One of the biggest differences between East and West Coast pools, that I’ve seen anyway, is when the outdoor pool season starts.
East coast has a groundhog that bites a mayor, which traditionally means “snowpocalypse” for the next forever, whereas here on the West coast, our beloved football team loses the biggest game of the year and the universe sympathizes with spring-like weather in February. This means Best coasters are firing up the grill, wearing flip flops sans socks, and getting ready to dive right into the pool. (Don’t worry East coast; the thaw is right around the corner for you. It has to be!)
So, with visions of sweltering sunny days spent pool side upon us, here is a few Pool Maintenance Pro Tips to help you keep that pool all sorts of shiny in no time flat for the duration of summer. For summer start up, check out my Summer is Coming blog.
- Break out the net and go leaf hunting! Be sure to remove as many floating bits as possible and empty the skimmer basket. Don’t forget to dispose of all debris well away from the pool so that it doesn’t blow back in.
- Prep the sucker brush (a.k.a. pool vacuum). Be sure to point any circulation eyelets you have towards the bottom of the pool to keep the surface free of ripples. Fully submerge the hose and use one of the jets to get water moving through it. Put your hand over the end that’s going to connect to the skimmer and – quick as a ninja! – connect it to make sure you aren’t sucking down a big ole bubble of air (your pump and filter will thank you).
- Vacuum like your Grandma taught you. This is going to be the biggest time suck out of your day, but don’t rush it. Move slowly in an overlapping, parallel line fashion, starting at the wall and moving down towards the main drain. Don’t forget to keep an eye on that hose, as a floating hose will let you know either the filter is full and needs to be backwashed or, if it’s constantly floating up, there may be a hole in it. *break out the duct tape.
- Backwash the filter. This should be as easy as just turning the valve to the “backwash” position for Sand filters. If you have a cartridge filter, turn everything off, remove the cartridges, put in new ones (always keep a clean set of cartridges on hand), spray the dirty ones with Liquid Filter Cleaner, let them sit for a while and then thoroughly wash them off with clean water.
- Clean out the hair and lint trap. Remember that favorite hair tie you lost last year… Once again shut off the pump and be sure to empty the basket well away from the pool and give it the John Rambo treatment with a water hose. If you have a chlorine erosion (tab) feeder, now would be a good time to refill it.
- Refill the pool / spa. You’ve most likely lost a bit of water (no, the Leprechauns aren’t stealing your water… even if you live in Mobile Alabama, I’m sure the Leprechaun stayed in his tree all winter).
- Balance the water. Cirque Du Solei not required. Test your Calcium hardness, Total Alkalinity, pH, and Salinity if you have an inline chlorine generator and adjust accordingly. If you have to add chemicals, be sure to start off with increasing Calcium Hardness first, Total Alkalinity afterwards, and then pH.Calcium Hardness = 200 – 300ppmTotal Alkalinity = 80 – 120ppm pH = 7.4
- Take a picture of the perfection you have wrought! You should now have a sparkling beacon of beauty just waiting for you to jump into. Be sure to take a picture and smugly post it on your social media account of choice. Go ahead, you earned it.