18 February 2020
Why You Should Open your Pool Early
One of the main questions pool owners ask themselves at this time of year is when to re-open their outdoor pool after the mandatory winter hibernation period. Of course, you should ensure that your pool is being serviced at least every 6 weeks during this downtime, but when do you actually book in your opening service and what does that process look like? There are several schools of thought on the issue, but we believe that when it comes to opening your pool, preparation is key so the sooner, the better.
Here, we go through not only why you should prepare for your pool opening weeks in advance of when you want to use the pool, but how you should lay the foundation for a successful spring and summer swimming season.
Save the date & beat the Easter rush
Most people want to swim as soon as the weather is warm enough. Generally speaking, the most popular opening date is around the Easter school break, which this year starts on 6 April. With this in mind, book a date for the opening service well before April to get ahead of the queue. If you leave your booking until the last minute, your regular servicing company could have a long list of clients booked in ahead of you. This could result in your pool opening being scheduled much later than you would like.
We recommend getting a date in the diary with your regular servicing team for early March to guarantee your pool is serviced in time for the Easter break. The beauty of an early opening is that any unexpected problems that might extend the servicing timetable won’t delay you getting into the pool, because you’ve planned well ahead. Once the opening has been completed, do continue with a regular servicing programme to keep the pool in tip top condition.
Use your regular tried and trusted pool engineers
You must get everything in mint condition before the pool is used. The great thing is you won’t need to turn on the heating immediately as all that will achieve is an unnecessary energy bill; you wait until we have ‘swimming weather’, then turn the heating on a few days before you use the pool. If you have owned a pool for a while, you might be tempted to take care of the opening process yourself, but it’s a big job and using a good pool engineer who has in-depth knowledge of your pool, means no hassle for you and gives you peace of mind.
Expect the unexpected
Any unexpected problems can seriously delay your pool opening. Faulty boilers are a common complication, particularly during the winter months when the ‘big freeze’ can lead to older boilers failing. If you’ve left your opening to the last minute and discover that there is a problem and a difficult-to-source part needs to be ordered and installed, it can lead to lengthy delays. When your engineer comes for the pool opening inspection, they will check the boiler and order any necessary replacement parts right away. If you book your pool opening early, waiting for a vital component will not impact on when you can start swimming, as things are being done well in advance.
Prepare for multiple visits
A pool opening can be a delicate and time-consuming affair. If the water has fallen into a sorry state (discoloured, dirt/debris at the bottom and floating in the water) over the winter months, it can take several days or weeks to return it to healthy, crystal clear water. This is especially true if you did not opt for winter servicing.
Know the steps
Whilst it should always be the job of a qualified pool engineer to actually open a pool, it is important to understand what this process generally entails so you know what to expect.
Refilling: Even though the pool has been covered, it will have lost water over the winter through evaporation, so your engineer will use a hose to refill the pool back up to its optimal level before turning on the pump. The pumps will now be opened, and the filter system switched on.
Getting the water running: Your engineer will reactivate the water circulation system, reconnecting the pump, filter, heater and other equipment. This step also involves replacing any of the winter pool plugs that were installed during the pool winterisation process and replacing them with regular drain plugs.
Water treatment: After removal and storage of the winter debris pool cover, the pool water needs to be sanitised and the pool cleaned/vacuumed to remove all the debris (leaves, fine particles of dirt etc) that have drifted under the cover and into the pool over the winter. If the pool has not benefited from periodic servicing during the shutdown, there is every chance that the water will have become murky as a result of debris that has sunk to the bottom of the pool and the depletion of the winterisation chemicals.
If the correct chemical balance is not maintained (even when the pool is not in use), algae can build up and turn the water a murky colour. Depending on the intensity of the discolouration, restoring the water to a crystal-clear condition can take anywhere between several days and a couple of weeks. Horrible as the murky water looks, an experienced pool engineer knows exactly what to do to rectify the situation and get your pool operational as quickly as possible.
To get your pool back to health, the water will be chemically treated and left for as long as is necessary for the cehmicals to do their job. Your engineer will return later on to clear away the leaves and other debris and, on the final visit, will test the water. This is, perhaps, the most delicate part of the process, as a perfect chemical balance needs to be achieved. Once the chemical levels in the pool are ideal, you can, if you choose, programme the pump to come on for a minimum of 12 hours per day but do bear mind that the more the pump runs, the better the pool’s perform. The heating can remain off until a few days before you are ready to use the pool (avoiding unnecessary bills).
To ensure you are booked in for an early spring pool opening (eg early March), please contact our friendly servicing team on 020 8605 1255 or email us.
Photo: a pool that has gone murky due to neglect!