There’s no doubt about it, swimming does a body good—especially those stiff, lazy muscles that hibernated beneath a blanket all winter. And the sweet anticipation of the first swim of the season automatically brings a smile to our face—the pool preparation after a long winter, not so much. Sure, there’s some work involved to get your splashing good times up and running, but if you follow these simple steps, you’ll have the coolest hot weather hangout in the neighborhood open before you know it. And you’ll be telling your friends and family, “Jump right in, the water’s fine.”
First, it’s time to get a little dirty…
Remove Your Pool Cover – Clear any leaves, debris, and standing water off the top of the cover before you remove it to ensure the stagnant sludge doesn’t accidentally slide down into the existing pool water as you drag it off. And don’t even think about draining your pool when the season is over to alleviate this problem because that only leads to bigger problems. Much bigger. A fluctuating water table between seasons can wreak havoc on your empty pool, causing it to crack or possibly even pop right out of the ground like a big, fiberglass boat. Not exactly the boat of your dreams, but you’re still going to drop a lot of money on it.
Clean Up Your Act – Like any good spring-cleaning, it’s time to gather all your pool supplies—hoses, pumps, filters, and such—and scrub off last year’s dirt before the inevitable buildup begins again. It would be a shame to contaminate your new pristine pool with old grime. First, clean off the cover and let it dry completely before storing it. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a mildewed mess. Once all your pool particulars are good to go, check that your filtration system is clean and securely connected before you start it up for the season. It’s common to discover green, murky water during the big unveiling, so let the system run until the situation clears up. Next—here comes the fun part—turn on the vacuum and suck all the muck off the bottom and sides. Your pool would thank you if it could. Now it looks inviting enough to dive right in, doesn’t it? But don’t. You still need to top off your effort with fresh water from the hose, filled to the middle of the skimmer. Now stand back and admire your hard work. You’re almost there.
Test the Water – Once the filtration system has stirred the water up for at least 24-48 hours, take a water sample to your local pool pro to let them handle the first testing of the season before the much-anticipated grand opening. Maybe you’ve already purchased your own test strips and kits—and those will be helpful for the remainder of the season—but for now, let your local pool supply store get you off to a healthy, clean start. After this initial water evaluation, you can get your chemistry on and maintain the perfect solution yourself. So before you start adding chlorine to the mix, here’s a helpful Pool Chemistry 101 cheat sheet to ensure you achieve the right results.
- Alkalinity – 80 – 125 ppm for plaster pools or 125 – 150 ppm for vinyl pools
- pH – 7.2 – 7.6 is the optimal level
- Cyanuric acid – 30 ppm will prevent the loss of chlorine from the sun’s rays
- Calcium Hardness – 150 – 280 ppm
- Shock Treatment – Use super-chlorination Pool Shokor or non-chlorination Oxy-Out
- Algaecide – Poly algaecide prevents algae from forming during unpredictable spring weather
- Chlorine – 1.5 – 3.0 ppm
- Bromine – 3.0 – 5.0 ppm
Have you studied enough? If so, and your testing goes well, it’s time to reward yourself with the final step.
Dive In – The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived and the necessary steps leading up to it were well worth it, right? Grab a raft and enjoy.