With Spring upon us, the air is warming up and so to are our swimming pools. If you, or more likely your kids, have not already had your first swim, chances are it’s not too far away!
So NOW is the time to prepare your pool for the start of Summer.
Opening your swimming pool for the new season is pretty simple, but it does require a little bit of work and preparation.
Regardless of whether you own an above ground or in-ground pool, the fundamentals for opening a pool are very similar. Below are some simple steps to help get the wheels in motion.
Remove all leaves, dirt and debris:
Empty the pool skimmer basket and pool pump basket.
If you have a pool-cover, remove all the debris before rolling it off the pool.
Top up the water to normal operating level:
As a rule of thumb, the water level in your pool should be maintained to at least the middle of the skimmer box opening, however ¾ the way up is considered ideal.
NB if you allow levels to drop towards the bottom of the skimmer box, you have the risk of running the pool pump dry potentially causing costly damage.
Vacuum, brush and leaf scoop the pool to remove all dirt and debris:
Time to get any excess leaves, dirt and debris out of the pool by vacuuming the pool.
Be sure to also brush the side walls, step and floor of the pool as well.
Clean the filter:
For a cartridge filter, hose out excess dirt/grime. For stubborn dirt/grime, you can use a cartridge filter cleaner which requires 24 hours of soaking.
With a Media filter, give it a good backwash. Always rinse the filter after you have backwashed. You can also use a media filter cleaner which requires an overnight soak followed by a rinse cycle.
NB chemically cleaning the filter at the start and end of each summer is recommended as it helps to lengthen the life of the filter media and promotes longer filter runs.
Test and balance the pool water:
Time to take a sample of your pool water to your local trusted Pool Shop. They will complete a full water analysis and provide a printed test report showing your current levels and recommendations on corrective measures required.
Adjust all chemical levels into range, with particular focus on pH, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. Stabiliser and Salt levels should also be managed as per the requirements of your specific pool/system.
Using a chlorine stock can be a great way to kick your pool into life!
Use unstabilised sanitiser, (AKA) Cal-Hypo, on an initial spring shock.
Refer to the products label for recommended doses per 10,000 litres. Do not use a non-chlorine shock with the initial start up. You need to have a good chlorine residual. Liquid chlorine bleach is OK, but is very weak (about 14%) when compared to Cal-Hypo.
Another great way to kick your pool back into life is with an application of algaecide.
Always use an algaecide that has at least 30% active ingredients and is a non-copper based, heavy duty algaecide.
NOTE: be careful using algaecides with copper as an active ingredient; improper use of copper based algaecides may lead to staining of the pool surfaces. ALWAYS follow the label directions for an INITIAL dose to help avoid introducing elevated copper levels into the pool environment.
After adding an initial shock and algaecide treatment, be sure to run the filter for 24 hours continually.
Clean the filter again:
Time to clean the filter again. After running the pump for the initial 24 hour period, give the filter another clean (backwash / hose cartridge element).
Monthly backwashing / hosing cartridge element out is recommended to ensure filter quality and adequate levels of filtration are maintained.
Final and continuing steps:
Now that you have cleaned your pool, checked the equipment and initially balanced your pool water, it is advisable to retest and balance the pool water again (pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness).
Throughout summer, test and balance your pool water every two weeks.
Monthly testing is acceptable during the colder winter months.
Always ensure water levels are at least ½ way up the skimmer box opening and your filter is cleaned on a regular basis (monthly at minimum).
Hopefully this guide helps and you enjoy a fun filled and stress free swim season ahead!
Recommended Pool Water Balance Parameters
pH 7.2 – 7.8 (Ideal 7.4)
Total Alkalinity (TA) 80 – 150ppm (Ideal 120)
Calcium Hardness (CH) 200 – 400ppm (Ideal 250)
Free Chlorine 2 – 4ppm
Cyanuric Acid (CYA) 30 – 50ppm
Important note: Never drain your pool without seeking professional advice and expertise.
In a vinyl liner pool, the liner will shrink, which can void the warranty and could further damage your pool.
In a concrete, plaster or even fibreglass pool, removal of the water completely could result in the entire pool structure ‘floating’ or ‘popping’ causing serious damage to the structure.