It takes more than just filling up your backyard pool with water and diving in to open it for the season. This is your eight-step manual for preparing for long summer afternoons.

1. Don’t Empty Your Pool

Never empty your swimming pool, even if you live in a very cold region. In addition, get a cover. This is because emptying the pool can result in serious issues. For instance, in an area with a high water table, an empty pool can rise above the surface without the water’s weight supporting it.

2. Clean It Up

Get your pool in shape by beginning the process with a “chemical open.” Assemble the filtration system, empty all of the baskets, and take out any plugs that were installed while the pool was closed the previous year. While you’re working on the pool, leave the cover on.

3. Top It Off

Top off the water if it has dropped during the winter. Before using it, make sure the filter is clean. To clean a cartridge filter, take the cartridge out and give it a hose wash. It could be necessary for you to disassemble, clean, and reinstall your D.E. filter. To clear the sand, if you have a sand filter, turn it to backwash. Next, return it to its default configuration.

4. Have a Pro Test Your Water

Bring in your pool water sample to PoolSpa and we will test the water for you for free. Our complete test, assesses the mineral content of the water, along with the total alkalinity and the pH and the chlorine levels.

In addition, you want to get some DIY pool chemical test strips. Simply submerge the strips in the pool of water and align them with the bottle’s colour scheme. This is a simple method for routinely measuring the PH and chlorine.

5. Balance Your Chemicals

Time for some chemistry, based on our pool pro’s analysis. Here are our recommendations:

PH levels between 7.2 to 7.4. The pH level dictates how much chlorine turns into hypochlorous acid in the water. Use soda ash to increase pH; muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to decrease.

Total alkalinity from 80 to 120. Alkalinity is a pH buffer—pH levels will be consistent if the alkalinity level is correct. Use sodium bicarbonate to increase alkalinity, muriatic acid to decrease it.

The range of calcium hardness is 150–250 ppm (parts per million). This is closely related to the water’s hardness. Water will take up more calcium from its surroundings the softer it is. Calcium will be extracted from the tile grout if it is not added to the water. It will truly damage marble dust and have an impact on vinyl. Use calcium chloride to change the hardness of the calcium.

Chlorine from 1 ppm to 3 ppm. A popular product for backyard in-ground pools are cyanuric-based tablets (the ones that look like large white hockey pucks). Cyanuric acid inhibits the sun’s ability to burn off chlorine, it’s like a sunscreen for the water.

You can put the tablets in your skimmer baskets, but their low acid content means they’ll eat metal—a problem if your pool has a metal filter system or a heater with a copper heat exchanger.

6. Wait for the Water to Clear

Hold off on jumping in just yet. Until the water is clear, the filter needs to be cleaned daily. This process should take roughly a week to complete. To maintain it at the proper level, you might need to add chlorine. You should take off the cover only when the water is clear and you can see the pool’s floor. If you take off the cover too quickly, there will be more leaves, pollen, and debris for you to clear out.

7. Housekeeping

After you’ve removed the cover, time to vacuum all the leaves and debris from the bottom.

8. Maintain

For the remainder of the season, monitor the chemical levels daily, vacuum the pool once a week, and maintain a clean filter.