Ready, Set, Swim

Prep Your Pool for Some Fun in the Sun

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By Mimi Greenwood Knight

As the days grow longer and the weather gets warmer, your backyard pool beckons you toward lazy hours of floating, splashing, diving, dining, and making memories with the ones you love. If your pool’s been closed all winter, it’s recommended that you begin getting it ready about a week before
you hope to use it. Here are a few things for you or a pool professional to consider when preparing for summer fun.

Clean Debris and Give Everything a Once-Over

Take a little time to survey the area around your pool. Trim overhanging trees that might drop leaves in the water. Blow or sweep off your pool decking and look for any damage or wear and tear. Clean, repair, or replace deck furniture and conduct a safety check of pool rails, slides, rescue equipment, ladders, and diving boards. Then inventory your chemicals to ensure you have what you need on hand.

Remove the Cover

Your swimming pool cover accumulated water and debris all winter. Use a pool cover pump to eliminate old, dirty water so it doesn’t end up in your pool as you take the cover off. Hose down the cover and give it a good scrub with a pool-cover solution.

Do a Thorough Pool Inspection

Remove drain plugs from surface skimmers and wall-return equipment and restore directional fittings. Inspect your pool’s pump and filter and replace anything that’s damaged or worn. If you disconnected your underwater pool lights for the winter, reconnect them. Check all tiles and use a pool scale removal product to remove calcium buildup and stains. Thoroughly inspect the interior of your pool for damage and make any necessary repairs. If you have a fiberglass pool with a gel coating, hairline cracks typically won’t affect the integrity of your pool, however, large cracks or holes should be addressed by a pool professional.

Do a Final Debris Removal

An easy way to get rid of that last bit of debris is to fill the pool to the midpoint of the skimmer opening. Then you can easily clean leaves, twigs, and debris from the pool’s bottom with a pool brush. Empty the basket as well.

Turn on Filter and Test Water

Before you test the water or add any chemicals, turn on the filter and let it run for 24 hours. Then collect a water sample and take it to a pool professional to analyze and offer instructions for balancing your pool’s water. They’ll test the water’s pH level, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels, advise you on shocking the pool, and recommend stabilizers, phosphate removers, metal treatment products, or algaecides to add a week before that first swim.

Continue to run the filter for the next few days and vacuum debris as it settles. Once you’re done, all that work will pay off as you spend summer 2023 enjoying the perfect staycation spot right outside your back door.


Make Sure Your Family is Water Savvy

That backyard pool comes with hours of family fun and bonding but also with inherent risks. It’s vital that the adults in your family are comfortable performing CPR, that you set and share pool rules, and any kids have swim lessons and water-safety training appropriate for their age. Ask your pool professional about pool alarms. The website has a CPR class locator tool to help you find CPR and water safety classes in your area. You’ll enjoy that pool even more when you know you and your loved ones are safe from drowning.

Chemicals Checklist:

  • Test kit and/or test strips for weekly checks of your pool’s water chemistry
  • Chlorine
  • Shock treatment
  • Chemicals for properly adjusting your pool’s water
  • Algaecide treatment
  • Filter cleaner
  • Other necessary problem-prevention products

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