By Ryan Harrison
Photo by harmonicagoldfish via Flickr
March 22, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Preparing your swimming pool for the upcoming summer season means more just than taking off the cover and refilling it. After a long winter, your pool may be green and full of gunk and debris. More than 53,000 in-ground pools and 171,000 above-ground pools were sold in 2012, according to The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals. Before opening your backyard for swimming, take the time to thoroughly clean and make upgrades to your existing pool for both the health of the swimmers and the pool.
Begin by removing the pool cover, rinsing and drying it, and storing it in a safe area. Scoop out any sticks, leaves and other large debris. Suck up any dirt, sand and algae with a wet vacuum. It’s important to never fully empty your swimming pool as it can cause irreversible structural damage. Draining a pool on a high water table can literally lift the pool out of the ground without the weight of the water to hold it down.
Put the filtration system together and thoroughly clean out the baskets. Pull out any plugs that were put in place at the end of the last swimming season. Before starting up the system, ensure the filtration system is not pressurized with air and the pump is primed. Replace any dirty filters with clean ones. As water begins to filter through the system, check for signs of leakage or other types of damage.
Balancing the Water
Once the filtration system has run for several days and all dirt and debris has been removed, it’s time to balance the pool’s water chemistry. According to the Better Health Channel, pool owners should aim for a pH level between 7 and 7.6. Pool water with a pH above 8 can result in skin rashes, while a pH below 7 can cause eye irritation. Hardness should be between 150 and 250 parts per million (ppm) and chlorine levels should reach 1 to 3 ppm. Have a professional test a water sample to determine what needs to be adjusted and by how much.
Maintain Pool Area
Expect the preparation process to take about a week. Each day, clean out the filter and continue to add chlorine until the water has reached a safe level. Consider making some cost-effective upgrades, such as installing an automatic pool control system. This type of system allows you to control temperature, lights, jets, waterfalls, and other features with the touch of a button.
Ensure that the area surrounding the pool is also maintained and cleaned up to avoid tripping hazards. Make the area comfortable and appealing by setting up poolside chaise lounge chairs, available at Overstock. Home Depot also carries an extensive line of outdoor patio furniture, perfect for dining or entertainment. When the pool is ready, invest in some fun inflatable pool floats such as a cooler or a ridable alligator from In the Swim, ideal for adults who want to unwind or kids who want to play.
Before using the pool, inspect the ladders, handrails, and diving board for signs of wear and tear or damage. Apply car wax to stainless steel rails to prevent corrosion. Keep your swimming pool clean by vacuuming it at least once per week. Continue to test the water on a regular basis and make adjustments as necessary. Regular maintenance will keep your pool looking crystal clear and ready for swimming.
Photo by ARNOLD Masonry and Concrete via Flicker