How to Open Your Above Ground Pool: A Step-By-Step Guide
For us pool lovers here in Florida, we don't typically close our pools as it's usually warm enough all year long to keep them up and running. But for our readers in other parts of the country Spring signifies the return of flowers, fresh breezes, and sunshine – it's a signal to tell you it's time to start prepping your pool for the summer. Sure, you've closed the fun zone for the past few months, and hopefully you've winterized safely and correctly. But now it's time to do the opposite and get your private water park ready for yourself, your family, and your friends. Below, we'll tell you exactly what you need and what you need to do to make that happen.
Things You’ll Need
- Pool Shock - This powerful chemical treatment will raise your chlorine levels high enough to kill virtually all contaminants that may have taken hold over the winter.
- Pool Algaecide - Algae doesn’t care about warm or cold, and who knows what happened during the months your pool was covered. Just in case, you’ll want algaecide in your corner.
- Test Kit - As a pool owner, you should already have your chemical testing kit. However, now would be a great time to make sure you have enough of everything you need to accurately test alkalinity, calcium hardness, and more.
- Chlorine - Your go-to sanitizer, make sure you have enough chlorine on hand to make it through the summer.
- Chorine Stabilizer - This is the conditioner that helps maximize your chlorine's effectiveness. If you want clean water all summer long, this is a must-have product.
- Alkalinity Increaser / Decreaser - You’ll need enough of these chemicals to make sure your alkalinity is dialed in just right.
- pH Plus / Minus - As with your alkalinity, you’ll need pH Plus and Minus products to get your acidity at the right levels.
- Filter Media - Now is a great time to either replace your filter outright or get your hands on new silica sand or other filter media.
Opening Your Above Ground Pool
- Remove the Cover - The first step in the pool opening process is to remove your winterization cover. However, chances are that the cover is littered with excess water, leaves, sticks, and other debris. Should you attempt to merely slide your cover off, this will all end up in your pool. I suggest you take a skimmer and a pool cover pump to the task. Just remember to be very gentle when removing debris, and it can easily puncture the material, which may render it useless for next season.
- Clean and Dry Your Cover - The second step is to carefully scrub and spray down your winter pool cover before you store it. I suggest using either a specific pool cover cleaner or a car wash soap to do this. This will help remove any bacteria or mold that may have adhered to the material, as well as any remnants of dirt or debris. Ensure you allow it to dry thoroughly (your driveway is a great spot) before packing it away. Stashing a wet cover for a full summer is practically guaranteed to result in mildew.
- Clear Plugs and Attach Equipment - The next step in de-winterization is to begin removing winter plugs for the return openings, jets, and skimmer buckets. After this is complete, go ahead and start connecting your filter system and any other equipment necessary for your pool to function.
- Be sure to examine your above ground pool, pool liner and filter system for sign of wear, degradation, leaks or rust. This is important not only for safety but also to save money and time. A leaky or bad pool liner is something you will want to replace before spending money on chemicals. It would be a shame to drain the pool water after getting it balanced.
- Add Water and Start the Filter - You may need to add water to your pool to compensate for evaporation. As you do so, I suggest connecting a filter to your hose to help screen out impurities that might cause a problem down the line. You should have an idea of the level you're going for, but you'll want to at least make sure your pool is filled to the halfway point of your skimmer. Run the filter as you do this to get the water cycling.
- Skim, Vacuum, and Scrub – Now is the time to use some elbow grease and get that pool water as clean as possible. Alternate between vacuuming, skimming, and scrubbing until all the leaves, acorns, and debris are removed, and your walls are clear of any grime or mildew.
- Balance Your Water – Before we move into the most important step, you'll want to make sure your pH, alkalinity, and hardness are good to go. Get out your test kit and start your measurements, adding alkalinity increaser/decreaser and pH plus/minus as needed.
- Time to Shock the Pool – Regardless of how well you winterized, it’s always a great idea to start your summer out by shocking your pool. This will raise the chlorine level to a point where virtually no bacteria, fungus, or microorganism can survive. I recommend 1 pound of powder per 5,000 gallons of pool water. You may also decide to add an algaecide at this time to further ensure pool clarity. Remember to shock at night for optimal effectiveness, and be sure to run your pool filter for 12-24 hours after shocking!
- Test Again and Add Equipment – Once the shocking process is over, it's time to re-test your water to ensure everything is at optimum levels. You'll certainly want to make sure that the shock has dissipated and the chlorine levels have returned to normal before letting anyone into the pool. Once you're happy with your readings, you can install your ladder and other pool equipment. However, I would suggest checking these items for mildew, corrosion, or damage first. After all, you don't want to undo all that hard work you just did by sticking a moldy ladder in your pool!
- As you can see, opening your above ground pool after winterization is nothing you can't handle. The main thing to keep in mind is that you want ensure everything that goes in or comes out of the pool is properly cleaned and sanitized. After all, your pool is basically its own ecosystem, so anything that goes into it needs to be ready to help that ecosystem thrive. Follow the steps above, and you and your family will be ready to enjoy a summer of fun in no time. Check us out online at PoolsAboveGround.com, we are here to help with all your above ground pool needs.