Follow These Steps to Open Your Pool for Summer Fun

If you have a pool, one of the most exciting parts of summer is the chance to finally go swimming. As the days get warmer, most homeowners count down the days until they can finally jump in the water again. However, after your pool’s been sitting unused all winter, there are a few basic maintenance tasks you need to do. To ensure that your pool’s water and systems are ready for a summer of fun, follow these steps to open your pool for the upcoming season.

Step 1: Prepare the Pool Area After Winter

When learning how to open a pool after winter, the first thing you need to do is clear the area so that you’ll have enough room to work. 

Remove Debris From Your Pool Cover

Start by picking up any debris that is sitting on the pool cover. This will keep leaves, sticks, and dust from falling straight into the water. Some homeowners like to use a soft-bristled broom to reach out and sweep debris off the cover. Others prefer using a spray setting on their hose to rinse off the cover.

Take Off the Cover

Next, walk around your pool and detach each of the anchor straps that hold the cover down. Once the cover is loose, gently pull it away while folding it into a manageable size. Even if you’re just learning how to open an above-ground pool that’s fairly small, a second person will make the job easier. However, you can take the cover off by yourself if necessary Once it’s removed, hang the cover somewhere away from the pool so it can air dry before you store it.

Clean the Pool Deck

The final step of prep work you need to do is simply cleaning up the pool deck. Gather any debris or trash and set it aside. If you have pool furniture, pull it out of the way to give yourself space. Then clean your pool deck with either a hose or a push broom.

Step 2: Inspect the Pool and Your Equipment

You probably inspected your pool before you closed it for the winter, but a lot can happen in a few months. To make sure rogue winter storms didn’t cause any problems for you, here are some tips for inspecting your pool.

Look Around for Any Noticeable Damage to the Pool

Take a walk around your pool to see whether things are in good shape. Look for visible leaks and make sure all valves are in good condition. Examine the surface and edges of your pool for any scratches, discoloration, chips, or wear and tear. If there is any damage, make sure to repair it right away.

Check Your Water Level

Look at the water level to make sure it’s still roughly halfway up your skimmer plate. If winter precipitation has added a lot of extra water to your pool, drain a little of it to bring it back to a reasonable level. If your pool doesn’t have enough water, use your hose to add some.

Go Over Your Pool Equipment

When inspecting your pool, also take the time to look at your equipment. Check to make sure you still know where your vacuum, skimmer, pool cleaner, and other tools are. Quickly examine these items to see whether they’re in good working condition. 

Step 3: Clean and Balance Your Pool Water

For most homeowners, this will be the most complicated part of how to open a pool in spring. After winter, there’s a chance you might have cloudy water or other issues, so you’ll need to carefully balance your water. The exact steps for doing this will vary depending on what type of pool you have.

Saltwater Pools

If you have a saltwater pool, use these tips on how to open a saltwater pool to balance your chemicals: 

  • Test for alkalinity, and adjust until it’s in the 80 to 100 ppm range.
  • Test the pH, and adjust until it’s between 7.4 and 7.6.
  • Test the calcium hardness, and adjust until it’s between 180 and 200 ppm.
  • If desired, use a pool shock to sanitize the pool.
  • Test salt levels, and adjust until it’s between 2,400 and 3,200 ppm.

Chlorine Pools

Most above-ground pools and many in-ground pools are chlorine pools. Follow these steps to balance chlorine pool water:

  • Test for alkalinity, and adjust until it’s in the 80 to 120 ppm range.
  • Test the pH, and adjust until it’s between 7.4 and 7.6.
  • Test the calcium hardness, and adjust until it’s between 200 and 400 ppm.
  • Add a pool shocking solution to sanitize your pool, then wait six hours.
  • Add chlorine until your level is roughly 3 ppm.

Step 4: Start Up Your Pool System

Now that your pool is starting to look like its sparkling self again, you can start up your pool systems. 

Prime the Pool Pump, and Turn It On

Over winter, your pump and plumbing lines have been sitting around empty, so you need to prime them before you start it up. Usually, you’ll need to set your multiport valve to recirculate and open any pool plugs. Next, you can add water to the interior of the pump with a garden hose. After a few minutes of running water, cover the pump with its lid, and turn it on.

Check Your Filter Settings

Pool filters come in a few different styles. Typically, you will need to turn on the filter after priming the pool pump. To do this, just look at the multiport valve, and turn it to “filter” before you start up your pump. 

Start the Pool Heater

If you have a pool heater, you can go ahead and turn it on now. This will give your pool a little time to warm up while you complete the process of opening your swimming pool.

Step 5: Put the Finishing Touches on Getting Your Pool Ready for Summer

To wrap things up, consider a few of these finishing touches.

Skim the Pool

It’s normal for bits of grime to fall into the pool while you’re dealing with the pump or adjusting the water pH. Clear away any remaining leaves or other debris with your pool skimmer.

Brush Your Pool

Use an automatic or manual pool brush to thoroughly scrub the walls and floor of the pool. This helps to lift away any slime that settled onto the surface of the pool over the winter.

Install Accessories

If your pool usually has a slide, basketball hoop, or other fun accessories, go ahead and set them up according to the manufacturer’s directions. You can also reconnect and turn on any pool fountains, lights, or other decor.

When you’re working on opening your pool for the summer, True Value has everything you need to get the job done right. Use our store locator to find a True Value near you.