Swimming Pool Blog
by Rob Cox, May 05, 2011
Spring Pool Opening - Start-Up Tips & Tricks
Well, it's that time of year again, time to uncover the pool, and hope nothing broke during winter. I've opened 1000's of different pools over the years, and have some tips and tricks to share in the 4 main areas of a swimming pool opening.
These are Cover, Cleaning, Chemicals and Start-Up of the pump and filter system.
Pool Cover Removal Tips
MESH POOL COVERS
- Loosen most of the springs to allow the cover to relax into the water. Use a leaf rake on a pole to scoop loose debris.
- Put down the anchors and fold the springs/straps inward before pulling and folding the cover.
- Use a powerful hose (not a pressure washer), or a leaf blower to clean the cover as you fold it.
- Fold seam to seam, accordion style - or fan folded. Then roll in half, half again, etc to a small manageable size.
- Place moth balls or mint leaves in cover bag to repel rodents and store indoors if possible.
SOLID POOL COVERS
- Tighten up the cover, removing wrinkles, to allow the water and debris to pool in one area, use a small submersible pump to remove all of the water before removing. A leaf blower, under the cover, will inflate the cover, while pushing water to one side.
- Use a leaf blower on the edges and drier portions of the cover, and a leaf rake to scoop debris out of the water area being pumped.
- Keep water bags or weights on the cover until it is completely pumped off.
- When ready to pull off cover, gently lift and move or roll water bags from the cover, leaving water bags on the side you are pulling towards.
- Fold the cover upon itself, end to end - run back to the middle fold and take hold of the end and fold on itself again, etc. until all cover is on the pool deck.
- Take cover to a suitable area for cleaning with a hose and pool brush. Sloped driveways work best, cleaning section by section, folding it after cleaning.
- Allow to dry before folding if possible, to prevent mildew. Avoid leaving on grass hillsides on hot day, it may brown the grass.
Pool Opening CleaningTips
- Always clean off the deck immediately after removing the cover. Use a strong hose, or leaf blower - or use bucketfuls of water from the pool.
- Skim the surface first, by going around the edge with a leaf rake. Make fast passes around the pool, knocking debris off tiles as you go.
- If large pockets of leaves exist, spend your time with a leaf rake, slowly scooping leaves from steps or deep end.
- Empty skimmer and pump baskets before vacuuming. After start up, it's common to have a pump basket full of worms. Bird Buffet!
- Clean the skimmer side walls and lid with a phosphate free cleanser. Also use to clean plastic steps, slides, diving boards.
- Brush the pool thoroughly. It's great exercise and your pool loves it too! Make time to brush the pool again in a few days.
Pool Opening Chemical Tips
- Before you chemically balance and treat the water, clean the pool (above) first. Backwash or lower water level first if needed.
- Adjust your pH first - carefully measure with a good test kit, and add either pH increaser or decreaser to a pH of 7.2.
- Shock the pool with your favorite sanitizer (Cal Hypo, DiChlor, Non-Chlor or Bleach) following label instructions.
- After a day or so to let the chlorine drop, have your water tested for Calcium Hardness and Total Alkalinity. Adjust as needed.
- After this, add any accessory chemicals needed, such as Algaecides, Clarifiers, Enzymes or Salts.
Pool Opening Start-Up Tips
- Lubricate brass plugs with Aqua Lube or Green Magic Lube. Use silicone lube on Gray Jandy Valves, Push-Pull O-rings and Pump Lid O-rings.
- Replace the thread sealant on pump and filter drain plugs and other plastic plugs, and on the pressure gauge. Use teflon tape or silicone.
- Start up the system on waste, if you have a multiport valve. Once the pump has caught prime, shut off pump and switch to filter setting.
- If you have difficulties priming pump, start off the skimmer only. If still won't catch, use a drain king to force prime, while looking for air leaks in the pump/pipe/valves that are before the impeller.
- Make sure that filters with belly band type clamp bands are securely fastened. Keep air bleeder open on filter tank until system catches fully.
- Watch the pressure gauge as the system pressurizes. Be prepared to shut off pump fast if pressure pegs 30+, or if a fitting should blow apart.
- Air bubbling through system is normal, if this continues however, locate air leak in your system (prior to the impeller).
For more information on opening pools, see our info page on swimming pool openings.