Pool startup is a very important process that can lasts anywhere from 4 days to a week. It’s a required process for all newly plastered (or re-plastered) swimming pools and spas.
Even though your pool or spa has water, there are still lot’s of things that need to occur before you can dive in for a swim. The very first thing that needs to be done is clearing out calcium carbonate. As the plaster in your pool cures, calcium carbonate (plaster dust) begins to accumulate on the surface. This needs to be properly brushed or vacuumed out.
The second thing we do is test the water chemistry of the pool. The term “pool startup” refers to this initial water treatment. We describe in depth what the process entails and why it’s performed.
In the initial water treatment we test for three things:
- The pool water’s pH level
- The pool water’s alkalinity levels
- Calcium hardness
There are a couple of reasons we test your pool water. The first has to do with hardening. The plaster in your pool hardens (cures) through a chemical reaction. If one of the levels listed above is out of balance, your pool’s surface will be unable to cure properly. It will not be able to reach its optimal hardness, so adding the right chemical during the start up process is key.
Another reason we test your water in the initial water treatment has to do with your water source. The water makeup in each municipality can differ and we need to know what we’re working with so we can make the proper adjustments. These water tests are conducted each time we stop by as part of our weekly chemical service. So how do we test? Read on to find out.
The acceptable pH level of pool water is 7.4 – 7.6.
Our Process For Pool Startup
1. Before first filling a pool or adding substantial amounts of fresh water to the pool, we either test the water using a good quality test kit or have it tested for pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and stain producing metals. This tells us what type of treatment will likely be required once the pool is full and allow treatment measures to be taken that will prevent problems from the water source.
2. In cases where the pool is being reopened and was covered all winter, we remove the cover carefully so as to avoid having any leaves or other debris fall into the pool. We sweep up and remove as much material as possible that may have accumulated in the pool during the off-season.
3. In cases where the pool is being completely filled, we are certain to add a good sequestering agent as soon as the filling process begins. If the pool is already full, we add the sequestering agent before any other steps are followed. This will tie up and inactivate any stain producing metals that may be in the fill or pool water. This is done even if the water analysis did not show the presence of these metals in the water sample.
4. We then add a clarifier to the water. The clarifier will help the filter to remove the very tiny particles that entered the pool in the filling process or that may remain following construction and installation.
5. We start the pump and filtration equipment and allow the water to circulate for 24 hours, if practical. This will assure that the sequestering agent and clarifier have been completely mixed in the water thus avoiding stain formation, cloudy or colored water. This is also a good time for us to vacuum up any remaining debris that may have fallen into the pool during the winter or in opening.
6. Pool Keepers will shock treat the pool using a quality non-chlorine shock. The shock treatment will destroy organic wastes in the water and keep them from interfering with the sanitizer or acting as a food source for algae. It will also help give the water “polished” look.
7. Again we test the water and adjust if needed to balance the water. pH should be in the range of 7.2-7.8, total alkalinity of 80-120 ppm and calcium hardness between 100 and 400 ppm.
8. We begin to add sanitizer to the water following the manufacturer guidelines.
9. If using chlorine in an outdoor pool, we add stabilizer (cyanuric acid) to help the chlorine last longer and work more economically.
10. We add an EPA registered algaecide. The algaecide will prevent any algae in the pool from growing even if the sanitizer used were to fail. The regular use of an algaecide will keep the pool looking clean and bright and help the sanitizer to work more efficiently.
11. We test the sanitizer residual and maintain at the recommended level.
12. The pool is now ready for use.