Guide to getting ready for lazy summer afternoons in your Pool
We are already enjoying warm weather here in Florida. If you haven’t already opened your pool, it’s time to get it ready for summer. Follow these six easy steps to prepare for lazy summer afternoon relaxing in your pool.
1. Clean It Up
Start by cleaning out the skimmer baskets, vacuuming out the pool and removing large debris like sticks and leaves. Before turning the filtration system back on, clean out the filter. If you have a cartridge filter, remove the cartridge and wash it out with a hose. If you have a sand filter, change the filter setting to backwash. This will clean the sand for you. Once it is done, turn it back to the normal setting. If you have a D.E. filter, take it apart, clean it, and then reassemble it. Make sure to turn the filtration system back on after you’ve cleaned the filter.
Warning: Do not empty your pool during this process. You might think that starting the season with fresh water is a great idea, but you could ruin your pool. Draining all the water from your pool could make it pop out of the ground. The reason this may happen is because pressure from ground water under your pool can push it out of the ground if there isn’t water in it. If that happens, you might have to do a complete pool replacement. It is much safer and smarter to leave the water in your pool. Trust your water filter, pool vacuum, and pool chemicals to do their jobs.
2. Top It Off
The water level in your pool may have dropped during the winter. If it has, use a hose to add more water to your pool. The water line should be half way of the pool shimmer.
3. Get It Tested
Testing your pool’s water is especially important at the beginning of the season. You must know what chemicals the water needs to be balanced and clean. You can use a DIY pool chemistry testing strip but, for the first test of the season, pool experts recommend a professional water test. Many pool professionals offer free water testing. The test that we run is more comprehensive than DIY pool chemistry testing strips. Most DIY pool chemistry testing strips only tell you the chlorine level. A professional water test will let you know the water’s mineral content along with the total alkalinity, pH and chlorine levels.
4. Balance It
Keeping your pool water balanced extends the life of your pool and makes the water safe to swim in. These are the ideal chemical ranges for your pool:
PH levels: 7.2 – 7.4
The water’s pH level affects chlorine’s ability to work effectively.
If the pH level is too low, you can use soda ash to increase it. If it is too high, you can use muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to decrease.
Total alkalinity: 80 – 120
When your pool water has the correct alkalinity level the pH level will stay consistent. This is because alkalinity is a pH buffer.
If the alkalinity is too low, use sodium bicarbonate to increase it. If it is too high, use muriatic acid to decrease it.
Calcium hardness: 150 ppm – 250 ppm (parts per million)
Pool water that is too hard will cause calcium deposits to accumulate in your pool. Water that is too soft will absorb calcium from your pool which can ruin marble dust, tile grout and even affect vinyl lining.
You can adjust water’s hardness with calcium chloride.
Chlorine: 1 ppm – 3 ppm
Chlorine is the chemical agent that kills bacteria and other contaminates in your pool. Maintaining the right amount of chlorine in your pool keeps the water safe and clean.
Cyanuric-based tablets are a popular product used in chlorine pools because the cyanuric acid prevents the chlorine from burning off under Florida’s hot sun, like a sunscreen. If you use these tablets, keep in mind that they eat metal. We recommend using a plastic chlorinator for the tablets instead of placing them in the skimmer baskets.
5. Get It Clear
It can take up to a week for the water in your pool to be clear enough to open it for the season. Run the filter and check the chemical balance every day until the water is clear enough to see the bottom.
6. Maintain It
Keep your pool safe and clean throughout the summer by vacuuming the pool weekly, testing the water daily and keeping the filter clean.
If you need help getting your pool ready for summer or maintaining it throughout the swim season, give Pool Works a call! We serve residents throughout Lakeland, FL.