By Jimmie Meece
This weekend marks the beginning of the summer season! Memorial Day weekend is known as the time of year we remember and give thanks to those soldiers who have given it all to protect our freedom. As a part of the celebration of this holiday, we will typically plan “cookouts” and spend this time with family and friends. In some cases, these cookouts are spent poolside. With the weather warming up every day, and the refreshing thought of jumping into a pool to cool off, the backyard swimming pool becomes a family focal point.
If you maintain your swimming pool you know that it can be quite the chore getting it “swim-ready”. Assuming the pool was closed during the winter or simply neglected since last fall, there could be a lot of work for you to do before jumping in! Below is a checklist of items that may help you get your swimming pool ready for your Memorial Day party:
- Remove the cover: If your pool has been covered all winter then removing the cover will be your first step. In most cases, it may take an extra set of hands to remove the cover. Also, to help protect the cover it is always a good idea to rinse off any debris before folding and storing the cover for the summer season.
- What color is the pool water? The answer to this question can help you determine if you will be swimming that day or in a couple of weeks. When the pool is properly closed/winterized in the fall and is then reopened before the temperature is consistently in the 70s each day, then you should expect the pool water to be relatively clear. If you uncover the pool and see green or black water then it may be a couple of weeks before your pool is swim-ready.
- What type of chemicals should you use in your pool? The most important chemical readings to check in your pool are chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, and if you have a saltwater pool then you must check the salt ppm levels as well. Then, to properly maintain the pool you must adjust the chemical readings to fall within the appropriate ranges. This will help ensure that you are swimming in water that is clean and safe.
- Are your pump and filter working properly? Of course, you know that chemicals are important to adequately maintain a swimming pool, but it takes your pump and filter working together to circulate those chemicals for ultimate effectiveness. If your pump has been off for several months you may find that it may not start when you turn it on. Believe it or not, a pool pump is built to run constantly, and when it has been shut down for weeks or months at a time it could actually damage the pump. Also, it is important to clean your filter media whether it is cleaning your cartridges, d.e. grids or if you have a sand filter it is recommended that you replace the existing sand with new sand every 3 years.
- The pool is clear, clean and chemically balanced, so what is next? Put on your safety patrol hat and begin to inspect the pool equipment for any issues. Look over the pump, filter, and plumbing for any visible leaks, and be sure that the ground wire is securely attached to the pool pumps. Also, be sure that there are no insect nests, anthills, etc… under the pool pump. These little pests can build nests inside the motor of your pool pump and cause it to malfunction. If you have a diving board and/or a slide it is important to confirm that they are secured properly to the decking before using them. Of course, if you have handrails and/or ladders be sure to properly install them before officially opening the pool for the season.
We know that this is a lot of information to take in, and opening up a swimming pool for the swim season is not for the faint of heart! As you can see there are a lot of variables that can make this task quite difficult. So, we recommend contacting your local pool professional to help you open your pool for the season. The pool professional will help ensure that your pool is opened efficiently and safely!