Spring is in full swing and warmer days are on their way. It is high time you get your pool ready. Contrary to common beliefs, opening your above ground pool does not mean only filling it with water and jumping in. You must prepare your pool properly to ensure the health of the pool as well as the swimmers. Cleaning the pool is one of the most important aspects of opening and maintaining a pool for long hot summers. However, not many people know how to clean a swimming pool after the winter season and this is what we are going to teach you.
We also divide our article into the following sections for your convenience.
- Importance of early pool cleaning
- Ensuring structural integrity
- Balancing the pool water
- Checking pool filter and pump
- Balancing pool chemicals
- Why clean your pool in winter?
Now, let us begin.
Importance of Early Pool Cleaning
You may be wondering why you need to clean the pool in spring. Isn’t it too early to even think about swimming pools and cleaning them? However, the sooner you clean your pool, the healthier and safer it will be for summers. Obviously, it also means more enjoyment and fun.
All of us tend to neglect the pool when dealing with shorter yet harsher winter months. The wind and rain keep bringing algae pores with them quite relentlessly. All these hazardous particles constantly enter the pool because there happens to be no maintenance. As a result, algae bloom may occur sometimes in a matter of hours when the conditions are right including warmer temperatures.
Some of the other conditions which encourage algae bloom are as below.
- Warmer temperatures
- Greater exposure to sunlight
- Presence of nitrates
- Carbon dioxide or phosphates
Warmer temperatures are only one of the causes of pool algae. The primary culprit, however, is lack of good sanitation, filtration, and circulation. Therefore, you must pay attention to getting your pool in balance in spring for these three reasons alone. You also can select the best above ground pool pad for your swimming pool.
How to Clean a Swimming Pool after Winter?
The following paragraphs explain how to clean a swimming pool after winter. The process applies to all kinds of pools with some additions and exceptions.
1. Prune Back Tree Branches and Shrubs
Overhanging trees’ branches and shrubs can make it difficult for you to clean your pool. Besides, flowers and leaves constantly entering the pool will be a continual headache while filtering and balancing the water.
Clear enough space around both your filter and pool pump if they are located inside a garden shed or garden. It will not only enhance their life but will also provide easy access for maintenance.
2. Don’t Empty Your Pool Completely
You should always have this factor in mind. Emptying your pool completely in winters can be your biggest mistake. No matter how cold the weather is, removing water from the pool is not recommended. If you do, especially in a high-water table scenario, the pool will pop out of the ground and you will no longer have a pool.
The only time experts recommend emptying the pool is when you have to do structural work. Similarly, emptying the pool is a good option if the pool bottom has a lot of debris or leaves.
3. Remove the Pool Cover
Now, it is time to remove the pool cover, if you have any for winter. Don’t forget to clean off any water, debris, rubbish, and leaves sitting on top of the cover. Make sure the cover completely dries off by placing in it a hot and dry place. You may also consider washing it with water. Subsequently, store it away to be reused after the summers.
4. Ensure Construction Integrity
Months of negligence can put your pool under greater risk of collapsing. You must do a thorough inspection of your pool depending on its construction. Some of the main pool types include liner, concrete, tiled, and fiberglass-in-ground pools. The inspection will help you determine whether or not the pool is in good shape. It will also reveal how stable it is in terms of structural integrity.
Rectify all the issues such as staining, lifting tiles, splits, and cracks at the earliest if you find them.
5. Check the Water Level
The appropriate water well is essential for the normal functioning of the pool pump. For efficient circulation of water, it is advisable to keep the water level to the middle of the skimmer opening. You must also measure the present water level and add more water accordingly to fill the pool. Similarly, you must check and test ladders, handrails, and diving boards for faults and loose bolts.
6. Do a Complete Inspection of the Filtration System
Thoroughly inspect the pool filtration system and pump for any wear or tear or damage. Pay special attention to o-rings on filter cap and cartridge element for cartridge filters.
On most occasions, you will have to clean the cartridge elements. It is also likely that you may need to replace them altogether. Similarly, you must backwash the sand filters as well.
Spring is a good time to backwash your sand filters. However, you can determine when their cleaning is due using three simple methods which are as below.
- Water clarity
Reading the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water is the best way to measure the clarity of the pool water. You will use an electronic tester to accomplish the task. A typical freshwater pool should have a maximum clarity of 2000 PPM.
- Water Flow
It is time to backwash sand filters if the flow rate is decreasing by approximately 40 liters per minute.
Your sand filters also require backwashing if the PSI is increasing by 10 in normal operating conditions or pressure.
Replacing or cleaning the filter mesh will give you the best results for smaller filters. Furthermore, you can ensure optimal filter performance for the entire summer by using filter sand, new filter cartridges or a product to clean the pool filter.
7. Don’t Forget the Pool Pump
Maintaining a pool also requires taking special care of the pool pump. Start with lightly replacing the pump lid and lubricating lid o-ring of the pump. Open all the pump valves if you have somehow shut them off.
