For some helpful hints on getting the pool ready for the start of the swimming season, check out the video below or follow the check list below.
Starting or opening up a swimming pool is pretty simple. But it does require a bit of work and patience. It’s best to start a week or two before you want to swim to get best results, and also take away some of the last minute stress.
No matter whether you have an above ground pool or an in-ground pool, the basic steps are the same or similar. Follow these simple steps to get your pool swim-ready!
Remove them from the pool skimmer basket, pool pump basket(s). If you have a pool-cover, remove all the debris before removing it. This will save all the mess just going directly into the pool and save the extra work.
To the middle of the skimmer mouth is a good indicator. At this time it’s a really good idea to add either an algaecide to the water or a natural pool clarifier to start cleaning up the water and prepping it for the initial shock.
Be sure to ‘prime’ the pump with water. Don’t start it dry, not only can it harm the pump, extra stress & strain is placed on the entire system. If your pump is below the water level, as on most above ground pools, priming probably isn’t necessary because the water is naturally ‘falling down’ to the pump (we call it a gravity feed). If the pump and filter system is more than 900mm 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.
Special Note: it is very normal for lots of bubbles to come out of the pool return fittings when first starting.
Special Tip: If you have a cartridge filter, open the ‘air bleeder’ valve on the top of the filter tank when the filter starts. You will hear a big ‘whoosh’ of air as it is pushed out of the filter. When water gushes out, replace or close that valve.
Get all of the excess stuff out of the pool before adding shock & start-up algaecide, especially if the water is relatively clear & clean. The less debris in the water, the more effective your initial shocking and chemical treatment will be. Be sure to vacuum & brush the side walls of the pool to remove any build-up of bio-films there as well.
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’ & easy to remove rather than when it bakes in the sun and is more difficult to clean. Prevent this scum line (also known as a bio-film) from reforming with regular cleaning.
Allow the opening or start-up chemicals to circulate for 24 – 36 hours before doing any testing or water balancing. Why wait? There are 2 reasons:
This 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, total dissolved solids (TDS) will be settled toward the bottom of the pool. This is especially true of cyanuric acid typically known as sun screen or stabiliser. If the water is not allowed to circulate & stir up what’s on the bottom, you will end up adding stabiliser that, more than likely, doesn’t need to be added. This is a great way to save money. By the way, never add conditioner or stabiliser unless the pool water needs it and only if the test shows a level of 20 ppm or less. Higher levels are simply wasteful and do nothing for the water balance.
using test strips or test kit. Adjust pH, Total Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness as needed.
For a cartridge filter rinse off excess dirt/grim. For stubborn dirt/grim you can use a cartridge filter cleaner which requires 24 hours of soaking. With a sand filter give it a good backwash and you can also use a sand filter cleaner which requires overnight soak then rinsing. Chemically cleaning the filter about every 12 weeks lengthens the life of the filter media and promotes longer filter runs. Simple backwashing just rinses off excess dirt & debris but doesn't remove accumulated greases & oils.
Important note: Never drain your pool without checking with your pool builder or professional. In a vinyl liner pool, the liner will shrink, which can void the warranty and could further damage your pool. In a concrete, plaster or even fibreglass pools removal of the water completely could result in the entire pool structure ‘floating’ or ‘popping’ causing serious damage to the structure.
These are the start-up chemical doses for chlorine and saltwater pools using a saltwater chlorinator. Shocking must be thorough in order to break up residual chloramines (known as combined chlorines). If chloramines are not dealt with now, a lingering chlorine demand (which is an inability to maintain a solid chlorine level) problem will develop. Curing chlorine demands can be costly, so do it the right way now.
Use un-stabilised sanitiser, (AKA) Cal-Hypo such as the Zodiac Pool Chlorine Premium or Blended Trichlor/Tetraborate such as the Zodiac Pool EZY Sanitiser as the preferred products on an initial spring shock. Refer to the products label for recommended doses per 10,000 litres. Do not use a non-chlorine shock with the initial start up. You need to have a good chlorine residual. Liquid chlorine bleach is OK, but is very weak (about 14%) when compared to Cal-Hypo.
Initial Algaecide: don’t hold back with the algaecide! Always use an algaecide that has at least 30% active ingredients. Zodiac Pool Algaecide (400 Performance) contain 40% active ingredients and is a non-copper based, heavy duty algaecide. Be careful using algaecides with copper as an active ingredient; improper use of copper based algaecides may lead to staining of the pool surfaces. Follow the label directions for an INITIAL dose, typically 90mls per 10,000 litres.
After adding the initial shock and algaecide, be sure to run the filter for 48 to 72 hours continually. DO NOT backwash the filter during this time. Let the filter and the chemicals do the work.
Final & continuing steps: balance the water (pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness). Using additives such as the Zodiac UV Block out (AKA) Cyanuric Acid and a natural enzyme products like the Zodiac EZY Natural Clarifier or the new Zodiac Turbo Clear Smart Pods will significantly enhance any pool chemical care system you use by reducing chlorine use and consumption as well as better buffering the pool water making water balance all the more simple.