Spring is around the corner and many people will be planning on scheduling their pool opening with a local swimming pool company like Aqua Fun Pools and some of you may be thinking about opening your swimming pool yourself for the first time, so here are some helpful hints and a pool opening checklist.
Steps for opening your pool:
1. Drain and Clean the Pool Cover
Whether you have a winter cover or a solid safety cover, you will need to remove the water off the top of the cover before taking it off. If there is a substantial amount of water, you may want to use a cover pump to do the work for you. Afterward, sweep or use a blower to remove all leaves and other debris from the cover; you don’t want all of that junk landing in your pool when the cover comes off.
2. Remove the Pool Cover
When removing the pool cover, you may need help if you have a large pool or are working with a safety cover. If a little debris ends up in the pool, it’ll be OK since you will be vacuuming and then shocking the pool before you start swimming.
3. Clean and Store the Pool Cover
After you remove the cover, lay it out, brush off any remaining dirt, spray it down, and then let it dry. When the cover is dry, sprinkle one side and then the other with talcum powder or Alkalinity Up to prevent mold and mildew. Fold the cover loosely and store it in a cool, dry place.
4. Raise the Water Level Back to Normal
Use a garden hose to fill the pool back to its normal water level. This is typically at about the middle of the skimmer opening or halfway up the tile.
Note: If you did not winterize your pool for freezing conditions, skip to Step 8.
5. Reconnect the Pool Equipment
If you prepared your pool for freezing temperatures, you will need to reconnect your pool equipment. This includes your filter, pump, heater, and anything else you may have had connected to your filtration system. For above ground pools, you will need to reconnect the flexible plumbing lines to the pool equipment and skimmer.
6. Remove Winterizing Plugs from Skimmer and Return Lines
Don’t forget to remove any winterizing plugs you used in your skimmer and return lines. Make sure to wait until after the antifreeze has drained before removing the winterizing plugs from your skimmer and return lines. Remember to reinstall the regular drain plugs in your pumps, filter, heater, and any other equipment with a drain plug. Now you can reconnect any return valve fittings that you removed last winter.
7. Turn the System Back On
Turn your pool equipment back on. This includes priming the pump and turning on the circulation and filtration system. If you have an air relief valve on your filter, make sure to open it to bleed the air from the system. Once water spurts out, close the air relief valve. Check the equipment for leaks or unusual noises.
8. Add MetalFree to Prevent Staining
After a long winter off-season, metals such as copper and iron may have concentrated in your pool water. Add 1 liter of MetalFree for every 20,000 gallons of water to prevent metals from causing stains or discoloration in your pool. After adding it, allow the circulation and filtration systems to run for at least 2 hours.
9. Test the Pool Chemistry
Once the circulation system has been running for a few hours, test your pool water for pH, Total Alkalinity (TA), and Chlorine levels with a test kit or test strips. Ideal levels should be:
- pH: 7.4 to 7.6
- Total Alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
- Free Available Chlorine: 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 200-400 ppm
10. Balance the Water, Starting with Total Alkalanity
Balancing your water properly is a necessity for safe and healthy swimming. You can control the pH and chlorine levels in your water by first adjusting the Total Alkalinity.
If TA is too high, you can use Dry Acid to lower the levels to the ideal range. To lower the TA by 10 ppm, add 1.5 pounds of Dry Acid for every 10,000 gallons of water.
If TA is too low, add Alkalinity Up to increase it. Adding 1.5 pounds of Alkalinity Up will increase the TA of 10,000 gallons of water by 10 ppm. Wait at least 4 hours after adding Alkalinity Up before retesting the water.
11. Adjust the pH Balance
Once the TA is within its proper range of 80-120 ppm, adjust the pH balance. When TA is back to an ideal range, test the pH. The acceptable range is 7.2-7.8, and the ideal range is 7.4-7.6.
If the pH level is above 7.8, add small doses (2 cups at a time) of Dry Acid. Wait 2 hours with the circulation system running and retest before adding more acid. Always follow the label directions.
If the pH level is below 7.4, add 6 ounces of Soda Ash, which should increase the pH level of 10,000 gallons of water by about 0.2 ppm. Wait 4 hours with the system running and retest the water before adding more Soda Ash. If the pH is below 7.0, follow the label directions for the amount needed or to go your local store for additional testing.
12. Adjust Calcium Hardness
Your pool’s Calcium Hardness (CH) level should always be above 150 ppm. If the CH is too low, bring it up by adding Hardness Plus. Using 1.25 pounds will increase the CH of 10,000 gallons of water by 10 ppm. The target is 200-400 ppm.
13. Brush and Vacuum the Pool
After your pool chemistry is adjusted, thoroughly brush and vacuum your pool to remove any remaining dirt and debris, giving special attention to areas near pool steps, ladders, lights, or other crevices.
14. Run the Filtration System Overnight
Your pool’s filtration system will remove the rest of the suspended dirt and debris left over after brushing and vacuuming your pool.
15. Shock the Pool
Shocking the pool will eliminate any remaining germs and contaminants in your water. Shock the pool following the label instructions using a chlorine shock such as Power Powder Plus 73 or Chlor Brite. Always read the instructions to determine how much of the product to add to your pool. Twenty-four hours after shocking the pool, reinstall your pool cleaner, if so equipped.
If you would rather not do this yourself, then contact Aqua Fun Pools today and schedule a competitive priced pool opening and let us do all the work!