From our 25 years of experience here at Skordis Hydrodynamics Ltd, we found out that the best way to inform our clients is by developing maintenance guides. Our guides will be dedicated to a season (for example this one would be about Summer Season) as each season has its own characteristics and requires different chemical quantities, filtration hours and cleaning procedures.
Pool Equipment and Summer Chemical Checklist
Even before we pull off the winter pool covers the first thing we should do is to check that we have everything we need in order to open our pool for summer.
Pool Cleaning Equipment
If you have totally closed off your pool during the season, which just means no swimming or active pool maintenance done, the first thing you should check is the viability of your pool equipment.
- Check the bristles of your pool brushes – If your brush has metal bristles then check if they have corroded or rusted over. This is not really a common occurrence if you have professional quality equipment, but it would not hurt to check. If you have nylon bristles, then this is the best time to see if they have become brittle over the break or if their condition is still fit to last you for the upcoming season.
- Check the clips of your telepoles – I do not know what’s the logical explanation of this, but for some reason, telepoles’ locking clips somehow get lost or somehow break on their own when they’re not being used. If you find that your clips are missing or damaged, replace them before opening up your pool for summer.
- Check your pool hoses – Check your pool hoses for any holes, cracks, and other damage that they might have sustained during the off-season and replace any that you find damaged before opening up your pool for the summer.
If you have pressure or suction pool cleaners, then give them a quick check-up and the best way to do this is to give your cleaners a tune-up or an overhaul no matter what condition they are in. Why? The reason for this is giving your automatic pool cleaning equipment an overhaul or a tune-up before the summer season starts is to ensure that they are in top condition for the entire season and to avoid any breakdowns in the middle of the season.
Summer Pool Chemicals
Aside from the normal chemicals that you use for regular pool maintenance, there are a couple of pool chemicals that are key for preparing your pool for summer.
- Phosphate Remover – Since the pool has been sitting idle for some time, we are willing to bet that a good amount of phosphates have accumulated in the pool. Not only do phosphates affect the efficiency of your pool sanitizers and chemicals, but they are also algae food. The more food algae have, the faster they can bloom and cause you a headache during the summer.
- Algaecide – Phosphate remover can only go so far by starving out algae. The next step would be to actually actively kill existing algae and spores. Algaecide can go a long way in preventing green pool water, so when preparing your pool for summer, do not forget the Algaecide!
- Stabilized Pool Chlorine – Since it is summer, we can expect the blazing sun to reduce the strength in our pool chlorine. Stabilized pool chlorine has cyanuric acid added to it to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. Note: Check your cyanuric acid levels before using stabilized pool chlorine. If your cyanuric acid levels are up to their recommended levels, then just use some regular chlorine as not to create a problem called a chlorine lock.
- Alkalinity Adjusting Chemicals – Over the course of the break, your pool’s pH levels would have changed so make sure that you have a good stock of Alkalinity up and pH down tablets. Another useful thing with pH down tablets is that they can be used for spot stain removal (we can expect some staining over the break from algae, so this serves a dual purpose).
- Calcium up – Another common thing that we see after a long break is low calcium levels in pool water so make sure that you have a good supply of calcium up to ensure that your pool water won’t end up eating your pool surfaces.
Pool Pre-Opening Tasks
If you have a pool cover then this step is really important. Do not just roll it off since that would dump all of the accumulated dirt and debris back onto the pool. Carefully brush the surface with a nylon-bristle pool brush and bring the leaves and other debris to one side and remove them from the cover carefully. If your pool cover is a snug fit and you have a pool of water on the top of your pool cover then you can use a pump to remove the water before rolling off the pool cover.
Once the pool cover is relatively clean of debris and stagnant water, you can start to roll it off the pool. When the pool cover is off the pool, give it a good hose down and a scrub to remove any dirt, debris, or algae that might have started to take root on the surface of the pool cover over the months.
Pro Tip: If you have a pool roller, you can hose it down and scrub it slowly while retracting the cover from the pool so that you can save time and effort when cleaning your pool cover.
