How to Open Your Pool for the Summer

The temperature is steadily rising and the days are getting longer, which means summer is rapidly approaching. Here at NAMCO, we live in pool season year long, so we are very excited to provide a guide on how to open a pool for the summer.

As you plan to open your pool, then there are a few things to do as preparation to save time and energy once you start the process. Opening a pool is an annual occurrence (for those living in the Northeast), so it is a great time to conduct an annual check up on your supplies and equipment. Like taking care of most things, conducting preventative maintenance on your pool will help save money over the long term.

Plus, if anything needs to be fixed or replaced, then it is good to know at the beginning of the season. And, there should be some nice sales at the start of the pool season.

Prep Work and Preventative Maintenance

First, consult your pool owner’s manual for exact specifications or variations. However, the general preventative measures should be pretty consistent across all varieties of pools. The basis of preventative pool maintenance includes checking existing equipment and safety precautions to ensure no damage was done over the winter. In the Northeast, due to the exceptionally long and difficult winter, this is an important step.

Prior to completing the annual upkeep and preventative maintenance, then review the inventory of materials needed to open and maintain your pool over the summer. To open your pool, then you’ll need some basics that include equipment, notably the pool cover pump, pool opening chemicals to prep the water, supplies such as winter cover cleaner and accessories like brooms or skimmers.

Next, check the foundation of your pool and general system equipment. Nobody wants a leaky pool, so as your begin to ready your pool for the summer, then check the water level at the beginning of the process to ensure there is not a leak as your work on the pool over the next day or so.  If you are opening an above ground pool, then this step helps confirm no winter damage was done to your pool over the winter.

Following this step, check your system equipment such as cleaning, lubricating, inspecting and replacing component parts. Additionally, check for pressure leaks that may result in pipes or equipment blowing apart.

Finally, there are some basic safety hazards related to the electrical equipment and general safety. During this time, check for broken conduits or connectors, lack of proper grounding/bonding and exposed wires. Additionally, look around the pool area and ensure there are no tripping or slipping hazards. Other safety precautions include confirming the gates and/or doors around the pool are locked and/or alarmed. Also, think about your yard’s summer hotspots and double check that any natural barriers like shrubs or trees are not prohibiting the view of your pool. If so, then take some time to trim the shrubs or tree limbs to ensure there is a clear view of the pool from your house and other main seating areas of your yard.

After reviewing your current stock of pool equipment and supplies, then consider replacing any old, expired or broken items.

Now, you are ready to open your pool!

1. Remove Cover

To remove your pool cover, first remove the water and debris that reside on the cover from the winter. In order to save time and energy, consider using a pool cover pump to remove the water from the pool cover. Once the water is pumped off the cover, then remove the debris. It is important to use a soft broom or skimmer so the cover is not damaged. Please note that the more care to remove debris at this stage will help reduce the debris that must be removed once the cover is off the pool.

winter_pool_cover

Once the water and debris is removed, then clean the cover will some dishwasher soap and allow the pool cover to dry in order to prevent mildew from forming over the summer.

However, please note that if the cover is left on the grass for an extended period of time, then it is possible it will kill your grass. After the cover is dry, then store it in an airtight container to prevent any critters from damaging the pool cover over the season.

2. Remove Winter Plugs and Accessories

As last summer faded and fall emerged, then you took painstaking strides to close up your pool. Some of the key items to note during this process is loosen and remove the plugs from the skimmer and then install the eyeball jets where the plugs were removed.

For a nice visual of the process, then check out steps 7 thru 19 in this WikiHow article. The benefit of this article are the simple instructions and images that walk through the process.

3. Connect Pool Equipment and Filter

Part of the pool setup was completed in the previous step, but there is a little more to do to at this stage. As part of connecting the pool equipment, then you want to take some time to install the pool pump. If you are pool veteran, then these stage should be like riding a bike. If you are a new pool owner, then it is good to check the owner’s manual as well for specific connection information. For example, one quick tip regarding your pump is it may need to be primed (if it is not working properly), so simply add some pool water to pump to get it started.

Also, at this stage, then connect the pool steps and ladders. It is a good time to inspect and clean the pool ladder to ensure a safe and fun pool experience. Friends and family will use the pool ladder all summer long, so make sure it is properly and safely secured to the pool.

girl_on_pool_ladder

If you took an inventory of your current parts and equipment, then you should have working parts. If you find a problem during the installation phase, then check out these online specials for pool parts and necessities.

