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How To Open Your Pool in Spring

The arrival of spring brings back many of our favorite things, including blossoming plants and trees, longer-lasting sunlight, and warmer temperatures. For pool owners, that warmer weather also mean it's almost time to open your pool for the season! But just because the sun is shining doesn't mean the pool is quite ready for swimmers. With just a little effort, however, you can be on your way to a clean, safe, healthy, and swim-ready pool.

The steps for opening your pool are listed below. Highlights include:

Remove pool cover to open pool

Clearing, removing, and storing your pool cover.

Add water to pool during opening

Filling your pool water to regular levels.

Pool Water Circulation is important to open a pool

Reconnecting and turning on your pool equipment.

Balance pool water while opening the pool

Testing and balancing your pool water.

Leslie's Pool Shock helps with pool opening

Shocking your pool.

1. Drain and Clean the Pool Cover

Whether you have a winter cover or a solid safety cover, you will need to remove the water off the top of the cover before taking it off.  If there is a substantial amount of water, you may want to use a cover pump to do the work for you. Afterward, sweep or use a blower to remove all leaves and other debris from the cover; you don't want all of that junk landing in your pool when the cover comes off.

2. Remove the Pool Cover

When removing the pool cover, you may need help if you have a large pool or are working with a safety cover. If a little debris ends up in the pool, it'll be OK since you will be vacuuming and then shocking the pool before you start swimming.

3. Clean and Store the Pool Cover

After you remove the cover, lay it out, brush off any remaining dirt, spray it down, and then let it dry. When the cover is dry, sprinkle one side and then the other with talcum powder or Leslie’s Alkalinity Up to prevent mold and mildew. Fold the cover loosely and store it in a cool, dry place.

4. Raise the Water Level Back to Normal

Use a garden hose to fill the pool back to its normal water level. This is typically at about the middle of the skimmer opening or halfway up the tile.

NOTE: If you did not winterize your pool for freezing conditions, skip ahead to Step 8.

5. Reconnect the Pool Equipment

If you prepared your pool for freezing temperatures, you will need to reconnect your pool equipment. This includes your filter, pump, heater, and anything else you may have had connected to your filtration system. For above ground pools, you will need to reconnect the flexible plumbing lines to the pool equipment and skimmer.

6. Remove Winterizing Plugs from Skimmer and Return Lines

Don’t forget to remove any winterizing plugs you used in your skimmer and return lines. Make sure to wait until after the antifreeze has drained before removing the plugs. Remember to reinstall the regular drain plugs in your pumps, filter, heater, and any other equipment. Now you can reconnect any return valve fittings that you removed last winter.

7. Turn the System Back On

Turn your pool equipment back on. This includes priming the pump and turning on the circulation and filtration system. If you have an air relief valve on your filter, make sure to open it to bleed the air from the system. Once water spurts out, close the air relief valve. Check the equipment for leaks or unusual noises.

8. Add MetalFree to Prevent Staining

After a long winter off-season, metals such as copper and iron may have concentrated in your pool water. Add 1 liter of MetalFree for every 20,000 gallons of water to prevent metals from causing stains or discoloration in your pool. After adding it, allow the circulation and filtration system to run for at least 2 hours.

9. Test the Pool Chemistry

Once the circulation system has been running for a few hours, test your pool water for pH, Total Alkalinity (TA), and Chlorine levels with a test kit or test strips. Ideal levels should be:

  • pH: 7.4 to 7.6
  • Total Alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
  • Free Available Chlorine: 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 200-400 ppm

DIY TIP: You can also being a water sample to your local Leslie’s for a free water test.  Our pool experts will help you get the most comprehensive and precise chemistry analysis with the Leslie's AccuBlue® water test, and you'll receive a customized step-by-step plan to balance your water.

10. Balance the Water, Starting with Total Alkalanity

Balancing your water properly is a necessity for safe and healthy swimming. You can control the pH and chlorine levels in your water by first adjusting the Total Alkalinity.

If TA is too high, you can use Leslie’s Dry Acid to lower the levels to the ideal range. To lower the TA by 10 ppm, add 1.5 pounds of Leslie’s Dry Acid for every 10,000 gallons of water.

If TA is too low, add Leslie’s Alkalinity Up to increase it. Adding 1.5 pounds of Alkalinity Up will increase the TA of 10,000 gallons of water by 10 ppm. Wait at least 4 hours after adding Alkalinity Up before retesting the water.

11. Adjust the pH Balance

Once the TA is within its proper range of 80-120 ppm, adjust the pH balance. When TA is back to an ideal range, test the pH. The acceptable range is 7.2-7.8, and the ideal range is 7.4-7.6.

If the pH level is above 7.8, add small doses (2 cups at a time) of Leslie’s Dry Acid. Wait 2 hours with the circulation system running and retest before adding more acid. Always follow the label directions.

If the pH level is below 7.4, add 6 ounces of Leslie’s Soda Ash, which should increase the pH level of 10,000 gallons of water by about 0.2 ppm. Wait 4 hours with the system running and retest the water before adding more Soda Ash. If the pH is below 7.0, follow the label directions for the amount needed or to go your local Leslie's store for additional testing.

12. Adjust Calcium Hardness

Your pool’s Calcium Hardness (CH) level should always be above 150 ppm. If the CH is too low, bring it up by adding Leslie’s Hardness Plus. Using 1.25 pounds will increase the CH of 10,000 gallons of water by 10 ppm. The target is 200-400 ppm.

DIY TIP: Don’t add Leslie’s Hardness Plus on the same day as Leslie’s Soda Ash or Leslie’s Alkalinity Up. Wait a day to add Leslie’s Hardness Plus.

13. Brush and Vacuum the Pool

After your pool chemistry is adjusted, thoroughly brush and vacuum your pool to remove any remaining dirt and debris, giving special attention to areas near pool steps, ladders, lights, or other crevices.

14. Run the Filtration System Overnight

Your pool’s filtration system will remove the rest of the suspended dirt and debris left over after brushing and vacuuming your pool.

15. Shock the Pool

Shocking the pool will eliminate any remaining germs and contaminants in your water. Shock the pool following the label instructions using a chlorine shock such as Leslie’s Power Powder Plus 73 or Leslie’s Chlor Brite. Always read the instructions to determine how much of the product to add to your pool. If you have an automatic pool cleaner, you can reinstall the cleaner 24 hours after shocking the pool.

Have questions, or need help? Leslie’s is honored to be a resource for all of your Spring pool opening supplies, including our special Opening Kits, which are designed with just the right amount of chemicals your pool water needs to start out clean, clear, and safe.

If you are a new pool owner or just prefer to have someone else open your pool for you, it's easy to schedule your pool opening service online or in-store. Leslie’s Certified Service Technicians are Leslie’s employees, not third party contractors, so you can be confident that they are trained professionals. They will also provide tips on how to easily open your pool in the future.

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