Summer Ready Home Pools

A man standing on the edge of a pool vacuuming with a pool vacuum 

Getting your pool ready for swimming season can sometimes seem a bit confusing or a series of chores, but if you follow these easy steps, you’ll have the preparation done and be enjoying your pool in no time.

The process of opening your pool for the first time of the season will take a few hours spread over a few days so it's best to get onto it before the kids or grandkids are nagging you to let them get in the pool!

Step 1: Pool Cover

If your pool cover is awash with leaves and has the usual winter mildew black spots, then you’ll need to attend to this before you take it off the pool. Give it a sweep and get all the debris off - it's better to do it now than to try and vacuum it out of the pool. Next, add some chlorine to a bucket of water and scrub the cover with a broom. Rinse well with plenty of fresh water when you’re done so as not to leave any of the cleaning solution on the cover.

Step 2: Skimmer Box

Have a look inside your skimmer box and make sure any winter debris is removed so that water flow to the pump and filter is not restricted.

Step 3: Pool Water

The water level may be a little low as some water will evaporate from the pool all year round (even in winter with a cover on). Add enough water to get the water level up to the mid-point of your skimmer box and then run the pool pump for a few hours in order to mix the new top-up water you've added with the old water before you can test the chemistry of your pool.

Step 4: Algae Watch

While you're busy filling your pool, have a look at the colour of the water. Does it have a touch of green? What about the sides of the pool? Algae may have grown during winter if the pool wasn’t prepared correctly with algaecide, or if no maintenance was conducted during the cooler months. Add some Hydrochloric Acid to the pool and bring the pH down to about 7.2, algae prefers an alkaline environment. You may prefer to use a commercial Poly Algicide instead. Either way, give these treatments time to do their job.

The sides of the pool will need a scrubbing with a pool brush - fibreglass and smooth tiled pools usually don’t require much work to remove the algae, but textured surfaces will need a good going over at least twice to remove all the algal growth. Remember, the more you remove now, the easier it will be to maintain the pool over summer. Run the pump flat out until the water looks clear - this might take a day or more - the important thing is to let the pump get the water to the filter to do its work.

Step 5: Pool Pump

After filtering all that algae out, and having had little work over winter, that filter will need a good backwash! Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your filter and give it a proper clean out. The better the quality of the filter medium, the better the water quality will be overall. If you have cartridge filters, remove them and give them a good scrub. You can use some fabric stain remover, or nappy sanitizer in warm water to clean them, before rinsing and refitting.

Step 6: Water Chemistry

Now it's chemistry time. Test the pool water and look at the results. You may want to take a water sample down to the local pool shop – visit a SPASA WA member to ensure you get the best advice and service! A qualified staff member will test the water for you and give you a dosing guide for your pool to get it back into shape, ready for summer. Basically, you will want to shock dose the pool initially to kill any remaining algae and other nasties, before getting the levels back to normal.

You’ll want the water to be in the following ranges:

  • pH between 7.2 and 7.6 (add bicarb to raise pH, Muriatic Acid to lower it)
  • Alkalinity between 80-120ppm (parts per million)
  • Calcium – try to keep it between 150 to 200ppm (tiled pool owners be careful, too low and the water will absorb calcium from the tile grout!)
  • Chlorine needs to be in a range between 1.5 and 3.0ppm. Chlorine is the effective sanitization agent in the pool chemistry mixture and needs to be maintained at the appropriate levels.

Get the water level and chemistry right and then run the pool pump for a day or so to get everything circulated and settled. You’ll find that the extra time you spend here getting the pool ready for the swimming season pays dividends as you’ll be maintaining a properly prepared pool and not playing chemistry catch up all summer!

If you have any specific pool maintenance questions just drop us a line at the link below.

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