Top 10 Pool Opening Tips

Spring opening is one of the most exciting times of the year for any pool owner. After months of cold, snow, and ice, the weather is starting to warm up for pool season! Even though the sun is shining and the water is warm, the pool isn’t quite ready for swimmers, yet. There are some necessary steps every pool owner must take in to have a clean and safe pool that is ready to handle a long summer season.

Leslie’s is here to help you through the process of opening your pool, so make sure you read through these Top 10 Pool Opening Tips. We also recommend having all the chemicals you will need when opening your pool for summer. Leslie’s Top 10 Pool Opening Tips is a quick and easy reference guide for opening pools in all climates.

1. Remove Water with a Sump Pump Before Taking Off Pool Cover

If you have a winter cover or a solid safety cover, chances are a fair amount of water and debris has built up on the cover during the long winter offseason. Pool covers can be difficult to remove when water is on them, so we recommend using a sump pump to drain the water off the cover before moving it.

It is best to use two people when taking the cover off of the pool because, even with most of the water drained off, pool covers can still be heavy. Take care not to spill too much debris from the cover into the pool. If a small amount of water or debris does spill in, this won’t be problem because the pool will be thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed.

2. Proper Care For Your Pool Cover Will Keep It Clean and Strong

After removing the cover from your pool, it is important to clean, fold, and properly store the cover to avoid any damage during the summer. Once the cover is off the pool, lay it out flat and brush off the remaining water and debris. Let the cover dry and then, before folding it, sprinkle on Leslie’s Alkalinity Up or talcum powder to prevent mold or mildew from growing on the cover.

Take special care when folding the cover to prevent cracks and rips. Loosely fold the cover and then store it in a cool, dry place like a basement, garage, or storage shed. This should help keep your cover in good condition year after year.

3. Reconnect All Pool Equipment

You will want to reconnect all the equipment that you disconnected before the winter season. This usually includes: the pool filter, pump, heater, automatic pool cleaner, and all other pool equipment. This is also the time to connect any ladders, hand rails, and pool accessories that were taken down for winter.

When re-connecting your equipment, it is a good idea to lubricate all O-rings, seals and hardware with a silicone lubricant. This will keep the equipment working properly all year, and will make it easier for you to disassemble them when you close your pool.

4. Replace Winterizing Plugs with the Correct Drain Plugs

If you live in an area where the winter temperature drops below zero, then you may have replaced most of the drain plugs with winterizing plugs. These winterizing plugs provide a very tight seal and prevent any damage due to leaks or ice during winter. After re-connecting your equipment, you will want to replace the winter plugs with the normal plugs.

5. Remove and Prevent Metal Stains with Metal Free

Over a long winter offseason, metals like copper and iron can build up in your pool and cause stains. These metals can be difficult to remove once they have stained the walls, so it is best to attack them early. Just one quart of Metal Free during spring opening can help neutralize the metals in your pool and prevent staining on the walls and pool floor. Metal Free will also get rid of “stained water” that comes from having a high metal content.

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6. Measure Your Water Chemistry with Test Strips or a Test Kit

The easiest and quickest way to test your water is to use Test Strips or a Test Kit. It is important to test your water chemistry before adding any chemicals, because this will tell you what to add and how much to use. It is important to test for Total Alkalinity, pH, chlorine, calcium hardness, and stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) levels.

Pool chemicals can get out of balance during a long winter, and will need to drop to safe levels before swimming. The safe and proper chemical levels for standard, chlorine pool water are as follows:

  • Total Alkalinity – 80 to 120 ppm
  • pH Level – 7.4 to 7.6
  • Free Available Chlorine – 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness – 200 to 400 ppm
  • Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) – 30 to 50 ppm
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7. When Balancing Water, Start With Total Alkalinity

Once you have tested your water chemistry, it is time to start adding chemicals to balance your water. Total Alkalinity should be balanced first because it will help bring the other chemicals closer to their normal range. This will make it significantly easier to achieve a safe and clean pool.

To lower the Total Alkalinity, you can use Leslie’s Dry Acid. This product will quickly decrease Total Alkalinity levels in your pool. 1 ½ pounds of Leslie’s Dry Acid will lower the Total Alkalinity by 10 ppm in 10,000 gallons of water. To raise Total Alkalinity by 10 ppm in 10,000 gallons, use 1 ½ pounds of Leslie’s Alkalinity Up.

Once the Total Alkalinity has been brought to within 80 and 120 ppm, you can begin to adjust the other chemicals. To increase pH, adding Leslie’s Soda Ash will help raise it to an acceptable range. To decrease pH, you can again use Leslie’s Dry Acid.

If the Calcium Hardness is too low, 1 ¼ pounds of Leslie’s Hardness Plus will raise the Calcium Hardness by 10 ppm in 10,000 gallons of water. It is much more difficult to lower the Calcium Hardness than raise it, so be sure to keep the calcium levels below 400 ppm.

8. Brush and Vacuum Your Pool Thoroughly

Even if you use a solid cover on your pool during the winter, there may still be a fair amount of dirt and debris in your pool. It is a good idea to give your pool a thorough brushing and vacuuming before shocking the pool. This will prevent any algae or bacteria from clinging to the pool walls, and help your filtration system begin to eliminate any algae spores.

When brushing your pool, it is a good idea to start in the shallow end of the pool and move towards the deep end. If you can, vacuum your pool directly to waste. Once you have brushed and vacuumed the pool, allow your filtration systems to run overnight before shocking the pool.

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9. Shock The Pool to Remove Bacteria and Contaminants

Shocking your pool is the last and final step for getting rid of all the dirt, debris, bacteria, algae spores, and other organic contaminants that may have entered your pool during the winter offseason. To shock your pool, use 2 pounds of shock for every 10,000 gallons of water, which should raise your chlorine to 10.0 ppm. Depending on your pool, you can use Leslie’s Power Powder Plus or Leslie’s Chlor Brite. After shocking the pool, run the circulation system for at least 2 hours before adding an algaecide.

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10. Prevent Algae All Season Long

For a clean and algae-free swimming season, we recommend to start treatment before the first swimmers even jump into the pool. After shocking your pool, it is a good idea to add either Leslie’s Algae Control or Pool Perfect + PHOSfree to your water. Both of these products will prevent the growth of most types of algae, and help keep your pool clean, clear, and fresh all year long.

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Once you have added the algae controller, the last step is to take a water sample into your nearest Leslie’s location for a FREE 9-Point Water Test. Once they give your pool the OK, you are ready for a summer of fun in the sun!
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Leslie's Pool Supplies is your go-to online resource for all the Pool Opening Supplies you will need this spring!