It’s our favourite time of year – the beginning of another swim season! As you prepare to dive in, you may be wondering whether to hire a professional or tackle the task of pool opening on your own. Regardless of your choice, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a successful opening of your pool and start to your season.
Timing is Key
When are you planning your first pool party of the year? May 24? Don’t expect to uncover your pool and have crystal-clear water that’s swim-ready the next day. Always anticipate the worst-case scenario, as you never know what you’ll be dealing with until the cover is removed. The pool will most likely be filled with algae and debris after winter, which can take weeks to clear up. So, plan accordingly to avoid hosting a pool party where no one wants to swim.
The Four Key Areas
Once the cover is removed, there are four key areas to focus on circulation, filtration, sanitization, and balance.
Ensure that all winterizing plugs are removed and drain plugs are returned to the mechanical equipment. This allows the water to move in a loop through the pump and filters.
Filtration through a Sand/Cartridge filter is common and will collect algae and debris from the water (i.e., “the green stuff). However, this alone is not enough to get the water crystal clear. On a warm, sunny day, the algae growth would overcome the filtration system without the help of an oxidizer, which brings us to the next step.
Chlorine or bromine is the most common primary source of sanitization, but you can also use UV or CO2 as a secondary source of sanitization. Most pool professionals use granulated or liquid chlorine to “shock” the water upon initial startup. This will give a big boost to start killing off the organics and algae. Manual scrubbing/vacuuming of the sides and floor will loosen up stuck-on algae and allow the oxidizer to destroy it more effectively. After a couple of days, you should notice improving clarity in the water.
Once the water is clear, the last step is to balance the water chemistry. pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, sanitizer levels, cyanuric acid, and total dissolved solids are all measurements that need to be adjusted to bring the chemistry into acceptable ranges. Balanced water is essential for bather comfort, the feel of the water on your skin, and, most importantly, protecting your investment in a pool. Improper water chemistry could have detrimental effects on your pool equipment and the lifespan of your liner. Clear water doesn't always mean it's the best it can be.
After you have perfected these four items, your pool water should be clear and ready for the first of many memorable swimming events this summer. Always remember to swim safely!