9 Things to Do When Opening Your Pool
If you don’t own a pool, you probably think “opening a pool” means ordering extra plastic Margarita glasses and hanging whimsical lights from the nearest tree.
If you do own a pool, you understand there is a ton of practical work to be done before you can worry about party decorations.
First Things First
Don’t wait until the day before your pool party to open your pool. Sending out 50 Memorial Day BBQ invitations but not checking the condition of your pool until May 27 would qualify you for the “Dumb Pool Owner Hall of Fame.” You don’t want to have to explain to a bunch of swimsuit-clad party guests that you couldn’t fix your pump in time for the festivities.
Check to see if you have the right supplies long before you plan on doing any work. If you spent the end of last season fishing debris out of the pool with a spaghetti strainer then you obviously need a new skimmer. While there is still a chill in the air, head to your local pool supply store to make sure you have everything you need when the hard work begins.
Let the Pool Opening Begin!
- Before you do anything to your pool, give your pool cover some TLC. Blow off all the leaves and debris and use a pump to remove any standing water. Clean the cover using a product called Pool Cover Cleaner and let it dry completely before you store it for summer.
- Before you can top off a beer this season, you must top off your pool. Fire up the water hose and get your water level back up to normal. If you live in the desert, be prepared for a large water bill. But, if you live in the desert, hours in the pool may be the only thing keeping you alive.
- Now it’s time to check your pool equipment: pump, filters, heaters, the whole shebang. (If you winterized, you’ll have to hook everything back up and remove any winterizing plugs, etc.) Inspect everything carefully, looking for anything that might cause you major problems down the line.
- Speaking of major problems, cross your fingers and turn your equipment back on. Pray you don’t see any leaks or hear any weird noises. If you do, don’t try to fix your equipment by wrapping stuff in duct tape or hitting it with a shoe. Just get out your check book and let the pros fix it right. Yes, the money will sting now, but you’ll forget the pain when you’re floating in the pool this August with a drink in your hand.
- Shock the pool—and not just by wearing a tiny bathing suit after not doing sit-ups all winter. It’s important to remove all contaminants and harmful bacteria from your pool. “Shocking your pool” means you’re giving it a large amount of chlorine. There are products you can buy called Pool Shock. This is one of the items you should have bought long before your pool opening.
- Check the chemistry of your pool water. And no, you don’t need a PhD in pH balance to figure this out. If you are insecure about your scientific abilities, hire a pro, or at the very least seek advice from your favorite pool store. You want a pH balance of around 7.5. You want a Total Alkalinity level of 80-120 ppm and a Calcium Hardness level of 180-220 ppm. (Aren’t you sorry you didn’t pay closer attention in school?)
- Clean your pool with a brush and a vacuum. Make sure you clean behind the pool couch. And use a pool vacuum, not a regular vacuum. Don’t toss your Roomba into the pool and think it will do the job for you. (Although, a cat in a shark costume, riding a pool Roomba would be adorable.)
- Run the filtration system for at least 24 hours before you do your first cannonball. (No, you don’t need to watch it run for 24 hours. Get some sleep.)
- Do a safety check of the area and all the equipment around the pool, including slides or diving boards. If somebody got hurt last year, fix the problem so somebody else doesn’t get hurt this year. Nothing is more of a buzzkill than an ambulance ride.
Let the Pool Fun Begin!