Spring Into Action: Tips For Opening Salt Water Pools
How To Column
Stores that sell pool products soon will be full of customers who are opening their pools for the season. Giving salt water pools the right start each spring is critical, as it sets the stage for the entire summer. Retailers have the opportunity to educate customers about the right steps to take and products to use during this process.
While salt water pools have unique water chemistry and specialized equipment compared with traditional chlorine pools, the process for opening includes a few key steps that can greatly enhance the swimming season. Here are some tips to pass along to your customers:
1. Clear the cover. Debris should be removed with a leaf net and water should be pumped away before removing the pool cover. Pool owners often make the mistake of directing that water into their pool, but it may be full of invisible organic matter that will create chlorine demand in the pool and cause the associated headaches and expense.
2. Clean and setup. Next, clean the pool and adjust the water level to about halfway up the skimmer face. All equipment should be checked, properly connected and turned on. If the filter wasnt cleaned prior to closing the pool, it should be cleaned now. For salt water pools, the electrolytic chlorine generator should be put back in place if it was removed during closing, but it shouldnt be turned on until after salinity levels have been checked .
See related article:;How to Maintain Saltwater Pools
Dive Into These Helpful Tips For Opening Your Swimming Pool This Spring
DIVE INTO THESE HELPFUL TIPS FOR OPENING YOUR SWIMMING POOL THIS SPRING
With spring in the air, it’s time for everyone to shed the winter woes and get their backyard pools ready for a fun-filled summer. Before you dive in, however, here are some helpful tips on opening your pool that will have you and your family swimming in no time:
Open Your Pool Early; Opening your pool while the weather is still cool helps prevent algae growth . Since your pool has been covered all winter, opening it early will make treating the water easier, so that it will be perfectly clear for summer fun.
Get Prepared; Call your swimming pool professional to set up an appointment for your pool opening. It is never too early to get on the schedule to ensure that you get the date you are looking for. A swimming pool professional will make opening your pool a snap. If you are a DIYer, then follow the steps listed below. Remember to create a checklist of must-haves before you get started so you will have everything you need at your disposal to avoid those last minute back-and-forth trips to the pool store. Here is a list of what you will need:
- Spring Opening Kit’
- Telescopic Pole
- Pool Brush
- Test Kit or Test Strips
Add Water if Necessary; It is likely you will need to add water to bring the levels up to normal operating range.
- Total and Free Chlorine
- pH and Alkalinity
- Cyanuric Acid or Chlorine Stabilizer
- Calcium Hardness
S To Open Your Saltwater Swimming Pool
Remove the swimming pool cover.
Connect your filter system to your swimming pool.
If you have an inline saltwater generator connect it after the filter system, right before the pools return. If you have a drop in model re-install the saltwater generator by removing the top ledge of the pool where you would like for the chlorinator to go.
Remove skimmer plate from the skimmer opening along the swimming pool wall and remove the winter plug from the pool return opening.
Review the pool water level and add water to the swimming pool .
Perform a quick scrub of the inner pool walls as well as vacuum the swimming pool.
Check the salt level with a saltwater test kit and adjust if necessary. You only need to add the full amount of salt for your pool size when you initially fill the pool; the salt stays in the water and keeps making chlorine. Only water loss will reduce the salt content, so you will need to check the salt level with a salt test kit and adjust as necessary.
Test and adjust the swimming pools water total Alkalinity Level using Saltwater Series Alkalinity Increaser or similar.
Measure the chlorine stabilizer level of the pool water. Add Saltwater Series Stabilizer as necessary following the instructions on the label.
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Inspect And Clean Your Pool Filter
You may have performed this task at the end of the last pool season. If not, now is the time to make sure you start the season with a clean filter.;;
To make sure your pool filter is still doing its job, here are some important items to address:
- Check the media cartridges or grids for cracks or holes;
- If you have a sand filter, change the sand if needed recommended every 5 years
- Add new D.E. ;;
- Inspect all O-rings to ensure they properly seal;
- Inspect the filter gauge to make sure it is still working
Waiting Wont Save You It Will Cost You
The expenses you incur when you open your swimming pool late are no longer cost-saving given the modern swimming pool systems. Many pumps are variable speeds and efficient on the electricity bills.
Before the true swimming season arrives, you will only need to run your pump part time to keep it sanitized. Usually only long enough for the water to make one complete cycle is sufficient.
On the other hand, should you delay opening and your pool gets infested with algae and pollen the costs involved means you will end up spending more in cleaning hence opening the swimming late is costly.
