris. Remove leaves, sticks and other items that could damage the pool.
2. Check the supply list
Having an assortment of chemicals on hand means that pool owners can easily balance the chemical makeup of their pool water immediately. Be sure to check the expiration date of any pool chemicals. Replace any that are expired or that weren’t sealed properly to ensure that they’ll work as expected. While the actual chemicals needed can be different according to the local water, some examples include soda ash, muriatic acid, chlorine, sodium bicarbonate, sodium bisulfate and calcium chloride.
3. Remove debris from the cover
The last thing a pool owner is going to want is the leaves and debris from on top of the cover to fall inside when it’s removed. Guard against this possibility by clearing away anything that’s on top of it. If there is water on the cover, use shop vac or a pump to remove it before attempting to take it off.
4. Take the pool cover off
Before removing the swimming pool cover, be sure to scope out an ideal spot to spread it out. Sweep and/or hose it off thoroughly to remove any debris before cleaning it with a recommended cleaning agent. Allow it to dry thoroughly before rolling it up or folding it in a fan. Secure it with rope before storing it away from heat, insects and moisture.
5. Don’t drain the pool completely
It can be tempting to drain the water completely out of the pool and start fresh by cleaning the liner then. However, unless there are mounds of leaves that are difficult to remove, draining the water could damage the pool. In fact, at this point, adding water to the normal operational level is a good idea.
6. Perform an inspection
Look over all of the components of the pool: surface skimmers, filtration system, wall returns, underwater light fixtures, pump, directional fittings. Replace any parts that are worn and remove any freeze plugs. Install underwater light fixtures, put the filtration system back together and test the pump.
Each type of swimming pool has telltale signs that indication that repairs are needed.
- fiberglass pools often sport hairline cracks that are not usually an issue due to its gel coating. A large crack or other type of damage warrants a call to a repair specialist.
- vinyl liners should be inspected for the presence of tears and/or holes. For maximum longevity, promptly patch any holes before they become larger. Guard against a buildup of grime and debris at the water line by frequently scrubbing such liners.
- gunite pools need to be inspected regularly for cracks. If any are found, they should be repaired promptly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
7. Test the water
Using a reliable source — either a nearby pool store or a reputable test kit — test the pool water.
- chlorine: There should be between 1 ppm and 3 ppm. Use cyanuric acid tablets to adjust it accordingly.
- PH: The PH should measure between 7.2 and 7.4. Use, sodium bisulfate, soda ash or muriatic acid to balance out its chemical makeup.
- calcium hardness should be between 150 ppm and 250 ppm. Use calcium chloride to ensure that it has enough calcium.
- total alkalinity for a pool needs to be between 80 and 120. Use muriatic acid or sodium bicarbonate to ensure that the pool water is the right alkalinity.
8. Ensure that the water is clear
Give the chemicals time to work on cleaning the pool. Be vigilant about emptying the filter often during this process. Once the water is clear and the debris is removed, it’s time to enjoy the pool!
Engaging in a few minutes of regular maintenance to keep the pool healthy enough to be used. Clean the filter every day and test the chemicals each day as well. The pool needs to be vacuumed at least weekly.