Now, you can start the pump filter. Wait for the pump to reach its maximum operating capacity and look for the leaking parts during that time. Similarly, watch the pressure gauge for the pool readings. Not to mention, verify no bubbles are erupting at the pool returns.
8. Test the Pool Water
You should never jump into the pool without testing the pool water as well. Keep in mind that mains water already has its pH corrected and therefore, it does not need to be tested. However, it is still important to check water’s chlorine and salt levels as well as total alkalinity (TA) after the water you have added cycles through the filtration system of the pump.
You can take the sample once the water has circulated for more than 24 hours and head to the nearest swimming pool store. They will be better equipped to do a thorough analysis of your sample and take a precise water test. The test results will give you an idea of the possible adjustments you have to make. Similarly, circulating the added water for a full day means you are only adding the necessary chemicals instead of wasting money on unnecessary items.
If you don’t want to go to a swimming pool store or there is none in your vicinity, you can carry out the test at home. You can easily find DIY pool chemistry testing strips from the market. It is also a breeze to conduct the water test using the DIY strip. They come with their own color chart bottle. All you have to do is to dip the strip in the sample water. Subsequently, hold the strip upright against the bottle.
You can easily measure chlorine and pH levels using DIY strips. However, it is mandatory to collect the sample for pH at a relative distance from the inlet of the pump.
It is also a good practice to run the pool pump for up to 48 hours after adding the chemicals. It ensures full sanitization and circulation.
9. Balance all the Pool Chemicals
Balancing pool chemicals is essential. The following are some of the tips to achieve this balancing.
Your pool should ideally have a chlorine level between 1ppm to 3ppm. Add some liquid or solid granules to attain the recommended level if the value is lower than that. Similarly, keep adding chlorine for a few more days to maintain an optimal level.
- Total Alkalinity
80 to 120 is the perfect alkalinity level for any pool regardless of its type. The addition of baking soda can get you the required level of the value is too low. On the other hand, you can decrease the value if it is too high by adding some muriatic acid.
- pH Level
The pH level in your pool should not decrease or exceed 7.2 and 7.4 respectively. Add some soda ash if the value is too low. Similarly, muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate can decrease the pH level in case it is too high.
10. Vacuum Your Pool
Once you have ascertained that the pool pump is functioning without any issues or leaks, you can clean the pool using a vacuum cleaner. When it comes to pool cleaning, you may be surprised to find a huge amount of dirt on your pool toys, rails, entry ladders, jumping boards, coping tiles, and other equipment. Try your level best to clean all these things as well to get a healthier environment for everyone.
One thing to remember here is that the pool pump must be running when you deep vacuum the pool. However, the vacuum cannot directly reach all the places such as steps, sides, and ladders. Therefore, you must use the brush to scrub these places. Finally, filter all the loose dirt by pumping water into the pool and letting it circulate for no less than a full day.
Why You Should also Clean Your Pool in Winters?
You must take every step necessary to clean the pool for summers. It will help you keep it in good condition and safer for your family and friends. However, it is equally important to clean the pool in winters to prevent expensive damages. Keeping the pool clean is a necessity no matter you close it after summers or use it throughout the years.
The following are some of the reasons why you should regularly clean your pool in winter.
1. Eliminates Health Risks
Although it is difficult for algae and bacteria to grow in colder days yet they can accumulate in your pool in winter, especially in warmer parts of the world. They can put your family and their health in danger if they grow up in large quantities. Things can get from bad to worse if the contaminated water leaks into the ground surrounding your pool. Regular cleaning is necessary to remove hazardous bacteria and algae. It will also enable you to keep the area inside and outside the pool safe for everyone.
2. Prevents Pool Damage
The harsh winter season can wreak havoc on your pool, especially if you don’t maintain it properly. Your above ground pool can experience severe wear and tear. To make matters worse, the frozen pipes can easily rupture. Similarly, debris in the likes of dirt, sticks, insects, and plastic can get stuck in the pool, causing problems like clogged or leaking pipes. You can check for any damages and remove all kinds of debris by cleaning your pool after regular intervals in winter.
3. It is Easier to Open the Pool for Summer
Regularly cleaning the pool helps you open it for spring without any hassle. On the other hand, you may be looking at swamps of overgrown grim and algae when you remove the covers in the spring in the case of a poorly maintained pool. You will have to do less work to get your pool ready for warmer days if you regularly check and clean it in winters.
Jump into Your Pool
Now that have you learned how to clean a swimming pool after winter, it is time to actually clean it. Once your pool is free of all kinds of debris and the chemicals are fully balanced, you are ready to jump in. Remember that getting a completely clean and healthy pool can take a weak.
Similarly, clean your pool once in a week to maintain it. Also, regularly clean pool filters and pumps. Try your level best to test your chemicals daily or at least several times a week. It is the only way to enjoy swimming in your pool for the long summer season.