Summer is just about here, and that means it’s time to think about swimming. If you’re a pool owner, you may have been longingly staring at your pool just waiting for the weather to be warm enough to enjoy it again. There’s nothing better than lazy summer afternoons spent by the pool. However, for even the most seasoned pool owner, there’s a lot of work that goes in to opening your pool for the summer season. The multi-step process can seem like a lot, but we’ve broken everything down into three simple sections so you can open your pool with ease. Follow this guide to opening your pool and you’ll be ready for summer in no time!
Step One: The Pool Cover
Your pool cover likely has gotten fairly dirty over the course of the winter. Standing water, leaves, and other debris are probably all floating on the top of the cover, creating a wintertime eyesore and a headache to clean up. But rest easy knowing that at very least your pool cover has done its job, and it’s just a couple simple steps to getting it clean and ready to store away for the summer.
Use a pool cover pump to remove the standing water from the surface of your pool cover. Once the water is gone, you can use a soft broom or skimmer to brush any debris from the cover that may still be left. Be gentle so as not to tear your pool cover. Try to remove as much debris from the cover as possible during this step, so that you don’t have much to scoop out of your pool later.
Once your cover is clean, get a friend or family member to help you remove the cover from the pool. Go slowly to avoid spilling excess debris into the pool water. Some will likely fall in anyway despite your best efforts. You can remove the rest of the debris later before you chemically clean the water.
Lay out your pool cover on a flat surface and rinse it off with the garden hose. Then, use cover cleaning solution or a diluted bleach solution to scrub and clean your pool cover. Use a soft broom or sponges to avoid damaging the pool cover. Rinse the cover and allow it to dry or dry it off with a leaf blower before storing it. Note that if you leave the cover out on your grass for too long, it may cause damage to your lawn, so drying the cover with a towel or leaf blower may be your best option to get it completely dry. Store the pool cover in an airtight, heavy-duty container with a lid to keep out bugs and other pests and to keep your cover in good condition for the fall.
Step Two: Prepare the Pool
Now that your pool is uncovered, it’s time to prepare it for use. First, take a moment to skim large debris from the surface of the water with a pool skimmer or net. Doing this first before adding water or turning on the filtration system will prevent large debris from getting stuck in the filtration system and causing a problem later. Take your time and remove as much debris as you can so the filtration system and chemicals don’t have to work as hard to clean the water.
Once the surface of the water is cleaned up, you’ll need to remove the winter plugs from your skimmers and reinstall the regular drain plugs in your pumps, filter, heater, or other equipment. You may notice some air bubbles as water flows back into the pipes when your winter plugs are removed. This is normal, and the bubbles will dissipate shortly.
With the winter plugs removed, reconnect your pool equipment and filter. You’ll want to inspect each component thoroughly to make sure it was not damaged over the winter before you turn the systems on for the summer. The pump, filter, heater, and other systems should all be inspected one by one. Clean your filter if necessary.
Lastly, you’ll want to reconnect and reinstall any pool accessories that you took down for the winter, such as ladders, slides, and diving boards. This is a good time to lubricate the bolts used for these items, and grease the hinges on your diving board, so be sure to check that everything is in proper working order before letting you or your family use the accessories.
Step Three: Water and Clean
Shew! We’re nearly there! Now that all the systems are working properly, it’s time to make sure the water is cleaned and ready for action. First, if you lost any water over the winter, you’ll want to refill your pool with the garden hose until the water level is even with the skimmers. Once you have the correct amount of water in your pool, remove any excess dirt that your filtration system may not pick up. Use a pool brush to scrub the walls of your pool and finish up by using a pool vacuum to vacuum dirt and debris from the pool floor and stairs. The water may still be murky at this point—this is okay! The chemicals will take care of the rest.
Next, balance the water in your pool. You can use a testing strip to determine which chemicals you’ll need to add to get the water to the correct levels. As a rule of thumb, for inground pools, the following levels are the baseline you want to reach:
- pH – 7.2 – 7.6
- Total Alkalinity- 120 – 150ppm
- Calcium Hardness – 200 – 250ppm (Concrete Pools)
- Calcium Hardness – 175 – 225ppm (Vinyl Pools)
- Free Chlorine – 1 – 3ppm
- Free Bromine – 3 – 5ppm
- Metals: Copper – 0ppm
- Metals: Iron – 0ppm
Follow package directions for each chemical used, and wear gloves if needed. Once your water is balanced, the last step to get crystal clean water is to shock your pool. Double shocking is recommended when opening your pool to kill any algae spores, bacteria, and other nasty stuff that may be lurking in the water. Two pounds of shock per 10,000 gallons of water is recommended but follow package directions when in doubt. Make sure to use safety goggles and gloves when pouring shock into your pool.
Now that you’ve added the proper chemicals to the water, it’s time to let them and your filtration system get to work! Allow the filter to run for 24 hours and test the water again before swimming. In the meantime, while you wait for the water to clean, use a broom or mop to clean up any dirt from your pool deck that may have accumulated over the winter. A clean deck will add that finishing touch to your pool space and make the water seem that much more inviting!
Ready for Summer!
Voila! Your pool is now open and ready for action! Get out the bikinis and board shorts and do a cannonball to celebrate a job well done. For more tips and tricks or to get expert advice on all your pool needs, get in touch with us! And if you’re unsure if you can open your pool yourself, or you just think you need a little help, you can always schedule your pool opening with us and our experts will do it all for you!