Spring opening is one of the most exciting times of the year for any pool owner. After months of cold, snow, and ice, the weather is starting to warm up for pool season! Even though the sun is shining, and the water is warm, the pool isn’t quite ready for swimmers, yet. There are some necessary steps every pool owner must take to have a clean and safe pool, ready to handle a long summer season. 

1. Don’t Wait Too Long to Open the Pool

Algae grows much easier and faster once the temperatures rise above 65–70ºF. Once the daily high temperatures are consistently in this range, it’s time to start thinking about opening the pool. Waiting too long before you open the pool can leave you with a green, murky mess to clean up once you peel the covers back, and it’ll take longer to get your pool ready for swimming.

2. Remove Excess Water with a Sump Pump Before Taking Off the Pool Cover

If you have a winter cover or solid safety cover, chances are a fair amount of water and debris has built up on the cover during the long winter off-season. Pool covers can be difficult to remove with water on them, so we recommend using a submersible cover pump to drain the water off the cover before moving it.

Having the cover cleaned off before the opening crew arrives will assure a safe storage of you cover to prevent mold and mildew build up on the cover. This will prolong the life of your cover. 

3. Care For Your Winterizing Accessories to Save Money

After removing the cover from your pool, it is important to clean, fold, and properly store the cover to avoid any damage during the summer. Storing your cover — and other winterizing accessories — properly ensures that you’ll be able to use them year after year, and you won’t waste money buying new supplies each year. 

We recommend putting your cover in a storage container like a 96 Gallon Trash can that has the wheels on it for easy movement after the cover is folded up and put inside. Place small holes around the bottom sides of the trash can to allow the cover to breathe over the summer. This will help remove excess water that could be on the cover. The container will prevent mice and insects from getting into the cover and destroying it. 

New Safety Cover Installation in Cincinnati Metro Area
New Safety Cover Installation in Cincinnati Metro Area

4. Maintain All Pool Equipment and Un-Winterize Plumbing

At pool opening time, we will un-winterize and/or reconnect all the equipment you disconnected before the winter season. This usually includes the pool filter, pump, heater, automatic pool cleaner, in-line chlorinators, and any other pool equipment. Installing the plugs and making sure all unions are tight.

We will lubricate all O-rings, gaskets, and hardware with a silicone lubricant as needed. This will help keep the equipment watertight and working properly all summer long. It will also make it easier for you to disassemble (as needed) when we close your pool.

If you live in an area where the winter temperature drops below zero, then we may have replaced the pool inlet/outlet fittings with winterizing plugs to prevent plumbing damage during winter. We may have also installed a skimmer guard or Gizzmo to protect your skimmer from expanding ice. We will remove all winter plugs and put the pool inlets/outlets back in place before turning on your equipment.

5. Use an Opening Kit to Simplify Pool Opening

Once the pump is up and running, you’re ready to start adding chemicals to the water. Aside from water balancers (which we’ll talk about in a moment), you’ll need products like a stain and scale preventer, algaecide, clarifier, pool shock, and sometimes enzymes and a phosphate remover. Part of our opening costs is to add all of these to help your pool return to a clear state. This does not balance your pool but gives it a foot in the right direction.  

6. Address Metals First to Avoid Staining

Over a long winter off-season, metals like copper and iron can build up in the pool and cause stains. These metals can be difficult to remove once they’ve reached concentrations where they’re staining the walls, so it’s best to attack them early. In addition, changes in pH or high concentrations of chlorine, such as during a shock treatment, can encourage metal staining if you don’t address the metals first. So we initially start with a doses of metal out to help prevent this problem.

7. When Balancing Water, Start with Total Alkalinity

The fastest and easiest way to test your water at home is to use test strips or a test kit. It’s important to test your water chemistry before adding any chemicals, because this will help you know exactly what’s needed and how much chemical to add. To start with, focus on Total Alkalinity and pH. Things like Free Available Chlorine, Calcium Hardness, and Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) levels are also important, but you can adjust those later, toward the end of your pool opening routine. The recommended water balance ranges are as follows:

Once you’ve tested your water, it’s time to start adding balancing chemicals to adjust water chemistry. When adding any chemicals to the pool, always carefully read and follow product label instructions. Also keep your pump running at high speed until the chemical is fully integrated into the water, often 24 hours or longer after adding the chemical to the water. Never mix chemicals or add them to the water at the same time!

Once Total Alkalinity has returned to a range of 80–120 ppm, you can begin to adjust the other chemistry levels in the pool. Test again to check the new pH level, since it likely changed after your TA adjustment. 

8. Brush and Vacuum Your Pool Thoroughly

Even if you use a solid cover on your pool during the winter, there may still be a fair amount of dirt and debris in your pool at opening time. It is a good idea to give your pool a thorough brushing and vacuuming before vacuuming the pool and then let it settle.  This will prevent any algae or bacteria from clinging to the pool walls, as well as help your filtration system remove the extra debris. With the extra contaminants out of the way, your chlorine can work most efficiently.

When brushing your pool, it’s a good idea to start in the shallow end of the pool and move towards the deep end. If you can, vacuum your pool directly to waste to reduce strain on your filter. Once you’ve brushed and vacuumed the pool, let your filtration system run overnight, before shocking the pool the next day.

9. Shock the Pool to Remove Bacteria and Contaminants

Shocking your pool is the final step for getting rid of all the bacteria, algae spores, germs, and other microorganisms. Lots of organic contaminants may have entered your pool during the winter off-season! We use Professional grade pool shock to be more efficient in the killing of bacteria and algae.  

10. Treat the Water with Algaecide, Clarifier, and Phosphate Remover

After shocking the pool,  we then add algaecide to kill all algae in the pool. For a clean and algae-free swimming season, we recommend starting treatment for water sanitation before the first swimmers even think about jumping into the pool.

Another common issue at pool opening time is cloudy water. To help your filter clear up the water faster, we will add a dose of clarifier.

To keep your pool algae-free after start-up, it’s important to keep phosphate levels under control. Pool Perfect plus Phos free by natural chemistry is a powerful multipurpose formula that removes phosphates and adds enzymes to the water to help break down contaminants. Once the pool is open, continue to use it weekly as part of your weekly maintenance routine can help you save money on water and chemicals, while keeping your pool clean, clear, and fresh all summer long.

Bonus Tip: 

To finish opening your pool and getting it ready for swimming season, just take a water sample to your nearest pool store a free water test Got algae or cloudy pool water? No problem. If your pool needs extra attention, you’ll find all the details and step-by-step instructions in a customized water treatment plan. Once you have your chemistry checked out and corrected its time to have fun in your pool 

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