Thursday, May 20, 2010

Opening Your Pool for the Summer

How To Open Your Swimming Pool For The Summer

floaty ring on pool
All around the country people are getting their swimming pools in shape for the warm months. If you haven't already, now is the time to think about opening your swimming pool for the season. Some pool owners choose to contract with a pool professional to get their pools ready, while some pool owners choose to do some or all of these steps to save some money.

These steps should help you get your swimming pool open the right way for the pool season.
  1. The first thing you must do is remove the cover. Be sure to pump off any standing water, thoroughly clean it and properly dry for summer storage.
  2. Rake off any large debris and leaves using a leaf net.
  3. You may need to add water, bringing the level up to its normal operating level.
  4. Remove any freeze plugs and other items installed to protect against freezing.
  5. Typically filters should be thoroughly cleaned when you close the pool for winter. If you did not, you should now.
  6. Start your filter system up, being sure to prime the pump before starting the motor. Be sure to purge all the air from the plumbing and equipment. Warning: Air will be compressed during this procedure. Be sure to release any built up pressure before opening your filter, pump, or chemical feeder.
  7. Attach all the pump hoses. Lube plugs, fittings, valves and o-rings with petroleum jelly or as recommended by the manufacturer. Check for any leaks around the pump and hoses. Check all of your hoses, clamps, skimmer baskets, and gaskets. If any of the parts look like they need replacing, they should be replaced.
  8. Vacuum out any dirt, sand, algae, or other small debris.
  9. colorchartAfter cleaning the pool, it's time to check the water chemistry. You should always vacuum the pool before adding chemicals, especially if you have a large amount of leaves or debris on the bottom. Chemicals will break down the leaves causing there to be thousands of little pieces floating around instead of it sitting on the bottom of the pool.
    · Do not begin by throwing a bunch of chlorine or other chemicals into the water. Adding chlorine and other chemicals in certain circumstances can damage and/or stain your pool surface.
    · Allow the water to circulate at least 8-12 hours, so that the water that was added has time to mix with the water in the pool.
    · After that time, test it thoroughly, then add the necessary chemicals in the proper sequence to balance the water chemistry. We suggest taking a water sample to your local pool professional to have it tested for pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, etc. Be sure to follow the procedure they describe to avoid damage to your pool's surface.
  10. Start up your heat pump or pool heater to warm up your water to the desired temperature.
  11. Install handrails, ladders, etc. being sure to inspect them for wear and damage. Applying car wax to the stainless steel rails, will help protect them from corrosion.
  12. Inspect the diving board. It should be free of stress cracks and the surface should have a non-skid surface. If the board has any stress cracks, it should be replaced. If the surface has been worn smooth, you can use a refinishing kit to correct this.
  13. Tile lines can be cleaned with baking soda and a sponge if you do not have any pool tile cleaner. Do not use any household cleaners (especially abrasives) to colorchartclean the tile as you do not want to swim in those chemicals.
  14. Now that the hard part is done, kick back and enjoy floating in your crystal, clear water.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May is Water Safety Month!

Your swimming pool and spa should be a place of relaxation and fun, not a cause of worry.
girl in swimming ring

Knowing the basics of pool safety, and following through on the safety measures, will transform your swimming pool and spa from a danger zone into a place of enjoyment!

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 260 children under five years of age drown each year in residential swimming pools and spas. The Commission estimates that another 3,000 children under age five are treated in hospital emergency rooms following submersion accidents each year.

Nationally, drowning is the fourth leading cause of death to children under five. In some states such as California, Florida and Arizona, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death to children under five. It is the second leading cause of death in children 12 and under.

CPSC offers the following tips for pool owners:
  • Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool.
  • Instruct babysitters about potential hazards to young children in and around swimming pools and the need for constant supervision.
  • Do not consider young children "drown proof" because they have had swimming lessons; young children should always be watched carefully while swimming.
  • Completely fence the pool. Install self-closing and self-latching gates. Position latches out of reach of young children. Keep all doors and windows leading to the pool area secure to prevent small children from getting to the pool. Effective barriers and locks are necessary preventive measures, but there is no substitute for supervision.
  • boy under waterDo not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
  • Never use a pool with its pool cover partially in place, since children may become entrapped under it. Remove the cover completely.
  • Place tables and chairs well away from the pool fence to prevent children from climbing into the pool area.
  • Keep toys away from the pool area because a young child playing with the toys could accidentally fall in the water.
  • Remove steps to above ground pools when not in use.
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate swimming lessons.
  • Maintain a clean and chemically balanced pool.
  • Have a telephone at poolside to avoid having to leave children unattended in or near the pool to answer a telephone elsewhere. Keep emergency numbers at the poolside telephone.
  • Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first aid.
  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool.

Download a Water Safety Guidefrom the American Red Cross.