Although the days here in the Phoenix area have been balmy for weeks, Solar-Breeze owners in other parts of the world may be just starting to think about their pool’s opening day! Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your pool ready for another season of fun.
Get your Solar-Breeze NX out of hibernation – Greet it as you would an old friend and let it know it’s time to get back to work! Let your Solar-Breeze NX sit in the sun for a day with the switch in the off position. You can also see if the solar panels could use a cleaning. Put fresh chlorine tablets in the dispenser. Now that it has a full electrical charge, your Solar-Breeze is ready to rock n’ roll.
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Remove the standing water from the pool cover – Using a submersible pump, pump the water off the top of your pool cover. If the water looks pretty clean and clear, it can be pumped under the cover to help bring the water level up to normal operating level. Try to avoid pumping any muck, debris and dirty water into the pool. The remainder can be pumped onto your garden or lawn to give it a drink. Don’t waste it down the sewer!
Remove the pool cover – This works best as a two-person job. If you start from one end pulling it to the other, you will be able to concentrate the dirt and debris for removal.
As you are removing the cover, the water from the pool cover water bags can be poured right into the pool. As the cover is being removed and these bags are emptied, be sure the cover doesn’t slip into the pool and dump dirty water and debris into the pool. If anything does slip in, launch your Solar-Breeze NX immediately to capture as much as possible before it sinks.
Clean the pool cover – It’s easier to clean the pool cover right away, before any dirt has a chance to dry and become hard. Once it’s clean and dry, fold it up and put it away.
Preliminary clean up – If you balanced your pool water chemistry before covering it at the end of last season, your pool should be reasonably clean and clear. If you don’t use a winter pool cover, hopefully the water is still clear. If not, you’ll need to shock the pool. You will also need to clear any debris from the bottom of the pool. Try to get as much as you can with the hand skimmer, because any large build-up of leaves, branches or twigs on the bottom can clog the vacuum hose and/or the return suction line.
Check the water level – If your water level is below normal, top off the pool either with a hose from your house or water supply service.
Reassemble the pump and filter components
- Before starting the pump, check to make sure all parts have been re-installed and all plugs removed.
- Remove plugs from the return lines and install the “eyeball (s)”.
- Remove skimmer expansion blocks/bottles and plug(s) from the bottom of skimmer. Replace diverter plate if installed and skimmer basket. If used, remove closed-cell foam rod from suction line to main drain.
- Install and/or tighten all drain plugs on pump and filter: – drain plug from impeller chamber, – drain plug from pump basket chamber, – main drain on the bottom of the filter medium housing, – top plug/bleeder valve at the top of filter medium housing/site bubble, – backwash site glass, – pressure gauge.
- If you have a pool heater, close the drain valve and reconnect any piping that may have been disconnected, removed or loosened during the winterizing process.
- If you use an automatic chlorinator, reconnect it and all hoses or lines.
NOTE: When re-installing certain threaded components such as the pressure gauge, a couple wraps of “Teflon” tape around the threads will help seal the connection. When re-installing certain components or covers that have “O” rings, gaskets or rubber washers, a gasket lubricant, available from you pool supply or plumbing store, will help seal the gaskets that have hardened up over the winter.
Get “pumped up” – Once the water level has been restored to its normal level, you are ready to start the pump.
- Make sure there is power to the pump. It may have been turned off at the electrical panel when the pool was shut down last fall.
- If not already done so, connect the backwash line/hose to your pump.
- Set the selector lever to “WASTE”. (Initially, this will be to discard any plumbers’ antifreeze that is in the pump and suction line.)
- Install the pump basket.
- Pour a gallon of water into the pump to prime and close/secure the pump lid.
- Turn the pump on. After a moment or two, a prime should be established and water will be pumped through the waste line. Take note of any leaks.
- After approx. 30 seconds, turn the pump off. Tighten any joints where there were leaks. Do not over tighten as most parts are plastic and probably a little brittle from being cold. Some minor leaking is normal and will stop once the gaskets set themselves.
- Set the pump selector lever to “FILTER” and turn the pump back on. You are now in the normal operating mode as the water will now be going through the filter medium and returning to the pool. If you had to shock the pool, let it circulate for 24-48 hrs. before taking a sample of water to you pool supply store for testing.
Vacuum the pool – You can start vacuuming the pool anytime. If there is a lot of dirt and debris on the bottom of the pool, try vacuuming with the pump selection lever set on “WASTE”; otherwise it will clog the filter medium quickly. You will have to continue to top up the pool as the water is vacuumed out, but you’ll have to do it anyway as you backwash. If you work efficiently, it should only take about 5 minutes of vacuuming to remove that initial heavy amount of dirt. After the initial cleaning, set the selection lever back to “FILTER” and install the automatic vacuum cleaner. Check the pump basket regularly to ensure it does not become clogged with leaves and other debris, and “backwash” as necessary.
Get your pool heater checked – Most gas or oil heaters should be serviced annually by a qualified service technician before firing up. In some areas, it is required by law.
Accessorize! – Reinstall any pool/deck accessories (i.e. ladders, solar blanket, deck chairs) that were stored at the end of last season. Place a new order for tiny drink umbrellas. Re-inflate your beach ball and alligator raft. Launch your fully charged Solar-Breeze NX and let it fulfill its life’s purpose – keeping new debris from reaching the bottom and your pool sparkling clean!
Now, sit back and enjoy your summer.