6 Common Pool Opening Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

by Mark Zalewski

Pool parties and BBQs are on the horizon. It’s time to open up the pool for the season but you want to make sure you start off on the right foot. You want to avoid some of the most common pool opening mistakes to have your pool up and running in time for your first backyard bash. Below are six typical pool opening mistakes and what to do to avoid them.

1. Forgetting Proper Pump Maintenance: Imagine you’ve meticulously cleaned your pool. You’ve brushed and vacuumed the liner, you’ve measured the pH and carefully calculated what pool chemicals you need, then you turn on your pump. The motor starts humming happily and then suddenly it is pumping debris back into your pristine pool! Oops!

Instead, you need to perform pump maintenance first. You should check that the motor is working correctly, and make sure it has proper pressure. You can also choose to quickly backwash the pump system (it only takes a few minutes) which will ensure you are starting with a clean pump. At the end of the season, make sure you tend to your pump correctly as well and your next spring season opening will go more smoothly.

2. Putting in chemicals in the wrong order: There’s an appropriate sequence of events to pool opening which will help to make sure your pool is ready for its first swimmers in no time. After you’ve cleaned most of the debris from your pool and you’ve measured the pH it can be tempting to add all the chemicals your pool needs in an effort to complete the task. Often though, it is beneficial to allow the water to circulate through the pump before shocking the pool. Adding chlorine treatments too early can inhibit your ability to properly manage algae because chlorine will not kill algae. You can use an algaecide first, or consider trying Orenda's 1-gallon phosphate remover to reduce phosphate levels in your swimming pool and help ensure against algae growth year round.

3. Allowing Water Levels to Fluctuate: Both over filling and under filling your pool can be counterproductive to proper pool functions. At the beginning of the season your pool is likely to have low water levels. Before running your pump, you will need to increase the water level. Low levels of water can cause improper concentrations of chemicals and cause pool skimmers and pumps to run ineffectively. This can even cause damage to the pump.

4. Not Running Your Pump Long Enough: We all want to save on energy costs, but trying to save on electricity by limiting the time your pump is running can be counter-productive to proper pool maintenance. The pool pump helps to not just filter water, but to increase movement in your pool. Stagnant water is more likely to grow algae, so if you want the best quality of water you will need to be running your pump at least 8 hours a day. Ideally this will be for several hours in the morning, and several hours in the evening. Occasionally, in the beginning of the season it can be beneficial to run your pump around the clock for a few days to properly disperse chemicals and to best filter water. This is especially true for the first few days after opening your pool for the season.

5. Eliminating the scrub brush process: It can be tempting to allow an automatic pool vacuum to simply clean the pool floor. However, this device, although handy, cannot reach into small and often overlooked areas of the pool floor. Hard to reach places where dirt and grime can accumulate are in the corners of stairs, behind ladders and around the pool perimeter where the waterline is.

6. Not watching pH levels: Although commonly recommended in pool care manuals, this is an essential part of pool care that frequently gets forgotten. Available in easy-to-use strips, a pH monitoring kit is simple to use and only takes a few moments. These strips will indicate the acidity of your pool water and help you to recognize your pools chemical needs.

Need more advice on pool care? Feel free to contact us for more tips and tricks to make your pool opening a success.