Pool Opening – Get the Most From Doing It Right

Spring is blooming across the country and the pool is on that “to do” list of outdoor chores. Why not lessen the chore and make life a bit simpler this year? Removing your swimming pool can reduce hazards and liability so leave it with your pool removal Sydney.

If you’re thinking, “Ron, you’ve got to be kidding!”, then let me put it this way: taking it step by step a little at a time starting a month or more before “officially” opening the pool DOES make pool opening simpler. Following a few easy to follow steps makes it manageable with less stress and overall better success.

First things first. After a long, cold winter just get out there and take a look. You may not want to! Seeing all those accumulated leaves on the cover, not to mention the water may just cause you to stop right there. Instead, hook up your cover pump and start getting that excess water off of the top of the cover. Remember that wherever the water level is on TOP of the cover, that’s where the overall water level itself is.

If the water is fairly clear, don’t worry too much about pumping that water that’s on top, back underneath and into the pool. Especially if the water is cold and clear. The purpose of doing that is to take advantage of the free water. At the same time add a bottle of a good quality (40% strength or greater) algicide into the water right at the point where the top water is going in. Even though the filter or pump may not be hooked up, the water and algicide will flow around the pool.

If you have a white plaster or marble dust finished pool, DO NOT add any type of algicide containing copper at this point. You always want to have the filter system operating to properly circulate the product containing copper. If you don’t, you risk staining the pool surfaces.

Why algicide at this point? An early addition of algicide will begin to combat and prevent early algae growth. This is especially true if you have a mesh style winter or safety cover that allows sunlight to penetrate into the water. Ideally, the best thing to do is to remove the cover from the corners of the pool, take your leaf net and simply swish the water around for a couple of minutes. That will be adequate after adding the algicide.

What else should you consider adding?

If you know that you are prone to metal staining due to heavy metals such as iron, copper or manganese being present in the tap water (this is why you use some of the cleaner water from the top of the cover), prevent staining by adding a good quality metal and stain preventative. If scaling (due to high calcium levels) is a problem during the season, you can add a scale inhibitor at the same time. Remember that calcium is a mineral that dissolves better at colder water temperatures (under 80 degrees F). As the water warms, and gets very warm or is heated, scale can form and dramatically reduce heating efficiency; even if you are using a solar heater (those small tubes are just waiting for scale build-up).

One of the most often neglected products to use at spring pool start up is a good quality enzyme. Enzymes are excellent in prepping your pool’s water for opening and spring start up. Enzymes consume certain organic wastes and build-ups before you get started. Enzymes are best used when you have attached the pump and motor and have started the system.

Starting the filter system while the winter cover is still on is an absolutely terrific idea! You get the water moving and filtered. You get the preventive chemicals circulating. You get the water warming up faster. I began doing this over the past couple of years. I have several trees that don’t finish shedding their early flowers or seeds until late May. The cover stays on and the water remains clean. When the cover comes off, it’s almost ready to swim in.

One chemical that you should NEVER add while the cover is on is any type of shock treatment. Regardless of whether it’s a chlorine or non-chlorine shock ALWAYS have the cover OFF of the pool for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours. Why? The job of the shock treatment is to oxidize or burn off wastes (including ammonia compounds) from the water. As the shock does this oxidation work, those impurities have to “gas-off”. If the cover is on, those gases simply hit the underside of the cover and fall back into the water to re-form as chloramines. Now when you open the pool, you’ll have even more chloramines to deal with which could lead to a serious chlorine demand problem that will be difficult – and expensive – to resolve.

A couple of more Do’s and Don’ts when starting the pool:

DO – Remove excess leaves and debris before removing the winter cover. You definitely DO NOT want that stuff going into your pool.
DO – Balance the pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Balance it according to mid-summer parameters taking water temperature into consideration.
DO – Consider using a biofilm removal product when first starting. Biofilms are the source of many water problems including white water mold and pink slime, never mind scaling issues, and often times algae. A new products named AquaFinesse Pool Water Care Tablets are easy to use and are an excellent choice.
DO – Shock the pool well. We recommend 3 to 4 times the normal amount for best results. Many pool owners have problems in the middle of the summer because they didn’t adequately shock the pool (or continue doing this step) at start up.
DO – Start with fresh water testing reagents or test strips.
DO – Allow the water to circulate 2 – 3 days continuously before testing. Many chemical components need to be circulated for a proper test.
DO – Chemically clean the filter about one week after opening.
DO – A manual vacuuming and brushing as the first cleaning of the new season. Brushing and vacuuming helps to remove organic build-up from the pool’s interior surfaces and helps to circulate spring opening chemicals.
DO – Chemically clean the solar blanket before using it for the first time of the season.
DON’T – Randomly add water balancing chemicals. Just because you needed or added 25 pounds of total alkalinity increaser last year, doesn’t mean you’ll need the same this year. You many need more or you may need less. Always test first.
DON’T – Add cyanuric acid (also known as CYA, stabilizer, conditioner, sun shield, etc) until after a proper test. Once CYA has been added to the pool, it doesn’t come out of the water unless backwashed out or other wise diluted. It stays in the water from year to year. Excess CYA is an unnecessary expense and can add to a high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) problem.
DON’T – Use muriatic acid to clean your filter. Muriatic acid will set greases and oils into DE or Cartridge filter fabrics.
DON’T – Use your automatic pool cleaner until after the initial vacuuming and brushing.
DON’T – Put on the solar blanket until after the water is balanced and has been shocked.

Even opening your own pool shouldn’t take longer than 2 to 3 hours for the average residential inground or aboveground pool. Happy Swimming! Use and enjoy your pool.

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