Winter is over and it’s time for aboveground pool openings; I’m sure you want to try to save any money you can and get this accomplished as easily as possible. Lets see if I can help you with that.
Remove, Clean & Fold the Winter Cover
To start, the first step is removing the water off the top of your pool cover - assuming you protected it with a solid cover for winter. While pumping or siphoning off the water you will want to start filling up the pool underneath the cover to help raise the cover. A little trick is to get a Frisbee and turn it upside down and put your pool cover pump or end of your siphon hose in there. This will prevent water from coming up through small holes in the cover and being pumped out.
After the water is pumped off, it’s time to remove the pool cover. Several hands will help keep the dirty topside of the cover from dipping into the clean pool water. It is a good idea to lay the cover out when it’s off the pool to clean it off and let it dry off before you fold it up and put it away for the season. A clean concrete driveway is ideal, cleaning it one section at a time. A clean lawn is second best, but don't leave the grass covered too long, or it may turn brown.
After cleaning, drying and folding your pool cover, place it in a cool, dry, indoor location. Don’t leave the pool cover on the floor of a shed or on the ground out doors, ants and rodents love to make a home in there for the summer season. Small bugs and rodents seem to love the taste and you may see your pool cover loaded with holes when you put it on for the winter season.
Hook-up the Pump & Filter
Now let’s proceed, it’s time to hook up the filter. Check your filter hoses for pin holes or cracks and make sure the clamps holding them on are in good shape also. Now is a great time to replace these items rather than to have a problem and need them immediately in season. Hook up the suction and discharge hoses, and make sure the pump is full of water before you plug it in and turn it on. The pump should be powered by a GFCI breaker, and preferably on a timeclock, so that you don't run the pump all day, or turn it off and forget to turn it back on.
If you have a cartridge pool filter make sure the cartridge is in good shape - look for any holes or splits. On a DE filter check all the grids for rips in the fabric and make sure they're clean also. If your filter (grids or cartridges) were not cleaned last full when you closed the pool, take the time now to soak the filters in a filter cleaner chemical, and then hose thoroughly clean.
If you have a sand filter, spring is the ideal time to replace or rejuvenate the filter sand. Most pool filter sand lasts 5-7 years, if the filter is not overworked or undersized. Remove your winter plugs or whatever you used to plug your skimmer and return lines. Replace the directional eyeball fitting in the return(s), and the skimmer basket. Make sure the weir door is in proper position. Now if your pool was nice and clean when you closed it for the winter, and your cover held up all winter, the pool should be fairly clean. If that is the case, a Pool Opening Chemical Kit is the way to go, providing you with all the chemicals (and test strips) you need to get it up and running fast. We put together our Start-Up kits together to save folks money; they start at just $23!
Check & Balance the Pool Water
If your pool water is a mess then you will probably need to order some specialized chemicals. For algae or cloudy pool water, you may need a heavy dose of pool shock and for tough cases - you may need to follow up the shock treatment with an algae treatment such as our Super Algaecide. This powerful, 7% copper algaecide, works fast for quick spring clean-ups.
Let the filter run for a day and then get a water sample and test it to see what you need to balance the pool water for the season. If you don't have a full-on pool test kit or test strips, many pool stores will test your water, and print out a report (with the goal of selling you some pool chemicals). Balancing your pool water is a very important step to ensure a trouble free season with your pool water. The tests you want to do on the pool water are:
pH - 7.2 - 7.8 Stabilizer - 40-80ppm Total Alkalinity - 80-120ppm Calcium Hardness - 180-220ppm
Also a Phosphate test is worth doing also, if you have had any recent (like now) algae blooms. With a high phosphate level, it becomes very hard to keep balanced, algae-free pool water. If you have had repeated algae blooms, take a look at our phosphate removal chemical, PhosFree.
Get that cover off, hook up your filter, get your chemical kit, balance your water and have a great swimming season this year. If you run into any difficulties, know that we are always here, by phone or email - to help you find a low cost solution!
SPP Pool Expert