The water of a backyard pool

Your Guide to Opening a Pool

How to Open a Pool

So, the temperature outside is starting to rise, and you are looking longingly at your backyard pool! Whether it is in-ground or above-ground, the basic procedure for getting your pool ready for a long, hot summer of daily dips and pool parties is pretty much the same. Just make sure that you do not skip any steps, and you are pretty much guaranteed clean, sparkling water all summer with minimum maintenance. Alright, let’s dive into how to open a pool.

Remove the Winter Cover

That winter cover probably looks pretty messy by the time warmer weather rolls around. It has collected water, leaves, and assorted other gunk over the fall and winter. But that is good! Everything that is on top of the cover is not in your pool water, so all you have to do is carefully clear and remove it to ensure that the yucky stuff stays out.

Before removing the cover, you need to clear off as much of the accumulated water and debris as possible. Using a soft broom or a skimmer net, get rid of as much of the flotsam as possible. Then, use either a sump pump or a pool cover pump to suck up all of the water. While doing these tasks, take care not to make a hole in the cover.

This part is a two-person job. Carefully lift off the winter cover, keeping any remaining debris or dirt from landing in your now-exposed pool water.

Place the winter pool cover flat on a deck or lawn, and gently but thoroughly clean it with soap and water and a scrub broom or brush. You then need to leave it until it has dried completely before folding it up and storing it in a rodent-proof container.

Skim the Pool

Check out your swimming pool water. If some leaves or other debris found their way in while removing the cover, now is the time to use your skimmer net to get them out before you start running pumps and filters.

Remove Filter Plugs and Ice Compensators

Take out the plugs from all of your filters and the ice compensators and skimmer plate from the skimmer basket. The water will then flow back into the pipes.

Re-Install Deck Equipment

Get the ladders, water slides, and diving board out from winter storage, and re-install.

Top Up the Water

Hopefully, your water looks pretty good after its long winter nap. Still, you will probably need to add a few inches of water before running the pumps. Use a hose filter to keep out impurities.

Get Your Filter and Pumps Running

Now that your water level is up, it is time to start running the pumps and filtering the water:

  1. Put the drain plugs back in your pump.
  2. Re-attach the skimmer to the pump, the pump to the filter, and the filter to any other equipment, such as a heater or chlorinator.
  3. Start it up and check for leaks or other issues.

Cleaning Filters

After it has run for a while, the filters will probably accumulate a winter’s worth of gunk, so you will want to clean them out. Attach a backwash hose to the filter’s waste port, and turn off the filter. Move the valve to the backwash setting, and then run the filters until the water coming out of the hose is clear. Turn the filter system off again, and move to the rinse setting. Rerun the filter for about half a minute, then turn it off again and return to the filter setting. Now you are filtering with clean sand again!

If your filter system uses pleated cartridge filters instead, remove them and give them a good cleaning with a high-pressure power washer.

Clean Your Pool

Before adding chemicals, get your water as sparkling clean as possible. Get out your pool brush and give the sides and bottom of the pool a good cleaning. Use a pool vacuum to clean the floor of the pool.

Test Water and Add Chemicals

Now that your pool is full of clean, filtered water, it is time to bring out the chemicals.

First, always follow instructions carefully when using pool chemicals. Wear protective equipment and keep chemicals separate — even if they are all going into the same pool, they can react to each other and cause injury.

Test your water using test strips or by taking a water sample into your pool supply store. Add chemicals in the correct order, and then shock or double-shock with chlorine to finish.

Final Filtering

Now that you have added everything you need, let the filters run for at least 24 hours before taking that first dip of the season! While you will have ongoing maintenance throughout the season, you’re off to a great start by taking the time to open your pool properly.