There's no better way to enjoy summer than by lounging in your very own swimming pool. Unfortunately, you can't just dive right in as soon as the temperatures start to rise. If you haven't touched your pool since you covered it last fall, chances are it's filled with scum, debris and maybe even some wildlife. Follow these tips to get your swimming pool ready for the season so you and your family can enjoy the water in safety and comfort.
Fire up the Filters and Chemicals
Even if you covered your pool for the winter, it may still have accumulated gunk and other unpleasant things since you last used it. If you didn't drain it at the end of last summer, when you first pull the cover off there's a good chance the water will be green and opaque - not exactly inviting you to jump in for a swim. The first step is to clean it out, starting with the filter. Follow your manufacturer's instructions to clean your filter system and get it up and running so it can start the long process of clearing the water of debris.
Next, take a sample of your pool water and test its pH and chlorine levels. You can do this with a home test kit, or you can take your sample to a pool store, which will conduct a more thorough analysis and tell you the mineral content and alkalinity of the water as well. Based on the results, add the appropriate chemicals to get everything to the right levels. You should follow the recommendations for your specific pool, but in general, you’re looking for a pH between 7.2 and 7.4 and chlorine from 1 to 3 parts per million. Some pool owners like to do a chlorine shock treatment at the start of the season, which temporarily brings the levels up even higher to make sure any nasty organisms are dealt with.
Clean and Maintain
Once the preliminary work is done, you need to be patient. Keep cleaning the filter every day and adjusting the chemical levels to get them just right. It could take as long as a week for the water to clear up enough to consider swimming. When it's finally clear enough to see the bottom, remove any remaining leaves and debris with a vacuum and a pool skimmer.
That's all there is to it. Once you're assured that the water is clean, it's time to get out the inflatable raft and relax under the summer sun. However, don't neglect maintenance as the season wears on. Keep an eye on your chemical levels and make sure to clean the filter regularly throughout the summer so you don't compromise your comfort or safety. If you have any questions or aren't sure how to properly maintain your pool, or if any of your pool's pumping or filtering systems aren't working properly, have a swimming pool expert or knowledgeable plumber come lend a hand.