When temperatures start to rise and the beautiful sun begins to shine, a dip in your pool feels lovely. But wait! You had your pool closed throughout winter. Before you dive in, you will need to do some work to get the pool ready for the fun season.
The good news is, you don’t need to stress over it. It’s the reason why we’ve put together this guide to help you understand how to open a pool after winter. So, let’s get to it!
If you own an inground pool, this is an important feature to have. It comes in handy during winter because you can use one to cover your swimming pool during the off-season months. In addition, they help keep the swimming pool ready for spring and winter by preventing dirt and grime from getting into your inground pool.
Removing the cover is a straightforward activity. However, before starting, you need to ensure you have the appropriate tools. Below is a quick rundown.
- A soft-bristled pool broom
- Pool brush
- A leaf blower
- A pool rake
- A pool cover pump
- A garden hose
- Some soap
- A soft cloth
Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to open your pool.
Step 1: Clear Debris and Dirt Materials off the Pool Cover
Start by sweeping all debris like dirt, grime, and leaves, off the pool cover. You’ll need to use a soft-bristled push broom because the last thing you want is to damage the cover. Debris can be pushed to the pool’s edges without scratching the cover when using a push broom.
You can also use a pool brush instead of a push broom, though it doesn’t make much difference. So, feel free to use whatever gets the job done without damaging the cover.
In addition, a leaf blower comes to the rescue when you have stubborn debris stuck on the pool cover. However, it’s important to note that this tool works best when the cover is dry. It may not work well when the cover is still wet.
If the pool cover is already soaked in water, what should you do? The pool rake can help. Please don’t confuse a pool rake with the usual garden rake. This one is more like a scooping net, and it’s used to collect leaves and debris on pool covers.
Step 2: Clear Water on the Pool Cover
After removing all debris on the cover, you want to use a pool cover pump to drain all water on it. First, identify where there’s a lot of water on the cover, then place the cover pump in that area. The center is also a good place for great results.
In addition, the center is more likely to soak in pool water or accumulate rainwater because of the gravitational pull. As debris piles on the cover, more will settle in the center, adding more weight to that area. The best way to rid this water is by using a cover pump.
But, what if you can’t get it to the center? Quickly grab your push broom and use it to push the pump to the center of the cover until it’s in position. Finally, connect a power source to the pump. You should also have a garden hose to help siphon the water to an area of safe drainage. Once you’re ready, turn on the pump to drain the water.
Step 3: Remove the Cover
Removing the cover can be a hassle, especially when doing it alone. So, you want to find at least three more people to help lift it off the inground pool. Have the three people cover at least three pool edges while you cover what’s left.
Before you start lifting, beside to disconnect your pool cover anchors.
Be on the ready and carefully lift the cover. As a side note, you can count to three if you want. Remember not to let it come into contact with rough spots on the ground because they can damage it. Instead, spread the cover on the smooth surface, then inspect it for damages.
Why is inspection important, you ask? Think of the time and resources you waste by cleaning a cover that you can’t use again? Inspection, therefore, helps to save you time and money. So, if you notice minor or major damages, this would be the time to replace the cover. But, most importantly, you want to protect your lawns by not leaving the cover on them for longer.
Step 4: Use Soap and Clean Water to Clean the Cover
Quickly clear any debris still stuck on the cover using a soft broom or spray. Then, generously apply some soap to the cover. However, feel free to add some more to dirtier areas. How much soap and water do I need, you ask?
Honestly, this is subjective and depends on how dirty the cover is and its size. Be sure to have plenty on hand if you run out in the middle of cleaning. You can always keep what’s left for another use in case you have more than enough.
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Therefore, use a soft broom, brush, or cloth to scrub the cover. Spruce it to your satisfaction and only stop when it’s sparkling clean. In addition, you can use any soap to clean except chemical-based ones. Thus, a dish soap, car wash soap, or pool cover soap will suffice.
Lastly, you want to rinse the cover with plenty of water, then let it dry for about 30 minutes to one hour. Is there a way to quicken the drying process? You could be wondering. Here are the proven ninja tips. One, you can leave it in the sun for a few minutes.
Two, you can use a towel to absorb any water on the cover. Allow the towel to soak the water, then squeeze it out. Rinse and repeat the process until you’ve got rid of the water. Lastly, you can use a leaf blower to blow away any water on the cover until it’s completely dry.
