It may seem a little early to think about opening your pool for the season – but why not get a jump on others and start planning now?
Have an indoor pool? These tips will help you all year round!
Here are some tips from RMTI – Resident Managers’ Training Institute for getting your pool back into shape for the upcoming season.
For information on becoming a CSPO – Certified Swimming Pool Operator please visit CSPO – Certified Swimming Pool Operator course information
Remove the Pool Cover
If your pool has been covered up for the off season you will need to remove the cover. Some pools are covered in order to keep out leaves and debris. If you have a solid cover that contains rain water on top you need to drain that rain water off and not let it run back into the pool. Be careful that the pool water does not drop when siphoning off the water on the cover. You then need to sweep and clean the cover with a pool grade cover cleaner and deodorizer to prevent sticking, mildew, stains and unpleasant odors. Once cleaned fold and store the cover in a clean, dry place away from the sun and weather elements.
Fill the Pool
The water level should be at about the middle of the skimmer opening. Remove all debris such as leaves and sticks using a leaf rake. A magnet attachment for your pole is handy for picking up any metal objects such as pins and nails before they have a chance to stain the surface of the pool.
Check the Equipment
All equipment needs to be in good working order. Check for frozen pressure gauges, damaged flow meters, cracked skimmers, baskets, etc. Make sure the weir is working. Take a good look at the main drain! These are some of the items the Health Inspector will look at. (See note 1 below)
You will need to call your pool service company to clean and service the gas heater. This is not something to attempt yourself. Gas heaters should be cleaned twice a year. Clean the chlorinator if it was not done at the close of the last pool season.
Note 1: It has been suggested by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) who inspect pools and hot tubs, that operators should have a goal of making sure that their pool is operating within the correct parameters for at least a couple days before they want to open; in the case that something unexpected happens, this will allow them time to address it without actually delaying the opening.
Should be chemically degreased and descaled – a simple operation which if done regularly, will ensure full filtration. If your filter isn’t working to capacity your chemicals will be less effective.
Installation and Inspection
Install any diving boards and ladders that were put away when you closed the pool at the end of last season. Check for hairline cracks that may have appeared since last season. If you adjusted your return fittings for winter, make sure you return them to the down position for full circulation.
Inspect all your safety equipment and replace any items that are damaged: Your life ring, rope, insulated pole and life hook to name a few.
Brush the Walls and the Steps
All the way to the floor of the pool. Brush the dirt and debris towards the centre drain so that most of the dirt will be sucked into the filter system.
Clean all the Tiles
Make certain to use a pool grade cleaner that will not tie up your chlorine. A stiff bristled brush works well on the tiles while a scrubby pad is better for the water line of vinyl. Brushes are available with a built in dispenser.
Vacuum the Pool
Before attempting this be sure to check your hose for any cracks or splits. You may need to replace your hose if you find any. A damaged hose will not only add unnecessary hours to your work load, but will not be effective in vacuuming the pool.
Check your Test Kit
Make sure it’s in good working order. Each season you’ll need new reagents to ensure accurate readings.
You can also take a sample of your pool water to your pool service company and they will be able to perform a computerized water analysis. The pool water will be tested for water balance as well as total dissolved solids, cyanuric acid, total versus free chlorine, iron and copper. Most pool professionals offer this as a free service. Some will even bring their computer to your pool-side for a small service charge. If you prefer to analyze the pool water yourself, check the chlorine level for free available and total chlorine.
Check and Adjust the Total Alkalinity
Total Alkalinity is the measurement of the alkaline in the pool water. It acts as a buffering agent, preventing big changes in pH and avoiding corrosion and staining. In plaster pools a measurement of 80-125 ppm is ideal. In vinyl, painted and fiberglass pools, it should be adjusted before the pH.
Test and Adjust the pH
The degree of acidity or alkalinity of swimming pool water is measured by the pH reading. A pH of 7.4 – 7.6 will allow the chlorine to work at full strength and the pool will not be damaged by overly acidic or alkaline water. Your bathers will also be more comfortable. High pH may cause cloudy water and scaling on the pool pipes, equipment and surfaces.
Measure the Stabilization
The ideal cyanuric acid level is 40 ppm. This prevents sunlight from dissipating the chlorine. If unstabilized chlorine is being used, the stabilizer level should be checked and adjusted each 30 to 60 days.
Check the Calcium Hardness
The desired range for plaster pools is 200-250 ppm. All other pools require a slightly lower range of 175-225 ppm. By maintaining the correct hardness levels you will prevent etching of the plaster and corrosion of metal equipment.
Burn out the Pool
This treatment oxidizes water-soluble, non-filterable swimmer wastes, assuring comfortable swimming. Burning out also kills any microbes that may be resistant to the normal daily treatment.
In order to back up your chlorine. The algaecide will help to kill the algae and bacteria, allowing your chlorine to do its job more effectively.
Start Routine Maintenance
Check your supply of log sheets. These are readily available from the Health Department. As a back up to regular testing, be sure to use your pool professional’s computer analysis during the open season.
Salt Water Pools
Ensure that all plumping is reattached and close any valves left open during fall closing. If you disconnected electricity, now is a good time to reconnect power to your pool system and devices. If you are using a salt water pool system, reinsert the salt cell if it was removed during winterization. Always use caution with electricity especially around water, to avoid electrical shock.
A this point you should make sure that your entire pool system including the pump, filter, chlorine generator and heater are working properly. It’s also a good time to ensure that your zinc anode is still in good shape if you have a salt system and have incorporated this device.
Water chemistry is the most important step to opening a pool properly in the spring after the water has been sitting stagnant over the winter months. The chemistry will have altered over the winter months and it will need to be balanced. If you plan on balancing the water chemistry yourself we recommend a good salt water test kit so you know exactly what needs to be adjusted and don’t get caught in the over treating nightmare.
If you have a salt water pool, it’s extremely important that you get the salinity levels correct at the start of the season because the generator will function optimally only if the salinity is within the recommended range between 2500-4500 ppm. If levels are too low it won’t produce enough chlorine while high levels could cause damage to your salt cell. If you want more detailed information about salt and a calculator for adding the right amount be sure to contact your pool service company.
As you adjust the chemistry and salinity of your pool it’s important to allow the water to circulate by leaving your pool system and pump running for at least 12 hours. You should keep your salt water chlorine generator turned off during this initial circulating and mixing until you are satisfied with your pool chemistry. If you want more detailed instructions on chemistry and balancing be sure to contact your pool service company.
RMTI Offers Online Courses
RMTI – Resident Managers’ Training Institute offers an online course on becoming a CSPO – Certified Swimming Pool Operator that can be completed in two weeks (full time study) or four weeks (part time study). On successful completion of the CSPO course you will receive your CSPO designation and certificate.
RMTI is certified federally by the Ministry of Employment & Social development Canada as an educational institute and has been serving the property management industry for over 41 years.
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