By Anessa V. Cohen
Now that Pesach is over, depending on what you did over yom tov either you are getting your house back in order, putting away all the Pesach dishes, and cleaning up from all the wonderful company you enjoyed (I hope) over this eight-day week, or for those of you who flew or drove to parts known and unknown for a Pesach vacation, you are unpacking suitcases and putting all those vacation clothes away until your next trip.
Well, here we are at the end of April, and it is now time to prepare for the nice weather we hope is coming our way, and get ourselves ready for lots of soon-to-be-outdoor enjoyment.
Right after Pesach is when many people who are pool owners start to think about what steps are necessary for them to get their pools open and ready for the coming swimming season.
Getting the swimming pool ready after the winter is not simply a job of taking the cover off! A lot of preparation is needed at the beginning of each pool season to determine what type of maintenance is necessary to make sure the pool will be working properly. This includes what the pool professionals call “starting up the pool.”
Even if a pool is in top shape, starting up the pool can mean first removing all the leaves and debris that have accumulated on the cover over the winter, then removing the winter cover, checking for any holes that might have been caused by the weather during the winter, and washing the cover and drying it thoroughly before folding it up and packing it away till the end of the swimming season.
Although some homeowners might want to try doing this themselves to save some money, this is not a job for those who are not used to what I call “hard labor.” When pool professionals do this job, they typically bring two or three guys along, since it takes a lot of physical exertion–probably as much as digging trenches. (I get tired watching them do this job even when I am just glancing from my window.)
After the cover is washed and put away, the next job is to clean the surrounding area of all the dirt and debris that resulted from removing the cover, and if some of that stuff has fallen into the pool, you have to clean that out as well.
Once you are at this point, your next job is to walk carefully around the pool and check for any possible cracks or tile repairs that might be needed prior to raising the water levels (which were lowered when the pool was winterized so no pipes would freeze). If you have any repairs that need to be taken care of, those must be done immediately before proceeding any further with raising the water or reattaching the pool pump.
If you do need some repairs due to cracks or tile breakage, I recommend that you call in someone who specializes in pool masonry. Pool masonry on the interior of the pool, including tile adhesion, is not done with cement or mortar. Even those we call cement in-ground swimming pools, where the guts of the pool have been molded by cement, have a finish that is actually made up of a special mixture of marble dust, which is used specifically for in-ground pools. This marble-dust mixture is also used to adhere the tiles around the perimeter of the pool and is much stronger than regular cement.
Now that your pool has been repaired, you are ready for your pool equipment to be installed and the pool to be prepped to go. First, though, you must turn the hose on and bring the water levels back up above your skimmer lines. Once those levels have been reached, you can get to the mechanical part of starting up your pool. Usually this includes reattaching the pool pump parts that have been removed and stored for the winter, as well as reattaching any ladders, unplugging the intake and outtake skimmer lines, and starting up the pump so the water being pumped in and out of the pool can now move smoothly. I guess this is why the pool guys call this a “startup.”
At this point you are almost set; just one more thing needs to be done. It is time to put your chemist’s hat on because you must balance the pool water so it will be safe for swimming. You must check that the chlorine levels are correct and add more chlorine as needed. The pH levels also have to be checked so they are not too low or too high.
Checking the chemicals of your pool to see that the water is balanced properly all summer long is a must. You should be checking the levels at least once a week all summer to make sure the water is balanced and safe for swimming.
If you decide you like the satisfaction of doing this yourself in order to keep on top of it all, and you enjoy getting this done while enjoying the outdoors–all the more power to you. For those who opt for a professional pool person to take care of all of this, it is still good to know what goes into preparing your pool for the swimming season. Summer will be here soon with nice weather for all of us to enjoy! v
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa.cohen@AVCrealty.com.