Tips for Seasonal Pool Owners

When warm weather finally arrives, homeowners with swimming pools find themselves starting the annual process of opening their pool and/or spa for the upcoming season. Here are a few tips from the recreational water experts at NSF International to help you avoid potential problems and ensure your pool opening process goes smoothly:

  • Check your supply of water treatment chemicals to make sure you have everything you need. If any chemicals are beyond their expiration dates, replace them before opening the pool.
  • Before trying to remove the cover, pump off any standing water and remove as much dirt and debris as possible from the cover as well as from the deck area immediately surrounding the pool.  Remove the cover carefully, cleaning it thoroughly and allowing it to dry completely before storing it for the summer.
  • Inspect the pool walls and/or liner for any punctures or tears. Scrub and clean the walls as necessary. Inspect the deck area surrounding the pool for any trip hazards and make any needed repairs.
  • Remove plugs and reinstall any pumps, filters or other items and fittings that were removed at the end of the previous season.
  • Inspect the drain covers and make sure they are properly installed and not broken. Consider replacing older drain covers with newer versions that meet today’s anti-entrapment standards.
  • Add water to bring the water level up to normal, then turn the power on and start up the system. Check for leaks and make sure the system is operating properly. Restart the circulation equipment and clean the pool.
  • Analyze the water quality and add treatment chemicals as needed to adjust the chlorine, pH and alkalinity to desired levels. Refer to the chemical manufacturer's usage instructions or contact a qualified pool supply company if you are unsure how to safely use these products. Monitor water chemistry levels frequently the first few days the pool is open, adjusting chemical treatment as needed until they stabilize.  Store chemicals in a secure location where pets and children cannot access them.
  • Run the pump continuously at the beginning of the season until the pool water is clear and balanced. The filter may need to be backwashed frequently during the first few days of operation, depending upon how dirty the water became over the winter.
  • Reinstall and tightly secure any ladders, railings or other pool equipment such as diving boards and slides. To help prevent unauthorized entry to the pool area, install a self-latching mechanism on the entry gate. Consider installing a pool alarm to notify you if anyone enters your pool without your knowledge, especially if you have small children who could accidentally fall into the pool.
  • Check skimmer baskets and remove debris, ensuring the water level is at approximately mid-height of the skimmer weir opening for best surface skimming performance.

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