Storing the cover helps to keep it safe for the next winter. So, if you do it well, you won’t need to budget for another cover. That’s why you want to double-check the cover to ensure it’s completely dry to prevent molds and mildews from growing on it.
When you’ve verified the cover is completely dry, fold it carefully many times along the seams. Then store it in a special pool cover bag. Alternatively, you can use plastic containers if you don’t have a cover bag. However, the container should be dry and with a cover lid.
Remove Winter Pool Plugs and Ice Compensators
Next, you want to remove winterizing plugs from the pool pump and ice compensators in case you used them to prevent freezing. First, locate the pool plugs on the outflow valves. Then, rotate them in the anticlockwise direction to detach them from the water lines.
Lastly, avail regular pool drain plugs and use them to replace the winter pool plugs. You can use drain plugs on the following pool water accessories.
- Pump and filter unit
- External plumbing hardware, and
- Water jets if you have them installed
After re-installing the new drain plugs, you want to remove any ice compensators in the swimming pool. But what if you don’t know what they are or look like? Worry not because this should be pretty straightforward! Remove inflated blue pillows from the water by looking for them.
Raise Water Level Back to Normal
Swimming pools lose water throughout the year regardless of the season or when you leave it covered. So, don’t be surprised when you open your pool to find the pool water level has dropped. The good news is that you can always refill the pool water without stress to raise the water level.
Using a garden hose to spray water into the swimming pool is an excellent way to add more pool water quickly. Add some more water and stop only when the pool water comes halfway up the skimmer basket.
Water Circulation System: Reactivation
Reactivating the water circulation system may look daunting when it shouldn’t. The good news is, we’ll make it an easy-to-follow and straightforward procedure. So, you first want to avail the following pool equipment before getting started.
- New rubber O-strings
- Gasket lubricant
- Plumber’s tape
Step 1: Inspect All Pool Equipment
Start by inspecting all pool equipment like the pump, heater, and pool filter. When you visit the pool for the first time, avoid looking for this equipment inside since it is always outside. You want to carefully check for cracks and other damages before connecting them back together.
Next, you should remove the old black rubber O-rings from the drain plugs and water pipes and replace them with new ones. It’s essential to add some gasket lubricant on the new rubber O-strings and the pipe valves before fitting the different pieces together. Please, remember that.
The lubricant reinforces fit and ensures there’s no leaking. That’s why you want to add a generous amount of Gasket lubricant to the new rubber O-strings and pipe valves.
Step 2: Reconnect All Plumbing Equipment
Pool plumbing equipment such as the pump, pool filter, heater, and cleaners, are responsible for water supply into and out of the swimming pool. For the new pool season, it’s time to reconnect all the pieces.
Put some plumber’s tape on the pump pipe, then join it to the filter housing. By doing this, you can prevent possible leaks that can be costly in the long run. Next, connect the skimmer to the pool pump, then the pool pump to the pool filter. Lastly, connect the pool filter to the heater and the chlorinator.
Step 3: Run the Pump
Before you turn on your pump, be sure to prime your pool pump properly. Running the pump is particularly important in case antifreeze is used, and it helps drain the waterline. Also, remember to set the controlling valve to waste then activate the pump. Then, allow it to run for 1-2 minutes to drain all the antifreeze in the system and create room for pool water.
Step 4: Activate the Pump and Pool Filter System
Head to the circuit breaker connected to the pool pump, and turn it on. Next, activate the pump and allow it to run for 3 minutes or more while assessing the system for any faults. During this assessment, you want to look out for plumbing leaks. Also, check the air bleed valves and ensure they’re working properly.
But what if the pump isn’t working as expected? How should you handle the situation? If you encounter this problem, you don’t need to stress over it. First, shut it down, then open the skimmer basket filter. Next, grab the hose pipe and use it to spray the basket filter.
Do this a few times, then activate the pump again. It’s important to allow the pump to circulate water for at least 3 hours or longer. To get the most out of the new pool season, reactivating the pump is essential.
The pool is almost ready for use. But should you dive in right away? No! That won’t be possible until you’ve treated the water. To do so, you need to run several water treatment processes. So, let’s get to it.
Testing the pool water helps to determine the alkalinity, pH, and mineral content. Below are the needed items to run the pool water test.
- Test strips
- A glass
- Water testing kit with a color guide
- Features a photometer which gives you a digital reading of test results.
- Water resistant housing and carrying case provided.
- Tests Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, PH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid.
