Spring Pool Start Ups

Rather than a just checklist, here are some steps to get your swimming pool off to a successful start this Spring.

Starting or opening up a swimming pool does require a bit of work. You can do it yourself, or call the pros at Anderson Poolworks to get your pool started. Either way start a week or two before you want to open it to eliminate the “last minute” stress.

1. REMOVE ALL THE LEAVES, DIRT & DEBRIS FROM THE WINTER COVER BEFORE REMOVING IT.

It’s worth the effort to spend a couple of half-hours scooping the excess and accumulated leaves from the top of the cover. Remember, it’s not just last fall’s leaves – it’s spring pollen, tree “helicopters,” and pine needles too.

2. REMOVE ALL WINTER & ICE EXPANSION PLUGS.

You can’t start the pump & filter system if water isn’t flowing from the pool to the filte, and back! Rplace the respective directional returns, suction grates, and other fittings.

3.  BRING THE WATER LEVEL UP TO NORMAL OPERATING LEVEL.

At this time it’s a good idea to add either an algaecide to the water or a natural pool enzyme to start cleaning up the water and prepping it for the initial shock. If you are adding fresh tap water to top the pool off, add a good metal and mineral stain and scale control product such as Jack’s Magic Blue Stuff or Pink Stuff to prevent sudden metal stains when the pool is first shocked.

4.  CAREFULLY REMOVE THE WINTER COVER.

Clean it up, fold it up, and store it away. When cleaning, use  a good cleaner that is specifically made for pool cover material. A good chemical cleaning of the winter cover will lengthen the life of the cover by removing the dirt and soil from the fabric. Not only will your cover get clean, but these products will also control the growth of mold & mildew.

5.  HOOK UP THE FILTER SYSTEM.

Properly attach the correct hoses or pipes to the proper valves or fittings on the pump and filter. Be sure to properly lubricate all multiport or shut-off valve “O” rings with a good silicone lubricant. Don’t over-tighten clamps on above ground hoses; over-tightening will often “crimp” the hose allowing air leaks.
Replace ALL of the drain plugs to the pump, filter tank & heater.

6.  WHEN STARTING THE PUMP FOR THE FIRST TIME, BE SURE TO “PRIME” THE PUMP WITH WATER.

Don’t start it dry, not only can harm be done to the pump, extra stress and strain is placed on the entire system.  If the pump and filter system is more than 3 ft above the water level, priming is an absolute must. Keep in mind that the system could take several minutes to “catch” and start in this situation.

7.  CLEAN AND VACUUM THE POOL OF ALL DIRT AND DEBRIS.

Get all of the excess dirt and grime out of the pool before  adding shock and start up algaecide, especially if the water is relatively clear and clean. Be sure to vacuum and brush the side walls of the pool to remove any build-up of bio-films there as well.

8.  CLEAN THE LINER OR TILE LINE WITH A GOOD QUALITY POOL SURFACE CLEANER.

DO NOT use household cleaners as they can affect the pH and add phosphates to the water which will contribute to algae growth later on. This is where most of the winter’s scum has left its mark. Clean it off now while it is still soft and easy to remove rather than when it bakes in the sun and is more difficult to clean.

9.  ADD YOUR INITIAL DOSES OF SHOCK AND ALGAECIDE.

When starting, don’t skimp. Do a good “heavy” shocking and proper dosing of algaecide at opening. In the long and short run, you’re going to save a lot more money by doing this the right way.

10. ALLOW THE OPENING OR START UP CHEMICALS TO CIRCULATE FOR 24 – 36 HOURS BEFORE DOING ANY TESTING OR WATER BALANCING.

Why? There are 2 reasons:

  • Additions of shock and algaecide will change the water chemistry and water balance. That little bit of time will allow the levels to settle back down for a more accurate reading.
  • Some of the chemicals already in the pool water from the prior season and winterizing will be settled toward the bottom of the pool. If the water is not allowed to circulate and stir up what’s on the bottom, you will end up adding stabilizer that, more than likely, doesn’t need any additions. NEVER add conditioner or stabilizer unless the pool water needs it.

11. INSTALL AND CHECK LADDERS AND DECK EQUIPMENT.

Be sure to securely tighten anchor bolts, diving board bolts and slide anchors. Check to make sure the bolts and hardware are in good condition. Replace worn or corroded nuts and bolts.

12. FILTER 24 HOURS BEFORE BRINGING IN AN OPENING WATER SAMPLE FOR TESTING AND ANALYSIS.

Adjust pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness as needed.

13. CHEMICALLY CLEAN THE FILTER AFTER 2 WEEKS TO  REMOVE THE FILTERED WINTER STUFF.

Chemically cleaning the filter about every 8 weeks lengthens the life of the filter media and promotes longer filter runs. Simple backwashing just rinses off excess dirt and debris but doesn’t remove accumulated greases and oils.

And…  NEVER DRAIN your pool.  In gunite, plaster, or even fiberglass pools removal of the water from the pool could result in the entire pool structure “floating” or “popping” causing serious damage to the structure.

Again, there’s a lot of labor involved in starting up your pool. Anderson Poolworks will help you get your pool opened and ready for the entire season. We’re also available for ongoing pool maintenance. Just give us a call and we’ll get you in the pool – fast!