What better time of year could there be then the opening of your pool! This is a tell tale signal of warmer weather and long summer days ahead.
Before diving in, it is important that you take the time to get your pool up and running properly. Cleaning and removing your winter cover; removing winter plugs and adding accessories; refilling the pool; turning on all systems, pumps and filters; adding opening chemicals; cleaning the pool and finally – getting ready to enjoy your little piece of heaven.
Making sure that you spend the time to do this carefully up front will save you time and money in the long run. It also gives you an opportunity to identify any potential problems – mechanically or otherwise – without potentially disrupting your summer season.
Winter Cover Removal & Cleaning
Depending on the foliage on your property, leaves, sticks, debris and rain water may have collected over the course of the winter months over top of your winter pool cover. With the additional weight of these items, removing the pool cover could become quite challenging.
If you are a seasoned pool owner, you may already have an automatic cover pump to remove the waste from the pool cover. You may have even been keeping up with the debris removal all winter, in which case removing the cover will be a much quicker and easier task. If not, go ahead and plug in your pool cover pump and get to cleaning. If you do not have one, a leaf blower or even a leaf net can do the trick as well. You want to aim to get the cover as dry as possible before sweeping off any leaves or debris left on top. If you do not have a mechanism to dry your pool cover, waiting until there is a dry day may make the removal of the debris a little easier. If you wait until a dry day to remove the debris, you may also want to consider hosing off the cover and allowing it to dry before proceeding with putting it away. There are also some cleaners on the market that can be attached to a hose to help with the cleaning process, depending on how soiled your cover has become.
Once the pool cover is ready to go, simply remove it from the top and fold it into sections for easy storing. Do your best not to drop any remaining leaves or debris into the pool in order to lessen the skimming and cleaning of the water later on. Additionally, cleaning away any dirt of debris from the surrounding area around the pool will help to ensure it does not end up in your water.
Removing Winter Plugs & Adding Accessories
Once your winter cover is off and your deck area has been swept clean, you are all set to begin removing the plugs from the openings so water can begin to flow again. Each of the plugs should be replaced with outlet fittings in order to fully prepare the pool system and to assist in normalizing the water levels. Additionally, ensure all of your return jet fittings (if applicable) and skimmer baskets have been re-installed. If you used petroleum jelly or oils to coat metal fittings through the winter, make sure to towel these off as well before replacing them with the appropriate fittings.
Ensure drain plugs are properly reinstalled, using pool gasket lubricant as needed for any sticking bolts.
If your pool has lights that were removed over the winter, now is a great time to reinstall those as well. You will want to double check that they are all working correctly, replacing any burnt out bulbs as you go.
Once the essentials within the pool have been taken care of, you can add the ladder, diving board and any other pool accessories back into the pool. Ensure everything is still functioning as it should, checking for rust or potential cracks or breaks that could compromise the integrity of the accessory. Be sure to add any lubrication as needed in order to prevent rust over the summer.
Filling the Pool With Water
Though you may not have emptied your pool before the beginning of the winter, you will likely still see a significant drop in water levels from when you closed things up. Evaporation occurs all through the year, even though the effects can be minimized with a good cover. Using your hose, fill the pool up to the water level you desire.
Turning on All Systems, Pumps & Filters
As a starting point, take notice of the equipment that was taken apart for the winter. You will likely need to re-install and possibly re assemble your pump(s), filter(s) and possibly your heater. Begin by hooking the equipment back up to your pool. Once that’s been done, you will need to ensure everything is still functioning properly.
- Turn it on
Start by turning all systems on. All circuit breakers, switches, and system functions should be restored to normal operations. Additionally, you want to ensure motors, pumps, fittings and heaters are all in good working order. Walk around your pool and ensure that visually everything looks like it’s running correctly. You want to make sure fittings aren’t coming loose, nothing looks damaged or cracked and that there are no leaks. Your pump should be pulling water and all wires should be grounded. Even if you think the heater seems to be working, it’s good practice to have a professional take a quick peak. This way, you prevent potentially running into trouble part way through the season. If you find that something isn’t functioning as it should, you can begin by trouble shooting using your manual or give us a quick call here at Bliss, we’d be happy to get a professional over to check things out for you.
