Nothing says summer like a clear, refreshing pool. But before you dive in, take some time to ensure you and your summer guests are splashing in clean, safe water. Here, we explain how to open your pool, including when to open your pool, what chemicals are needed for pool start-up and how to start up a pool for the first time if you’re a brand-new pool owner.
Opening a Pool: Your Checklist
Beat the heat. The first step to opening a pool is figuring out when to do it. The season starts earlier than you might expect. Remove your pool’s cover before temperatures heat up too much. Algae thrives in warm, dark spots, so a few toasty summer days could add hours of clean-up time to the process.
Clear out the cloudiness. If you opened your pool to find murky water and mounds of algae, don’t panic! Open the main drains and point your jets down. Run the pump as high as possible until your water is clear. Pool-opening chemicals that can help include shock and algaecide, which will speed up the process.
Prepare your pool-opening kit. Stop by your local pool supply or hardware store before swim season kicks off to pick up the chemicals you need to keep your water clean, along with any parts you may need to replace. Your pool-opening kit, including the chemicals you’ll need for pool start-up, include:
- Water testing kit
- Chlorine tablets
- A skimmer with a pole extender
- Stain treatment
- Adjusters for total alkalinity, calcium and pH
- A stiff bristled brush
Give it a thorough once-over. Clean out the strainer basket (leaves, sticks and other debris gather quickly), skim the top of the water and give the sides of your pool a scrub down. Use a heavy-duty brush to slough off algae and mineral build up. Chlorine generators, also known as salt cells, require regular cleanings to ensure proper chlorine levels. Inspect your pool’s walls, checking for cracks and tears in the tile or vinyl layer. If your pool filter is dirty, spray it down with a hose.
Let it breathe. Keep water circulating to avoid algae growth and cut down on maintenance time. Allowing for a day or so of circulation will also ensure more accurate results when you test the pH level of your water. Otherwise, the water at the top and bottom of the pool may give you different results.
Don’t wait. The morning of your first summer barbecue isn’t the time to realize your pump is down for the count. Before you use the pool, test the equipment, heaters, pumps, blowers and anything else that could have taken a beating over the winter. Allow each to run long enough to ensure you’ll be all set come party time. (And don’t forget to stay safe at the grill when the fun begins.) When in doubt, consider contacting a pool professional who can help assess and repair any issues.
Safety first. Before your pool is open, check your fence and lock(s) to make sure no one can get in without your knowledge. Look for any broken sections where children or animals can sneak in. Doublecheck entry points into your pool area from the street and from your yard.
Prepare now for next year. Don’t toss your damp, dirty pool cover in the garage without a good wash. Let’s be honest — you won’t remember to clean it before it’s time to put the cover back on. Before removing, hose off the cover to remove debris, then use a pump to remove standing water. Resist the urge to drain the dirty water into the pool. Then, remove the cover — folding it in small sections — and scrub it with soap. Allow it to dry completely to prevent mildew growth. When it’s time to put it away, put it in a large, sealed container. A plastic bin with a lid will do the trick to keep out dirt, dust, critters and insects.
Stay Worry-free This Summer
Having a pool is a great addition to your backyard oasis. Be sure to mention your pool to your Farm Bureau agent, who will do a SuperCheck® and ensure you have the right amount of coverage, so you can enjoy fun and sun worry-free this season!