by Matt English, March 28, 2013
Spring Pool Check-Up
Spring is almost upon us! While it may not be quite time to open your pool, there are 3 steps you can take to make your pool opening easier and quicker.
Following these simple tips will help ensure that your pool opening will be trouble free, whether it's one or two months away from now.
3 Simple Steps to Prepare your Pool for Opening (later)...
Step 1. Check your deck
Old Man Winter has been huffing and puffing and blowing leaves and branches and dirt all over your deck. It’s time to clear away all of the debris. Blow, rake, or sweep everything away from your pool. Once that’s done, inspect for any cracks in your deck that may have formed over the winter and repair pool deck cracks. Check your expansion joints for cracks or tears in the caulking. Spring is an excellent time to caulk your deck expansion joints. Have any weeds taken root? Take them out now before they have a chance to multiply and damage the deck.
Step 2. Check your cover
Is your cover a swamp or does it just have a few leaves on it? Are there any holes or tears Check on your water bags for splits or for places where they may have been chewed on by squirrels. If there is water standing on your cover, pump it off with a cover pump. Be careful when pumping off the cover. If the cover has holes in it you might also be pumping out your pool water.
Do not attempt to move or lift even part of your cover while there is standing water on it. One slip and water rich in dissolved leaves and other organic waste could spill into your pool. If your cover does dump into your pool then you will likely have to drain your pool. Otherwise you could be in for several weeks of shocking, filtering, and backwashing, perhaps every day.
Step 3. Check your water
Pull back part of your cover so you can test the water chemistry. If water is frozen to your cover do not attempt to move it or to lower the water as you can damage the cover. For mesh covers, if your water is higher than your tile line, lower it.
To test your water you will need a water sample from as deep as possible. During the winter all the chemicals in your pool are likely to have settled. You will have different concentrations of chemicals at different depths with the highest concentrations near the bottom. If you have a mesh pool cover it is likely that your chlorine level will be low since much of it will have been broken down by the sun. Add fast dissolving shock if your chlorine level is low.
If your alkalinity is low add an alkalinity increaser such as sodium bicarbonate, soda ash, or sodium sesquicarbonate. Be aware that these chemicals will raise your pH. Also only do this once if the weather is still cold. Lower water temps will decrease your pools ability to dissolve alkalinity increasers. As the pool warms up the undissolved chemicals could cause a spike in your alkalinity levels causing cloudy water, scale deposits, or locking your pH.
If you have phosphates in your water (algae food) add phosfree. Add pool enzymes especially if you have a mesh pool or if leaves and other debris found their way into your pool. Enzymes will help your pool opening as well as protect your pool through the season by breaking down organic contaminants well into the late spring. Unless you are opening you pool after the weather has already started to warm up, you will not have to add algaecide until you officially open your pool.
To brush or not to brush?
This really depends on how soon you are going to be opening your pool. If you are a month or more away from officially opening your pool, go ahead and brush. This will help break up any algae that could be forming on the walls and will help redistribute chemicals through your pool. The water will not be circulating so all the solids will have time to settle back to the bottom of the pool. If your pool opening is sooner I would recommend not brushing. You’re going to be running the pump soon and any solids suspended in the water are going to wind up in your filter. Save the brushing till after you’ve vacuumed the bottom of the pool to waste and you will save your filter and save some time during startup.
Ready for Opening!
If you follow these suggestions you will be well on your way to having a speedy and successful spring opening. However, every pool is different. I’m sure that you have come across your own shortcuts or tricks for waking up your pool from its hibernation. Why not share them in the comments below?