The temperatures are warming up, the days are getting longer and those long, hot summer afternoon’s sitting by the pool are so tantalisingly close. But before you jump in head first, there are a few things you need to do to get your pool back to pristine condition and summer ready.
Step 1. Clean and remove your pool cover
Before you remove the pool cover give it a good clean, using your leaf net to remove any leaves or debris that have settled on the cover over winter. Drain off the water … but not into the pool. It’s best to have two people work together to remove the cover from the pool to avoid dropping water and debris from the cover into the pool water, but don’t worry too much if it does because you’ll be shocking and vacuuming the pool. After removing the cover, give it a good brush, let it dry and store it away in a cool, dry place for the season.
Step 2: Top up the water level to normal
If the water level has fallen over the winter, you’ll need to add water to bring it back up to its normal operating level. This is typically around the middle of the skimmer opening to allow for proper circulation or halfway up the tile.
Step 3: Ensure everything is clean and in good working order
Make sure you inspect the filter and pump for possible damage or worn parts. The filter should be clean before you turn it on. If you didn’t clean it thoroughly when you closed the pool for winter, do it now. To clean a cartridge filter, remove the cartridge and wash with a hose. If you have a sand filter, backwashing will thoroughly clean the sand by reversing the flow of water to flush out contaminants.
Here’s our recommended backwashing process:
- Switch the pool pump off.
- Move the handle on top of the filter to the “backwash” position.
- Switch the pool pump on. Watch the sight glass on the filter, it should turn dirty and then slowly (usually 1 – 2 minutes) become clear again.
- Switch the pool pump off.
- Move the handle on top of the filter to the “rinse” position.
- Switch the pool pump on for 10 – 20 seconds and then switch it off.
- Move the handle on top of the filter back to the “filter” position – this your pool’s normal operating position.
- Switch the pool pump on.
Remember to never turn the filter handle while the pump is running. While running the pump on backwash and rinse you’ll be pumping water and waste out of the pool, so remember to have enough water in the pool before backwashing the filter and top the pool up again after backwashing. Running the pump dry will result in major damage to the pump.
Step 4: Giving your pool a shock
Shocking a swimming pool, or super chlorination, is the process of adding a large dose of chlorine or shock treatment to kill bacteria, algae and micro-organisms and bring the pool’s chlorine levels up to the desired range. To shock you pool, mix and pre-dissolve the chlorine shock in a bucket of water and then pour into your pool water. It’s recommended to add shock to your pool at dusk or night because the sun will burn off unstable chlorine. Let your pool run for 8 hours overnight.
You can buy shock treatments from Pool Chemicals Direct here
Step 5: Test the water
After the pool water has circulated for 24 – 48 hours, fill a bottle with pool water collected at elbow depth to test. The four parameters to test are the water’s pH level, alkalinity, calcium hardness and chlorine content. The test will tell you which needs to be adjusted and by how much.
You can buy everything you need to test your pool’s water from Pool Chemicals Direct here
Step 6: Housekeeping
After you’ve adjusted the pool chemistry there will still be some remaining dirt and debris in the water from winter. Now is the time to brush and vacuum all the leaves and debris from the bottom, as well as the pool steps, ladders or other equipment.
Don’t forget to clean the area surrounding your pool as well. Prune trees and hedges that have grown over winter and might hang over your pool. Clean up plant debris from the pool deck, patio and surrounding garden to reduce the potential for debris dropping into your clean pool.
Step 7: Maintain
For the rest of the season, keep the filter clean, vacuum the pool each week and test the chemical levels regularly.
Now it’s time to dive in and enjoy!