How to Open your Pool in the Spring
Opening your pool before summer officially kicks off can be a great way to get pumped and ready for those relaxing poolside days. It’s definitely recommended that you open your pool around the spring time as the weather is warm enough for you to enjoy your pool before official swimming season begins. However, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that your pool is pristine and ready for your get-togethers and pool parties involving cannon balls, delicious grilled food, and refreshing drinks. Here are some easy tips on how to open your pool in the spring:
Pool Cover Clean-Up and Storage
Your pool cover has protected your pool water from debris all winter; the last thing you want to do is dump a season’s worth of accumulated debris and dirty water into your pool! Whether you use a traditional tarp-style winter cover or a spring-loaded safety cover, you’ll need to make sure the top of the cover is at least somewhat clean to help prevent contamination during removal.
If it’s a mesh cover that snowmelt and rainwater have been draining through, just remove as much dirt, leaves and other debris as you can. This can be done with a soft broom or leaf net. With a solid cover, you’ll also need to remove the murky water that has accumulated on the surface of your cover. If you don’t already have an automatic cover pump or some type of submersible pump to drain this water, now is the time to get one.
Once the worst of the debris is off the cover or pushed away from the edges, and after the extra water has been removed, it’s time to remove the cover. This step is easiest if you have a second person to help you. Standing on opposite sides of the pool, fold the cover accordion style from one end to the other. Removing the cover in this way will make it easier to handle and reduce the amount of surface debris that falls into the cover.
After the cover is off the pool, thoroughly clean it, leave it flat to dry, then carefully fold it for summer storage. Water weights used for winter covers will also need to be drained and dried for storage. If you notice small rips or tears in the cover, go ahead and make the necessary repairs with a cover patch kit. If the cover is badly damaged or worn beyond repair, make plans to purchase a new one.
Get Your Water Levels to the Appropriate Amount
This is an easy one. Just take a good look at your pool and if you notice that the water is low, just grab your garden hose and start filling! A good indicator of when to stop filling your pool is this: look at your wall skimmer. If the water is halfway to the skimmer, that’s a good place to stop. Simple, right?
Did You Winterize Your Pool? If So, Read the Following. If Not, Go Ahead and Skip this Section!
If your geographic location means that your pool is susceptible to freezing because of extremely low temperatures, then we’re going to assume that you took all the necessary precautions to winterize your pool. That is, you will need to reconnect all your equipment, including the filter, pump, and heater. In addition, remove all the winterizing plugs you have placed and reinstall each normal drain plug back to your pool.
Start Up Your Pump and Filter
Now this is where you turn on the pool pump and filter to make sure that the system starts up correctly. In addition, be on the lookout for any leaks and drips that you’ll need to take care of so that your pool is being maintained properly. We recommend keeping a Go-Kit on hand for quick replacement of the most commonly needed pool equipment parts. If you do happen to find any leaks or drips, turn off your system and get to fixing. If there are no leaks or drips present, continue to let your pump run all day and night.
Uh Oh! Moment: If you notice that your pump isn’t pulling any water, don’t panic! This might be a sign that your pump needs a bit of priming. How do I prime a pump? All you have to do is shut off your filter system, remove the pump lid and the housing with water—just use your garden hose or a bucket of water from your pool. Replace the lid and turn your filter back on. This should help get your pump to pull in the water into the skimmers and main drains. Ta-da! Easy peasy.
Vacuum and Clean Up Your Pool
Your pool will probably have a lot of debris and leaves floating around since it will have been a while you’ve used your pool. Take this opportunity to scoop, vacuum, or manually remove all of the unwanted particles floating around your pool. Make sure to thoroughly brush all pool surfaces to knock off clinging algae spores and other buildup. Keep in mind, your water level might drop while you’re cleaning out the debris in the pool. If this occurs, grab your garden hose and fill up your pool to the appropriate level. For easy and hands-free cleaning, we highly recommend using an automatic pool cleaner. IMPORTANT: Do not use an automatic pool cleaner until you’ve finished opening the pool! Doing so can prolong the pool cleaning and opening process. A manual vacuum on a telescoping pole (pictured) is best for this step.
Test and Balance Water
Once your pool is up and running, it’s time for you to do some water testing! Unbalanced water can affect sanitizer performance and overall pool health, so using water balancing chemicals is an important part of the pool opening process. It’s not uncommon for pH and total alkalinity to change during the off-season, and this is the first thing that should be addressed. You can either do this yourself with a Water Testing Kit or you can go to your local pool supply store to have your water tested onsite (usually for free). It’s important to have the following information handy when determining the correct levels your pool should have:
- Chlorine at 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
- pH between 7.2 and 7.6
- Alkalinity between 80-120 ppm
- Calcium hardness between 150-225 ppm
Now, we understand that every pool is different, so use this information as more of a guiding tool and always make sure your levels are aligned to your specific pool needs.
Chemical Adjustment (Chlorine, pH Balance, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness)
More than likely you’ll need to adjust the levels for a few of the pool chemicals in your pool. Our best way to guide you in this situation is that you follow the recommended dosages that each chemical manufacturer advises you to use. One of the easiest ways to re-open a pool is to use a pre-packaged Start-Up Kit, which inclues everything needed to get your pool back on track. Most kits include chlorine shock, a stain and/or metal remover, clarifier and algaecide. Some kits also offer extras like test strips, oil-absorbing sponges, phosphate removers and more. Each kit is packaged according to pool size, which helps cut out down the guesswork on chemical dosage. You can always use these chemicals individually without purchasing a kit. However, the price of a kit is significantly less than what it would cost to buy each chemical individually.
We also recommend that you add all of the suggested chemicals in small amounts while the filter is running. Take your time to do this. Don’t just dump all the chemicals at once. This can cause an uneven distribution and dilution of chemicals, which would end up costing you more money to fix than you planned.
Dive Right In!
Okay, don’t really dive in immediately after you place chemicals into your pool. Let your filter system and the chemicals do its job properly. This usually takes about a week before your pool is ready for use. Always be sure to consistently maintain your pool in order to have it running great all season. If you followed all the necessary precautions when it comes to opening your pool, then by all means DIVE right in! PoolSupplyWorld carries the largest selection of pool opening chemicals, maintenance products, replacement parts and more to help pool owner have a hassle-free and successful pool opening this spring! Find everything you need HERE!