Equally important, one of the major pieces to connect is the filter. NAMCO provided detailed instructions based on various filter types in a previous post.

• Sand Filter
• Element Filter
• De Filter

4. Remove Debris

Depending on your yard and attention to detail while remove the pool cover, you may have various amounts of debris in your pool. It is very common to have some twigs, leaves and other parts of nature in your pool, but important to take the time to remove at this point in the process.

Hopefully there is not an excessive amount of debris. During the next phase, adding chemicals to shock the pool water, the chlorine seeks out debris. The less debris (basically twigs and leaves) in the pool, then the less chemicals will be needed to clean your pool water. This will save time and money!

Man cleaning his above ground swimming pool.

5. Fill the Pool

After any and all pool debris is removed, the pumps, filters and hoses are properly connected, then it is time to fill the pool with water.

6. Test and Balance Pool Water

Before the kids jump in the pool, then it is important to test and balance the pool water. NAMCO finds the following water levels work well for general pool conditions.

  1. Total Alkalinity: Range 80-140 PPM

    1. If below 80 PPM: Adjust with Blue Shield A.B. C

    2. If above 140 PPM: Adjust with Blue Shield pH Decrease

  2. pH: Range 7.2 – 7.6

    1. If below 7.2: Adjust with Blue Shield pH Increase.

    2. If above 7.6: Adjust with Blue Shield pH Decrease.

  3. Water Hardness: Range 150-300 PPM

    1. If below 150 PPM: Adjust with Blue Shield Cal Plus.

    2. If above 300 PPM: Consult NAMCO store personnel for instructions

  4. Conditioner: Range 50-70 PPM

    1. If below 50 PPM: Adjust with Blue Shield Conditioner/Stabilizer.

    2. If above 70 PPM: Consult NAMCO store personnel for instructions.

For more information regarding the correct levels and a downloadable spreadsheet, then check out this resource.

If there are any questions regarding the safety of your pool water, then bring in your test strips your local NAMCO store for some assistance.

7. Routine Sanitation

Once the water conditions are set, then there is a final step to complete prior to enjoying your pool all summer long. Set up the routine sanitation at the start of the season to get into regular maintenance and ensure the chlorine levels are acceptable.

Test the chlorine level, which will likely be around 0.0 PPM after the long winter. If algae is NOT present, then super-chlorinate the pool water. NAMCO suggests Blue Shield Sani-Shock 2 and follow this process:

• Add 1 lb of Sani-Shock 2 per 7,500 gallons of water.
• Sani-Shock should be mixed into a bucket of water before it is added to the pool.
• Do not add directly to pool – liner bleaching may occur.

Other super-chlorinators that can be used are Blue Shield Liquid Chlorine, Blue Shield 12.5% Shock, and Blue Shield Econo Shock.

However, if algae IS present, then follow the steps above and add Blue Shield Algaecide. If the algae is very bad, then the strongest and fastest acting algaecides are Blue Shield Mustard Algae Eliminator and Blue Shield Black Algae Eliminator and refer to labels for exact dosage for your pool.

To remove the algae, simply repeat super-chlorination and algaecide dosage as necessary and then add Blue Shield Chlorine (Blue Shield Jumbo Slo-Pokes, Slo Tabs, PDQ Tabs, Liquid Chlorine).

For the most effective method of chlorine application, then follow these steps based on the type of chlorine selected.

• Blue Shield Jumbo Slo-Poke Tabs, or Slo Tabs: Dispense into pool water through Proline Chlorinator or floating feeder.
• Blue Shield PDQ Tabs dispense into pool water by adding to skimmer basket. Do not use any chlorinator or feeder with Blue Shield PDQ Tabs.
• Blue Shield Liquid Chlorine can be added directly to the pool water at the return jet.
• Maintain a chlorine residual of 1.5PPM for effective sanitation. Add Blue Shield Super-Chlorinator or shock on a weekly basis.

Now that your pool and water are properly set up, there is one final step…

8. Enjoy!

man enjoying the water.

What are your tips on opening an above ground pool? Please join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook to find out more about how to open an above ground pool for the summer!