Opening Softswim Pools
Follow these Steps
OPENING YOUR POOL
The temperature is rising, the trees are budding and the kids are screaming to go swimming. Spring is here and it’s time to open the pool. Many problems can be avoided later in the season by opening your pool the right way. Get the season off to a trouble-free start by following these procedures.
STEP 1: Remove the pool cover. You may have covered your pool with a solid or mesh cover to keep out leaves and debris over the winter. If you have an auto cover – clean it with BioGuard® Stow-Away® before opening. It makes it easier to remove solid pool covers if the water level in the pool is raised up to or above operating level before the cover is removed. Solid covers catch water which should be drained off and partially cleaned while on the pool. The less debris and water, the easier it is to take off and less chance of having the dirty water and leaves fall in the pool when taking the cover off. Take every precaution to keep what is on top of the cover out of the water. Pump water off of the cover with a Little Giant submersible pump. Brush water towards the pump while it is running, then brush debris off the cover. Do not dump the pool cover and debris into the pool. Next, clean the cover. Keep in mind it is easier to clean the cover while it is still on the pool. Sweep the cover and spray it with BioGuard® Stow-Away® to prevent sticking, mildew stains and unpleasant odors. Drying the cover first is not necessary. Fold and store cover away from the sun, weather and chemicals. Solid covers are made to stay wet or moist during the off season.
STEP 2: Fill your pool. The water level in your pool should be about the middle of the skimmer opening. If it is low, add new water. Remove any large debris from pool — leaves, sticks, and such, with a leaf net.
STEP 3: Remove winter plugs from return lines, skimmer, automatic cleaner line and other fittings.
STEP 4: Reinstall pumps/motors, gauges, drain plugs in lint pots, filters, heaters, etc. Make sure all ground wires are connected. If you have a timer, put timer switches back on time clock. Do not set timer until filter has ran a sufficient amount of time to circulate water and water clarity is maintained. (Water should be as clear as you desire before shutting off filtration system.)
STEP 5: Reinstall ladders, diving boards, and other accessory and deck equipment.
STEP 6: Check pump, skimmer and filter. Make sure all the mechanical equipment is clean and functional. Start up filtration system on rinse position. This allows any dirt or objects hidden in the drain or skimmer lines to be trapped in the pump strainer and or on top of the filter media. After running 2-3 minutes on rinse, backwash the filter to rid it of dirt which might have developed in the filter during the off season.
STEP 7: Vacuum the pool if necessary. We suggest you vacuum to waste prior to starting chemical treatments. If you used a mesh cover you will most likely vacuum to waste. Remember, if your pool filter is not working properly, your chemicals will be less effective. If you did not clean your filter before closing with BioGuard® SoftSwim® Filter Cleaner. (Do not use Strip Kwik® or Kleen It®), you should clean it now or change the sand. When was the last time the sand was changed and what kind of sand is in the filter now? You may want to change old sand or inexpensive sand. Ultra Modern recommends changing the sand each season and chemically cleaning the sand every four to six weeks during the swimming season. In DE filters, change the filter media prior to start-up and check for build-up. If there is buildup, acid wash the DE elements. Check for any leaks in the system and repair them.
STEP 8: Start and test-fire the heater. Clean the heater if needed. Install the pressure switch back on 1/4” copper line and close the drain cock on the heat exchanger. Then open the gas cock and follow lighting instructions recommended by manufacturer, found on the inside when door is removed. (gas heaters only).
STEP 9: Clean the water line. Use BioGuard® Off the Wall® or Surface Cleaner® to clean the area from the water line all the way to the top of the pool liner or other finish.
STEP 10: Visually check water. If the pool is hazy, there are three ways to fix it. One is to use BioGuard® Polysheen® Blue in the water along with BioGuard® Sparkle Up® for the filter. A second way to remove haze is to use BioGuard® SoftSwim® Filter Aid and Flocculent. If the pool water is green, use Power Floc® and/or bring a sample to Ultra Modern Pool & Patio.
STEP 11: Check your test strips. SoftSwim® 3-Way Test Strips check the levels of “B” biguanide, total alkalinity and pH, while SoftSwim® Clarifier Test Strips check the “C” clarifier levels in the water. Accurate readings are very important to the life of your pool. Bad testing strips can mean false readings and a costly wasteful misuse of chemicals. Never leave the test strips outside during the winter and never in the sun during the summer. Always keep the lid tightly closed and never get moisture in the bottle.
