It’s almost that time again! Spending time with family and friends at a pool party or just relaxing around the pool on a lazy summer afternoon is just around the corner.
By following the steps below, you will ensure that your above ground pool is opened properly leading to an enjoyable and trouble-free summer of pool time.
- Remove the winter cover. a. If there are leaves or other debris on the cover, use your leaf net to remove them.
b. Pump off any standing water on the cover. NOTE: If your cover is a mesh material (i.e. not a solid cover) or if your cover has a hole in it, you will need to closely watch as you pump water off of the cover as you will also be pumping water out of the pool. This can lead to draining the pool if you do not watch carefully. c. After removing the cover, be sure to clean it using a cover cleaner/deodorizer called Stow Away (available at Fox Pools and Spas) and store it for the season.
- Reattach the filter and pump system to the pool. Now is the time to check the media in the filter (sand/cartridge) and clean it if necessary using a product called Strip Kwik. If you have a sand filter, it is recommended that you change the sand every 3-5 years depending on the condition. Give us a call at 615-824-1431 if you need help determining if it is time to change your sand.
- Add water to the pool. The ideal water level is around one third to one half the way up the skimmer opening.
- Remove any freeze plugs, Gizzmo’s, and other items installed to protect against freezing.
- Turn on your pump and adjust your filter valve to “filter”.
- Watch closely for leaks. It is common for the hoses connected to the pump and filter system to spring a leak over the Winter. If this happens don’t worry. Come by Fox Pools and Spas. We carry all lengths of these hoses throughout the year. Bring the old hose with you if possible so that we can send you back with the exact length you need. You’ll be up and running in no time.
- Clean and vacuum the water. Hopefully, with a solid winter cover and the proper closing chemicals, your pool water will be a crystal clear and blue as when you closed it. If not, you will want to remove any large debris with your leaf net, leaf rake, or leaf eater. Any dirt, sand, algae or other small debris should be vacuumed to waste.
- Bring a water sample to Fox Pools & Spas for a free professional water test. NOTE: Allow the water to circulate for at least 24 hours before bringing in a sample to ensure that the readings are accurate.
That’s all there is to it! Once you have added the opening chemicals to your pool, your summer fun is off and running. Enjoy your summer!
One very popular change for pool owners today is to install a chlorine generator (or salt system) to their existing chlorine pool.
Salt systems are great for in-ground pool owners, however, there is a great deal of misinformation regarding chlorine generators on the internet and spread by word of mouth.
Before we look at some common myths, let’s look briefly at exactly what a chlorine generator does.
What Does a Chlorine Generator Do?
A chlorine generator’s main function is to produce chlorine for the pool so you don’t have to buy it, store it, or handle it. Through the process of electrolysis, salt water passing over the chlorine generator cell produces chlorine that is instantaneously transformed into hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid is the active sanitizer, this is what kills bacteria and viruses in the water and prevents algae.
Now that you understand what a chlorine generator does, let’s look at 3 common myths about them.
Myth #1: A salt water pool is not a chlorine pool
False. As you read above, a chlorine generator generates chlorine. Therefore, what we sometimes refer to as a “salt pool” or a “salt system” is a chlorine pool as well.
Myth #2: All you EVER need to add to a salt pool is salt
This is without a doubt the most dishonest and irresponsible piece of misinformation someone selling a salt system could ever tell a customer! As you read above all a salt system is going to do is to generate chlorine to sanitize the water. A salt system is not going to automatically balance the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Maintaining a proper balance of these levels in the pool is critical to swimmer comfort and the protection of your expensive pool equipment and vinyl liner. In short, if all you are adding to your salt pool is salt, you are putting your swimmers at risk of harmful water chemistry that can cause rashes and irritation as well as causing your expensive pool equipment to corrode and fail long before it should.
Myth #3: Salt pools save you lots of money
There are various sides to this debate on the internet, however, in our experience the savings of having a salt system installed (if there is any) is negligible compared to using traditional chlorine. You simply should not decide to purchase a salt system based on saving money. A salt system is a convenient and safe method of making sure that your pool has chlorine-nothing more, nothing less.
Fox Pools and Spas proudly sells Hayward salt systems. Please give us a call at 824-1431 for more information.
By following the steps below, you will properly close your above ground pool which should save you a great deal of time and money when it is time to open next year.
- Bring a water sample to Fox Pools and Spas for a free professional water test. It is important to make sure that your pool chemistry is balanced prior to closing. In particular, you should make sure that your pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness are within the ideal ranges. By balancing your water chemistry you are protecting the equipment and surface from staining and etching.
- Lower the water level below the mouth of the skimmer. This will get the water out of the throat of the skimmer which can be easily damaged if water were to freeze here. NOTE: If you prefer to not lower the water level in your pool, you may use an Aquador over the mouth of the skimmer. An aquador is a plastic dam which holds out the water from the skimmer, allowing you to leave the water level up for the winter.
- Drain all of the water from your filter equipment and hoses.
- Start by putting a plug in your return fitting (where water returns to the above ground pool).
- Disconnect your hoses from the return and skimmer or at the filter system and drain them.
- The filter should have a plug at the bottom that will allow it to drain.
- Put the multi-port valve in the closed or “winterize” position and remove the pressure gauge. It is a good idea to take the pressure gauge inside for the winter because water collects in its tube which can freeze and cause breakage.
