Check out the cover

Winter is finally ending, and summer is on its way. If your home features a pool, now is the time to complete any maintenance that needs to be done before warm weather hits. Pools can be a fun addition to any house, but they require a sizable amount of handiwork to remain in top shape. Winter can be particularly hard on a pool, so take time this spring to get everything in working order. A bit of effort now will ensure maximum poolside enjoyment once the weather gets even warmer. Here are some tips to prep your pool:

Remove obvious debris

A long winter will coat your pool cover with grime and a fair amount of standing water. Before you do anything else, drain and clean the pool cover. This is a critical part of pool maintenance that often gets overlooked. If you maintain your cover correctly, you will limit the amount of work you have to do on the pool each year.

Generally, it's best to get help when removing a pool cover. The job can be difficult for one person, and you risk damaging the cover, which could necessitate expensive replacement or repairs. Ensure that you dry the cover completely before storing it for the season. Any moisture in the folds of the cover can lead to mold once you stash the cover in a dark place for safekeeping. 

Set the water level

If you use a mesh cover, there will be a fair amount of junk in your pool when you first open it up. This will include scraps of yard waste that made their way into the pool, and algae, which grew while the pool was covered. Generally, these elements sink to the bottom of the pool over time, so you'll want to pull them out of the water using a service pump, according to Pool and Spa News. This may be a job for a professional who has the necessary equipment on hand. 

It's best to start the pool opening process as early as possible in the season. If you leave the pool covered as the weather warms, it encourages more algae growth and makes the cleaning process more difficult when you finally choose to tackle it. 

Inspect everything

Your pool may have gained or lost water during the winter. Check the water level. If it is too low, use a hose to fill it to the appropriate point. If the pool is too full, use a sump pump to remove the excess water. 

You should also take the opportunity to test your pool water's chemistry at this time. Make the appropriate adjustments so it is neither too acidic or basic. Switch on all filtration systems and ensure they are functioning correctly. This will help you catch potential issues early. 

During this process, keep an eye out for cracks or any other indications of potential leaks. Repair any issues with the concrete surrounding the pool area and take special care to evaluate your pool's safety precautions. Different jurisdictions have specific laws regarding pool safety, and these may change from year to year. You'll want to make sure your pool complies with the latest regulations to avoid issues with future home inspections and ensure safety.

As a general rule, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended a  with locking gates. Once you've updated your pool's safety measures and cleaned every part of the area, you just need to pull the poolside furniture out of storage to be ready for summer.