How to prepare your pool for summer

Get a jump on the swimming season by learning how to prepare your inground pool for summer. It may seem like a big job to tackle yourself, but with this beginners’ guide to opening your inground swimming pool you’ll be splashing around in your new bathing suit in no time.

While individual pools may vary, most pool owners will want to have the following on hand before starting this process: a test kit or strips for monitoring pool chemical levels, chemicals to adjust alkalinity, calcium and pH levels, chlorine, algaecide and shock treatment. It also doesn’t hurt to have an extra pair of hands to help out.

How to prepare your pool for summer

[Photo Credit: iStock.com/exclusive-design]

1. Clear the debris

Clear the winter pool cover of any debris built up over the season and remove the excess water on top with a pump, shop vac or drain or bail it manually. Skipping this step can turn your pool into a cloudy, green mess. This is also a good opportunity to survey the surrounding landscape to determine if any trees or shrubbery require pruning to avoid shedding into the pool.

2. Remove and store the pool cover

After removing any water bags or cables that secured the winter cover, carefully remove the cover (this requires two people) without allowing any remaining debris or dirty water to fall into the pool. Find space to lay the cover flat, hose it off and scrub with a pool brush and pool cover cleaner. Store the clean cover in a plastic trash can. Add more cover cleaner to the can to keep the cover soft and prevent drying out over the summer. Change the water every 6 weeks.

3. Fill and clean the pool

Remove all plugs from openings then begin filling the pool to bring the water levels up to normal. As the pool fills, it’s time to get scrubbing! Use your pool brush to remove algae and stains from the sides and skim and vacuum all remaining debris from the pool bottom. Don’t forget to empty the leaf basket. All of your hard work now will make maintaining healthy, balanced pool water much easier later. You can also reinstall any ladders or other accessories that were removed for winter.

4. Check your equipment

Start the water pump and visually inspect it, the filter, heater and plumbing to check for any leaks or cracks that indicate a part may need to be tightened or replaced. Contact your local pool specialist for help with any major repairs.

5. Add the appropriate chemicals

Adding your opening chemicals, often called ‘shock’ treatment, will kill any algae or contaminants present in the pool water, while also preventing new algae growth. Some experts recommend a double shock at the beginning of the season to ensure your pool stays healthy. Test the water yourself using a test kit or bring a sample to a local pool professional for a more complete analysis. Prevent injury by wearing safety gear such as gloves and goggles when handling pool chemicals.

Once the opening chemicals have balanced the water levels (this may take a few days), you’re ready to swim!

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