How to properly open your pool
Overview of Pool Opening Procedure
A pool properly closed and maintained during the winter months can prevent many headaches and make preparation for a new season of swimming involve a minimal effort.
Pump, hose, or sweep away water, dirt, or debris from the cover and deck. Remove the cover and plugs from all openings.
If the water was in good shape at the end of last season, proper cover removal will ensure that your pool should open relatively clear.
If the lights were removed at the pool closing re-install them in their niches.
Turn on the electric power and start up the pool equipment. Check for leaks and proper operation. If you find any problems, consult your owner's manual, contact a local pool service company or start a new thread. Have the heater professionally serviced before you use it.
Run a full set of tests with your recommended test kit, Test Kits Compared. Adjust pH and raise FC up to shock level for your CYA, FC/CYA Chart. Running the pump 24 hours a day at the beginning of the season may be beneficial to getting the pool water balanced. You can reduce the pump operating time once you've got the water in shape. After several hours of operation, test the chlorine level and adjust it as needed. Perform an Overnight Chlorine Loss Test the first or second night to see if you need to SLAM the pool.
Opening the Pool (General)
The reopening process begins the moment the pool is closed. By keeping an eye on the pool over the winter, the reopening process becomes that much easier. Snow or rain can raise the water level or sink the cover. Since heavy debris can fall in, it is better to remove it immediately than waiting till the spring. Reopening the pool entails reversing the instructions for closing it. The following is a handy checklist:
Supplies- Take the supplies (chemicals) out of storage and replace those that have exceeded the expiration date.
Uncover Pool- Remove the cover, and then clean it. Allow it to dry (to prevent mildew) before folding and storing it for the summer.
Equipment- Reinstall or reassemble the pump, filter, and other removed items.
Deck- Reinstall ladders, diving board, and other deck fittings. If used at closing time, most of the petroleum jelly used to coat exposed metal fittings will have weathered off. Use a dry cloth towel to wipe off the remaining residue.
Plumbing- Remove the plugs and replace return outlet fittings.
Refilling the Pool- Bring the water level up to normal.
Electrical- Restore circuit breakers, switches, and time clock trippers to normal operating positions.
Cleaning- Restart the circulation equipment and clean the pool.
Chemistry- Balance the water chemistry and check the levels frequently during the first few days (until they stabilize).
Run the circulation system 24 hours straight for several days or until the water has cleared completely. Depending on how dirty the pool became over the winter, the filter may need to be backwashed frequently during this period. Backwash the filter when the pressure rises 20-25% above clean pressure.
Opening the Pool (Detailed)
Remove the leaves and debris from the pool cover with a leaf net and/or skimmer net. Pump off any excess rain water with a submersible pump. If an above ground pool, the excess water may be siphoned off instead. Remove cover. Try to minimize the amount of water and/or debris that gets into the pool water. You will be adding shock to the water and filtering it soon, so don't fret if some dirty water makes its way into pool.
Lay out pool cover and sweep or brush off any remaining debris. If you do not store your cover indoors, then you do not have to be meticulous about getting the cover particularly spotless. If you do keep it in the garage or basement, you may want to clean it to a greater extent. Properly fan-fold cover and store away. Empty the water out of any water tubes you may have. On above ground pools, deflate the air pillow.
Unplug all piping, both in the pool and at the filter system area. Re-attach any deck equipment you have such as ladders, rails, diving boards, etc. Make sure to reconnect any grounding or bonding wires or straps that may have been attached to the metal parts last year. Lubricate all bolts on the diving board, ladders and/or rails. This will prevent them from rusting over the summer. Remember, you are probably the one who will be closing the pool, so you want the bolts to come off easily at closing time. Re-install the skimmer baskets and any return jet eyeball fittings. If an above ground pool, you may have to re-attach the actual skimmer and return fittings onto the pool. If an above ground pool, also hookup any hoses from the skimmer and return jets to the pump and filter.
Hook up pump, filter and any other additional equipment you might have like booster pumps, spa equipment, waterfall circulation pumps, heaters, etc. Turn on the power to the pool equipment. You may have to turn on the circuit breaker from the house. Start and check system. Check for leaks or drips. Make sure any grounding and bonding straps or wires are properly connected to the pump and any other components that need them. Make sure the pump primes properly and check for proper flow. Backwash the filter thoroughly. Add new DE if you have a DE filter. If some pieces of equipment do not appear to be operating properly, and you cannot repair the problem yourself, contact a local pool professional for assistance or start a new thread.
Pool Opening - The Soap Opera
Sometimes things don't go so smoothly after you open your pool. Here are some common problems and solutions for them:
Obvious drips coming from filter tank, pump or visible pipes...
Try tightening the fittings or lubricating o-rings with silicone grease.
Sand in pool under or near the return jets...
It could be the pool has an underground pipe leak or it could mean that something in the sand filter is cracked. If you are losing water as well, we suggest contacting a local pool professional. If you are not losing water, then take apart the sand filter and look for a cracked part. Routine Pump/Filter Maintenance
DE in pool under or near the return jets...
This means there is something in the DE filter that is ripped or cracked. Take the filter apart and look for cracked part or ripped element. Routine Pump/Filter Maintenance
DE filter isn't putting out enough water pressure and/or isn't effectively filtering the pool...
You should backwash the filter immediately. Add new DE. If problem persists, filter may be in need of an "acid wash", Use and care for DE filters
Sand filter isn't putting out enough water pressure and/or isn't effectively filtering the pool...
You should backwash the filter immediately. If problem persists, filter may be in need of a deep clean, Deep Cleaning a Sand Filter
You notice many air bubbles mixing with the water coming out of the return jets...
Probably means that there is a suction line leak, Suction Side Air Leaks
You notice settled or wet dirt. You see bricks or patio blocks around the skimmers or return jets settling or sinking into the ground...
Probably means an underground pipe leak at that point, Leak Detection
Pump makes a loud squealing noise, it heats up or is not running to its full capability...
This indicates that the pump is in need of professional service. Either remove it and bring it to a pool store or pump shop for repair, or simply replace the pump, Troubleshooting your Pump/Filter