As the daffodils begin springing out of the soil, those of us with pools remember that a well-earned summer of after-work poolside leisure awaits us.
Getting your pool ready by swimming season takes a bit of elbow grease, but it pays off. Let’s go over the steps to have your pool ready to dive into by Memorial Day:
1. Keep your pool filled through the winter.
Yes, we’re backing up a bit with this first step. Empty pools can collapse from soil expansion, or can even rise out of the ground from buoyancy in the surrounding water table. For those of you who need a quick translation, that translates to “a lot of money.”
2. Clean the pool cover.
Your pool cover is your first and greatest line of defense in keeping the water clean through the winter. Clean debris off your pool cover and leave it on until indicated.
3. Fill the pool to the proper level.
The water level may have dropped, so be sure to top it off, if necessary.
4. Clean the pool’s filtration system.
Pull out any plugs installed for the winter and clean out your baskets. Cartridge filters can be cleaned by spraying with a hose; sand filters can be cleaned by setting them to “backwash”; and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters can be cleaned by disassembling and cleaning.
5. Test the water’s chemical composition.
While do-it-yourself pH strips are helpful for this process, it’s also a great idea to have your water tested by a professional. Some pool stores will do this for free.
6. Balance the pool’s chemistry.
Ideal pH is between 7.2 and 7.4. If your pool is too acidic (pH too low), use soda ash to increase it; if it’s too high, use either muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to bring it back down.
Alkalinity should be between 80 and 120. Sodium bicarbonate increases alkalinity, while muriatic acid will bring it down.
Calcium hardness should be between 150 and 250 parts per million. Without this, the water will suck calcium from grout, finishes, and even plastic. Add calcium chloride to change calcium hardness.
Chlorine should be between 1 and 3 parts per million. Use cyanuric-acid tablets to keep chlorine from evaporating too quickly. Alternatively, saltwater systems are becoming more popular for their ease of use and environmental benefits.
7. Give the pool a week or so to adjust.
Clean the filter daily, checking the chemical composition and adding a bit of chlorine if necessary. When you can see the floor of the pool clearly when you lift the cover, you can take the cover off.
8. Vacuum up leaves and debris from the bottom.
Clean remaining debris, then perform regular maintenance on your pool — testing its water daily and cleaning filters weekly.
Enjoy your summer, and may the lazy afternoons treat you well.
Beurteaux, Danielle. “How to Get Your Pool Ready for the Summer.” Popular Mechanics, Popular Mechanics, 18 May 2018, www.popularmechanics.com/home/lawn-garden/how-to/a7671/how-to-get-your-swimming-pool-ready-for-summer-8692427/
“How to Get Your Pool Ready for Summer.” The Home Depot Garden Club, 25 Mar. 2015, www.gardenclub.homedepot.com/how-to-pool-ready-for-summer/