For pool owners across the globe, spring (or summer in some instances) means one thing: it’s time to take some steps so you can once again begin to enjoy your swimming pool. And luckily, spring pool care is an easy process.
Follow along as we show you the step-by-step process for how to open a pool.
When to Begin Spring Pool Care?
You’re seeing signs of spring, and if you’re like most pool owners, you’re already anticipating that first dive into your pool. As soon as the last frost has gone, it’s time to start thinking about doing a little spring pool care.
For most people, this time comes in spring. But for people who live in colder climates, the safest bet is to prepare your pool for summer as soon as you’re sure there won’t be any last-minute frosts.
What Type of Pool Do You Have?
Before we talk about spring pool care, it’s important to know that when it comes to how to open a pool, the answer depends on which type of pool you own. In this article, we’ll dive into specifics for three types of pools.
- Inground pool: This traditional pool is situated in the ground.
- Above-ground pool: An above-ground pool sits above the ground and is supported by specialty posts and foot runners.
- Saltwater pools: A swimming pool that uses saltwater instead of the traditional freshwater.
Whatever type of pool you have, it’s important to follow guidelines when opening your pool. Here are some spring pool care tips for each type of pool.
Opening an Inground Pool
If you have an inground pool in your backyard, here’s a step-by-step guide you can use to open it.
Step One: Clean and Remove the Pool Cover
Before you can open your swimming pool, you will first have to remove the debris from the top of your pool cover. To do it, use a soft broom to sweep away the bulkier items. Then, use a pool pump to suction up the remaining stuff.
After the debris has been removed, ask a friend to help you remove and fold up the pool cover.
Step Two: Clean the Pool Cover
To make your pool cover last longer, you should clean it before putting it away. Start by unfolding the pool cover in a large area, such as your backyard. Then, use a soft brush and a gentle cleaner such as car washing soap or a pool cover cleaner to scrub away any grime or gunk.
Next, you will need to thoroughly dry the pool cover. You can do this with a towel or by using a leaf blower. Once it’s dry, place the cover in a bag to keep it safe from rodents or other pests that could destroy it while it’s in storage.
This is a great time to take a close look at your pool cover and replace it if needed. Look for any tears, worn areas, or other damage. If you replace it now, you won’t have to worry about doing it when you’re closing your pool for the winter a few months from now.
Step Three: Take a Good Look
The way your pool looks will determine how you proceed with your spring pool care. If the water is a medium to dark green, your best move is to drain the water and start again. That means you will have to acid wash the pool before refilling it.
If the water is light green, you can proceed with the following steps.
Step Four: Remove the Bulky Stuff
It’s inevitable that when you removed the pool cover, some larger chunks of debris fell in the water.
Although you will use the pool skimmer later, for now, you should use it to remove all of the larger pieces of debris from the water. This will make the cleaning you do in future steps much easier.
Step Five: Clear the Pipes
When you closed your pool, you should have blown out the pipes and placed winterizing plugs in them so the water couldn’t enter them and freeze.
Now, it’s time to remove all of the plugs. Once you do, water will flow back into the pipes which causes bubbles to form on top of the water in your pool.
Step Six: Reattach the Entry Points
When the cold weather began to set in, you removed the ladders and chutes from your pool — and now it’s time to reinstall them.
But before you do, take a moment to lubricate the bolts and grease the diving board hinges. It’s a small step that will ensure the longevity of these parts.
Step Seven: Fill It Up
Even though you used a pool cover, chances are that your water levels dropped over the winter. Now, it’s time to fill your pool to the desired water level. Be sure to use a hose filter when doing it so no metal contaminants enter your pool.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain in the spring, you may want to add an algaecide to your pool at this point. It will help protect your pool from an algae bloom, which is caused by a lot of rainwater entering the pool.
If your water is clear or you don’t see a lot of rain, you can skip this step.
Step Eight: Get Things Moving
Start by lubricating the O-rings in your pump and pump housing with a good pool gasket lubricant. Be sure to check for cracks in the O-rings, and if you see them, replace it so it doesn’t allow air into the pump.
Then, place the drain plugs into your pump, filter, heater, and chlorinator.
Next, open up the return side valves to give the water that’s drawn into your pump a place to go. If your valve is a multiport model, set it on “waste” and replace the pressure gauge, sight glass, and air bleeder.
