How to Open a Pool
Winter is over, and spring is finally here. Temperatures are rising. The sun is shining. A dip in the pool sounds pretty good right about now.
But don’t dive in quite yet! If your pool has been closed all winter, you’ll need to do a little prep work to get your pool ready for another season of fun. Don’t worry, though. Opening an inground pool is easy. Follow a few easy steps and you’ll be perfecting your cannonball in no time!
Step 1: Clean up debris and check for wear and tear.
Before you open your pool, take some time to survey the area around your pool. Trim overgrown trees and hedges. Sweep away nearby leaves. Check your deck for damage, wear, and tear and address any issues before you open your pool for the season. Be sure to clean and repair any deck furniture so that it is safe for use. You should also check pool equipment like safety rails, slides, rescue equipment, ladders, and diving boards.
Step 2: Inventory your pool chemicals.
You’ll want to have all of your chemicals ready to go before you start opening your pool. Check the expiration dates on all of your pool chemicals, and replace any that are past their prime. (Be sure to dispose of them safely!). You should also replace any chemicals that weren’t properly sealed before they were stored.
Chemicals Checklist: Everything You Need to Open Your Pool
Need to do a pre-opening pool chemical supply run? Here’s what you’ll need to get the job done right:
- A good test kit or test strips for checking your pool’s pH, calcium hardness, total alkalinity, and chlorine levels
- Chlorine granules or tablets
- Shock treatment
- Increaser/decreaser chemicals for alkalinity, calcium, and pH
- Stain treatment
Step 3: Remove the Cover
During the fall and winter months, your swimming pool cover can accumulate water and debris. Use a pool cover pump or a shop vac to remove that old, dirty water and keep it out of your swimming pool. Once the cover is removed, hose it off and give it a thorough cleaning (we recommend using a specially formulated cleaner, such as PoolStyle Clean-N-Store), then allow it to dry.
Storing Your Pool Cover
You can prolong the life of your pool cover by storing it safely away from insects, rodents, and the elements. Once your swimming pool cover is clean and dry, tightly roll it and store it indoors or in a garage.
Should You Test Your Fill Water?
Step 4: Inspect the Pool
It’s time to give your pool a good, pre-opening once-over. Here are a few essential things to put on your to-do list:
- Remove drain plugs or winterizing plugs from the surface skimmers and wall returns, and restore directional fittings.
- Inspect the filter, return lines, and pump for possible damaged or worn parts and buy a replacement.
- If you removed your underwater pool lights, now’s the time to reattach them.
- Look for chips in the plaster and indentations on the deck and coping.
- Check your tile and remove calcium scale and stains with a household tile cleaner or baking soda and a tile brush. For tougher stains, try using a pumice stone.
- Inspect the interior of your pool for damage and make repairs as needed.
Hairline Cracks and Fiberglass Pools
Hairline cracks are normal in fiberglass pools. Because fiberglass pools have a gel coating, these small cracks typically won’t affect the integrity of your pool. However, if your fiberglass pool has large cracks or holes you should call a pool repair specialist right away.
Step 5: Fill Pool to Middle of Waterline Tile and Do Final Debris Removal
Grab a garden hose and fill the pool until the water level reaches the midpoint of the waterline tile or middle of the skimmer weirs. Once you’ve got the water level where it needs to be, you can now clean leaves, twigs and debris from the pool’s bottom by using a wall and floor brush. This is also time to dust off your algae brush and pool vacuum. Also be sure to remove any debris from the leaf basket.
Step 6: Turn on the Pool Filter and Test the Water
You’re almost there! All you have to do now is get the filter up and running. Turn on the filter and run it for 12 to 24 hours to mix up the old and new water before testing or adding chemicals (remember to use new testing strips and not expired ones).
Don’t feel comfortable testing the water yourself? You can always bring a water sample to a pool professional for proper analysis. Your pool professional will provide you with instructions for balancing your pool water. They can test the water’s pH level, the alkalinity, the calcium hardness, and the chlorine content. In addition to shocking the pool, they may be able to also recommend that you add a stabilizer, conditioner or algaecide to your pool before it’s ready for the warm weather.
Continue to run the filter for a few days, vacuuming out any debris that has settled. When the water is clear and the chlorine levels have come down, your pool is ready for swimming! Enjoy your pool!
How to put chemicals in your pool for the first time
First time opening your pool? Congratulations! You're about to have endless summers of fun and enjoyment. Before you can get to swimming, follow these steps to put chemicals in your pool for the very first time:
- First, balance total alkalinity because it’s like an umbrella measurement that can help protect pool conditions and keep chemicals levels in check. Raise total alkalinity with baking soda or soda ash and lower total alkalinity with muriatic acid. Aim to get total alkalinity to a range of 80 to 120ppm.
- Next, balance pH conditions. Increase pH with soda ash or baking soda. Decrease pH with muriatic acid. Aim to get pH to a slightly base level of 7.4. to provide a pleasant swim environment.
- Then balance calcium hardness. Water that is too “soft” has low calcium hardness, which might corrode pool surfaces. Increase calcium hardness with calcium chloride, but don’t add to much calcium. It can be difficult to reduce calcium levels, so aim to keep pool calcium levels between 200–400 ppm. Spa calcium hardness levels should stay within a range of 150–250 ppm.
- Next shock your pool. For pool startup, it’s best to double shock your pool, meaning that you add two pounds of chlorine shock for every 10,000 gallons of water. After shocking a pool, aim to have chlorine at 10 ppm.
- After this routine, your pool should be good to go. However, if you notice leftover cloudiness due to the shock, you can add pool water clarifier. Finally, do another round of testing with test strips. This should reassure you that you have achieve optimal chemical levels needed.
Pro Tip: Be sure to check your filter and return lines for damage, cracks, or leaks. If you have a sand filter, add sand if needed. If you have a cartridge filter, check the cartridge and clean/replace as needed.