Pool Opening Guide for Beginners

With spring here and summer just right around the corner, taking a dip in your new pool is something you are probably looking forward to. As a new pool owner, opening a pool in spring for the first time can be very exciting! However, there are a few different steps you must take to successfully open your pool whether it’s above ground or in ground. If your pool has been closed all winter, there is preparation involved to get your pool ready for this season. We will walk you through what each step of the pool opening process is in detail and highlight the differences between inground and above ground opening procedures.

How to open an above ground pool or inground pool

While just taking the cover off your pool and diving in seems like the easiest way to get started, you’ll find that the water underneath the cover might not be ready to jump into yet. This is why it’s important to take the necessary steps to open your pool ensuring that the water is healthy and safe to swim in. To be prepared to open your pool, here are some of the swimming pool maintenance chemicals and tests to have on hand:

  • Shock treatment
  • Test kit and test strips
  • Algaecide
  • Conditioner or stabilizer

Now that you have everything you need for opening a pool, let’s get started walking through each step to successfully get your pool ready for summer.

1. Remove any excess water on your pool cover and take off

Before taking your cover off your pool, it’s important to remove any water that might be sitting on top of the cover. If there is a substantial amount of water, it’s best to use a pump to remove all the water. This makes it easier to take off the cover once the water is completely removed. Removing the cover is a two-person job as it can be quite heavy even with the excess water removed.

2. Properly store your pool cover to keep it durable

Once your pool cover has been removed, there are a few steps to take to ensure it remains clean and ready to be put back on after the pool season is over. To properly store your pool cover, you should lay it flat and remove any dirt or debris. Allow it to stay out in the sun lying flat until it has completely been dried. Before folding and putting away, carefully put talcum powder on it to help prevent any mold or mildew from growing. After this has been done, you can fold the pool cover and store it in a cool, dry place such as an outdoor shed, garage, or basement.

3. Fill pool with water until it’s back to normal levels

This may not be a necessary step depending on what your pool volume is at after removing the cover. If you do notice that your pool needs additional water to reach halfway up the tile or to the middle of the skimmer opening, use a garden hose and fill until the water reaches this point.

4. Connect all pool equipment

All the pool equipment that was disconnected for the winter season should now be reconnected. This includes the pool filter, pump, heater, automatic pool cleaners, and any other equipment that you use. This is also the time to re-install any pool accessories such as ladders, pool slides, and more. For above ground pools, you should reconnect the plumbing lines to the skimmer and pool equipment.

5. Remove any winterized plugs and replace drain plugs

If you live in a state like Michigan where temperatures have the potential of dropping below zero in the winter, you probably installed winterized plugs in your lines, inlets/outlets, and skimmer. To open your pool, you must remove all of these plugs and also reinstall any drain plugs.

6. Turn all pool equipment on to get up and running

Spend time priming the pump, turning on the filtration system, and turning on the circulation system in the pool. If there is an air relief valve attached to the pool filter, open this and allow it to let out air from the system. After you see water coming out, shut the valve off. From here, monitor the pool equipment to ensure there are no unusual sounds or sputters.

7. Test the pool chemical levels and adjust as needed

Using a test kit and strips, test your water before adding any chemicals to get a baseline of what should be added or taken away. The test kit should test for chlorine levels, pH levels, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid levels. The following are the ideal ranges that each one of these should be in:

  • Chlorine: 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
  • pH: 7.4 to 7.6
  • Total alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
  • Calcium hardness: 200 to 400 ppm
  • Cyanuric acid: 30 to 50 ppm

8. Balancing the pool water’s total alkalinity

Once you figure out what the chemical levels in your pool are, now it’s time to balance them all to reach the correct levels. You should first start with total alkalinity (TA) as this will help you balance your pH and chlorine levels. If you find that total alkalinity is too high, you can use a dry acid to lower the levels to reach the optimal range. To lower the total alkalinity, add 1.5 pounds of dry acid to every 10,000 gallons of water to lower TA by 10 ppm. On the other hand, if TA is too low you should use an alkalinity up solution to increase the levels. Add 1.5 pounds of alkalinity up to every 10,000 gallons of water to increase TA by 10 ppm. Wait at least 4 hours after adding these solutions before testing the water levels again.

9. Adjust pH levels

Once the TA levels are between 80 to 120 ppm, you can now focus on adjusting the pH levels. If you find that the pH level is above 7.6, add small amounts of dry acid while the circulation system runs for 2 hours. After 2 hours have passed, re-check to see if the levels have balanced out. If the pH level is below 7.4, add a pH increaser such as soda ash to balance the levels. Wait about 4 hours with the circulation system running and then re-check the water to see if more solution needs to be added.

10. Adjust calcium hardness levels

A pool’s calcium hardness (CH) level should always be above 200 ppm. If you find that the CH level is too low, add a hardness plus solution to increase the levels. Use 1.25 pounds of solution per 10,000 gallons of pool water to increase by 10 ppm.

11. Brush and vacuum the pool thoroughly

After you have properly adjusted all the chemical levels in the pool, now you should thoroughly brush and vacuum all areas of your pool. This will help to remove any remaining dirt or debris that has been left behind. Be sure to get all cracks and crevices including pool steps, ladders, and other hard to reach areas.

12. Shock the pool

It’s important to know how much to shock an open pool. This step is extremely important in removing any bacteria, algae, and contaminants in the water. To shock your pool, add 2 pounds of shock for every 10,000 gallons of water. Doing this will raise the chlorine levels in your pool to 10 ppm. After you do this, allow your circulation system to run for at least 2 hours then you can add algaecide if you also have algae in the pool that needs to be removed.

Once you have your pool open for the season, you will be ready for a summer full of fun! Make your pool even more fun with the addition of pool equipment and slides. Find all American made pool accessories, slides, pool bars, and more from Global Pool Products. Find your nearest dealer of pool equipment today.

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