Opening Your Inground Pool
It’s that time of year and you need to open your inground swimming pool. We’ve created an easy to follow 14 step guide to help you out with this process.
1. Unless you have lots of friends, a pool cover pump, leaf blower, soap, and time to whisk away debris, lay the cover out, let it dry, and fold it back up, I suggest get a pool company to do this for you. Costs about $200. Safety covers are even more difficult to handle requiring a football team to hold and fold the cover as it is retracted from the pool. The good news is that there is no cleanup and the cover can be folded and stored immediately. The cost is either pizza and beer for your friends or about $150 from your local pool company.
2. Everything else you can do yourself. Thank the pool company and send them on their way. They will want to open the pool with their (expensive) opening kit. Respectfully tell them “No”. Save your money.
3. Depending on how well you closed your inground swimming pool the previous season and what kind of winter it was, your water will either be clear or murky green. TIP: The earlier you open your pool, the better. Even if you don’t use it right away, open your pool while the water is still cold. Algae needs sunlight and warmth to bloom.
4. Skim any debris that fell in during the cover removal and any leaves and worms that can be easily reached.
5. Remove plugs and ice compensator and reinstall ladder, diving board, accessories that were removed at year end. TIP: Replace accessories that are worn. Waiting “one more year” could be costly if the parts are no longer available for your model pool.
6. Add excess fresh water to compensate for water lost when you vacuum the bottom of the pool. Otherwise the pump will lose prime when it runs out of water.
7. Examine your pump and filter and inground swimming pool heater, (and salt water generator if you have one), for wear or damage. Lubricate where applicable. TIP: Ensure that the filter plugs have been reinstalled or retightened. If pool antifreeze (non toxic) was used to close, set the filter to WASTE.
TIP: Make sure that your input and output valves are OPEN before running the filtration system. If the pressure gauge spikes or the pump sounds like it is laboring and no water is circulating, TURN OFF immediately and check to ensure the valves are set correctly.
8. It is crucial that the filter is clean and in excellent working condition. The No. 1 cause of cloudy water is an inefficient or undersized filter. TIP: This is a good time to replace sand. Regardless, replace sand after 6 years.
9. Run your filter and vacuum the bottom of the pool regardless if you can see the bottom or not. TIP: Be patient and either send to WASTE or backwash the filter frequently. Empty the skimmer basket frequently. Do not bypass the basket even if you are on WASTE setting. If you have a robot, congratulations, let it run and do the work.
TIP: You will have to be vigilant in changing the robots filter bag as it will probably fill quickly. This is a gross operation, but a robot is a real time saver. And fun to watch.
10. With the water level at the normal skimmer level, set the filter to FILTER and run as normal. Use your pool brush to brush the steps, sides and reachable bottom. TIP: Don’t be afraid to stir up the debris. That’s the whole idea. This is what the pros do to save time. They let the filter clear the water.
11. By far, the cheapest and most efficient opening chemicals are 1) liquid Chlorine, and 2) CLEAN and CLEAR an all in one natural mineral mix by C-Pool and Spa. They work well together. The chlorine will sanitize and shock the water and the CLEAN & CLEAR will kill algae and clarify and balance the water to its natural levels. TIP: Do not turn your pool into a chemical swamp. Let the filter and natural minerals do their work. It may take a little longer, but it will be healthier.
12. Keep the filter running 24/7 until the water is diamond clear. Backwash (sand filters) or clean or replace (cartridge filters) every day until the water is clear. TIP: Invest in a backup cartridge filter. It will save time and come in handy during the busy season.
13. After the water is clean and clear, set the filter to your normal setting. TIP: Pool filtration systems take surprisingly little energy to run. If you are able, run constantly for cleaner water.
14. Test strips (have only a 1 year life) can be used to ensure the correct range for pH, alkalinity and hardness, but remember that these are suggested ranges. If your water is perfectly clear and problem free, DO NOT CHASE the perfect water balance. You are most likely there already.