- Prime The Pump
Remove the lid from the skimmer and place your hose inside the basket, allowing it to fill as the water levels raised. Once the pool is filled and the water levels in the basket have been raised, you can safely place the lid back on the basket. It’s very important to ensure the water levels are high enough to avoid the pump getting burnt out. Next, start your pump so you can begin circulating the water. If the pump does not prime after several minutes, repeat the process and try again.
- Prepare Your Filter
Whether or not your pool stayed clean through the winter, it’s always good practice to backwash your filter before embarking on another swimming season. If you had a lot of dirt and debris floating in your pool after the winter cover removal, you will want to repeat the process of backwashing your filter several times.If you have a DE filter, you will also want to add extra DE in order to give them a good fresh start. If you have a sand filter, you can choose to replace or clean the sand in your filter at this time as well. The sand in your filter can be cleaned using specific chemicals for cleaning sand and flushing them through the system. If a cartridge is being used in your filter, starting the season with a fresh one is always the recommended best practice.
Adding Opening Chemicals to Your Pool
Depending on the state of your pool post winterization, the chemical adding process can be very quick and simple. In an ideal world, when you remove the cover from your pool, you are still seeing clean and clear water. However, we know this is not always the case.
Now that we know all of the equipment has been set up and is functioning as it should, adding the chemicals is the next step. It’s essential to check the expiry date of your chemicals before you begin putting them in your pool. Expired chemicals will not work as effectively to help you achieve the balanced pool environment you are aiming for. Follow instructions carefully, and wear any safety equipment necessary or recommended to complete this task.
In many cases, a complete pool opening kit can be purchased which can help inform you of the chemicals to be added in order to achieve the desired pH and alkalinity levels. Once you’ve added in the needed chemicals to achieve a balanced pool environment, it’s essential that you keep your pump running constantly over the coming days to ensure the water and chemicals circulate appropriately and the desired balance is achieved. If you have issues with water clarity, or potentially see the water turning green, an algaecide treatment can be used to reset the balance and remove any algae build up.
You may also want to shock the pool with a chlorine shock product. Shocking your pool to a chlorine level of 3.0 ppm or higher is recommended before regulating and creating a safe swim environment.
Cleaning Your Pool
We always recommend a two stage cleaning process. First, Using a pool net, clean out any remaining floating dirt or debris from along the surface of the pool.
Next, taking your cleaning brush and brushing the sides and surface of the pool for any visible residue. From there, your vacuum system can be used to catch any additional dirt that may have settled at the bottom of the pool.
If you do not have a pool vacuum or you are looking for recommendations on a more automated approach to cleaning, our experts at Bliss would be happy to recommend the right product for your pool needs.
Getting Ready to Swim in Your Pool!
Now that all the heavy lifting is done, it’s time for you to sit back and wait for the environment to normalize and be ready for you to enjoy. It’s best practice to let your pool’s pump(s) run for at least 24 hours, allowing the water to flow continuously. You may also want to use the vacuum again before entering, in case the flow of the water through the pumps knocked any additional debris loose that you may have missed in the initial clean up.
The final step involves taking the pH balance of your pool, once you feel comfortable that all systems are running properly and the water looks nice and clear. Chlorine levels must be below 2.0 ppm before it’s safe to swim in. Once you have the right read of pH, alkalinity and chlorine, you are free to enjoy your pool!
Now that your pool is ready to go, all you have left to do is enjoy a beautiful summer season from your backyard oasis. Be sure to reach out to the experts at Bliss for any pool maintenance needs, floatation devices, pool toys, patio furniture and more. We have everything you need to make your summer swimming dreams come true.