Opening a pool

Follow these steps for a great start to the swimming season!

1. Remove any water and debris that have accumulated on the cover over the winter.

Note: Special submersible cover pumps are manufactured for this purpose.

2. If using water bags to hold the cover in place, drain the water bags along three sides of the pool. Keep filled water bags in place along one edge of the pool. Carefully remove the cover by pulling it toward the side with the filled water bags.

Note: This is easier to accomplish with two people, one at each corner.

3. The cover and the water bags should be cleaned with a hose and long-handled brush to remove all loose debris and slime. Once brushed and hosed clean, the cover and water bags should be allowed to dry before they are folded for summer storage.

Note: Be careful not to leave the cover on the grass too long, particularly if it is hot and sunny, because it can burn the grass.

4. Remove all winter plugs from the suction and return lines and from the filter components.

5. Carefully reconnect the pool pump and filter, and any hoses, chemical feeders, or other filter components that were disconnected for the winter.

Note: If filter equipment was not properly cleaned during the winterizing step, it should be cleaned before reconnecting. Media filters, like diatomaceous earth (DE), will have to be "re-charged" with fresh media at start-up.

6. Fill the pool to the proper level. The recommended water level is usually to the middle of the skimmer opening.

7. Once the pool is filled, turn on the filter pump to circulate and filter the water.

8. If the water is clear and the bottom is sharply defined, vacuum the pool. Where permitted, vacuum to waste to avoid adding a large amount of dirt into your clean filter.

Note: Vacuuming to waste will lower the water level.

9. Add start-up chemicals and balance the pool water according to the guidelines below.

Guidelines for Adding Start-Up Chemicals

Note: Add all chemicals according to label directions.

Many pools with a history of metals, like iron, manganese, or copper, may require an initial dose of a stain and scale control product (also referred to as metal removers). These products are formulated to bind with metals so the metals don't stain pool surfaces.


Add Sanitizing Chemicals

If using chlorine sanitizer, add sanitizer tablets to the chlorine feeder or broadcast the sanitizer granules to establish a free-chlorine residual. The free-chlorine sanitizer level should be maintained at 1-3 ppm at all times, in all areas of the pool, to ensure that the water is properly sanitized.

Add Oxidizing Shock

If the pool water is not green, add non-chlorine shock oxidizer containing Oxone™ potassium monopersulfate at a dose of 2 pounds for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. This double dose will provide sufficient oxidation to eliminate most of the contaminants from the pool water.

If the pool water is green due to algae growth, use a chlorine shock product according to label directions to kill the algae.

Add Algaecide

Add an initial dose of algaecide according label directions to inhibit algae growth. Ideally, the algaecide should be added the day after adding oxidizing shock.

Guidelines for Balancing the Pool Water

Once the pool is up and running, the water should be "balanced" to protect pool surfaces and recirculation equipment from the damaging effects of corrosive or scale-forming water.

For best results, adjust total alkalinity first, and then allow the pool to filter for 8-12 hours minimum. On the following day, re-test the pool water. If any of the parameters are outside of the acceptable range, readjust as needed. When the total alkalinity is in the acceptable range, adjust the pH as needed.

Refer to Pool Care Made Easy  for additional information and simple guidelines for sanitizing, oxidizing, and water balance.