During winter many don’t use their pools as much as they do in the warmer months and whilst your pool may not seem dirty or unhygienic after a long period of not being used, it’s a good idea to take some steps to ensure your pool is safe to swim in. Here’s how to get your pool ready for summer.
Clean and remove your pool cover
If you’ve had a cover on over the winter, you’ll need to remove it. If it has leaves and debris sitting on top, you’ll need to get these off first to prevent them from falling into your pool water. Using your pool telescope with a brush wipe over and remove any leaves, stick, dirt, etc. If there are pools of water sitting on the cover, you’ll want to drain this off too, it’s probably filled with contaminants and you don’t want this going into your pool if you can avoid it.
Top up with water
In most cases, if your pool hasn’t been used for a long time, the water levels would have dropped. You will need to top up your water until it reaches halfway on your skimmer opening. Once you put fresh water into the pool, let your pool pump run for at least 8 hours to circulate the old and new water together. If your water levels have dropped drastically you may need to seek approval from the council to refill it.
Using your telescope pole with skimmer attachment skim leaves, insects, and any other debris from your water.
Balance your water
Balancing your pool water is essential to ensure it is clean and is a must-do before anyone dives in. You can do this yourself by simply purchasing a water testing kit. Here are the most important components of your pool water that you will need to check and adjust if necessary:
- Total Alkalinity
Ideally, this level should be around 80-120 parts per million (ppm). It’s a good idea to check the alkalinity before the pH as the alkalinity will affect the pH. You can increase the level of alkalinity with sodium bicarbonate or use muriatic acid if you need to reduce it.
- pH levels
Unbalanced pH can inhibit your chlorine’s ability to sanitize the water, if it’s too low it can make the pool go murky. You should aim for a pH level of between 7.2 and 7.6.
- Calcium hardness
The calcium hardness of your water should be checked. Over time if the levels aren’t monitored and adjusted correctly it can damage your pool and equipment. Aim to keep your levels between 100 to 300 ppm.
Stabiliser works by protecting your chlorine from being degenerated from the sun’s harmful rays. This should be balanced so your chlorine can do its job properly. Normal levels are around 40 to 100 ppm.
Adding an algaecide can kill harmful algae and bacteria that may have made itself at home in your pool over the cooler months.
Regardless of whether you have a mineral, salt or traditional chlorine pool, all use chlorine to sanitize the water some just use more than other types. It is important to test your chlorine level and adjust it accordingly, without proper balance your pool won’t be clean and safe to swim in. For salt and chlorine pools the range should be between 1 to 3 ppm. For minerals, it’s slightly less and should be 0.05 ppm.
- Shock the pool
Shocking the pool is essentially using a high dose of chlorine to eradicate bacteria and algae from the water. When your pool is in high use it’s a good idea to do this weekly to prevent the water from going cloudy or dirty.
Cleaning out the pool components
Now that you’ve got the water balance sorted out it’s time to clean out your pool and equipment.
Clean out your skimmer basket
Simply remove the basket and dispose of leaves, dirt, and any other contaminants in it. Wash off with a hose and replace it.
Clean your filter
If dirt and debris are clogged in your filter it will have to work harder than it should clean the water.
The cleaning technique will vary depending on which type you have:
Cartridge filters – Simply remove the filter and hose down and replace it.
Sand filters – Turn the handle to backwash and leave running for 2 minutes before returning to the original setting.
DE filters – Backwash, remove the filters, and rinse with a hose to remove old DE, replace with fresh DE cellulose fiber back and replace it into the system.
If this is something you don’t feel comfortable doing, get in touch with a pool professional, they can guide you through the process step by step or take care of it altogether if you prefer.
Give the walls a good scrub
If you have a fiberglass pool you may not need to do this but if algae have started growing in your pool, you should scrub down the interior surface with a brush attached to the telescoping pole.
Make sure everything is working properly
Make sure everything in your pool is working, the pump, filter, skimmers, returns, lights, and heating if you have it. If anything needs replacing, do so as soon as you can.
Maintain your pool and water balance daily
Once you have got your pool in full working order, maintain it daily by clearing the pool of debris, shocking once a week, and by monitoring the chemistry levels daily, and adjusting them accordingly. If you keep on top of these 3 things your pool will be crystal clear throughout the entire summer and be ready to use whenever you please.
Check the pool area
It’s not only the pool itself that may need some TLC, check the pool’s paving or alternative, and make sure it’s in good condition and doesn’t need repairs. Make sure there are no objects in the climbable zone of your pool, trim tree branches, and plants that are hanging near your pool, and most importantly ensure that your pool fence is safe and in full working order.
What if I’m not confident in maintaining my pool’s water chemistry levels?
If you feel as though maintaining your pool chemistry levels is a daunting task, make an appointment with a pool professional to come out and run you through the whole process, alternatively, you can hire a pool cleaner to take care of your pool maintenance for you.
How do I know if my pool is safe to swim in again?
A good indication that your pool is ready to swim in is when the water is clear and you should be able to see the bottom. Test your water before swimming though to ensure there’s nothing that needs to be balanced.
Once the days start to warm up, you should start thinking about getting your pool cleaned up sooner rather than later so that when you want to jump and cool off, you can. If you’re considering a pool for your place or if you have any questions, get in touch with our expert team at Barrier Reef Pools Perth, we specialize in award-winning fiberglass pools and would be happy to hear from you.