Spring is in the air and the summer excitement is just around the corner. But first, is the dreaded chore of opening the pool for the waterfun to begin. For our local friends, you can schedule a pool maid to do the dirty work for you! If you are a do it yourself person, we can certainly guide you along the way.
Whether you have an in-ground or above ground, the steps are similar. The severity of the water condition is highly dependent on how solid your pool cover is. Most above ground pools have solid tarps and keep algae at bay if your pool was closed clean and clear. A solid in-ground safety cover, although pricey, certainly pays off when it comes to pool opening day!
1. Remove all standing water from the cover and clear the debris. Water weighs 8.3 lbs. per gallon and you do not want the solid debris to go into the pool. That would just defeat the purpose of having a cover in the first place. Save your back and use a pool cover pump to remove the water before attempting to remove the cover. After the water has been pumped off, use a pool brush to push all the solid debris off the side of pool.
2. Remove the plugs and replace the returns into their outlets.
3. Throw the garden hose in the pool and begin filling to operating level. If you have much settled debris on the bottom of the pool, allow the water to break at the surface. This will prevent the bottom from stirring up and allow for easier removal by vacuuming.
4. While the pool is filling, reconnect the equipment. Winter is harsh. Check your equipment and gaskets for any cracks or damage. Replace as needed. Lube all gaskets to ensure a tight seal. Replace filter media and baskets, if needed.
5. Once the pool is filled and the equipment has been securely connected, it is go time! Prime the filter as much as possible. The more water that you can put into the pipes and the filter, the quicker the water will begin circulating. If you used an antifreeze to protect your pipes from freezing, you will want to switch to backwash mode as soon as circulation has been obtained (turn your pump off before switching). After the antifreeze has been removed from the pipes, switch back to filter mode.
6. If you have much settled debris on the bottom, now is the time to vacuum this to waste. It is easiest to remove while the debris has settled and will save you on time and chemicals by removing manually. Hopefully, your pool was closed before the leaves had fallen into it. If you have settled leaves, do not vacuum them. Remove them manually by netting with a leaf rake or similar device to avoid clogging your pipes or filter. After removing, you may need to let the water settle once again to continue vacuuming.
7. Test the water. Allow the water to circulate for at least an hour to mix the standing water with the fresh water to get a true reading of the water analysis. Using a fresh test kit, collect the water from at least elbow depth and away from returns. Make the adjustments required to bring your water to balance. A proper balanced pH, alkalinity, and water hardness will allow the most effective results from the chlorine shock. Chlorine is high in pH so you want to test and make adjustments prior to adding. If you have a salt water pool, be sure to check the salt level and add if needed.
Test your Cyanuric Acid aka CYA, stabilizer, conditioner, etc. CYA prevents chlorine loss from sunlight; a sunscreen for your chlorine and should be between 30-50 ppm. However, too much can overprotect your chlorine and affect the chlorine effectiveness. This results in the need for high chlorine dosing. To remedy a high level, a good portion of the pool water needs to be replaced with fresh water. Unfortunately, there is no calculation for exactly how much to drain. The higher the reading, the more water will need to be replaced.
Once your pool is balanced, shock your pool to at least 10 ppm. If your water is green, you want to continue to add chlorine over a 24 hour period until the water can maintain a steady chlorine level. If the reading continues to decline, there are still contaminants in the water that are using the chlorine. If severe, you may need to continue this process for an additional 24 hours. Clean or backwash your filter frequently throughout this process. If your water is turbid after shocking, you can add either a clarifier or a flocculant to aid in the clearing process.
8. Pool Maids offer water analysis and can provide you with consultation on your pool needs. Feel free to visit us and allow us to provide assistance in your water issues, ongoing water care, or equipment needs or questions.