Getting Your Pool in Shape – and Safe – for Summer

With g02E77279raduation parties, cookouts and other fun summer activities just around the corner, it’s time to get swimming pools in shape for the season. Before you dive in, take some time to check out your pool systems and inspect the physical environment for any dangers.

Check Pool Systems

As you open up your pool for the season, you’ll want to make sure that all systems are functioning optimally and that water is sanitized and sparkling. Start by conducting an analysis of your pool’s water chemistry. Elevated levels of any of the following will negatively impact water quality and clarity, and they can lead to minerals building up on interior pool surfaces.
  • Calcium hardness
  • Phosphates
  • Cyanuric acid
  • PH
  • Alkalinity
  • Salt
Plan on draining and thoroughly cleaning your pool approximately every two to three years. Based on the water analysis, you can determine whether it’s time for a full cleaning. Next, check all pool equipment for any signs of cracks, leaks or odd noises. Clean your pump baskets and be sure they’re free of damage, and replace O-rings annually. Your filter also will need a full cleaning, and it should be replaced if it shows signs of damage. In addition, trim any plants or tree branches that have overgrown and are dipping into your pool. Plants touching the water cause the growth of algae, which can throw off your water chemistry.

Inspect the Physical Environment

For maximum safety, check inside and outside the pool for any possible hazards, including cracked or missing tiles, missing or malfunctioning drain covers, leaks, and stability of slides, railings and other pool fixtures. In addition, take a look at any furnishings and equipment around your pool, including grills, audio systems, outdoor lighting and fire pits; repair or replace anything that’s broken or that could pose a danger. Drain covers are a particular safety concern for children, who can become entangled and trapped. In-ground hot tubs and other pools with either a single, main drain system or flat drain gates pose the biggest risks for children. To make your pool as safe as possible, consider installing equipment like anti-entrapment drain covers and safety releases that automatically shut down your pump and cut suction if an entrapment situation occurs. Fencing around your pool also requires attention; confirm that all connections are firmly secured and that gates close correctly. Remove any objects that could allow a child to climb the fence or to reach and unlatch a gate.

Make Pool Safety a Priority

The American Red Cross reports that more than 200 young children drown each year in backyard swimming pools. It’s critical that children who use your pool understand the dangers and that young children are supervised at all times. To further minimize danger:
  • Perform regular safety checks of all pool systems and equipment.
  • Regularly inspect the physical environment in and around your pool.
  • Make sure fencing is in good condition and meets requirements for your area
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