So winter isn’t quite over, but it is not too soon to start thinking about the warmer weather and the pool opening. You are already planning the outdoor BBQ’s, the family and friends gathered around, splashing and enjoying the refreshing water. Maybe you are daydreaming about lounging, basking in the warm sun, getting your tan perfected, and just enjoying sunbathing with an ice-cold beverage in a koozie. If you have kids, they are probably already asking when they can swim again; they don’t care if it is still too cold. After a long, cold winter, opening your pool can seem like an intimidating task that you are dreading. Nothing to panic and over, after a few simple steps you can have your pool clean, open and ready for fun in no time.
You’re probably wondering, as many people do, ‘when exactly is the best time to open your pool?’ Based on the climate where you live the time of year can vary.
You should probably think about opening your pool when the outside temperatures are going to be consistently above 60°.
You most likely won’t be swimming in the pool until the weather warms up a bit more because unless you have a heater, the water is still going to practically bite you with cold. It is a really good idea not to procrastinate and open your pool as soon as possible.
Algae and pollen can be evil to the pool and atrocious for you to have to deal with. Algae likes the warm temperatures as much as we do. Too much sunlight in your pool without the proper chemicals can allow algae to grow and quickly. People who wait till it is closer to Memorial Day, in May find that they have to tackle the battle of algae for some time up to three weeks! Instead of wasting precious swimming time, make an effort in mid to late March or April to do what is necessary to open your pool. Typically, the pollen increases around the end of April or May and even if you have a nice cover over your above ground pool, being ahead of the pollen season and getting the water circulating correctly can reduce your stress and headaches.
I once heard a great quote “There is no time to wait only time to prepare.”
Time to prepare
Even if you set a weekend out and do all the necessary steps, you are most likely still not going to be swimming that same weekend. Nope, no sir, be prepared that it could take up to a couple of weeks to prepare the pool, clean the water, and balance the chemicals, and then comes the swimming. Most experts advice to plan to start the pool opening process at least three weeks before you want to start swimming.
Just a few steps you will need to do to open your pool, remember some of these steps may not apply to those folks in the more tropical climates.
- Shield of Armor (Pool Cover)
You have to get rid of all that gunk and junk that has been collecting on your pool cover all winter. You will want to remove all standing water, leaves, and debris from the top of the cover. Using a wet vac/ shop vac can also assist to remove the water. Try and get as much debris off the cover as possible so there is less that could fall into the water when you remove the cover.
- Remove The Pool Cover
After getting rid of that junk from the top you will want to carefully remove the cover. If some of the stuff was left on the cover and you get a little bit into the water, it’s not that big of a problem; you will get it later when you clean and sanitize the water with the proper chemicals.
- The Stow and Go (Cleaning & storage of your cover)
To ensure a longer life of your cover you want to clean it before you store it away for the season. Spread the cover out on your lawn or nearby area. Use water, a mild or gentle cleanser like Dawn dish soap and a brush to wash down and clean your cover. I recommended you use a tightly covered plastic container, like a Rubbermaid tote to store your winter cover. This will keep mice, other critters, and bugs from making a nest or eating your cover. These covers can be expensive to replace, and you want to prolong that costly investment as long as possible.
- Remove Winter Plugs (as applicable)
Walk around your pool and make sure you remove all the plugs you may have installed in the weatherization part before winter. Don’t forget to double check the skimmer bucket. If you have used a skimmer plate over the winter, remember that helps keep water out during the winter, and you will want to make sure you remove that too before starting filter system back up. Re-install all your skimmer baskets and eye-ball fittings into the return line.
- Your pool may be thirsty
Depending on the level of your water, you may need to add water to bring it up to the proper level. Make sure the water level is filled to the halfway point of your skimmer.
- All Equipment callings
Most above ground pools have a ladder; you can put that up and check for safety. Make sure to replace all the drain plugs, gauges, and other pieces to your filter system, pump, and other equipment. Some people remove these during the winterizing process. Then, connect all the hoses to your equipment.
- Start your engines (just the pump & filter)
Turn on the power to your pool make sure the system starts up. If your pump is running dry, you may need to prime it. Add water from your garden hose or a bucket of swimming pool water. This will give the pump the boost it needs to start pulling water. Check for any leaks or drips; make sure the ground wires are properly connected to the pump.
- Spring cleaning
You will want to walk around the pool and inspect for debris, dirt, and grime. You will want your pool to be as clean as possible before adding any start-up chemicals. Spot clean the walls and hard-to-reach places with a brush, vacuum the pool, and skim the surface with a net to remove floating debris.
- The test scores are in (test the waters)
Take a sample of your pool water and complete a water test to get your pool water balanced. You may have to take the water sample to a local pool dealer for a thorough and complete water test. You will need to add the proper chemicals and to quickly calculate that check out Pool Calculator. After adding the proper balancing chemicals, you should wait at least 24 hours and retest the water. You may have to repeat a couple of times until perfected.
The moment you are running around outside in shorts, a t-shirt, and your flip flops you will want to be in the pool. Not to mention the children, if you have them, they have been begging you since you took the cover off to go swimming. You will be glad you followed these steps early to be prepared when opening your pool and you can jump right in and enjoy!!!