Fire It Up! Getting Your Pool Ready for Swimming Season
With pool season just around the corner, the Palm Beach Pool Doctor is here to take you through the necessary steps to get your pool clean, clear, and cannonball ready.
Before you change into your swimsuit, though, there are a few housekeeping items to take care of first.
To open up your pool for the first time, you'll need:
- Pool cover pump
- Pool brushes
- Pool nets
- Chemical testing kits
If you're missing any of these tools or products, we invite you to browse the Pool Doctor's online store, where we carry a wide range of brand-name, best-value pool equipment. We use these products ourselves, so we can vouch for their quality. If you have any questions, our experienced pool technicians will be more than happy to share our industry knowledge and advice with you.
By the way, we deliver our products locally. If you order from our website, we'll bring the product directly to your doorstep.
Remove Your Pool Cover
First things first, you can't cannonball into your pool with the cover still on, so you'll need to remove it. This step is simple in theory but can be more labor-intensive than most pool owners realize. If your pool has been out of use for some time, the tarp will likely have accumulated some dirty standing water.
This is where your pump comes in. Hook up the pump and place it on top of your pool cover, preferably in the area that has the largest pools of water. A long push broom will come in handy for this job. You can use it to brush the water in the direction of the pump.
Once the excess water is drained, you can physically remove the tarp safely. Pool covers can be large and heavy, removing yours might be more than a one-person job.
Don't worry if a small amount of dirty water falls into the pool. It's virtually impossible to clean your tarp perfectly before removing it. You'll be shocking and vacuuming the pool later anyway, so a minor amount of debris isn't worth fretting over.
We recommend thoroughly cleaning and drying your pool cover before you fold it up and store it away for the season. Wet pool covers tend to develop mold and mildew, so don't let your excitement to start swimming cause you to forget this important step.
Conveniently, while you're cleaning your tarp, you can simultaneously check for any rips and tears. If there are many, you may want to consider replacing it. When the cover is clean and dry, store it in a cool, dry place until you need it again.
Reinstall Pool Accessories and Hook Up Pumps and Hoses
Now it's time to put together the puzzle pieces that you removed during the off-season. Reattach your pump, filter, and heater, and reconnect all hoses and electrical connections, taking care to follow the manufacturer's instructions to do so safely. You'll also want to reattach all your pool's accessories too, such as ladders, safety rails, and diving boards.
If your pool was winterized, you'll want to switch out the winterizing plugs with the regular ones. It's also a good idea to lubricate any black, rubber O-rings that are found on pipes and plugs. For the best protection, use a special water-, silicone-, or Teflon-based lubricant on the O-rings, like this one.
Fill Your Pool with Water
When everything's hooked up and ready to go, we're getting closer to your first pool party of the year.
It's not much of a pool without new water. The next step to firing up your pool is to refill it with fresh water. Inevitably, you'll have lost some water to evaporation, so you'll probably need a hose. Ideally, raise the water level until it reaches about midway up the skimmer.
Turn on the Pump
When you've added fresh water to your pool, then you can turn on your pump and get the water circulating. Leave the pump on for at least 12-24 hours. The longer you let it run, the more accurate your chemical testing results will be later.
This is also a good opportunity to inspect your pool for damage. Check vinyl liner for tears and assess plaster and tiles for breaks or cracks.
If you find a leak, mark it, turn the pump off, and call a professional pool technician to complete the repair before you continue any further.
Vacuuming the Pool
You may be waiting for the pump to do its job, but that doesn't mean you can sit back and relax just yet. If your pool water is clear enough, you can clean your pool while the pump is running.
We recommend giving the walls of your pool a good scrub with a scrubbing brush and using a leaf net to collect any leaves and debris that are floating around. If you have a pool vacuum, you can also remove anything that might be lurking on the bottom floor of your pool.
Shock the Pool
You're almost there! To kill any remaining algae and contaminants in the water, you need to shock your pool with a chlorine product.
If possible, we recommend adding an algaecide product as well. Algaecides break down the natural resistance of algae, which in turn makes it easier for the chlorine to do its job.
Testing the Waters
Last on your to-do list is testing the water-and no, we don't mean dipping your toes in! We need to verify that the pool's calcium hardness, pH, and alkalinity levels are safe for swimming.
Don't worry, you don't have to dust off your high school chemistry textbook to complete this task. Testing your pool water is actually a very simple and straightforward process, especially if you have a testing kit. At our shop, we offer several essential testing kits for pool owners. Simply submerge these easy-to-use strips in the water for an immediate measurement reading.
You want your pool's pH level to fall in an acceptable range, which is anywhere between 7.2 and 7.8. To be extremely precise, aim for a measure between 7.4 and 7.6, which is generally less irritating to swimmers&' skin and eyes.
Congratulations! Your pool is officially open for business! Invite the neighbors, call the kids, or just grab your favorite float and hop in.
Remember, if you need any assistance with starting up, repairing, or maintaining your pool, the Pool Doctor makes house calls-don't hesitate to drop us a line.