New Pool? Tips for Getting Water Ready for Swimming

You wanted a pool, longing to jump into cool water after a hot day, splashing with your family on the weekends, or floating around with a cocktail after work. So, you researched. You planned and consulted. You purchased, you landscaped, and you waited.

Congratulations on your new pool! A pool full of new water isn’t safe to swim in right away. To get the most out of it (and protect your investment), you need to prepare it before welcoming swimmers. pHin team put together what you need to know to get your water safe and ready for swimming:

Assemble your tools.

Every pool owner should have a standard set of tools they use to test and treat their pool water. That includes:

  • A water test kit
  • Pool brushes and cleaning tools
  • Chemicals
    • Chlorine or salt, depending on your system
    • Baking soda
    • Muriatic acid: One of the chemicals used to lower pH and total alkalinity in pools. Follow the instructions on the label, and make sure it is compatible with your pool; some muriatic acid can’t be used in hot tubs or with fiberglass, vinyl, or painted pools.
    • Sequestering agent: Iron and copper can build up in your pool. Sequestering agents help prevent staining and scaling by suspending the metal particles in solution.

Test the pool water.

Take your first water measurements with test strips to get the pH, chlorine, and total alkalinity levels of the water. You can purchase a test kit at your local pool store, or online.

Safe water should have pH between 6.8 and 7.2, and total alkalinity between 70 and 80 ppm.

There is a range for an optimal pH, which should then be raised between 8 7.1 and 7.7 for chlorine pools and 7.0 and 7.5 for salt pools. Lower pH provides better sanitizing benefits. At the same time, this will raise the total alkalinity. For example, concrete pools should have total alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm, where painted, vinyl, or fiberglass pools should be between 125 and 170 ppm.

Remember, whenever you’re adding chemicals to your pool, use extra caution to prevent them from touching your skin or eyes, by using gloves or goggles. Keep the chemicals secured and stored safely away from children and pets.

Grab your scrub brush.

To get the water balance right, you’ll need to keep your pool clean.

As a best practice, brush the pool often using a nylon brush. Particles, leaves, or dirt can get stuck in corners, steps, and other crevices, so make sure they get extra attention. You can also use a pool skimmer to catch leaves or bugs that accumulate on the surface overnight.

After the pool is balanced, you may want to add algaecide. Always check with your manufacturer to make sure it’s compatible with your pool, how much to add, and when it would be safe to swim.

Let the water settle.

Your pool water needs time to run through the system. Allow the pump to run for 1-2 days, and, as you add chemicals through the process, you may need to wait a few days in between to allow for stabilization.

You should also wait until the chemicals settle before using a heater or vacuum. If you don’t wait, it could interfere with the pool’s curing time, which can cause long-term damage. Some experts recommend letting your pool cure for 21 days, but it’s best to check with your manufacturer or local pool expert to determine the most suitable time-frame.

Set your pool care routine.

Once your pool is open and ready for swimming, you need to set a routine to keep it safe. Schedule weekly water test strips and chemical adjustments.

If you’re brand new to pools, testing, and chemicals, technology like the pHin Smart Water Monitor can remove the guesswork of water care. Instead of testing just once a week, pHin gives you a clear picture of your water quality in real-time. The device takes over 1,000 measurements a week (few pool owners can match that by hand!), and sends alerts, reminders, and chemical dose instructions in the app. See what users think of pHin.

When Should I Open My Pool for the Season?

When the temperatures start to rise, we begin longing for days spent poolside in the sunshine. A ripple effect of pool openings starts across the country as we approach the first day of summer with some pool owners wondering, “When should I open my pool for the season?”

Many factors can play into the decision for opening day. The pHin experts share tips for picking the ideal date:

 When Is It Too Early To Open Your Pool?

Each pool owner’s opening date varies depending on where they live. When temperatures are consistently over or around 70 degrees it’s usually the perfect time to start a pool opening. While it might be a little chilly for swimming for those who don’t have heated pools, it’ll leave you time to get ready for warmer days to come. Keep an eye on the weather – consistency is important because you don’t want to experience freezing temperatures a few days after the big opening.

 Along with outdoor temperatures, there are a few other factors to consider:

1.    Algae

With warmer temperatures, your pool can become a breeding ground for algae. To prevent algae buildup that can turn your pool green, opening your pool sooner can get you up and running. This gives you extra time to start cleaning to prevent the algae from growing.

2. Expense and Equipment

Pool openings can add extra expenses. Before you open your pool, consider the costs of additional chemicals, parts, or labor that will be needed. Also, do a check of what you’ll need for the season, including test strips, chemicals, cleaner, etc.

3.     Aesthetic

Pulling the cover off your pool adds beauty to your backyard. It might also be time to have the surrounding deck or patio power-washed, uncover your pool-side lounge chairs, and see if there’s anything you want to add this year, like rock speakers, lighting, new toys, or even a water slide.

4.     Entertainment         

Pools offer endless fun for families to enjoy all season long. After you’ve planned your pool opening date, start planning the first day for fun and games with your family, or a workout right in the backyard!

These pool opening tips should help you keep your pool in top shape all summer long.  The water needs to be balanced and safe for swimming, and technology like pHin can help guide you through the process. Enjoy the pool season!

How to Open an Inground Pool in 10 Steps

The post How to Open An Inground Pool in 10 Steps first appeared on Swim University.

