Spring is just around the corner. The sun is beginning to shine more often and the temperature is gradually rising. Which means it’s time to open your pool.
You want your family and guests to splash around as soon as possible, which is why we have created this step-by-step guide on how to open your pool. Don’t worry, the process we walk you through will work for both inground pools and above ground pools.
11 Steps For Opening Your Pool
Before we “dive” right into how to open your pool, here are a few safety reminders. Be sure to watch your step as surfaces will be slippery. Protect your skin and eyes from some of the pool chemicals. Replace parts that appear worn down and broken to avoid poor maintenance of the pool.
You’ll be happy once you have taken the appropriate steps to make sure your pool is safe and clean.
So let’s get started!
Start Lightly Cleaning Winter Pool Cover
Over the winter your pool cover collected debris and grime. The best way to clean a pool cover is to begin sweeping the debris off the cover with a soft broom. You’ll want to pump out the standing water that remains on the pool cover with a pool cover pump.
A pool cover pump is a great investment, especially if you do not want to have to hire pool maintenance every pool season to remove your pool cover. When the pool is not in use the pool cover is collecting rainwater, dirt, and debris. It’s a good idea to use a pool pump cover when the pool cover is in use so that the rainwater doesn’t buckle the cover and damage it.
Pool cover pumps come compact and with a variety of benefits. Some pool pump covers have to be turned on and off manually and are usually cheaper. The higher quality more efficient ones are electronic and have automatic sensors. For example, there is a pool cover pump that will automatically pump the water out with the standing water reaches a certain level. These pumps will also detect temperature so as not to damage the pump in freezing temperatures.
Piece of advice: make sure you know what your pool cover pump is capable of. Some can suck out debris and others will have a difficult time. This is why we recommended using a soft broom to sweep off debris first.
Pull Off Pool Cover
If you notice that your pool cover is destroyed, now would be the time to replace it. If this is the case then you can skip cleaning the pool cover.
Pro Tip: Fold up the cover like an accordion as you remove the pool cover. Have a helper stand on the opposite side of the pool as you both fold lengthwise all the way over to the side of the pool. This will help the remaining debris and a small amount of water from seeping into the pool. Although keep in mind a little debris won’t hurt the pool since you will be cleaning and shocking it later.
Deep Cleaning Winter Pool Cover For Storage
You’ll want to spread out the pool cover flat in a sunny place. Take the soft-broom and gently scrub it with pool cover cleaner so as not to ruin the cover. Let dry fully before storing a pool cover.
Skimmer Winterizing Plugs Removal
When winterizing your pool, you installed winter plugs. Take the winter plugs out and reinstall the regular drain plugs. Most likely you used a gizzmo to compensate for ice, you’ll remove them as well as winter plugs from the skimmer and return lines.
We highly recommend using the handy gizzmo tool for your pool. The gizzmo will prevent water from getting into skimmer plumbing and freezing and damaging the skimmer. Gizzmos come in a variety of sizes and colors. The smaller gizzmo’s are meant for above ground pools, while the larger is meant for inground pools with deep skimmers.
Removing the gizzmo is easy. Simply remove the skimmer cover first. Then you will have access to the gizzmo. There is typically some sort of handle on the gizzmo that you will grab to turn the piece a few times counterclockwise. This should release the gizzmo and it will pop up.
If you want to learn more information on how to winterize your pool, we walk you through the process step-by-step in the “How To Winterize A Pool” blog post.
Make sure to wait to remove the wintering plugs from the return lines and skimmer until the antifreeze has fully drained.
Reinstall Pool Equipment
Make sure to reconnect all the pool equipment that you took off when were winterizing your pool. For example, ladders, diving boards or step rails. This is also time to reinstall your filter, pump, and heater.
Again, if you notice damage or extreme wear and tear, it may be time to replace some of these items. The most common replacement is pool filters. Here are a few filter options for your pool if the pool filter needs replacing.
Cartridge filters – This is the most recommended pool filter due to its easy cleaning methods. When the filter gets dirty you simply take the cartridge out and hose it down and/or replace it. A cartridge pool filter will filter up to 10-20 micron particles.