- Drain the pump by removing the drain plug(s). There may be two plugs to remove here. If you put all the plugs that you have removed into the pump strainer basket, they will be easily found in the spring. Do not put the plugs back on the equipment. If the equipment should get water in it, the plugs will prevent proper drainage.
- If possible take the pump inside to protect it for the winter.
- If you have a chlorinator, you should have let the chemicals (chlorine tablets) run out of your feeder so that no chemicals are left in it. Leaving chemicals in your feeder over the winter can cause damage to it and other equipment. You will now be able to drain your chemical feeder.
- Cover your pool to keep out debris. Use a solid cover that keeps out all debris and sunlight. This will keep the pool totally clean and prevent most algae growth. We also highly recommend the use of air pillows. These hold the cover up like a dome so that water and debris fall off instead of collecting on the top.
These September days are still quite warm, but the evenings are getting cooler which means bad news for swimming pool owners–evaporation. Evaporation is bad news because it means the loss of chemicals and heat!
At Fox Pools and Spas, we have had great luck with a chemical product called Cover Free.Cover Free is an easy and affordable option for those who want to extend their swimming season by retaining the heat in their pool or for those who simply want to reduce their nightly evaporation.
Regardless of whether you want to swim any more this season or not, your nightly evaporation should be a concern because your chemicals are literally disappearing into thin air!
With the use of Cover Free, water evaporation will be reduced by up to 85% while heat loss will be reduced by up to 70%. In short, that means saving time and money by reducing the amount of water and chemicals you need to refill and re-balance your pool.
What makes Cover Free an even better product is how little you need to use for it to be effective. The recommended dosage is 4 oz. per 20,000 gallons so the average pool owner will get several weeks of use from one 32 oz. bottle.
Save time, save heat, and save money! Come by the store or call us at 824-1431 and ask us about Cover Free.
Here are a few factors to consider:
The average temperature is a key factor in determining if the time is right to close your pool. (Please note: In this case we are talking the atmospheric temperature–not the water temperature.) As you can see on the graphic below, during the month of September in Nashville, the average temperature is 71°.
In our experience, temperatures above 60° are still too warm to close the pool for the winter. The reason is simple: Warmer temperatures = faster consumption of chemicals. When you close the pool, you are going to balance the chemicals and add shock and algaecide for the last time in approximately 6 months. With an average temperature of 71°, those chemicals simply will not last and may lead to a difficult and costly opening next Spring.
Now take a look at the average temps for the month of October.
As you can see, the average temperature in Nashville in October is right at 60°. In our experience, this makes October the better month to close your pool.
Remember: You need to balance your water chemistry and add Winter closing chemicals before shutting it down for the year to ensure a smooth opening in the Spring.
Here at Fox Pools and Spas, we can help you with your closing whether you want to do it yourself or have us close it for you. When you’re ready to close, bring us a water sample for a free analysis, to purchase your closing chemicals, and to pick up your winter cover or other accessories. If you would rather have us close the pool for you, just give our Service Department a call at 824-1431 and we will be happy to get your closing scheduled.
Having a green pool can be a frustrating experience, however, by following these 6 simple steps your pool should be clear and blue in 5-7 days.
- Have your water professional tested at Fox Pools and Spas to balance your water’s pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. Improper pH and alkalinity levels will reduce the effectiveness of the chlorine shock used to clear the algae from your water.
- Increase the sanitizer level in your pool by putting as many chlorine sticks or tabs in your skimmer(s) as possible. If you use an automatic chlorinator, set the dial to high. For salt systems, turn your output dial to 100%.
- Remove any visible debris (leaves, sticks, etc.) from the top and bottom of the pool before you add your chemicals.
- Brush pool walls and bottom before and after adding your chemicals. Algae must be loose and unattached for chemicals to work properly. In addition, for vinyl liner pools, brushing after adding your shock treatment is important to prevent the shock from settling onto your liner causing fading.
- Once your pool reaches the “milky white” appearance (usually the next day), it is important to vacuum the dead algae from your pool and to backwash the filter daily to help the water in clearing.
- 48 hours after your treatment, bring in a water sample to Fox Pools and Spas for further balancing or assistance in clearing the water.
Maintaining sparkling blue water in your swimming pool doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, by focusing on the following 3 essential areas of pool maintenance, your pool should remain clean and clear all season long.
- Water Chemistry: Maintaining proper water balance is critical to avoiding frustrating and costly issues such as a green or cloudy pool. Fox Pools recommends you bring in a water sample for a free in-store water analysis at least once a month. In addition, testing your pool water weekly at home (with test strips or a reagent kit) will ensure that you are aware of and are treating potential problem areas before they get worse.
- Cleaning: Brushing and vacuuming the pool walls and bottom weekly will prevent the growth of algae. Remember to pay close attention to low circulation areas as these areas tend to develop algae growth first. It is also important to chemically clean your sand, D.E., or cartridge filter with Strip Kwik twice a year.
- Filtration: Filtered water removes insoluble particles that can cloud your pool water and compete with bacteria and algae for the sanitizer’s attention. Fox Pools recommends you run your filter for a minimum of 10-12 hours a day everyday. The more the water moves, the harder it is for problems to take hold.