Even though ironically I am sitting here at my vacation home looking at about seventeen inches of snow on the ground I know further south the grass is peeping up and you are now looking out into your yards yearning for further signs of Spring and looking at your pool covers wishing it was warm enough to open up the pool and instead of that cover, looking at sparkling blue water. First things first, it's still a little early to open but there are still some things you can do now to make your pool opening day a lot smoother and less stressful.
At some point this winter you most likely gave up pumping the water off your cover if you have the type with water bags or an above-ground pool with the pillow in the middle so try to get as much water off your cover as possible. A caveat; check your cover to make sure you do not have any holes in it first as you can end up pumping water out of the pool if you do, if your cover is covered with water and debris then keep an eye on the pumping process making sure your pools' water level is not going down this may be a sign you have a hole in your pool cover. You do not want to end up with an empty pool as this can ruin your liner. If at all possible take a peek under the cover and make a note where your level is at, it will also tell you if you have had any winter damage should your pool water level be down to a level that does not seem right. Using solid pool covers on in-ground and above ground pools will cause some water displacement so don't panic if it is down from where you remember pumping it in the fall at the pool closing but if you have a foot of water left you probably have some issues and this gives you a heads up to call a pool professional early before the spring rush begins.
If your pool is surrounded by trees no doubt you may have leaves and debris on top of your pool cover and once dry you can easily brush this off so this does not end up into your pool at the pool opening. You can also take this opportunity to clean off the deck of debris using your leaf blower and power washer or hose. I like to have a clean deck, no furniture, toys etc. when opening giving you the space to fold your cover and safely walk around the pool deck area while you are opening the pool. By cleaning before you take the cover off you eliminate all that dirt and mess from getting into your pool water. This is also an great time to check your gate/door locks and alarms making sure everything is functional and safe.
Another step before opening your pool is to check out all your equipment. If you disconnected your filter system and just shoved it into the shed last fall now would be the time to clean the filter whether it be a cartridge, grid or other form. If you have not acid washed for a few years you can soak the elements in an acid solution yourself or have a pool professional do it. Most pool stores also carry a non toxic filter cleaner which is safe to use at your home. Personally, our store does not sell Muriatic Acid to home owners as I don't feel it is the safest chemical to have laying around the house with kids and pets so most customers bring their filters in. If you do it yourself this would be a great time to check your filter parts for any holes, cracks and other issues such as missing or worn o-rings. *Hint: Use the recommended lube for o-rings no petroleum jelly as it breaks down the material.
If you have a sand filter it is recommended to change your sand every 3-4 years. Check out parts and o-rings for your other equipment such as as pumps and chlorinator parts. For higher end equipment such as heaters and salt systems and automated systems call a pro if you were having problems last year.
These are just a few pre-opening suggestions that will get you prepared for the actually day of your pool opening. If you find problems or parts that you may need, write down the brand name and model of the filter, pump or whatever equipment you need the part from. If possible bring the part in to your local pool store and they will have the part in stock or order for you so when you do open your pool you are up and running that day. Believe me when I say that it is just as frustrating for me to have a customer covered in grease and dirt come in looking for a specific "what you call it", "you know what I mean" and not be able to help them. Most of us have one day to open our pools and you don't want to spend the day going from store to store looking for a part.
So the next time we have a day where the "fever" hits you and you just have to get outside and enjoy the weather take an hour or so and go over your equipment, write down what you need as specifically as possible, clean off your pool cover and deck so when the real sunshine comes you are ready to open your pool easily, quickly, and stress free.
I know I shouldn't have to say this but do not check any of these things while plugged in or check your pump system by plugging it in and running it while dry. If you are not handy or mechanically inclined admit it to yourself and call your local pool company. Sometimes you save time and money by planning ahead so don't wait until the last minute to call for help.
I welcome your questions, suggestions and comments and visit us at http://prospectpoolsllc.com