Check your filters and pump
Time to wake your filters and pool pump for the season! Open up your filter covers and pump covers and check your O-rings to ensure that they create a good seal. Do not forget to empty out all of your skimmer baskets and pump baskets. A note on skimmer baskets: Do not be surprised to find a couple of bugs if your pool has been dormant for some time. These are very enticing places for them to make a home in, especially if they are filled with leaves and other debris!
If you have a cartridge filter, give them a good hose down, or better yet, soak them in some filter cleaner overnight and rinse it off. The reason for this is that the long period of dormancy will allow algae growth inside of your cartridge making it a little bit hard to hose it off. For sand filters, it is also a good idea to soak the sand inside of the filter with some filter cleaner well because there might also be some gunk build-up inside of your sand filter.
Once your filters have been looked after, it’s now time to shift our attention to our pool pumps. Once the pump baskets are clear, then turn on your pool pump give it a good listen. Hopefully, you still remember what your pool pump sounds like! If you notice that your pump is making abnormal sounds, then shut it off. The long dormancy might have led to the pump bearings and mechanical seals to dry and lock up. Make sure to replace or add some lubricant to before restarting the pump.
Scrub and Clean the Pool
Before doing anything else with your pool chemicals, the first thing you have to do when preparing to open your pool for summer is to take out all of the visible dirt and debris from your pool. If you have a pool cover then there should not be much of a debris problem in your pool and you can get away with just a leaf skimmer and a pool brush for this task. But if you do not have a pool cover then you might need a leaf rake or a leaf shovel to deal with the accumulated debris in your pool.
After scooping out all of the visible debris in your pool, take a pool brush and scrub your pool surfaces thoroughly to ensure that anything stuck to them is removed and your surfaces are squeaky clean. Once this is done, then give manually vacuum your pool to waste. Do not worry too much about losing pool chemicals and pool water at this point as we’re still going to balance that down the line.
Refill your Pool
Once the above steps have been done, your pool water should have dropped significantly so the next step to prepare your pool for summer is to refill it up to its optimal levels. This level is usually about halfway through the level of your skimmer box.
Balance your pool chemicals
Finally, everyone’s favorite part in pool maintenance, balancing your pool chemical levels! Well, there is nothing much for this section really because balancing your pool chemical levels to prepare your pool for summer is the same as balancing it for the rest of the year. Your pH levels should be at around 7.4 as this is the optimum operating point for your chlorine to work.
Double Shock your Pool
This is one of the most important steps in opening your pool for summer, double shocking your pool. The extended dormancy time of your pool will cause an extended build-up of microorganisms in your pool as well. So take your normal volume of pool shock and double it!
Run your pump for 24 hours
After double shocking your pool, now comes the hard part! Waiting for the chlorine levels to go down so that it will be safe for swimming. Run your pool pump for the next 24 hours to fully circulate all of your pool water and to filter out all of the particles and debris that your earlier cleaning regimen may have missed.
Other things to do to get your pool ready for summer
While waiting for the pool shock to go down, here are some things that you can do to help you pass the time.
- Check and clean ladders and other pool accessories – If you have removable pool ladders, water features, and diving boards, now is a great time to take them down (or reattach them) and get rid of any gunk and corrosion build up during the break. Brush off any rust or dirt and re-lubricate them before reinstalling them.
- Hose down your pool surroundings – Always a good idea to hose down your pool’s surroundings for the sake of cleanliness. Not will your pool’s surrounding look better, but this will minimize dirt from entering your pool with the rains that come with summer!
- Poolside Repairs – Again, while waiting, check your pool surroundings for any minor repairs that can be done. Small cracks, loose tiles, and other “minor” inconveniences that may cause accidents should be fixed before fulling opening your pool for the summer.
Final Steps to Prepare your pool for summer
Now that you have done everything you can to prepare your pool for the summer, it’s time to prepare for next winter! Just kidding. But in all seriousness, anything that you won’t be using during the summer should be stored properly and away from sunlight to ensure that they’re in top condition when winter rolls in (don’t put it off! It comes much faster than you may imagine!).