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How to Open Your Pool in 7 Easy Steps

Categories: How To Guides, Chemicals, Maintenance & Upkeep
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the flowers are in bloom, and your pool is begging to break free from its winterized state. There’s just one thing: opening a pool for the season takes a little more elbow grease than simply ripping off the cover and jumping in.
Today, we’ll walk you through how to open a pool after winter so you can get in, cool down, and kick off summer in crystal clear water just begging to be enjoyed.
But before we dive into pool opening 101, there is one crucial factor to consider—the temperature.
Why Temperature Matters When Opening a Pool
Whether you’re opening an inground or above ground pool, it’s best to do so when the daily average temperature is consistently at 70°F, and long before daily temperatures rise above 85°F. Doing so will help reduce the opportunity for algae growth (which happens when it’s warmer, about 85°F) or for pollen to creep in and clog up non-circulating water. Plus, you’ll be ready to swim on a warm day rather than wait and watch the pool opening process unfold.
How Long Will it Take to Open My Pool?
If you took your time in the fall and diligently followed our winterization guide, opening your pool will likely be a breeze and take just about a week to complete the entire process. However, if you have a lot to clean up, need to replace broken parts, replenish a lot of water loss, or rid your water of high levels of algae, pollen, or debris, the process could take upwards of ten days or more. Regardless of how long it takes to open your pool, patience is key to ensuring your water is clean, your swimmers are safe, and your pool operates as efficiently as possible.
Now, let’s dive into how to open a pool like a pro.
1. Set-up and prep: Begin by surveying the area and removing any debris that may obstruct proper equipment function. Clean out leaf traps, baskets, and filters, and ensure your equipment is correctly assembled.
Remove any winterizing plugs and discharge any antifreeze liquids installed during pool closing from the return lines or skimmer. Then, remove leaves, debris, and water from the cover. Depending on how much water is on your cover, you may need a pool cover pump to help siphon off the excess water.
2. Remove, Clean & Store Your Pool Cover: With your pool cover and surrounding areas free and clear of water and debris, it’s time to remove the winter cover from your pool. Once removed, take some time to rinse and clean your pool cover and check for any damages. Allow it to air dry before storing it away for the season. Proper storage is key to ensuring your pool cover lasts a long time. Store it out of sunlight in a cool, dry place to prevent UV deterioration, mold, and mildew. Take special care to fold it so that there are as few creases wherever possible.
Proper water level
3. Inspect Your Pool & Refill Water: With your pool cover off, it’s time to thoroughly inspect your pool. Check for damage, liner tears, staining, and buildup. If you notice staining or discoloration, consider running stain and scale prevention pool chemicals through the pump after it’s primed and running without issue. Then, fill your pool back to a normal water level.
This may take some time, depending on how much water was removed at the end of the season. While your pool fills, scoop out any leaves or dirt that may have accumulated over the winter months.
Pro Tip:One seemingly insignificant issue in one area of your pool’s filtration system or operating equipment can lead to larger issues down the road. If you notice that any part of your equipment or filtration system seems to be lacking power or not operating correctly, fix the problem before continuing on with the pool opening process.
4. Inspect & Connect Pool Equipment: Prime your pool pump before reconnecting and firing up the equipment. Ensure all air is flushed out of your plumbing and system by opening the air relief valve on your filter. Failure to do this can cause significant damage to your equipment because of all the compressed air built up. Inspect your system for any leaks or cracks.
 5. Test & Balance Your Pool Water: Proper pool water chemistry is critical to swimming safety and conditions. Without knowing the proper amount of each chemical to add, you can do significant damage and or stain your pool surface. Our step-by-step pool opening kits make it simple to balance your water to the right levels. We highly recommend taking your water sample to your local pool professional to get the most accurate reading before experimenting with chlorine and acid levels. It’s also a good idea to let your water circulate a few hours before testing to allow the added water to mix in with the water already in the pool. Use pool test strips for regular water testing and maintenance throughout the season to monitor your calcium hardness, pH, total alkalinity, chlorine, and more.
Here is a list of recommended pool chemistry levels:
  • pH Levels – 7.4 to 7.6 
  • Alkalinity – 80 to 120 ppm*
  • Calcium Hardness – 150 ppm to 250 ppm 
  • Chlorine – 1 ppm to 3 ppm
  • Conditioner – 60 ppm to 100 ppm 
*Alkalinity levels may vary based on the type of sanitizer you have. Check with your specific sanitizer’s operating manual for specific pH level recommendations.
6. Brush & Vacuum: Before you can get to swimming, your pool could use a good scrubbing. Take this time to brush and vacuum your pool to loosen up and remove any lingering dirt and debris.
7. Add Pool Shock: With all the hard work you’ve put into opening your pool, take the extra step to keep algae, bacteria, and other contaminants at bay with pool shock. Doing so will help kill off any lingering contaminants that can cause sickness and buildup and help reduce the amount of time spent scrubbing away algae or buildup.
Now What?
We know you’re eager to swim, but the annual pool opening process takes some patience. Give your pool some time to clear up, and ensure your pool water is properly balanced. This may take a few days, but it’s worth the wait. Remember to keep your pool pump running on high while the initial pool opening process takes place.
During this time, clean your filter and test your water chemistry regularly. You may find that some levels could use a little adjusting, so be prepared to add a little acid and chlorine as needed. The whole process of getting your pool to the crystal clear clarity you want generally takes about a week when done correctly. As a general rule, never mix chemicals together.
Final Assessment 
You’ve done it! You have your pool sparkling and your feeling like a champ. Take your time and do a final walk-through of your equipment. Is everything running properly? Are all hand rails, diving boards and slides securely fastened and corrosion free? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself. Be meticulous. Make sure nothing has been overlooked and all is running as it should be. Everything good? Spectacular!
Shop Pool Supply Unlimited for All of Your Pool Supply Needs
Now that you’ve successfully opened your pool for the summer, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the warm weather with regular maintenance made easy with help from Pool Supply Unlimited. Here, we provide the best selection of pool supplies to help you get–and keep–your pool running each season. Browse and shop today to stock up on your in-season swimming essentials!
Have questions? We're here to help! Feel free to comment below, and we'll do everything we can to get you on your way to a crystal-clear pool for a summer of fun.
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