For many pool owners in Ottawa, spring is an exciting time. Not only is the long winter finally over but it also marks the start of the pool season. While the prospect of jumping into their pool again can be exciting, for many pool owners the thought of opening their pool is anything but. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Here are 7 of our best pool opening tips to help you open your pool easier, faster and better!
Open Your Pool As Early As You Can
Our first pool opening tip is also the most important; open your pool as early as you can. The reason for this is simple, algae growth.
Algae will begin to grow as soon as the pool water reaches 60°F. If there is no chlorine present in the water when this happens the water will quickly start to turn green as algae continues to grow and multiply.
As every pool owner knows, green water is not only unpleasant to look at, it is also expensive and time-consuming to treat. Although you likely added chlorine to the water before closing the pool, by the time Spring hits that chlorine is long gone. To prevent your pool from turning green you need to open it as soon as the weather stays consistently warm. In the Ottawa area, this is usually around late April.
The downside with this approach is that the pool itself won’t likely be warm enough to swim in until late May. Why open your pool a month early and pay to run it just to prevent the water from turning green? The reality is that the added cost of running your pool for that month is actually less than treating a green pool would be.
In fact, you’re probably only looking at around $75 in added running costs to open your pool a month early. Not only is this less than the average cost to clear a green pool, it also saves you the time and effort that goes into fixing a green water issue.
Why so cheap? At this time of the year, the pool water will still be relatively cold. This means that the pool pump does not need to run nearly as long to keep the water clear. During this time period, the pump will only need to be on for around 4-6 hours per day.
Clean Off Your Pool Cover Before Removing It
Another way to prevent your pool from turning green after opening is to clean off your winter cover before you take it off of the pool.
Over the winter, your pool cover will have accumulated a fair amount of dirty water, leaves and other debris. More often than not at least some dirty water and debris will end up in the pool water when the cover is removed; easily turning a crystal clear pool into a cloudy and green nightmare.
To remove your winter cover properly you’ll first need to buy a small submersible pump. These can be found fairly inexpensively at most big box stores like Canadian Tire, Princess Auto or Lowes.
To clean your cover you’ll first use the submersible pump to drain the water off of the pool cover. While the pump is running, begin removing as much of the debris as you can with your skimmer net. Once the pool cover is relatively free clean, slowly remove the cover with at least two people. With at least one person on each side of the pool, grab the end of the cover and pull it to the other end of the pool, being careful not to dump any of the remaining debris into the pool water. You can then pull the cover off of the pool.
Bonus Pool Opening Tip: Once the cover is off of the pool, spread it out and clean it more thoroughly using your pool brush and a pool cover cleaner. This will help to keep your pool clean next year and can extend the life of the cover.
Fill & Clean The Pool
If you’ve followed the previous pool opening tips you should now be looking at a relatively clean, clear pool.
It’s now time to filling the pool back to its regular operating water level. Fill the pool until the water covers between 1/2 and 2/3 of the skimmer hole. While this can take several hours, you can save some time by starting to the pool while you’re cleaning and removing the winter cover.
You can also use some of this time to give the surface of the pool a good brush and remove any debris that is floating on the surface of the pool with your pool skimmer. Once the pool is full you can start up your pump and give the pool a vacuum.
Add Your Opening Chemicals
Now that your pool is running, it’s time to add your opening chemicals. Start with a chlorine-based “shock” to kill any contaminants in the water and establish a chlorine residual to prevent algae growth.
Along with this shock, you should also add at least two other chemicals.
- Algaecide. Algaecide works alongside chlorine to help manage algae growth in the pool. Algae naturally produce a slimy protective “shell” around itself. Algaecide breaks down this shell, allowing the chlorine to kill the algae more easily.
- Enzymes. Enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that help to break down organic materials such as dead algae, oils and lotions. Adding enzymes to the pool water will help to keep it clear and remove any oils and lotions that have built up on the waterline.
Check For Leaks
Once the pool is up and running, we also recommend taking a quick look at the pool equipment (pump, filter, heater, etc) to ensure that there are no leaks. It is quite common for rubber seals and o-rings to dry out over the winter and leak when they are reconnected in the spring.
If you find any leaks, try to find the source of the leak. Once you find where the leak is, you can try to fix it by:
- Tightening the leaking connection slightly.
- If the connection is already tight, or if tightening doesn’t fix the leak, apply some silicone lubricant to the rubber o-ring or seal. Do not use Vaseline as it will damage the rubber and make the leak worse in the long run.
- If it is still leaking, replace the o-ring or seal.
If you can’t find the source of the leak, or if it is coming from the plumbing or from somewhere inside a piece of equipment, call your local pool supply store to get the leak repaired ASAP. The longer you leave a leak, the worse they will get. Depending on the location of the leak they can also cause long-term damage to your pool’s equipment.
Test The Water
Around 1 week after you’ve opened your pool it’s time bring a water sample into your local retailer for testing. Water balance is key not only to providing you with a comfortable swim experience but also to extend the life of your pool and it’s equipment.
Consider Changing To A VS Pump
If your pool pump is costing you too much to operate, or if it is approaching the end of its life, we highly recommend making the switch over to a variable speed pump. Variable speed (or “VS”) pool pumps allow you to vary how much water they move.
This ability to reduce the operating speed of the pump allows pool owners to save up to 90% on their pool’s energy costs! These savings can be explained by Affinity Law. This law shows that every time a motor reduces its speed by half, its energy consumption is reduced by 75%. This can add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a single pool season!
Although a VS pump will cost you several hundred dollars more than a single speed pump, they will pay for themselves in as little as 2-3 seasons in energy savings. Not only are variable speed pumps cheaper to run, they are also quieter and last much longer than a single speed pool pump.
While following these pool opening tips may seem like a lot of extra work or added expense, in the long run, they will save you a ton of time, headache and money. If you still have any pool opening questions, or if you would a professional to open your pool, please feel free to contact us anytime.