How To Open Your In Ground Swimming Pool

by Pool Builders on 12-10-2013 in Articles

Great!

It's hard to enjoy your pool when all you do is work on it... Just like a boat, a pool can be a lot of work, but it doesn't have to be!

You may be asking yourself questions like: "can I open a swimming pool by myself?" or "is opening a swimming pool hard?" Well... Here's a quick list of things that you have to do in order to get your pool up and running. Is this an exhausted list? Nope... So you be the judge on whether or not you should open your own swimming pool or give your local professional a call.

Opening a pool after the winter months can be a daunting task. And by daunting, we mean that (for the average person) it's not the most fun thing to do on the spring to do list.

There's a lot of work that goes into opening a pool and that includes things like:

  • Step 1 in opening a swimming pool:
  • Removing the cover
    • Solid Cover (a little more work)
      • Sounds easy but you must remember to remove the remaining rain and/or snow melt before doing so
      • Drain the water bags (or whatever you're using to hold the cover on... there are a few different ways that it's done)
      • Remove the cover by fan folding it
      • Hose the cover clean
      • Let the cover dry (or put a fan on it to expedite the process)
      • Then roll it tightly and secure it so that it doesn't open and/or get damaged during the season


    • Mesh Cover (safety cover)
      • Use a brush/broom/leaf blower... to get rid of the leaves on top of the cover
      • Remove the springs from the anchors with the appropriate removal tool
      • If you can't find your removal tool you can use a 3/4" pipe to lever the springs
      • Get out your 9/16" allen wrench to secure the anchors in the down position (so they're flush with the deck)
      • Clean and lubricate the anchors
      • Fan fold the cover (like an accordion)
      • Use a broom or something similar (even a leaf blower) to clean the cover as you fold it
        • If you fold it seam to seam and roll it like a sleeping bag it'll work out nicer for you in the end


      • Make sure it's dry before you move it inside for storage
        • If you're going to store it outside, make sure it's off the ground and moth balls are a good touch. It's no fun to find rodents in there when you go to close your pool...


  • Step 2 in opening a swimming pool (yeah, we're only on step 2):

  • Restarting the Filter / Pump System
    • Take the expansion plugs off of the skimmers and wall returns (sometimes they're called freeze plugs)
    • Don't lose these guys, so put them in a sandwich bag or something that you won't lose that will keep them all together. If you put them by the cover it'll be harder to lose. If they're dry or cracked, replace them along with the wall fittings
    • Time to put the filter, heater, pump, and all of that good stuff back together
    • Put the drain plugs into the pump, filter, chlorinator, heater, etc... If it's an above ground pool, reattach the hoses you took off when you closed the pool
    • Replace pump and skimmer baskets, pool ladders, pressure gauges, divings boards, etc... all of the stuff you need to get in and out of the pool and keep it running properly
    • Make sure you use thread sealant like teflon tape on all of the threaded plugs and connections (don't over tighten these guys either... things can crack and remember... you eventually have to get these things off when you close the pool, or have us do it for you)
    • If you have a D.E. powder tight filter, ensure that the clamp band is snug and in the right position! (it may have been removed when you closed the pool to have the filter grids yanked and cleaned with a hose, so be sure to get it re-installed correctly)
    • Place the filter valve to filter position and open air bleeder (usually beneath the pressure gauge)
    • Make sure to open all of the incoming valves before the pump and all of the return side valves after the filter
    • Lube up the valves and o-rings as needed
    • Fill the pump basket with water from the pool or the hose
    • Put the pump lid back on tightly and check for leaks. Double check that the valves and pressure relief ports are open
    • Place the filter valve in the proper position
    • Put the Push-Pull Valves (a.k.a. slide valves) in the down position (for most D.E. filters) and in the up position for Pac-Fab sand filters (or you can engage the pump with the valve in the drain to waste position, and when water starts to pour out of the waste line, turn the pump off. Place the valve into the recirculate position and run the pump until the water flows into the pool. Then turn the pump off, turn the valve to the filter position and you're done with this part) Getting tired yet? Give us a call and we can do it for you!
    • Power on the pump and start the system. Watch the pressure gauge closely (leave your hand on the power switch to be safe!). Turn it off if pressure rises above normal range (usually around 30psi)
    • Check that all return side valves are open and if there's no pressure build up and the pump isn't pumping, shut the power off after about a minute
    • Do this priming process over again and if it still won't prime up, close the main drain valve (if you have one) and start the skimmer by itself. If the pump still won't prime after a few attempts, check the incoming pipes for air leaks. If you still can't get it, call us
    • Repair the things that need repairing (obviously). Add a pound of D.E. powder per 5 sq ft of filter area into the skimmer (only if you have a D.E. filter, duh). Do this within 2 minutes of starting the filter! If you have a cartridge filter, get a new cartridge element every 2 years. Replace sand in sand filters every 5 years.
    • Once the system is up and running, adjust the valves and return fittings for proper flow. Look for leaks around the pump and filter as well. Take note of the start up pressure on the filter gauge. When psi is +10 on this number, backwash the filter. Emtpy the pump basket too if you notice a drop in filter pressure. If you're lucky enough to have a heater, follow all of the instructions that it came with! They're usually on the back of the front heater door.


  • Step 3 in opening your pool

  • (You've done the hard stuff, now just some maintenance to make sure it's safe to swim in, PHEW!)
    • Time to inspect everything! (again)
      • When you're opening your pool it's always best to check to make sure that everything's in proper running condition. Things like cleaning, inspecting, replacing parts, lubrication... all can make your swim season a breeze. Nobody wants to plan a pool party only to find that it's completely filthy because your pump hasn't been working properly. So note the water level, watch for leaks, check and monitor the pressure, look for hazardous electrical conditions like broken conduit, connectors, lack or proper grounding or bonding, and/or exposed wires!


    • Clean the pool
      • Skim, vacuum, brush... this one's pretty self explanatory.


    • Check and balance chemistry
      • Make sure to use a good quality pool water test kit, not one from the dollar store, and replace it every spring (or once a year). Follow the directions on the package and you'll be fine. You don't have to be a chemist to get this one done. However, if you're having issues, give us a call and we'll help you, no worries.
      • Always read the instructions on packaging for proper handling, treatments, and application of the pool chemicals (you don't want to burn your skin or your clothes... )

So these are your tips on how to open your in ground (or above ground) pool.

If you run into snags along the way, which happens... give your local swimming pool professional a call.

Disclaimer: This is for entertainment purposes only. Please follow any and all directions at your own discretion. And and all of the information used should not be used in place of the owners manual.

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