Sand pool filters – This pool filter is still popular, however, it requires backwashing every few weeks. This will flush remaining dirt and mix the sand. Backwashing when it’s unnecessary will cause the sand filter to not be able to filter finer particles. A sand pool filter will filter particles ranging 20-40 microns
Diatomaceous earth filters (D.E.) – D.E. pool filters are considered the best at filtering particles. This pool filter can sift out particles measuring at 3 microns. Additionally, D.E. filters are made with microscopic pores.
Over the winter it is likely the water level decreased. You are going to want to fill this back up with a garden hose. A hose filter will help filter out minerals that can seep into your pool. The level you should look for is in the middle of where the skimmer opens.
Starting The Filtration And Pool Circulation System
You’ll want to prime the pump before you turn it on. Begin turning on the circulation and filtration system. For filters with an air relief valve, you may need to open the valve to bleed air.
Several pool owners wonder about what a pool circulation system is especially if they are regularly cleaning their pool. However, the pool circulation system has multiple valuable parts; the filter, pump, skimmer, returns and drains. Neglecting these parts results in an unhealthy looking pool.
You can tell that your circulation system and filtration system is working be monitoring the pressure gauge. If the pressure is lower than you would normally see, that means there is something blocking the pressure before the filter. In this case, check your pump baskets or skimmer. When the pressure is higher than normal, check the side valves and whether the filter is dirty. It might be a good idea to mark your pressure gauge for the two levels.
Prevent Staining and Calcium Build Up in Pool
Between filling the water level back up and winterizing your pool, it is likely that metals have built up. Metal is what causes stains, discoloration and build up in your pool. You’ll want to add a metal sequestrant, typically 1 litter for 20,000 gallons of water. Remember to always check your metal sequestrant as some have various concentrations and may require different measurements.
Then allow the circulation and filtration to run for a few hours before you test your pool chemistry.
Balancing Your Pool Water
You can test the pool’s chemistry yourself using a testing kit or strips.
Or you can take a pool water sample into a pool supply store that will give you an accurate baseline to utilize the rest of the season.
The test will measure the total alkalinity, ph and chlorine levels. Below are the ideal chemical levels:
Total alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
pH: 7.4 to 7.6
Chlorine: 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
If you need adjusting you’ll want to start with alkalinity, pH and then calcium hardness.
Vacuuming and Brushing The Pool
There will be remaining debris and sediment from winter. You’ll want to manually brush and vacuum the pool. This will help loosen the sediment and you’ll see it will help with pool shocking.
You’ll first want to vacuum the pool. Blow the air out of the vacuum hose by applying a return hose to it. The vacuum hose will begin to sink. Then attach the vacuum hose to a skimmer pole.
Now you’ll start brushing the pool. Don’t forget to brush the walls, floor towards the main drain. You’ll notice that the pool water becomes cloudy. Don’t worry, this is the particles that once settled getting kicked back up. Since they get kicked up, the skimmer and drain will collect the particles.
Adding Shock To Pool Water
There will still be contaminants, bacteria and algae spores in your pool, which requires you to shock the pool. Your pool may look foggy and green until you shock the pool.
Because this step requires using harsh chemicals, be sure to use protective gear like chemical resistant gloves and goggles. Injuries from pool chemicals occur to thousands of individuals each year, so please use with safety in mind. The Center For Disease Control has great information on how to properly handle and manage pool chemicals.
In order to shock the pool, you will need chlorine shock or pool shock. Thoroughly read the labels instructions for measurements.
It is suggested to run your filtration system for another 24 hours to circulate the pool shock and rid the pool of the bacteria.
If after you shock your pool and it still looks green, you can find out more information by reading our other blog post “How To Clean A Green Pool Fast.” However, a green pool usually means algae build up and requires treatment before anyone can take a swim
Now You Know How To Get Your Pool Ready For The Summer
Make sure to test your pool chemistry one last time before the swimmers take a dive. Also, be sure to maintain your pool regularly throughout the season. If you need some extra tips on how to maintain your pool throughout the season we recommend reading “Pool Maintenance 101.”
Finally, the hard work has paid off and it’s time to take a swim in your sparkling clean pool.