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How to Get Your Swimming Pool Ready for Summer

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

Spring time is here and you've been putting off opening your swimming pool because "the start" of the swimming pool season is a month away. Opening your swimming pool for the season takes more than filling it up and jumping in.

Here's your eight-step guide to getting ready for lazy summer afternoons:

1. Don't Empty Your Pool

Never empty your swimming pool, even if you live in a really cold climate, unless you have no other choice, such as if you need to do structural work or your pool hasn't been covered and there are too many leaves at the bottom to remove. (Also: Get a cover. Really.) That's because draining the pool can bring big problems. For example, an empty pool in a high water table can lift out of the ground without the weight of the water holding it down.

2. Remove your pool cover

Remove any leaves and debris off of the winter pool cover. If you use a solid cover, drain the water off the cover using a submersible pump. Clean the cover thoroughly and let dry in the sun before storing it.

3. Top it off

If the water level has fallen over the winter, top it off. Make sure to clean the filter before you turn it on. Clean a cartridge filter by removing the cartridge and wash with a hose. If you have a D.E. filter, you might need to take it apart, clean it, and reassemble it. If you have a sand filter, set the filter to backwash, which will clean the sand. Then turn it to the normal setting.

The water level needs to be midway up the skimmer before the pump and filter can be started. While you are waiting for the water level to increase, plumb in the pump, remaining swimming pool equipment and replace all drain plugs for the pump, filter heater etc. (MAKE SURE THAT THE BREAKERS ARE OFF). Connecting all of the plumbing now will allow you to check for leaks once the correct water level has been reached. If there are no leaks present, continue to let the pump run non stop (24 hours per day).

4. Clean it up

If the swimming pool water is clear enough to see the bottom, you can vacuum any leaves or debris. If you are vacuuming through your filter system, switch your valve to waste (does not apply to cartridge filters). This will allow all the debris that is being vacuumed to bypass the filter and be flushed out through the waste port. The water level will drop while you do this. You can fill up the swimming pool using a garden hose while you vacuum. Continue to let the pump run non stop (24 hours per day).

5. Test Your Water

After all the debris has been removed, take a sample of the swimming pool water. Make certain that you take it from the deep end while the pump and filter are running and at least a foot below the water level. Obtaining the proper chemical levels will be vital to a safe and crystal clear pool. if you prefer, take a water sample to a swimming pool store, they'll test the water for you (the mineral content of the water, along with the total alkalinity and the pH and the chlorine levels) and they'll tell you which needs to be adjusted and by how much.

Continue to let the pump run non stop (24 hours per day).

6. Balance Your Chemicals

Time for some chemistry, based on your pool pro's analysis.

7. Set the swimming pool timer (if you have one)

Once the proper chemical levels have been achieved and the swimming pool water is being filtered and circulated properly, you can set the swimming pool timer (if you have one) to operate on schedules. The swimming pool water needs to be circulated at least 6-12 hours per day depending on the size of the pool and related equipment. If the swimming pool should turn green, bypass the timer and let the filter and pump run 24 hours per day and check and adjust the chemical levels as needed.

8. Maintain

For the rest of the season, keep the filter clean, vacuum the pool each week, and test the chemical levels every day or have a pro test the water once a month.

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