In North Texas, we all know that summer really begins in May. The days are getting hotter and the sun is out in force. Pretty soon, you're going to be spending your days off poolside with a cold drink in one hand and sunscreen in the other. Before that can happen, however, you need to make sure your pool is ready for you!
Hot Summers, Mild Winters- The North Texas Way
Thanks to the (mostly) mild winter weather we get in NTX, you don't really have to "close" your pool for the winter, at least not like our Northern friends might have to do. Here, as long as you keep your pool clean from debris, you're pretty much good to go until Spring rolls around. However, there are a few things that you still need to do to make your pool welcoming and safe for guests.
Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody, Everywhere
Again, you should have been keeping that debris out of your pool all winter long, but we get it. If you're not using it, it can be really easy to let some of that regular maintenance slide. So that being said, first things first, bust out the skimmer and clean all the debris out of your pool. Leaves, twigs, dirt, it's all got to go. Leaves can really gunk up your filtration system, and leaving it for too long creates a nasty, slimy mess that no one wants to touch, which is why it's so important to keep your pool clear of this kind of debris. No judgment if you let this one slide, but just know that it's got to get done, otherwise you can really damage your equipment.
Next, you need to scrub off any algae that has formed in the pool. You know that thing that looks like a broom with a really long handle that you used when you first built the pool and then hung on the fence and forgot about? Yeah, you need to grab that thing and start scrubbing! Give all the walls, floor, and coping a good scrub, and make sure to give extra attention to any slimy, green, yellow, black, or pink areas.
Finally, you will want to clean your pool filter. This one can be done by a professional, or you can also do it yourself. Jerry shows us just how easy it is in this short video-
Chemistry Begins in the Stars...And Ends in Your Pool
Once you've cleaned all the junk out of your pool, you need to check the pH balance and adjust the chlorine. Checking, adjusting, and maintaining the chemical makeup of your pool is one of the most important things you can do for it and for anyone who is going to swim in it. It's what makes your pool swimmable, and what keeps it from becoming a gross, murky pond. Shocking the pool, or adding a large amount of chlorine and other chemicals to the pool, is usually necessary if you haven't regularly maintained the pH balance of your pool during the off-season, or if your pool has developed algae. (If the latter, you may also want to use an algaecide.) Of course, if you have a saltwater pool, you still need to check the pH balance AND check the salinity level, making adjustments as necessary. And remember- DON'T SWIM IN IT AFTER YOU SHOCK IT! Give your pool at least 12-24 hours to circulate the water with the pump on before you even think about getting in. Trust me, your skin will thank you.
Dive Into Fun!
Now that you've got your pool sparkly clean and the pH perfectly balanced, I know you're dying to jump in...but first, you have to make sure that your pool toys from last year are clean too! There is no point in doing all that work making your pool shine if you're just gonna throw a bunch of dusty old toys into it. Take a few minutes and hose off any toys from last year that you're planning to use this year, removing as much dirt, dust, cobwebs, etc., as you can. Check inflatables for punctures, and throw out anything that is damaged. Sometimes, when left in the sun, pool noodles can start to break down, so make sure you check those too, as those little particles can clog up your filter something fierce.
Okay, Okay, NOW Can I Get In??!??!??
Yeah, NOW you can get in. Happy Summer, friends!