Springtime Swimming Pool Start Up Tips


by John Galcius, May 18, 2009

Removing The Pool Cover

Springtime, and it’s time to start up the swimming pool. If you invested in a good mesh safety cover, then it will be that much easier. Just brush off any debris with your tele pole and pool brush, disconnect the springs from the anchors and accordion fold the cover and store it.  Screw the anchors down first before folding. You can clean the mesh cover as you fold it, with an air blower or a garden hose. If you have a solid cover with water bags holding it on all winter, then you probably have a mess. Accumulating water and leaves make for a big job sometimes. If you have a solid winter pool cover, be sure to remove as much of the water sitting on top of the cover as possible before removing it. This is most easily accomplished using a cover pump. Be careful while performing this step as any hole in your pool cover might cause you to pump out water from the pool. Once you've drained the water off and removed the pool cover we recommend using a swimming pool cover cleaner to remove dirt and grime. Make sure your pool cover is dry before folding it and storing it in a dry place until next fall. Try to keep the pool cover off of the ground. A pallet or rack is a good idea for storing your pool cover during the summer.
 
Filling And Topping Off The Pool
If the pool had a cover on all winter, then you will probably need to add water to get the pool to the proper level. If the pool was drained and cleaned, or serviced before filling, then you need get water in as soon as possible. Many companies deliver water, large tanker trucks that hold around 4,000 gallons or so and either gravity feed, or pump the water from the truck to your pool. This is usually non potable water that comes from fire hydrants.  Most of the time, we can just fill the pool with water from the garden hose. It usually doesn’t take as much time as you would think, and in many jurisdictions, water companies will adjust your rate if you tell them you are filling a swimming pool. The logic here is, if you’re not using the sewage system, on that 24,000 gallons of water going into your pool, why pay for it? So. If you’re going to fill your pool completely, contact your local water supply company, and ask about a discount. You may save yourself a couple bucks.
 
Starting The Filter System 
Begin the de-winterization process by finding the winterizing plugs and other parts removed for winterization. A common place to keep these items is in the pump basket or skimmer basket. Wrap any drainage plugs and pressure gauge with Teflon tape to prevent leaks. After the filter system has been reassembled, fill the pump basket area with water and secure the pump lid. Make sure the lid and oring are tight and secure. Then turn on the pump, with a watchful eye on everything. Make sure there are no leaks, and the pressure is in the acceptable range.  It’s not uncommon to see some drips at initial startup, if the drip or leak continues for more than 24 hours, then a small repair may be in order.
 
Firing Up The Pool Heater
If your pool heater is fairly new, than starting it up should be no problem. Just make sure the gas supply line to the heater is in the on position, and the main gas valve inside the heater jacket is in the on position.  If your heater has a standing pilot, then make sure the pilot stays lit after the button on the gas valve is released. If the heater does not fire, make sure there is good flow through it. For more specific lighting instructions, or if there is a problem, consult your owner’s manual. 
 
The Poolside Check List
Make sure all cover anchors are down, and the pool deck is clear and free of debris. Any cracks or missing caulking should be repaired. Install skimmer baskets and return eyeballs. Replace any broken or cracked baskets or pool fittings. Skimmers should flow smoothly, and no bubbles should return to the pool from the returns. This video below shows our President, Rob Cox, opening a pool. Some good tips contained within.

 
Water Chemistry
Now it’s time to balance and sanitize the water. That’s it. Beware of “The Pool Store” and their “computerized water analysis”. I have worked at “The Pool Store” and I can tell you now. Those machines are programmed to sell chemicals. You can bring in perfectly balanced water, and when the kid behind the counter enters the values of your test results , the computer will instruct the clerk to sell you some chemicals. That’s the way it goes. It’s not the clerks fault. The programming was done in some board room a long time ago to increase profits. Proper water chemistry is easy to maintain. Here is a little chart to guide you.

Chemical
MIN
IDEAL
MAX
Chlorine
Cyanuric Acid
pH
Alkalinity
Hardness
Iron/Copper
1.0 ppm
20 ppm
7.2
70 ppm
150 ppm
0 ppm
2 .0 ppm
30 - 80 ppm
7.4 - 7.6
80 - 140 ppm
200 - 450 ppm
0 ppm
3.0 ppm
100 ppm
7.8
150 ppm
500 ppm
0.1 ppm

When it comes to your water chemistry, keep it simple.  Keep the pool balanced, and keep the pool sanitized. It’s not rocket science. Click on this link here for an easy on line water balancing page.