Pool opening or pool startup typically refers to “taking a pool out of hibernation” for our friends in colder climates and for our friends that keep their pools “open” year round then it means getting ready for your first swim or your first pool party of the season.
Either way, it means that the fun is about to start!
Opening a pool after it has been “hibernating”
Where winter temperatures are below freezing for extended periods of time it’s typical to winterize or close pools to prevent damage to equipment and plumbing.
Once the temperature is 60°Fahrenheit consistently then it is time to open the pool and make sure that the water is balanced and sanitized in order to prevent algae growth.
Most of the steps for opening apply to how to open an above ground pool and an inground pool, but you may not need to take certain ones depending on your type of pool and how it was closed.
Either way, the more quickly you get them done the sooner you can start enjoying your pool, so let’s go!
Steps to open a pool
Removing the cover
Clean and drain the water from the top of your pool cover.
Once that’s done you can remove it and then you should spread it out where you can clean it thoroughly and dry it before storing to prevent mold, mildew, and any other nastiness from slowing you down when it’s time to close your pool again.
Remove skimmer plugs or ice compensators and replace pump and filter plugs
If you used an ice compensator (Gizmo is a popular one) remove it and then remove any plugs that are used to keep the water out of the pool pipes or to hold the pool antifreeze.
Once you have removed the plugs and compensators you should clean, label, and store them in your “closing box” for next time.
Don’t forget to replace any return eye fittings or jet covers that were removed when the plugs were installed.
Re-attach deck equipment
Inspect all of the attachments you remove to make sure that they are in good shape and safe for use.
Once they are inspected or replaced also make sure that you lubricate all bolts to prevent rusting during the summer period.
Fill er’ up
It’s common for pools to lose a few inches of water over the season, even with a winter cover.
You can use a garden hose to refill, and be sure to wrap the end in a towel or even consider using a true filter system to help filter out any contaminants.
If you use well water then be sure to test for metals prior to filling and take appropriate steps to prevent staining.
If needed, you can also consider pool water delivery to save some money on water treatment if you have metals or high calcium in your fill water.
OK, remember when you took drivers education and they talked about checking to make sure you have enough air in your tires, oil in your engine, and gas in your tank?
Or I guess they may have updated the curriculum to state “check the level of your battery and ask your car to check tire pressure? Either way, you need to still do that, right? Same for your pool equipment, give it a visual inspection and make sure that there are no cracks in plumbing, frayed wiring, cracked gauges on your filter, or bad seals on your pump lids.
Take some time to lubricate the pump lid O-rings and chlorine feeder O-rings with pool gasket lubricant to help them last longer too while you are there.
If you have a multiport valve, also make sure you replace the air bleeder, pressure gauge, and side glass if equipped.
Also, double check to make sure that your multiport valve is set to “Filter” and you have replaced all plugs in your pumps and filter.
3, 2, 1 lift off
OK now it’s the moment of truth, start the pump and wait for the magic to happen.
Your returns may bubble for a bit while the lines are refilled with water but that should stop within a minute or so.
If it doesn’t, check your pump lid to make sure it is sealing and that the O-ring is seating.
Also double check your skimmers to make sure nothing is blocking the suction.
True story, one of our Sutro team members once found a screwdriver in their 68’ VW bug engine after it had been driven for a year, so it happens.
Do this for each pump you have and ensure that they start up properly and there are no leaks, drips, or weird noises.
Back to life, clean it up, balance it, and let it run
If your pool is clear then congrats, that means you did a good job closing it!
However, many people aren’t that lucky and end up asking “What chemicals do I need to open my pool?”
You can buy a pool start up kit, but that’s kind of like treating a disease before knowing what it actually is.
You should get your water tested first and then identify what needs to be addressed.
It’s pretty much a given that you will want to shock to start the season off on the right foot, even if your water is clear.
Clear water can still harbor dangerous bacteria or lingering algae that are waiting for you to let your sanitizer dip so they can bloom and paint your pool green. Take control and don’t let your pool get the upper hand!
Common problems after opening your pool
Sometimes things don’t go as planned, well sometimes it seems that’s always the case.
Fortunately for pools it’s pretty easy to troubleshoot and get those pesky problems fixed.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common ones.
Filter not working properly
If you find DE or sand in the pool or near the returns, they may have a damaged part such as a lateral in sand filter or a grid in DE filters. Both of these can be pretty easily replaced and should remedy the problem.
Another common issue you may have is high filter pressure and that’s typically a result of dirty filters. This can be fixed by backwashing, however since you are just starting your pool for the season you may as well take them apart and clean them so you are off to a good start.
One of the more challenging issues is losing water. This can be caused by damage to piping or a leak in the pool liner or plaster and is something that is best addressed by a pool professional as it can be a serious repair.
Sometimes water stays cloudy after the initial 24 hours after restart and can be a result of improperly balanced water, improper filtration, or simply a factor of time.
Opening a pool is an exciting part of pool ownership because it means that you are getting ready to make memories. Sutro helps you get your pool balanced and helps you keep it clean and clear all summer long so you can love your pool and focus on having fun!