Opening Your Pool

opening your pool

As the days get a little warmer and a little longer, it easy for our thoughts to turn to shedding those extra layers, and spending long afternoons lounging poolside. Opening your pool for the summer season, however, requires more effort than just filling it up and jumping in. In business in Arizona for more than 25 years, Platinum Pools and Spas knows the importance of opening your pool for the season correctly. If a pool is properly opened, you can be assured proper operation and chemistry levels.

Get your summer season off to the right start in six easy steps.

Step 1: Check Supplies

While many swimming pool chemicals stay good for years if stored correctly, some pool-maintenance supplies like test strips and reagents expire more quickly, depending on the brand. Old supplies can give inaccurate results. If your supplies are expired, it may be better to discard them and replace them with new when you reopen your pool.

Step 2: Remove Leaves and Debris

Before removing the cover, remove leaves, dirt and general debris from the pool cover and surrounding deck or patio. For maximum cleanliness, with minimal effort, we recommend using a leaf blower. Any standing water should be removed as well. This will prevent dirt and debris from working its way into the pool.

Step 3: Uncover the Pool

Once you remove the cover, you will want to take the time to properly clean, fold and store it. Spending a few minutes now will save you money on the cost of a new cover. If you have the space, spread out the cover, spraying it off with the highest pressure your hose allows. Let dry. Then fold and store. The cooler the storage, the better.

Step 3: Check the Water Level

If you have an automatic water leveler, you can skip this step. For the pump to function properly, the water needs to be in the middle of the skimmer opening or halfway up the waterline tile. Add water accordingly. While waiting for the pool to fill, check and test all equipment including handrails, diving boards and slides for loose bolts.

Step 4: Check the Water Chemistry

It is important to test the water early. After a mandatory 24-hour run time, check the water’s pH level, total alkalinity, hardness of water due to calcium, and so forth. You can do this using test strips or take a sample of your pool water to your nearest pool supply store. Safe and proper levels should be:

  • Total Alkalinity – 80 to 120 ppm
  • pH Level – 7.4 to 7.6
  • Free Available Chlorine – 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness – 200 to 400 ppm
  • Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) – 30 to 50 ppm

*PPM – part per million

Step 5: Brush and Vacuum the Pool

Thoroughly brushing your pool’s walls is one of the most effective ways to keep your pool clean. Vacuum weekly to keep the water squeaky clean, increase the efficiency of the pool’s circulation system, and reduce the amount of chemicals you’ll need to add to it. Cleaning out strainer baskets at least once a week also helps to keep the pool clean.

Step 6: Clean Outdoor Furniture

Whether it looks like it needs it or not, you should make a point of cleaning your outdoor patio furniture regularly to prevent it from becoming weathered and faded by the elements, therefore making it last longer. Just fill up a bucket, get a sponge, and go to work. Let dry. Replace any furnishings that are unstable, torn or rotted.

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy!

Arizona Pool Owners Legal Responsibility.

Each year, too many children in Arizona are victims of drowning or near-drowning. Arizona legislature has passed laws in order to help protect children from gaining unsupervised access to residential pools. Here are a few of the requirements as posted by the ADHS Office of Environmental Health:

Pool Enclosure Requirements

At a residence with a swimming pool where one or more children under six years of age live in the residence:

A.R.S. § 36-1681 requires that a swimming pool be protected by an enclosure (wall, fence, or barrier) that surrounds the pool area. Unless a local code provides otherwise, the enclosure of a belowground or aboveground pool must:

  • Entirely enclose the pool area;
  • Be at least 5 feet high;
  • Have no openings other then doors or gates, through which an object 4 inches in diameter can pass;
  • Have no openings, handholds, or footholds accessible from the exterior side that can be used to climb the barrier; and
  • Be at least 20 inches from the water’s edge.

If, however, a residence or living area makes up part of the enclosure required by A.R.S. § 36-1681(B), there must be:

  • A wall, fence, or barrier located between the swimming pool or other contained body of water and the residence or living area that:
    • Has a height of at least four feet;
    • Has no openings through which a spherical object four inches in diameter can pass;
    • Has a gate that opens outward from the pool and is self-closing and self-latching;
    • Has no openings, handholds, or footholds accessible from the exterior side of the enclosure that can be used to climb the wall, fence, or barrier; and
    • Is at a distance of at least twenty inches from the water’s edge;
  • A motorized safety pool cover that requires a key switch and meets the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards in F1346-91 (www.astm.org);
  • For each door or window in the residence or living area that has direct access to the pool:
    • A self-latching device that is located not less then fifty-four inches above the floor; and
    • Either a screwed in wire mesh screen covering a dwelling or guest room window or a keyed lock that prevents a dwelling or guest room window from opening more then four inches; or
  • For an aboveground swimming pool, non-climbable exterior sides which are a minimum height of four feet and access ladders or steps that are removable and able to be secured when the pool is not in use.

Gate Requirements

According to A.R.S. § 36-1681(B)(3), any gate in either the five-foot-tall wall, fence, or barrier enclosing a pool or the four-foot-tall wall, fence, or barrier between the residence or other living area and a pool must:

  • Open outward from the pool
  • Be self-closing and self-latching; and
  • Have a latch:
    • Located at least fifty-four inches above the underlying ground;
    • Located on the pool side of the gate with the latch’s release mechanism located at least five inches below the top of the gate and no opening greater than one-half inch with twenty-four inches of the release mechanism; or
    • Located at any height if secured by a padlock or similar device which requires a key, electric opening, or integral combination.

Platinum Pools encourages all pool owners to remain vigilant and NEVER allow children under 6 y/o unsupervised access to swimming pools. We can also help you create a safe environment around your pool. If you have any questions, please call us (480) 888-9200 – East Valley or (623) 847-9200 – West Valley.

Please note the information provided is not legal advice. To read the full documentation on the law please visit http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/36/01681.htm&Title=36&DocType=ARS.