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    Inground Pool Openings: How to Open Your Pool for Less!

    February 27, 2012
    larryweinberg

    inground pool openings

    Opening your inground pool can be a time consuming and costly project, especially if you've not done it before. Here's my best advice on how to open up your inground pool, with less stress and less mess!

    If you have a mesh safety pool cover, you may be familiar with a "green" pool opening. If so, what I would advise you to do is - 2 weeks before you want to open up the pool - mix up some granular pool shock by adding it to a 5 gallon bucket full of water. Pull open 2 opposite corners of the pool cover and pour the dissolved shock in, then use your pool brush to help distribute the chlorine. As an alternative to shocking the pool, mix a proper dose of our super algaecide in a bucket of water, add to the pool, then recover the pool. In 2 weeks when you take the cover off, your pool water will be much cleaner and clearer. Any algae should be dead and ready to vac out of the pool. Another product that works well for mesh covers, is to use a pool enzyme treatment to get rid of oils and organic contaminants. If your mesh covered pool always opens green, try using Pool Perfect + PhosFree. Our 3-Liter bottle should last for several years, on most pool sizes.

    If you have a solid pool cover that rain and snow melt water builds up on, then it’s time to start pumping the water off the top of the cover.  A good rule of thumb is, while you are pumping water off the top to start putting fresh water in underneath to raise the cover up. During the process, you can also use a pool leaf net (bag style) to scoop leaves and debris from the top of the cover. Tightening up the cover by pulling on the sides and corners will make it easier to remove debris and water. One trick I like to do on inground pool openings is to use a leaf blower underneath the pool cover, to quickly move the water and debris to one side of the pool. Just be careful not to melt the cover with the blower exhaust!

    After the cover is removed and cleaned - it’s time to start hooking back up your pool equipment.  Basically you are replacing anything that was removed when you closed it down last fall. Reinstall such things as drain plugs, hoses, gauges. Lubricate any o-rings on the pump basket or chlorinator lids. At the pool, install skimmer baskets and eyeball fittings, safety line rope, etc.

    If you have a Sand filter system - the filter sand usually lasts 5-7 years before the edges wear down and make filtering inefficient. Removing the filter top, you can check your sand bed to feel for channeling, calcification or mud-balling.  Feeling the sand with your hands, by reaching down into the tank, you can determine if the sand can make it another season or if you want to replace your filter sand. You should use only Pool Filter Sand, 45-55mm, also known as #20 silica sand - or replace it with our ZeoBest sand substitute for better filtration. If you'd rather delay the sand change, using sand filter cleaner during pool opening will rejuvenate the sand's filtering ability.

    If you have a Cartridge filter, check your cartridges make sure they are in good shape, free of any rips in the fiber, or cracks in the end caps. They should also be clean of debris and oils. If you have never used cartridge filter cleaner, you should give it a try, to remove pore clogging minerals and oils. Filter cartridges generally last only 2-4 years before needing replacement. To find your filter cartridge, use our handy utility to search for the correct replacement for your cartridge filter.

    If you have a D.E. filter, the grids should be inspected closely to ensure that they have no rips and are free of debris. If your grids were not properly cleaned last fall, and sat in a dry tank all winter ... shame on you! If this happened, remove the grids and hose very thoroughly, then soak the grids or entire assembly in DE filter cleaner to unclog the fabric. If last season you noticed that debris or DE powder was coming back into your pool, springtime filter grid replacement is a good idea. We sell entire sets of replacement DE grids, (7 large, 1 small). It's usually best to replace all of the grids at once - if some grids are beginning to tear, the others are probably soon to follow. DE filter grids usually last 7-10 years before needing a replacement set of filter grids.

    Now that your pool is up and running, it's time to check on the pool chemistry.  Your best option may be our Spring start-up chemical kits, which has everything you need at one time and at a good savings also.  Alternative to an opening kit - what every pool owner needs as a basic necessity would be pool shock and chlorine tablets. Having pH adjustment chemicals on hand is important, and some pools really need to use algaecide, clarifiers or metal removers.

    Every pool will also need a reliable method of testing the pool water. If you don't have a test kit or test strips that can check for everything (Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium, Stabilizer), then you may want to make a visit to a local pool store with a water sample. Keep in mind that the pool store will use this as a sales tool, and their machine will print out a nice shopping list for you, of items you may already have or can obtain online for a cheaper price.

    Testing the water everyday for several days or weeks may be necessary when you open the pool - to get the water balance right. Use fresh, new test kits or test strips to know what you need to add to the water to balance your chemical levels. This is really one of the most important steps for a trouble free swimming pool for your upcoming pool season. Unbalanced pool water can give you water chemistry problems throughout the swimming season.

    Now then, let's review. We have removed the cover, started the filtration, tested and balanced the pool water...what's left? Two things come to mind. First, adjust your circulation by aiming any wall mounted return fittings in the same direction. Aim these wall fittings just slightly at the water surface with the goal of creating a circular flow pattern around the pool. Adjust any incoming suction valves so that skimmers and drains are all pulling with some amount of equilibrium.

    Secondly, and lastly - it's time to clean the pool. Unless you have an amazing pool cover, your pool will likely need some vacuuming and brushing. Hose off the pool deck, or give it a bucket wash with your chlorinated pool water. Clean the tiles off and scrub the inside walls of your pool skimmer.

    After the chlorine levels subside to 1-3ppm, and all other water balance parameters are in range - it's time to jump in!

    Enjoy your pool season! If you have any questions along the way this summer, give us a call here at 800-983-POOL  

    Larry Weinberg
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
    larryweinberg
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