- Uses liquid reagents for all test factors except Cyanuric Acid, which uses tablets.
Add some pool water into the glass. Dip the test strips into the water until they are submerged. Next, you should look out for color changes on the test strips. Lastly, compare color changes in the testing strip with the color guide.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to run the test by yourself, you can take your pool water sample to a pool supply store near you. Many of them won’t charge you a dime, so you don’t need to worry about the cost. Afterward, they’ll advise on the next course of action.
A metal sequestrant comes in handy when eliminating toxic pool chemicals. First, you need to acquire a metal sequestrant from a pool supply store near you. Next, you want to add 0.13 US gal of the metal sequestrant to every 10,000 gallons of water in your swimming pool.
UV light affects chlorine levels in pool water. You, therefore, want to maintain the recommended chlorine levels by adding conditioner. Most importantly, add generous amounts of the conditioner while maintaining the recommended range of 40-100 ppm.
Alkalinity plays an essential role in influencing your pool experience. You, therefore, want to ensure the alkalinity is properly balanced. Probably, you’ve already seen some pool walls with scaling, stains, and corrosion.
Usually, it’s due to high or low alkalinity. You want to avoid this experience in your pool by adding some muriatic acid or baking soda to lower or raise alkalinity, respectively.
A high pH level in pool water has a staining effect on pool equipment. In addition, high pH facilitates algae growth, which poses a health risk. On the other hand, a low pH has a corrosive effect on pipes and leaves them damaged. Therefore, the correct pool water pH level should be near neutral—between 7.2 and 7.8. To raise the pH level, you can use muriatic acid, while to lower it, you can use soda ash.
Adjust Calcium Levels
Low calcium levels stain the pool liners, while high calcium levels make the pool cloudy. You, therefore, want to adjust it to above 150 ppm by using pool chemicals like a flocculant or chlorine shock.
Brush and Vacuum
As the pump circulates water treatments, it can clear out other debris stuck in the pool. First, check for leaves and debris on the pool floor and use a pool rake to scoop them out. Next, use a vacuum to remove more debris and a pool brush to scrub the pool walls.
First, wear safety goggles and rubber gloves for protection. Then add approximately 1 lb of shock for every 10,000 gallons of water in the swimming pool.
Run Pool Pump 24 Hours
It would help if you allowed the pump to run for 24 hours to complete water conditioning. The next day, the water should be clear and the pool ready for use. You might want to use a pool water clarifier to make the water clear quicker.
Re-Install Deck Equipment
Next, re-install the ladders, diving boards, and rails. Remember to fit each piece of equipment properly using the correct bolts for a firm fit.
Above Ground Pool: Special Considerations
- Users’ age
- Type of pool—temporary or permanent
- Nature of installation—semi-buried or fully buried
In-Ground Pool: Special Considerations
- Type of pool—vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete
What is Shock?
Shock, also known as chlorine shock, is one of the pool chemicals used to neutralize bacteria and contaminants in the swimming pool.
Proper Alkalinity and Ph Levels
The proper alkalinity level is between 80 and 120 ppm, while the appropriate pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.8.
Calcium Levels: Where Should They Be?
The recommended calcium level should be above 150 ppm.
Don’t Forget: Take Note of Chemical Inventory
Below is the quick rundown of other chemical inventory for the job.
- PH increaser
- PH decreaser
- Alkalinity increaser
- Calcium hardness increaser
How to Open a Pool FAQ
What Chemicals Do You Need to Open a Pool?
Pool opening chemicals include chlorine, shock, algaecide, pH increaser, calcium hardness increaser, alkalinity enhancer, and metal sequestrant.
How to Open a Pool in the Spring?
Remove and store the pool cover. Raise the water level back to normal, then check that the plumbing systems are in good condition. Lastly, treat and condition the pool water.
How Do You Start a Pool for the First Time?
You need to remove the pool cover, then store it in a safe container or bag. Next, increase the water level and check the plumping equipment is in good working condition. Lastly, test and condition the water to make it ready for happy swimming moments.
What Chemicals Do I Need to Open My Above-Ground Pool?
To open an above-ground pool, you will need algaecide, pH increaser, pH decreaser, shock, chlorine, calcium hardness increaser, and alkalinity increaser.
Opening a pool for summer should be as easy as following the tips in this guide. We hope you found it helpful. Happy swimming!
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.
Pricing on this page was last updated on 2023-06-10