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Set Up Your Pump Filter And Other Equipment
Youll need to bring your pools hardware back to life after a long winters slumber. The mad scientist goggles and lab coat are optional.
First, put back all the plugs to the drains and pressure gauges to your pool filter system, pump, and other equipment.
Next, attach your systems hoses to your equipment, and double-check the connections.
If you have a multiport valve, make sure its turned to the filter position.
Balance The Water Starting With Total Alkalanity
Balancing your water properly is a necessity for safe and healthy swimming. You can control the pH and chlorine levels in your water by first adjusting the Total Alkalinity.
If TA is too high, you can use;Leslies Dry Acid;to lower the levels to the ideal range. To lower the TA by 10 ppm, add 1.5 pounds of Leslies Dry Acid for every 10,000 gallons of water.
If TA is too low, add Leslies Alkalinity Up to increase it. Adding 1.5 pounds of Alkalinity Up will increase the TA of 10,000 gallons of water by 10 ppm. Wait at least 4 hours after adding Alkalinity Up before retesting the water.
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Clear Your Winter Pool Cover
Whether you have a pool safety cover or a winterized cover, your first priority is removing a winters worth of water, leaves and debris. A submersible pool cover pump makes short work of any excess water. You can also use a regular sump pump if you dont have a pool cover pump.
To remove leaves and other debris, use a Soft broom or skimmer net. Use a gentle touch. Sharp equipment or overly enthusiastic sweeping can damage your cover.
Try to remove as much of the debris as you can. The more crud you remove now, the less you have to worry about falling into the water when you remove the cover.
How To Open A Swimming Pool
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Swimming is a fun activity, but pools require plenty of maintenance. One part of owning a pool is closing it in the winter to open when the weather improves. Professionals charge up to $300 USD for this service, so you can save money by doing it on your own. It isnt difficult to do as long as you know how your pool is set up. It needs to be well-cleaned with a working pump. Once you have the water conditioned, you can cool down in crystal-clear water all season long.
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Opening Your Pool In Spring
The slow way is to let your swimming pool filter do all the work. There is an example, with photos, of this method in our ‘Green to Clean’ article in this help section.
Set the multiport valve to ‘filter’ and keep adding Perfectly Clear or floc tabs and backwashing every two days. It may take up to 6 or 7 two day cycles for the water to start looking clear. It could take over two weeks using this method to get the water clear. As soon as you can see the bottom of the pool you should get any leaves up with the leaf net and once most of them are up you can get your automatic cleaner going if you have one. If you dont have an auto cleaner then put your vacuum head on your telescopic pole and connect the vacuum hose up. Switch off the valve from the sump to give the vacuum maximum suck and vacuum up the rest of the leaves and debris. You must set the multiport valve to either ‘filter’ or ‘waste’ when you vacuum. Set it to waste if there is a lot or rubbish on the bottom otherwise filter will do. Keep checking the strainer basket of your pump and empty it if it fills up.
Check the pH and chlorine level after a day or so. If you had a lot of algae in the pool it may have used up all the chlorine you put in so add more if you have to.
Once the chlorine is down to a reasonable level you can put your solar cover on and take the bypass off your heater and start heating the water and your are on your way to another season of swimming.
Products needed for Spring Opening
Starting Up The System
Fill the pump with water, or for aboveground pools, just open the valve to flood the pump basket. Check one more time that everything is tight and all the pool plugs have been removed, and the system valves are open. If you have a multiport valve, set it to Drain to Waste position, and roll out the;backwash hose. This lets you discharge the gunk and worms from skimmers and drains.
Open the filter air relief bleeder valve on top of the filter tank, and turn on the filter pump. Run for several minutes with open all lines fully, and then empty the pump basket. After discharging the gunky water, switch a multiport valve to Filter position and turn the pump to filter position. Watch the filter pressure closely, if it spikes to over 30 psi, shut off the pump quickly, and find out why. When the air relief starts to spray water, close the bleeder valve. Inspect your filter system for anything dripping or leaking.
Do not turn on the salt cell yet!
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General Cleaning And Inspection
If you were able to remove the cover and it was installed properly in the fall you should have a relatively clean pool to work with. If you didnt use a cover or ended up with debris in your pool this is the time to remove larger debris that may have ended up in your water either by hand or with a pool rake.;
The skimmer basket tends to collect leaves and other debris over the winter and into spring and it will probably need a good clean. If you used a Gizmo or any other skimmer freeze protection devices, you should remove them.
