Spring has Sprung, and it’s time to open your pool. Here are tips from pro’s:

Spring has Sprung, and it’s time to open your pool. Here are tips from pro’s:

15 Pool Opening Tips From Industry Professionals

by Matt Giovanisci, Swim University

It’s that time of year when the grass grows greener, the days are warmer and the pool cover is ready to come off. It’s time for your pool to end it’s winter-long hibernation and start enjoying the water.

I asked pool industry professionals from around the world to give their best tips for opening a swimming pool. If you learn something new and helpful, please share it with someone (via social media) who might also find it helpful.

1. Make a List

Make a list and get all the equipment and tools out that you’ll need — even last year’s leftover pool chemicals out (they don’t last forever, so throw out any expired chemicals).

Round up any hardware and get replacements for any missing pieces, including drain plugs, o-rings, and hose clamps (if needed).

Leon Rawitz, PoolFYI.com

2. Clean the Cover

When removing your pool cover, lay it out in an open area such as your deck, patio, or driveway. To clean off the cover, sweep off any remaining debris and then use a mild detergent to wipe away any excess dirt or stains before spraying it down with the hose. Make sure to let the cover air-dry completely before rolling it up or fan folding it for storage; this will prevent mildew and deterioration. It is also important to store the cover in a dry place away from insects and moisture.

Kimberlee Courtney, PoolSpaOutdoor.com and like on Facebook

3. Get the Water Clear, Fast!

The fastest track to clear pool water immediately after opening is to turn off the skimmer(s), open the main drains, and point the return jets down. Be sure to run the pump continuously on the highest speed setting until the water is clear.

Throw in a little shock and algaecide, brush the sides of the pool and you’ll be swimming in no time!

Jason Huges, River Pools and Spas

4. Double Check your Filter and Heating System

Many homeowners discover that their pool heater stopped working the morning of their kid’s 8th birthday party. With loads of swim-ready kids and parents coming over shortly, they frantically try to heat their pool or trouble-shoot the issues.

Test fire and run ALL pool equipment, heaters, booster pumps, blowers, water-feature/auxiliary pumps, remote controls etc., and allow these functions to run for a good 20-30 minutes to make sure you are getting good consistent performance and checking for leaks or service issues.

Be sure to clean-out and service your filtration system, and check your water chemistry, and this should be a good recipe for a trouble-free swimming season.

Michael Martin, UltimatePoolGuy.com

5. Fill The Pool While Removing Water from the Cover

While siphoning the water off the top of the winter cover, put your garden hose underneath the cover to fill it up so you don’t get caught with too little water in the pool.

Be careful using a submersible pump to remove water off the pool cover. We’ve seen multiple cases where the homeowner left the pump running too long, draining the entire shallow end of the pool. This can cause a fiberglass pool to pop out of the ground and a vinyl liner to shrink.

Allan Curtis, Ask The Pool Guy

Twitter: @askthepoolguy

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6. Have a Backup Filter on Hand

For Pool with Cartridge Filters:

When opening a pool that has been covered all winter and the water is filthy due to winter debris and/or algae, I recommend having 2 sets of filters —1 for opening the pool to do the dirty job of getting rid of the majority of the debris/algae in the water, and another for the rest of the year.

When the pool is in good shape, do a very thorough cleaning of the filters and put them away for next year’s pool opening duties.

Gary Bowers, www.allpoolfilters4less.com

7. Open Early

It’s not expensive to run your pump to keep the water circulating. Leave the heat off until the weather is nice. Circulating the pool will help prevent it from growing algae.

8. Drain the Water off the Cover

Get as much water off of the winter cover as possible before removing it. Water is heavy and people sometimes think it’s easier to dump that dirty water from the cover into the pool. Don’t do it! Invest in a quality pump and remove as much of the rain water as possible. This will keep your pool water looking great and free of contaminants.

9. Circulate for 24 Hours

Circulate the water for 24 hrs before testing and adding products. The water on the surface of the pool may be different from the water at the bottom. Testing prematurely can result in inaccurate readings.

