As the days grow incrementally longer and warmer, the calendar marches towards summer and the start of the swimming season across the northern hemisphere. Spring is a time for rejoicing as winter loosens its grip on the land, with new leaves forming on trees and flowers beginning to blossom. For pool owners, it’s also a good time to make a pool opening checklist.
How to Open Pools for the New Swimming Season
Regardless of the size or location of a swimming pool, it’s important to do everything correctly the first time. Pool opening checklists offer a means to methodically ensure all tasks are completed and every necessary item repaired or replaced. After all, no one wants to swim in greenish water filled with muck. Knowing how to open a pool properly entails having all necessary materials at the ready, along with following a well-thought-out plan.
Learn from Mistakes
Knowing how to open pools once the weather warms will mean first acknowledging and rectifying any shortcomings from winterizing the pool after last year’s swimming season. It’s too late now to properly close the pool for winter, but pool owners should pay attention to any problems resulting from improperly closing and winterizing.
It’s important for pool owners to remedy any mistakes they made when closing down the pool, noting the extra work resulting from any cut corners and solemnly pledging to do better this fall. Properly winterizing will result in an easier time during next season’s pool opening. Checklists for winterizing and closing the pool for the season are as important a consideration when opening a pool, as it makes the whole process much easier. And now…
The Complete Pool Opening Checklist
1. Clearing the Cover
Swimming pool covers accumulate water from melted ice and spring rains, along with an assortment of debris. It’s best to first clean the cover, otherwise, it makes removal difficult. This also keeps all the detritus that’s accumulated from ending up in the pool and contaminating the water. This makes cleaning and sanitizing the pool water less labor-intensive, while also reducing costs for chemicals to cleanse it. For solid pool covers, first use the pool cover pump to drain water off it, using a leaf rake, leaf skimmer or leaf blower to remove any remaining debris. With a mesh pool cover, just clear debris with a rake, skimmer or blower.
2. Remove the Pool Cover
After removing most of the debris from the cover, along with excess water on solid covers, it’s time to remove it. For many winter pool covers, this may also include removing any weights used to keep it down. This step is easier if there’s another person to help. With each person on opposing sides of the pool, the cover can be easily folded like an accordion to keep any detritus not removed from going into the water. This also allows for easier handling. Once removed and away from the water, the pool cover should be laid out flat on the ground for cleaning.
3. Cleaning, Examining & Repairing the Cover
For any pool opening, checklists should include cleaning the cover after removing it. Hosing it down will remove any remaining debris that could possibly damage it during storage. At this stage, the cover should also be examined for any rips or tears, which should be immediately patched before storing. If it’s badly damaged or too worn to withstand another winter, it’s best to purchase a new cover.
4. Storing Winter Pool Accessories
Let the pool cover dry before folding it up to store it in order to keep mold or mildew from forming. Any water weights used for winter covers should be drained and dried as well.
5. Remove Any Plugs
For swimming pool opening checklists, drained pipes plugged over the winter require removing the winterizing plugs from the skimmer. This ensures that the pool functions correctly. Ignoring this step could damage the pool or equipment, costing hundreds of dollars in repairs or replacement.
6. Check the Pool for Damage
Winter weather can damage a swimming pool and equipment. When reconnecting equipment, it’s important to check for any cracks caused due to freezing, particularly when lubricating seals, gaskets or O-rings. Should these show signs of wear, it’s best to replace them, as not doing so may cause more extensive (and expensive) damage. It’s also a good idea to keep commonly used replacement parts on hand. For this step, a vinyl repair kit may prove useful for small fixes.
7. Pool Equipment & Accessories
It’s often useful to make a checklist just for reconnecting, reinstalling, and reassembling vital pool equipment and accessories.
A pool opening checklist for equipment and accessories should include the following:
- Chlorine feeder or chlorine generator
- Diving board
- Drain plugs
- Pool filter
- Handrails and ladders
- Pool heater
- Pool steps
- Pool lights
- Pool pump
- Pressure gauge
- Skimmer basket
- Water slides
There isn’t a specific order for reconnecting, reinstalling, and reassembling, but this pool equipment and accessory checklist should be completed prior to adding water or turning any equipment on.
8. Adding Water & Looking for Leaks
When closing a pool, some pool owners drain their pools to a certain point. Even if water hasn’t been drained, it’s still likely a pool owner will need to add water. Water levels should be raised to at least the filter line so that the pump’s motor doesn’t blow. Ideally, water levels should be raised to about two-thirds of the skimmer. It’s fine to just use a regular garden hose, but depending on the water content it may be best to use a pre-filter to keep minerals and metals that can cause calcification and other buildups. When filling the pool, it’s also important to watch for leaks.
9. Start the Equipment
Once all the equipment is operational and water levels have been restored, it’s time to make sure everything’s operating properly. This can only be determined by turning everything back on. The pump should be primed, and the filter should have a cartridge, diatomaceous earth (DE) or sand. The filtration system should additionally be monitored when first restarted to ensure everything’s working. This will also help remove any remaining debris.
10. Cleaning Surfaces
Pool surfaces should be brushed methodically to remove algae and other buildups, after which any remaining debris can be skimmed off the surface. Working from the shallow to the deep end, a pool vacuum can manually remove settled dirt and other debris.
11. Filtering Water
An important part of the pool opening checklist involves filtering the water overnight, for at least twelve hours. This ensures when chlorine sanitizer is added it won’t be wasted.
12. Testing the Water
After filtering overnight, using a water test kit or test strips will reveal the overall health of the water before the pool opening. Checklists should consider water alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness, looking at parts per million (ppm). This provides an idea about the amounts and which chemicals require adding.
Recommended levels of each are:
- Alkalinity between 80-120 ppm
- Calcium hardness between 180-220 ppm
- pH between 7.2-7.6
13. Balancing Chemical Levels
Once tested, swimming pool chemicals should be added to the water until they fall within acceptable parameters. This entails putting algaecide, clarifier, and pool shock into the water, with additional shock added if bacterial contamination is a concern. Depending on the condition of the water, it may take as long as three weeks to balance the chemicals in the pool.
14. Retesting & Adjusting
Once all these steps are done, the final item on the pool opening checklist simply involves retesting and adjusting the water accordingly. The pool’s filter should run for at least 24 hours until chlorine levels reach about 1-3 ppm. After this, the water’s ready for swimming!
To learn more about how to open a pool this spring or for any of your swimming pool equipment needs, please contact us at Halogen Supply today!