At this step of opening a pool its a good time to do a general inspection of your entire pool system. You want to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary including leaks, breakages and general wear and tear. If your pool is relatively clean give the liner, walls and deck a good clean if required. If you suspect a tear in your liner refer to our;pool liner repair;page for helpful tips and advice. ;
Remove Winter Plugs From Pool Equipment And Skimmer Lines
Take a stroll around the pool and take out all of the winter plugs that you installed in your skimmer and return lines when you closed your pool last season.;
If you used an ice compensator or a skimmer cover to prevent freeze damage, make sure you remove those as well.;
Reattach the normal plugs and return jets into the return lines as you make your way around and then do the same for your pump, filter, heater, chlorinator, and pool cleaner. After taking out all of the winterizing plugs from the pool equipment, reattach the regular plugs.
Hold it right there! Do you live in a super cold place? If so, you probably used antifreeze in your lines when you closed your above-ground pool last season. Before you remove your winterizing plugs, make sure to turn your pump to the waste setting and turn it on for a minute. This will get the water running and the antifreeze out.
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Setting Swimming Pool Chemicals To Their Proper Levels
When adjusting the pH , alkalinity, hardness, and chlorine levels, I like to first set the hardness, then the alkalinity, I find my pool water doesn’t have much PH bounce when adjusting the chemicals in this order. Setting the pH last seems to work best for me. If you set the pH first, the pH seems to skyrocket when adjusting the alkalinity. Last, set the sanitiser level, chlorine or bromine, I use chlorine in my pool but bromine in my hot tub; the reason is bromine seems to be more stable in hot water.
Setting the hardness is very important; after you set the hardness in the spring, you usually dont have to touch it for the rest of the season. Hardness protects the plumbing of the pool from corrosion. Most test strips do not have hardness, so look for test strips with hardness on them. I prefer to use liquid test kits because they seem to be more accurate, its a bit more work, but its worth it. Most test kits will have the desired level each chemical should be set at.
When adjusting the chemical levels in your swimming pool, dont expect them to adjust quickly; you need to give them time to acclimate, at least a few hours between tests. Adjusting the chemicals in your pool may take a few days, so dont rush the process; getting it right the first time will save you time and money. Once you have the chemicals right, you can add water stabilizer; this helps maintain the chemicals at their proper levels.
Reinstall Skimmer Baskets And Return Jets
Its almost time to start up your pool. Before you flip the switch, you’ll want to remove the ice compensators from the skimmer put your skimmer baskets back and screw in the return jet eyeball fittings that direct water into your pool.
At this point, you should also check your water level. If its not at its normal level, add water to your pool.
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Bring Those Water Levels Back Up
Even with a pool cover, theres a good chance that you lost a few inches of water over the winter season. Also, depending on what method you used to close your pool, you may have lost a bit in the process.
So now its time to fill your pool back up to its normal levels. Make sure you use a hose filter when doing so to avoid introducing any new contaminants to the pool.
Follow These Simple Steps To Open Your Swimming Pool For Spring And Summer
1. Remove water and debris from your pool cover.
Youll want to drain as much water from the cover before removing it. This can be done with a cover pump or if its an above ground pool, you can use a simple siphon. Once water is removed, use a broom to sweep off any large piles of debris.
*USE CAUTION & DO NOT USE ANYTHING SHARP.
2. Remove pool cover.
Do not worry if water and debris fall back into the pool as you will be vacuuming and shocking the pool.
3. Clean and store the pool cover.
Be sure the pool cover is dry before you store it to prevent mold and mildew buildup. Fold the cover up loosely and store in a cool, dry place.
4. Walk around your pool & complete this check list:
- Remove debris from strainer basket, pump & skimmer
- Check pump lid and lid o-ring replace if needed
- Inspect pump and all equipment for leaks
5. Raise water level back to normal.
If the water level in your pool is below the midway point of the skimmer opening, use a garden hose to fill it up.
6. Reconnect your pool equipment.
If you prepared your pool for freezing winter temperatures, you will want to reconnect all equipment that was disconnected.
7. Remove winter plugs and reattach drain plugs.
This involves checking all winter plugs from your pump, filter, heater, booster pump, cleaners and anything else with a drain. Next, replace with normal drain plugs.
8. Clear antifreeze from drain lines.
9. Turn pool equipment on.
10. Filter Cleanse.
11. Test pool water.
13. Adjust pH levels.
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