Pool ownership can be a lot of fun—but that fun doesn’t come without a little hard work. Whether you’re opening your pool in the spring, maintaining it through a busy summer or shutting it down in the fall, paying attention to detail will save you valuable time and money.
While the following guidelines will help you keep your pool up and running, remember to consult with a pool professional if you encounter more complex, time-consuming or labour-intensive problems. These same professionals can also offer opening, maintenance and closing services, if you’d prefer to spend less time working and more time playing.
After a long, difficult winter, you are probably quite eager start enjoying your pool right away. However, you need to follow proper opening procedures before you dive in, or else you’ll be setting yourself for headaches down the road.
Step one: Tidy up
Remove standing water from your pool cover using a submersible pump and clean up any debris, grime or algae from the cover. After removing the cover, clean, rinse and dry it before packing it away for the summer. While the pool water level is still low, brush the floor and water lines to remove any winter buildup.
Step two: Check plugs and accessories
Remove all drain plugs from the outlets and skimmer and reconnect all fittings and accessories (e.g. baskets, jets, rings, skimmer plates, etc.). Inspect all accessories to ensure they are still in good working order.
Step three: Reassemble equipment
It is now time to check and reassemble your pool equipment (e.g. pump, filter, heater) Before you begin, close the pool heater drains; if the heater pressure switch has been disconnected, reconnect it on the inside of the unit. Next, install the gauges and plugs on your pump and filter and connect the necessary plugs and hoses to the chemical feeder. Replace your filter pressure gauge, tightening it carefully to avoid cracking, and replace the drain cap on the bottom of the unit. Lastly, inspect the rubber ‘O-ring’ on the pump head and determine if it needs to be replaced. If not, treat it with a non oil-based lubricant.
Step four: Start up the equipment
Return the water to operating levels and prime the pump—fill the strainer basket with water, turn the dial valve to ‘drain’ or ‘waste’ and start it up. (This may take a few minutes.) Once the pump is functioning, backwash the filter, turn the pump off and switch the dial to the filter position—never do this while the pump is running. Check the entire system (e.g. the pump, chemical feeder, filter, heater and main drain) to make sure it is running properly and leak-free.
Step five: Get cleaning
If the water appears particularly dirty, raise the water level higher than normal and vacuum the pool with the filter dial set to the ‘waste’ position. This will remove filter-clogging dirt, as well as fine sediment, which the filter might not catch at all. If the water is relatively clean, let it recirculate for 24 hours, to allow the new water to mix with the old.
Step six: Test water chemistry and balance
Water should be tested for chlorine, pH, total alkalinity (TA), calcium hardness and stabilizer levels. If you are using a salt-chlorine generator, also test for salt. If using a home test kit, use only fresh reagents and a sample taken 0.5 m (1.5 ft) from the surface of the water and away from return jets while the circulation system is operating. You can also have a full water analysis performed at a local pool store; the sample will have to be at least 1 L (35 oz).