STEP 12: Take a sample of pool water. If the water is clear, run the filter for 24 hours and use our free BioGuard® water sample bag. Take the sample to Ultra Modern and we will test the sample. The water sample should be taken at elbow length and away from the returns.
STEP 13: Get your personalized prescription. Ultra Modern Pool & Patio and BioGuard® will provide a personalized prescription for your pool, specifying the chemicals and amounts needed to keep the water balanced. The idea is to get your pool water balanced, in condition so that your chemical system can do its best job possible.
STEP 14: You may wish to test the water yourself. However, you should know that most home test kits will not test for all the factors that affect water balance, such as clarifier, biguanide, total alkalinity, TDS, calcium hardness, iron, copper, and optimizer. Not knowing the status of these factors can cause problems. For example, metals in the water can cause discoloration and/or ugly stains when you add SoftSwim® or Baquacil® or pH adjuster. Ultra Modern Pool & Patio has a simple test that can detect metal content so that you can take corrective actions before stains occur.
If you brought your water in for a BioGuard® personalized prescription, you may skip steps 15 through 22, as these will be covered in your BioGuard® personalized prescription.
STEP 15: Ultra Modern checks for metals. SoftSwim® Stain Control is for use in SoftSwim® systems only. All white plaster pools using BioGuard® SoftSwim® “B” must use BioGuard® Stain Control. Since metals destroy SoftSwim® “B” and SoftSwim® “C“, adding stain control can help extend the longevity of these two products when the fill water contains metals. Ultra Modern recommends adding stain control because there are more and more trace metals in waters. Follow label directions.
STEP 16: Ultra Modern checks total alkalinity. Total alkalinity affects and controls pH. If total alkalinity is too high, pH will be hard to adjust. If it is too low, pH will be unstable and difficult to maintain. The desired range for total alkalinity should be 125-150 ppm, depending on pool finish. Ultra Modern has the proper chemicals to raise or lower the total alkalinity. Our accurate tests will determine the ppm of total alkalinity in your pool water. Add BioGuard® Balance Pak® 100 if total alkalinity levels are low and BioGuard® Lo’N Slo® if the total alkalinity levels are high.
STEP 17: Ultra Modern tests pH. pH is a measurement of acidity and alkalinity. Ideal range is 7.4 — 7.8. Below 7.0, pool water is acidic and will corrode pool equipment and damage the pool surface. Above 7.8, the water is too alkaline and can cause cloudiness and scale formation. Improper pH causes swimmer discomfort. After you have corrected for low alkalinity, if the pH is still low add BioGuard® Balance Pak® 200. If the pH is high add BioGuard® Lo’N Slo®.
STEP 18: Ultra Modern checks calcium hardness. The amount of dissolved calcium in pool water affects pool balance. This should be approximately 200 ppm to 275 ppm, depending on pool finish. Higher hardness levels can cause cloudy water and scale. Lower levels can harm the pool surface and pool equipment. Low calcium hardness can cause wrinkling of vinyl liners. Add BioGuard® Balance Pak® 300 if the calcium level is low. Add BioGuard® Softswim® Stain Control if calcium is high. Check with Ultra Modern if calcium is extremely high.
STEP 19: Add initial dose of SoftSwim® “A” algicide — 1 quart per 25,000 gallons. Circulate for two hours. Then follow the regular maintenance routine for simple, gentle pool care all season long. Add weekly or bi-weekly.
STEP 20: Ultra Modern checks clarifier. Add initial dose of SoftSwim® “C” clarifier — 1 gallon per 10,000 gallons and let circulate overnight. Then follow the regular maintenance routine for simple, gentle pool care all season long. Add monthly or more often as needed.
STEP 21: Ultra Modern checks bactericide. Check the bactericide level the next morning. It should be 30-50 ppm. If not, you will need to top off level using the SoftSwim® dosage chart. Test weekly and add SoftSwim® “B” bactericide as needed.
STEP 22: Ultra Modern checks BioGuard® Optimizer Plus® or Proteam Supreme® levels. Ideal ranges are 50 to 80 ppm for a SoftSwim® pool.
Optimizer Plus® or Proteam Supreme® reduces the need for sanitizers and balancing chemicals and lowers total operating cost month after month. The unique formula significantly increases the efficiency of the sanitizer (SoftSwim® or Baquacil®) by relieving it of much of its algaecidal work. It is easy on your eyes since Optimizer Plus® or Proteam Supreme® dramatically reduces eye and skim irritation. Baquacil® is a trademark of ICI America.
Download a printable PDF: BUL-105 – OPENING SOFTSWIM POOLS
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