Are you ready to open up your inground pool by yourself this year? Have no fear, it’s easier than you think.

You SHOULD open up your own swimming pool. It will save you time and money, because you won’t have to hire someone to do it for you…unless you want to.

Here is a very basic set of instructions. If you follow these 10 steps to open your pool, you’ll be thanking the gods you didn’t pay anyone, and you’ll be swimming sooner!

What You Need:

  • Pool cover pump
  • Winter cover cleaner
  • Start-up chemical kit
  • A friend

1. Remove Water and Debris From Your Winter Pool Cover

Remove all water, leaves, and debris from your cover. To remove the water, you can use a submersible pool cover pump.

Removing the debris can be tricky. Once the water is off the cover, you can use a broom to sweep off any large piles of debris. DO NOT use anything sharp or harsh on your cover.

SMART TIP: Once the water is removed, you could wait a day or two for the cover to dry and blow the debris off with a leaf blower.

2. Remove Your Winter Pool Cover

Carefully remove the cover without getting any debris, that remains on the top of the cover, into the pool. If dirty water and debris get fall in the water, it’s not a big deal. You will just have to remove it from the water later.

3. Clean Your Winter Pool Cover and Store Away

Lay the cover out on your lawn or a nearby area. Use water, soap, and a soft brush to wash your cover. You can use a winter cover cleaner, and some cover cleaners will even allow you to store the cover wet.

SMART TIP: Invest in a heavy duty plastic container with a lid to store your cover away. This will prevent bugs and rodents from eating or making a nest in your cover. This will extend the life of your pool cover.

NOTE: If you’re using water tubes to secure your pool cover, make sure you empty and dry them out before storing.

4. Remove Winter Plug(s) and Skimmer Ice Compensator(s)

Walk around your pool and make sure all winter plugs are removed from any openings in your pool, including return jets and step jets. Replace your return lines with the proper eyeball or jet fittings.

NOTE: If bubbles rise from the return or step jets when you remove the plugs, this is a sign that the lines (pipes) were properly blown out during winterization (pool closing).

Next, remove the ice compensator(s) from your skimmer bucket(s) (Gizmo) and remove the winter plugs from the bottom. Then, replace the skimmer baskets.

5. Re-Install Your Deck Equipment

Gather up your accessories and re-install them, including:

  • Pool ladders
  • Diving boards
  • Step rails

Make sure you lubricate all bolts to prevent rusting throughout the summer months.

6. Fill Your Pool Up

Your pool might have been drained during winterization or lost water over the winter. If the water level in your pool is below the midway point of the skimmer opening, use your garden hose to fill it up.

7. Set Up Your Filter And Pump

Replace the drain plugs and other parts, including your pressure gauge, on your filter and pump. Your filter should have one major drain plug and your pump may have one or two.

If you have a multiport valve, make sure you replace the air bleeder, sight glass, and pressure gauge.

IMPORTANT: Turn your multiport valve handle to “Filter.”

SMART TIP: Check the lid o-ring on your pump housing. Bend it with your fingers all around to check for any cracks in the rubber. A dry, cracked o-ring will cause your filter to pull air, which is not good. If this is the case, you should replace it. If the o-ring looks good, I suggest applying a Teflon-based o-ring lubricant (I recommend using Magic Lube) to create a good seal and making it easy to remove the pump lid when needed.

Re-install any additional equipment, including a booster pump, heater or chlorine dispenser, and make sure all drain plugs are securely in place.

8. Fire It Up!

Turn on the power to your pump and filter. Make sure the system starts up properly. Check for any leaks or drips.

If your pump isn’t pulling any water, you’ll need to help prime the pump. Shut off your filter system, remove the pump lid, and fill the housing with water. You can use a garden hose or a bucket of water from your pool. Replace the lid and turn your filter back on. This should help get the pump to pull water in from the skimmer(s) and main drain(s).

OTE: If the pressure on your filter tank seems high (over 15 psi), it might be a good idea to backwash your sand filter. After backwashing a D.E. (diatomaceous earth) filter, add fresh D.E. powder according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

9. Clean It Up!

Using a plastic leaf net (preferably with a rubber lining) attached to your telescopic pole, remove any debris that’s in your water. If there’s a large amount of debris on the bottom of your pool, carefully scoop it up with the leaf net. Try to remove as much debris from the water as possible.

Attach a pool brush to your telescopic pole and brush the walls and floor of the pool. This will help get the dirt into suspension and allow your filter to remove it.

SMART TIP: Make sure you turn your valves to pull water in from your bottom drain(s). This will help the filter collect the dirt and debris on the floor of your pool.

10. Shock and All

Take a sample of your water to a local pool supply store to get it professionally analyzed. You want to make sure you pH and alkalinity are properly balanced before adding any other pool chemicals.

Once your pool water is balanced, add the proper amount of sanitizer to your water (i.e. chlorine, bromine, or Baquacil).

I recommend double shocking your pool using 2 lbs. (or bags) of shock for every 10,000 gallons of water, or 5 gallons of liquid chlorine per 20,000 gallons of water.

One Last Check

Let your pool run at least 24 hours and vacuum out any debris using your manual vacuum. Retest the water using a home test kit or test strips. If everything checks out, and the pool is clear or cloudy blue, it’s ready to swim in!

Happy Swimming from pHin!