When azalea buds begin to open, spring has finally arrived. A few early-bloomers pop up here and there until finally the branches are hidden behind a glorious display of pink, fuchsia, red, and white. It’s spring cleaning time for swimming pools!
Up north, spring cleaning time arrives when it’s finally warm enough to open the windows and let the fresh air in. Opening swimming pools are held off until it’s unlikely there will be a freak snowstorm.
Fortunately, late snow isn’t a problem we have to deal with. The kids (and probably you) are getting antsy, wanting to run outside and jump in the water. It’s time to get pools ready for a long, long swimming season. They might still be shoveling snow in some parts of the north, but it’s almost swimming season here.
Algae Loves Warm Weather
No one wants to swim in algae-green water. You may not realize, however, that algae can damage your pool’s walls and equipment. While algae-related problems are normally fixable, it’s a lot of work and can be expensive.
Algae begin to bloom when the water temperature is over 60 degrees. Bacteria also become more active. Chances are good your pool’s water is already warmer than that.
Prune and Trim Your Poolscaping
Long growing seasons can be a love-it, hate-it kind of thing. It’s nice to be able to have lots of flowers blooming on the patio every month of the year. It’s not always so nice that trees, shrubs, grass, and flowers seem to grow nonstop.
Pruning, raking, and trimming are messy. Save yourself some work later by pruning back now anything that’s going to continually shed leaves and twigs into the water. Sweep up leaves and debris tucked underneath your shrubs. Spread mulch or gravel as needed but keep the area clean around your pool’s equipment.
Purchase Chemicals, Testing Kits and Other Supplies
If you plan on doing all the maintenance yourself, put together a supply list. Inventory all your tools such as vacuums, robotic cleaners, or skimmers. Make sure everything is working properly. You’ll want to have everything on hand and working so you can avoid all those time-wasting trips back to the store for more chemicals, testing kits, tools, and other supplies.
Top off to the Correct Water Level
The pool’s water has probably dropped below the optimal level, so refill with your hose. You can top up to a little higher than normal to allow for water loss during cleaning and evaporation.
Remove Leaves, Twigs and Other Debris from Water
Hopefully, there won’t be too much plant and other debris in the water. However, if it’s your first cleaning of the season, there might be a fair amount of leaves, twigs, and debris.
A deep leaf net is a great tool for removing the debris, gently lifting it from the bottom. You should remove as much as possible before you start running your vacuum.
Clean Pool’s Sides and Bottom
After you have cleaned out the debris and vacuumed it’s time to brush floors and walls. Check sides and bottom for any damage.
Clean out your skimmer baskets. Next, clean or backwash your filter. It may be time to buy a new cartridge element for your filter as well.
Check the Entire System and Repair or Replace as Needed
Read and follow the instructions that came with your equipment. Instructions below are general and all parts might not apply to your equipment.
After cleaning or backwashing your filter reassemble it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Examine filter, pump, heater, and any other equipment closely, looking for any signs of damage. Everything should be tested, including all of the outlets, lights, and electrical panels. You want to be sure that everything is in prime running condition.
All fittings throughout the system should be checked and replaced if necessary. If your pump motor has lubrication ports, use a good quality lube. Apply new silicone to seals to keep the rubber supple and lower the possibility of air leaks.
Before starting the motor, clean out your pump basket and then prime the pump with water. The pump lid o-ring should be lubricated with a recommended pool lube. Don’t use Vaseline. Replace the pump lid so that it’s tight. Any valves located before or after the pump should be opened.
Next, start the filter pump. It should catch prime and then you should release air pressure from the system at the port on your filter according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Clean the Rest of Your Pool’s Equipment and Toys
By this time, you’ve probably noticed that the ladder, diving board, handrails, and even the inflatable rings, floats, and so on are less than pristine. Give them a good scrubbing and get set for the best opening party ever!