Now you should flip on the circuit breaker and turn on the pump. Your pump is primed as soon as you hear water running through it. Be sure to check out your filter to ensure that it doesn’t need washing or replacing. If you use a multiport, you should now switch it to “filter.”
Some people use antifreeze when closing a pool. If you did, it will exit the lines when the valve is set on “waste.” But sometimes some of the antifreeze ends up in the pool. If it does, don’t worry because pool antifreeze is not toxic and will be flushed out during the next filtering cycle.
Step Nine: Sequester Those Metals
While your pool sat stagnant for the winter months, it’s likely that small amounts of metals accumulated in it. Those metals, no matter how small, can cause staining issues in your pool. To prevent this, think about using a metal sequestrant.
Step Ten: Balance Things
Now it’s time to turn your attention to balancing your pool water. First, test and adjust the water alkalinity. Next, test your pool’s pH, and if necessary, add the chemicals to adjust it. Finally, you should test the calcium hardness and take whatever steps are necessary to bring it into balance.
Here is a guide as to what your chemical levels should look like:
- Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm. After shocking your pool, these levels will read higher.
- pH: 7.4 – 7.6. Use sodium bicarbonate to raise the pH or sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid to lower it.
- Calcium: 200 – 400. You will likely have to add calcium chloride to raise levels if your water is soft.
- Alkalinity (stabilizes pH level): 80 – 140 ppm. To increase it add sodium carbonite, to decrease it, add sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid.
Step Eleven: Clean Things Up
Your next step is to clean your pool by first brushing it and then manually vacuuming it.
When you brush your pool, you will unsettle any algae that are forming, and that will help with the next step.
Vacuuming your pool will remove any smaller debris that fell in when you removed the pool cover.
Step Twelve: It’s Time for a Shock
Now it’s time to completely kill off any bacteria, spores, and algae from your pool so the water is crispy clean. To do this, you will need to shock the pool.
Many people double shock a pool when attending to spring pool care duties. To double shock your pool, you should use two pounds of chlorine shock (if you use a chlorine pool system) for every 10,000 gallons of water in your pool.
It’s important to remember to use gloves, eye protection, and sufficient clothing when shocking a pool. The chemicals are toxic and can burn your skin, so it makes sense to protect it.
And if it is windy outside, wait to do the job until the wind dies down and there is no chance of it blowing the chemicals onto you.
Step Thirteen: Mix Everything Up
Your final step in the process is to turn on your filtration system and allow it to mix everything up. It will mix up any remaining debris, dead algae spores, and the shock. Let the filtration system run for 24 hours before jumping in and enjoying your pool.
Now that you know how to open an inground pool, let’s talk about how to open an above ground pool.
Opening an Above Ground Pool
When opening an above ground pool, you will largely use the directions above, with two exceptions. the first exception is that you will need to check your pool liner for leaks and damage after you remove the pool cover.
Signs of leaks include standing water around your pool, low water levels, loose tiles or structural damage, and visible rips and tears in the liner. If you realize that the cold, winter months damaged your liner, you will have to repair or replace it before moving on to the next steps.
Another step you will have to add to the process is tending to your deck fittings. Most above ground pools have some sort of decking that surround them, and many of the accessories such as ladders and slides are attached to the deck rather than the pool.
When reattaching these types of equipment, be sure to firmly secure the deck fittings so they are safe throughout the swimming season.
Opening a Saltwater Pool
Opening a saltwater pool is much the same as opening an inground pool, but because the pool uses saltwater, there are some differences.
To start, after you have cleaned and started the filtration system, it’s time to connect the saltwater generator. If you use an inline generator, connect it after the filter system but before the pool return. If you use a drop-in, remove the top ledge of the pool and insert the generator.
Next, after vacuuming the pool, it’s time to check the salt level because the expected water loss will affect it. Using a saltwater test kit, you should test the water and adjust it as needed.
Do the same with the alkaline and pH levels and adjust them using chemicals designed for saltwater pools. Now it’s time to test the chlorine stabilizer of the pool and adjust it with a saltwater stabilizer as necessary.
When shocking a saltwater pool, you should use a pound of saltwater oxidizing shock for every 5,000 gallons of water in your pool.
Spring Pool Care is Key When Opening Your Swimming Pool
It’s that time of year again to relax in your pool and enjoy those poolside cookouts with your family and friends. But before you take your first dive into the pool, you will need to practice a little spring pool care to ensure that the water is swimmable and safe.
Do you have any other spring pool tips that we missed? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!