Open a Pool – Brushing, Skimming, and Vacuuming

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 38,272
    Pool Installation expert Jonathan Broga demonstrates brushing, skimming, and vacuuming your pool.

    Jonathan Broga: Hi! I am Jonathan Broga with Potomac Pool Service. Today, I am showing you how to open a pool for the summer season. Now that it's up and running, we're going to drop the skimmer baskets back into skimmers, charge the filter with DE. If you have got a sand or cartridge filter, that's irrelevant to you. Don't worry about that stuff. Once thats in, we're going to skim the surface and then set up the vacuum and vacuum these leaves out.

    When you are putting the skimmer baskets in, that's a good time to check and make sure that there is a functional weir inside your skimmer. A weir is the little door that goes back with the water. If you are missing that weir, your pool will not clean the surface itself very efficiently or effectively. So check and look for that door. Make sure that it can move freely. If it's binding or if it's altogether missing, have it installed or replaced.

    Now with the DE, your filter may be a different size than the filter on this pool. This one is 60 square feet. So we're going to use 6 scoops of DE. 6, approximately coffee-can size scoops. Read and understand your manufacturer's instructions for the manual DE you should put in your pool. Quick note, before you skim the pool, it's smartest to brush the tiles first, knock all the debris off the tiles onto the water surface, then skim. If you do it vice-versa, once you have skimmed, then knock it off, you will just have to do it all over again.

    The next step is to skim the pool. It might not seem like rocket science and it's not, but I have found over a couple of hundred hours of doing this, a consistent pattern, like you would mow the lawn, of out and back working towards the skimmer is more effective than just really move wherever you happen to see things. So make a consistent pattern. You dont need to get everything, your skimmers will get the rest. Now that we have skimmed the pool, we're going to set up the vacuum and vacuum out the debris. A common mistake homeowners make, when trying to vacuum, is not priming the hose, thereby introducing air into the system, or not isolating the skimmer that they are working from. So they don't get appropriate suction. To prime the hose simply attach it to the vacuum, put the vacuum in the water and hand feed the hose into the water. This fills it with water and purges the air, so that when you put it in the skimmer, you don't introduce air into the system.

    Now that we have got the vacuum hose in the back of the skimmer, I am going to go to the filter system and adjust the valves to maximize the suction on the skimmer which will help us vacuum up these leaves. There are very few leaves in this pool, so we'll be able to vacuum these to the hair and lint strainer, where the hair and lint strainer basket will catch the leaves. If you have inordinately heavy amount of leaves, be careful about sucking those up into your vacuum. They can clog pipes. If you have large clumps, use an in-line filter called a Leaf Can to catch these leaves before they go into your pipes.

    The same principles of consistency apply to vacuuming as they do to skimming. Try and avoid the temptation of going every which way to get this leaf or that. Take a consistent approach, like you are mowing a lawn out and back. You will find in the end that's the most efficient and effective way of covering the whole pool in the shortest amount of time.

    If your vacuum get stuck to the bottom of the pool, taking an angle on it may help, but if it's really stuck, don't keep yanking or you'll break your vacuum head. As you vacuum, you'll notice overtime that your vacuum has less suction. Thats because you are sucking the leaves up into the hair and lint strainer at the filter system. When you really don't feel like your vacuum is effective any more, go up to the system, turn it off, open the hair and lint strainer lid and remove the basket, dump out all the leaves, put it back. May be prime the hair and lint strainer again with some fresh water, put the lid on and start it back up and you'll have all your suction back again. You just repeat that cycle over and over, until you are bored, tired or the pool is clean.

    Now I am going to go ahead and put the ladder in. One thing to check when putting the ladders in for the season is the 9-16 bolts on the bottom of every tread. Make sure they are tight, so that these treads don't twist or fall off during the summer. Additionally, check these rubber bumpers and make sure that they are on both ends of your ladder. These open metal ends can be very sharp, if someone was to get their fingers caught underneath them or they can dig a hole in your pool and tear, kind of, make a ring overtime. So make sure you have got bumpers.

    So that's how you do an initial cleaning on your swimming pool. Next, we're going to take a look at doing an initial chemical treatment to get the water balanced.