5 Tips on Getting Your Pool Ready For Fun! – Rin Robyn Pools
5 Tips on Getting Your Pool Ready For Fun!
1. Start early! Don’t wait for 80 degrees to take off the cover and start the equipment! As water temperature increases above the 50 degree mark, microorganisms will start to grow. If you have a mesh cover, sunlight will penetrate into the water and allow algae, which is a plant, to begin growing. I recommend opening your pool early in the spring – it will often take a week or more to clear the water through filtration and get the chemical balance correct – and an uncovered and operating swimming pool is far nicer to look at, even if you’re not swimming in it.
2. Don’t shock it – test it first! Even if you have a salt water pool, immediately adding chlorine shock to a pool when opening it may seem like a good idea but it also may be a complete waste of time and chemical. Chlorine shock only works properly within a fairly narrow range of pH. A pH below 7.0 will make the chlorine “hyperactive” and will be consumed too quickly. Conversely, a pH above 7.8 will make the chlorine “lethargic” and ineffective. So, it’s important to adjust the pH first, before shocking the pool. However, adjusting the pH can be a little tricky if the total alkalinity isn’t in the correct range – and – the chlorine shock itself, depending on exactly what shock chemical you use, also will affect the pH. I recommend that the best course of action is to bring a water sample from your pool into a professional pool store that offers laboratory computerized water analysis and to follow their directions.
3. Grease is good! Pump lids all have o-rings and these o-rings need to be regularly greased so that they remain watertight, airtight and seal perfectly. Similarly, many valves and unions have o-rings that need to be greased in order to operate properly and last for years. I think that the only type of grease to use is a silicon based grease. Petroleum based greases, like vasoline, will attack the plastics and actually be counterproductive.
4. Clean your filter! Whether you have a sand, DE or cartridge filter, it’s important that you take the time to properly clean it. You should have cleaned it last fall before letting it sit all winter so that you’d be starting out the spring with a nice clean filter, but if you didn’t, then now is the time to do it. There are two types of cleaners that I think should be used on a pool filter. First is an alkaline-based cleaner that is good for removing greases and oils from the sand or the grids and fabric of DE and cartridge filters. After thoroughly cleaning your filter with an alkaline-based cleaner, you should then use an acid-based cleaner that is good for removing scale and dirt from the filter medium. Make sure that you backwash and rinse the system thoroughly after using each of the cleaners – and always use the alkaline-based cleaner first and then the acid-based cleaner.
5. Test regularly and follow a chemical program! Whether you have a salt water pool or a regular pool, you should use the services of a pool professional and follow a program to make sure that your pool is treated properly. Many people do not realize that a salt water pool is actually a chlorine pool. Salt, which if you remember from your high school chemistry is sodium chloride, is dissolved in the pool water and converted into chlorine by a device called a salt chlorine generator cell. With respect to disinfection and water clarity, a salt water pool is exactly the same as a regular chlorine pool – it is simply generating the chlorine from salt instead of adding it from an automatic chlorinator, sticks or tablets. All pools require that the pH, total alkalinity, hardness level and other chemical parameters be in the correct range to provide for disinfection, water clarity, algae-free water that also preserves the surfaces of the pool and doesn’t harm the pool’s equipment. Again, I think that the best course of action is to bring a water sample from your pool into a professional pool store that offers laboratory computerized water analysis and to follow their directions.