Rhett Bradshaw, Vantage Pools

10. Properly Store your Winter Cover

Did you know that critters like to nest inside of pool covers during the summer? Unfortunately, small critters such as mice love to nest inside of swimming pool covers that are left rolled up on the floor of a shed or garage. The critter will then slowly and methodically eat through the fabric of a cover until it looks like Swiss cheese.

An easy solution to prevent this from happening is to keep the pool cover inside of a storage bag and hang high up on a hook so that no part of the cover touches the floor. The use of an outdoor garbage pail with a lid is another great place to store your cover during the summer months.

LeeAnn Donaton-Pesta, Loop-Loc Pool Covers

11. Test the Source Water

Test the source water before you test the pool water. The most faulty pool finish jobs that need repair is commonly caused by owners who don’t add chemicals correctly. The biggest problem is not know the the chemistry of the source water going into the pool.

This test will analyze and explain any water problems that may arise. Test for proper pH levels, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and salt levels. This test can be done with any pool water testing kit. Grab the hose and fill the pool to the midpoint on the waterline tile or middle of the skimmer weirs.

Vinny Velarde, SwimmingPool.com

12. Pre-Chemicalize your Water

A few weeks before you plan to “officially open” your pool, peel back the covers and look underneath. At this time add some enzyme water cleaner and a phosphate remover. Shock your pool with chlorine, not too much, just enough to boost the chlorine ppm (parts per million) up to 3 or 4.

The enzyme will help digest all of the organics and oils that have fallen into the pool over the winter, making your sanitizer more efficient and allowing for “grace” if the pool temperature decides to spike before you officially decide to open the pool.

The phosphate remover will remove the phosphates from the pool that can cause chlorine inefficiency. Phosphates are the second number on a fertilizer sack and are food for algae.

Both of the products promote a proactive approach to dealing with water chemistry and problems. This will allow for easier pool management for the upcoming pool season.

Check out Shelly’s latest blog post about the top 10 things to do to get your backyard haven ready for spring.

Shelly Johnson, Filbur Manufacturing

13. Be Careful When Draining and Cleaning Your Pool

For Concrete Pools

With enough hydrostatic pressure (water pushing up), a pool that has been completely drained can be pushed up from the ground causing it to pop out or “float.” This is most likely to occur with concrete or gunite pools, though it is extremely rare if the drain is completed by professionals. Pools that have floated will typically need to be replaced.

Charlie Nadler, AAA Pool Service

14. Use ping pong balls to test your surface circulation!

Toss the ping pong balls onto different areas of the pool, and make sure all of them make it to the skimmer. If there is dead spot, adjust your return jets and test again!

Blake Jamieson, PoolSupplyWorld.com

15. Inspect Pool Barriers: “Think Like a Child”

Part of my job at the National Swimming Pool Foundation is maintaining the World Aquatic News Incident Database (www.wanid.org) and far too often I log in sad stories of preventable drowning due to improper barriers around a pool. Making sure there is a barrier in place that can protect the children that live in your community from unauthorized access is essential. First and foremost, make sure you are following your local code but, in addition, here are some recommendations that could save a life.

When you inspect the gate and fencing of your property, think like a child. Are there trees or other free standing structures that could be climbed to get over the gate? If so, you will want to reinforce these areas with fencing, lattice or some other effective barrier which has holes smaller than the feet of a child. Gates must be self-latching, self-closing and the release should be out of a child’s reach.

A particularly sad recent case involved a brother and sister who both drowned. Because the gate was installed inverted with the side slats of the gate facing outside the property, it made a perfect foot hold for the children who both climbed over easily. The sister died trying to save her little brother who also died beneath the dark waters of the neighbor’s pool. If we pay better attention and think like a child when we inspect our facilities, we can prevent drowning deaths like this. Please feel free to contact me if you need help finding more information about how to make your pool safe for the community you live in.

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