Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's Summer, Time to Open up that Pool

While it may seem counterintuitive, some Michigan homes do have pools. This year spring has been both tardy and cool, and if you have a pool maybe you've forgotten that this is the time to open it. This is fully understandable. However, if you both have a pool and intend to open it for summer, here are some tips that will make it easier and less problematic.  

Last weekend we opened our pool.  Wait, in actuality, we started cleaning up our pool because we never really closed it last fall.  I can almost hear your gasps.  I too was frustrated as Labor Day weekend came and went and my husband put off closing the pool.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and pretty soon there was a layer of ice covering our above ground pool.  

We have a love/hate relationship with our pool.  I’m sure most of you can relate.  You love using it in the summer; you hate paying the increase in your electricity bill, and in some cases the increase in your water bill.  We live out in the country and have a well so we are lucky on the latter.  You love having people over to swim; you hate having to do all of the work opening, closing, and cleaning the darn thing. Nobody seems to be lined up when it is time to do the hard work!

So, let me get back to cleaning up the pool last weekend.  My husband asked me if I could go get two bags of sand for our filter.  When I got to the pool store, the employee told me to make sure to fill the filter half full with water first, and then pour the sand in.  Doing this would help to avoid breaking, cracking, or damaging internal parts.  This was something we had never done before.  I think it is a tip worth passing along.  

Properly removing and storing your pool cover can save you time and energy in the fall.  Make sure to remove debris from the cover and then wash it with soap.  I have found that having my daughter get in on the fun and turning the cover into a slip and slide can make this step more enjoyable.  Although the cover can be pretty disgusting, it sure is fun to watch a toddler slide around in the soapy bubbles while trying to clean the cover.  The next step is connecting all of the equipment, which I always leave to my husband.  It’s a tough, heavy job!
I definitely recommend lubricating all O rings.  This will help make sure you achieve a proper seal.  Also, if you used antifreeze for the winter, make sure this is properly disposed of and not discarded onto the ground. After this is complete, you must fill your pool, and then you are on your way to the tough job of cleaning.

Here are the recommended steps to use when cleaning your pool:
  1. Skim the Surface
  2. Clean the tile or vinyl sides
  3. Brush the pool
  4. Check the skimmer and pump strainer baskets
  5. Vacuum the pool
  6. Service the filter
  7. Rinse the deck

Add shock, add stabilizer, add sanitizer, and add algicide.  Those are the four chemicals you will need in addition to chlorine.  The pool store can help you and give you recommendations based on any issues you are seeing with your pool.  There is one final thing you need to do: have fun swimming!

--Megan Cooperider lives in Grand Rapids, MI and occasionally blogs for Homes by Falcon.