OPENING YOUR POOL
POOL OWNERS TAKE PART IN THE SAME IMPORTANT EVENT TWICE A YEAR IN BACKYARDS EVERYWHERE: OPENING AND CLOSING THE POOL. HOW YOU OPEN YOURS IN THE SPRING SETS THE TONE FOR YOUR SWIM SEASON WITH LESS MAINTENANCE AND UPKEEP WORRIES THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER. WHETHER YOU'RE A FIRST-TIME POOL OWNER OR A SEASONED VETERAN, OPENING YOUR POOL CAN BE EASY.
tools and materials needed for opening your pool:
- Pool skimmer and brush to clean the water surface and pool sides.
- Balancers prevent corrosion and scaling, and ensure bather comfort. These products include pH increasers, pH decreasers, alkalinity increasers, calcium hardness increasers and chlorine stabilizers.
- Sanitizers and shocks kill bacteria and help keep your water clear.
- Algaecides prevent and kill algae.
Removing the Cover
Step 1: Sweep off any debris from the pool cover. Remove any standing water on the cover by using a pump to drain it.
Step 2: Verify that the water level is up to the middle of the skimmer openings. As needed, slide a hose under a cover opening and raise the water level.
Step 3: With assistance, carefully remove the cover from the pool.
Step 4: Clean and dry the cover before storing it to prevent the growth of mildew.
Step 5: Remove all freeze plugs from the return lines and skimmers.
Step 6: Reinstall the directional fittings on the return lines.
Step 7: Inspect all pool accessories such as the ladder, rails and diving board for any damage.
Step 8: Reinstall the pool accessories following the pool or equipment manufacturer(s) instructions. Make sure everything is properly secured.
Checking Mechanical Components
Step 1: As needed, reinstall the pump, skimmer and heater, making sure that all the fittings are secure.
Step 2: Before starting the filter system, first release the air pressure by opening the relief valve. When there is a steady flow of water, all of the air has been released. Close the valve.
Step 3: Verify that the filter was cleaned before closing the pool or is new. If not, clean or replace the filter following the manufacturer's instructions.
Step 4: Open the valves on the return line, skimmer line and main drain.
Step 5: Start the filter system.
Cleaning the Pool
Step 1: Use a skimmer net to clear debris off the top of the water.
Step 2: Use a pool brush to clean the pool sides and floor.
Step 3: Use a pool vacuum to collect the dirt dislodged by the pool brush.
Step 4: Allow the filter system to run for about 24 hours to circulate and clean the pool water before checking pool chemistry.
Testing the Water Chemistry
Follow instructions provided by the pool test kit manufacturer. Most products suggest this procedure:
Step 1: Dip the test strip well below the water surface for a few seconds, then remove.
Step 2: Read the test strip results by referring to the colour chart provided with the test strips. Keep the included Water Chemistry Chart for quick reference.
Step 3: Adjust total alkalinity (how well the water resists a change in pH levels) as needed.
- Alkalinity should be between 80 and 125 parts-per-million (ppm).
- If lower, add total alkalinity increaser.
- If higher, add pH decreaser.
- After adjusting, wait two hours before continuing tests.
Step 4: Check and adjust pH, the level of acidic and alkaline qualities in liquids.
- Pool pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6.
- If lower, add pH increaser.
- If higher, add pH decreaser.
- After adjusting, wait one hour before continuing tests.
Step 5: Check and adjust water hardness, the proper level of calcium in the water.
- Water hardness levels should be between 175 and 225 ppm.
- To increase the level, add calcium hardness increaser.
- To decrease, drain some of the water and refill with source water that has a lower calcium level.
Step 6: Check and adjust the chlorine level in the pool water. Chlorine is what kills all the bacteria, viruses and germs in the water. However, the sun's UV rays can diminish its effectiveness, so pool water also needs a chlorine stabilizer.
- Check the stabilizer level and adjust to at least 30 ppm.
- Check the chlorine level and adjust to 1 to 4 ppm by adding granular chlorine as indicated by the test strip and chlorine manufacturer.
- Avoid adjusting the chlorine and stabilizer levels during the hottest part of the day. Also, add the appropriate chemicals with the pump running to circulate additives.
Step 7: Add algaecide as recommended to prevent the growth of algae on the walls, floor and ladder of the pool.
Step 8: The following day, test the chlorine level again. If needed, adjust the chlorine as above.
CHILDPROOF YOUR POOL (spot in home safety)
Make your pool the safe, fun place it should be. Childproof your pool area to prevent slips and falls, sunburns and other more serious accidents, so you can keep your outdoor oasis a fun place for the whole family.
Tips for a Kid-Safe Pool
- Protect all entryways to the pool area to make sure children don't enter the pool unattended. Put alarms on doors and windows, and make sure you have a secure fence around the entire pool area to protect other children in the neighbourhood as well.
- Even if your entire yard is fenced in, fence the perimeter of the pool area. One of the best techniques for preventing drowning is to create multiple barriers to entry. Ideal fencing will be at least 4 feet high with gaps no wider than 3 inches.
- Consider purchasing a pool alarm. There are alarms available that activate when pool water is disturbed and alarms that toddlers can wear that alert you when they come near the pool edge.
- Clear toys, shoes and other trip hazards away from the edge of the pool or from areas where children might play. Teach children not to run near the pool to prevent falls on scratchy concrete.
- Remove toys from the pool area when you aren't there. Getting rid of all items that might attract the attention of children will help keep curious kids from approaching the pool when adults aren't looking.
- Provide shade with umbrellas, awnings or other tools to create safe areas for sun-sensitive skin. Encourage children to wear sunscreen and to take periodic breaks from direct exposure by providing snacks and drinks in the shade.
- Remove ladders to aboveground pools when you aren't using them.
- Cover your pool when it isn't in use. A rigid pool cover that conceals the pool's entire surface is the safest option. Mechanical covers are available that you can operate with the touch of a button.
- Make sure you have rescue gear available. Keep life preservers, kickboards, rope and a pole handy.
- Enroll children in swimming lessons. While you can protect your children in your own home, the ultimate protection is having water-smart children who can swim and float. Even infants can learn to swim with proper training, and you'll feel secure knowing your little ones are safe swimmers no matter where they are.