Finally – the Midwest’s savage winter weather has given way to the Midwest’s somewhat less savage summer weather. Getting your pool ready for summer isn’t the most complicated chore in the world, but you’ll still want to do it right. That sets the tone for the regular pool maintenance you’ll want to perform during the rest of the season.
Let’s briefly review the steps you should take while opening your pool. We’ll then outline the ongoing pool maintenance schedule you should follow to achieve optimal cleanliness and longevity from your personal swimming pool!
How to Open Your Pool
While several people opt to hire a professional pool service in Sioux Falls, SD to open their pools, many others choose to take care of the job on their own. If you’re a DIY-minded homeowner, here are the steps you should follow before you take the first plunge of the year.
- Maintain the area around your pool. This step is simple: Sweep any debris off of your pool deck, trim nearby plants, prune overhanging branches, and ensure all safety equipment including rails and ladders are functioning correctly.
- Make sure you have the right pool chemicals and a test kit. Pool chemicals keep your water’s pH, alkalinity, chlorine and calcium hardness at the correct levels. Before you proceed further, make certain you have adequate amounts of the following pool chemicals, and that none of them have expired:
- Remove your pool cover. Be sure to remove any debris that may have settled on your pool cover before removing it. Once you have removed your pool cover, clean and then dry it thoroughly before storing it in a rodent-free zone.
- Inspect your pool. Now that your pool is uncovered, give its deck and lining a thorough inspection for any damage they may have suffered over the past year. Repair (or arrange to repair) large holes or cracks, and scrub the scaling off any surrounding tile. Check the filter, pump and return lines for damage, and make repairs as needed. Also use this time to reassemble your pool’s filtration system, restore lights and directional fittings to their original locations, empty the skimmer basket and remove winterizing plugs.
- Refill your pool. Your pool’s water level has likely dropped over the course of last fall and winter. Fill it up again with your hose, while also using a skimmer net to eliminate any debris that snuck past your pool cover. Once you have restored the correct water level, turn on your pool filter and leave the water alone for 24 hours. That will ensure the old and new water are evenly blended together.
- Test and adjust your pool water. Having refilled your pool, it is now time to test its water’s pH, alkalinity, chlorine and calcium hardness levels. Allot at least two days to this important step, and adjust your water’s chemical properties in this order:
Day 1 of Pool Opening
- Alkalinity – 80 to 120 ppm (wait 1 hour to let chemical circulate)
- pH – 7.4 to 7.6 (wait 1 hour to let chemical circulate)
- Calcium hardness – 180 to 220 ppm (wait 1 hour to let chemical circulate)
- Chlorine – 1 to 5 ppm (wait 1 hour to let chemical circulate)
- Stain treatment – 1 quart per 10,000 gallons (wait 3 hours to let chemical circulate)
Day 2 of Pool Opening
- Algaecide – 16 ounces per 10,000 gallons (wait 30 minutes to let chemical circulate)
You must continually test and adjust your pool water’s chemical properties throughout the rest of the summer, right up until you close it up again. Here is the recommended ongoing pool water maintenance schedule:
Ongoing Pool Water Maintenance
- Stain treatment – 6 ounces per 10,000 gallons every other week (wait 3 hours to let chemical circulate)
- Shock treatment – Correct amount depends on product; add once weekly or whenever improved water clarity is desired (wait 1 hour to let chemical circulate)
- Algaecide – 16 ounces per 10,000 gallons; add after every shock treatment (wait 30 minutes to let chemical circulate)
- Whichever other adjuster chemicals regular testing deems necessary
The Importance of a Pool Maintenance Schedule
You haven’t finished maintaining your pool once you have gotten it ready for the first plunge. Continually maintaining your pool over the course of the entire summer will save you money and spare you inconvenience!
A pool filter cartridge should last around two to four years – but its lifespan will become appreciably shorter if you allow it to intake dirty water and gradually clog with debris. A clogged filter threatens even greater damage by forcing the pump to work harder, so it is vital that you frequently skim leaves and other debris from the water’s surface, scrub algae and sediment from the pool walls, vacuum sediment from the bottom and clear out the skimmer.
Ongoing pool maintenance can also save you and your family from getting seriously sick. Recreational water illness caused by microorganisms like algae and bacteria is surprisingly common in the United States. Maintaining a pH level between 7.4 and 7.6 will prevent microbes from colonizing your water, as well as ensure that your pool water’s other chemicals remain as effective as possible at their respective jobs.
And remember: Pool safety doesn’t end with water maintenance! Keep your pool deck free of tripping and entanglement hazards, as well as appliances which could possibly malfunction and begin running an electrical current through the water. If you have kids, make sure their smaller toys are kept away from the pool area. A Happy Meal toy can easily get lodged inside a piece of sensitive hardware!
Would you rather entrust all of your pool’s opening and maintenance needs to a professional? If you live in the greater Sioux Falls area, then we welcome you to contact Paradise Patio, Pool & Spa today! We have all your pool chemicals and equipment in stock, and our pool pros can save you time and trouble by expertly tending the pool at your home or multi-family community.