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Pool Opening Basics: 5 Tips From The Pros

It’s about that time of year again…and by that we mean the BEST time of year. It’s almost swimming season! What else does that mean? It’s time to start thinking about your pool opening.

If you live somewhere like Iowa, you know the feeling of being midway through a grueling winter with seemingly no end in sight. You can also relate to the feeling of pure ecstasy at the thought of sunshine, 85-degree weather, and the splish-splash of the pool on a summer’s day.

Now the flip side may or may not seem quite as euphoric. In order to enjoy your pool this summer, that means you have to open your pool. Some prefer to hire us to complete this service for them, but others are more hands on.

Either way, it’s important to know what’s involved in a successful pool opening. We’ve come up with a list of the 5 basics to opening your swimming pool this season. Whether you have a concrete, vinyl liner or above ground pool, these same 5 steps are common across the board.

1) Clean your pool cover

Depending on the type of cover you have, storage may be slightly different, however, the initial process will be the same.

  • Using a soft broom, sweep away any leaves or other debris that has settled on your cover over the winter. Make sure you don’t use any sharp or abrasive objects for this step to avoid damaging the cover.
  • If your pool cover has been damaged over the course of the winter, it’s best to be proactive and order a new cover right away. This way you’ll have the new cover ready when it’s time to close up the pool for the year.
  • Pump or sweep away any standing water from the cover.

If you have an auto-cover, you’re done. If not, you have a few more steps to go.

  • Enlist the help of a neighbor or friend to help you remove your pool cover and lay flat on the ground for a thorough cleaning. (Pssst…this is also a good chore to convince your kids to help with).
  • Once cleaned and dry, fold your cover accordion-style and store in a sealed container. Don’t leave on the floor of your storage shed or anywhere susceptible to critter or insect infestation that can easily damage your cover.

2) Skim your water

Skim your water for large floating debris that may have fallen into your pool during step one, or that snuck in over the winter.

Animal leaf rake skimmer for pool opening

Animal brand Standard Rake sold at Splash Pool & Spa: $49.95

  • Use a skimmer net to secure and remove these items. Think of it like panning for gold, except, you know…there’s no gold.
  • Depending on the size and shape of your swimming pool, you might need to attach your skimmer net to a telescopic pole. The pole is adjustable in length and will be helpful in reaching all the nooks and crannies.

3) Use a little magic

Magic Lube that is.

Magic Lube for pool opening

Magic Lube brand lubricant 5oz. sold at Splash Pool & Spa: $12.95

If you have diving boards, slides, rails or other pool accessories with nuts and bolts, now is a great time to lubricate them. Since you’ll be reinstalling them with your pool opening anyways, take a few extra minutes to make sure everything is greased up and working fluidly.

Your pool opening is a good time to lubricate any equipment O-rings, as well. Pool gaskets and pump housings are typical pieces of pool equipment you will find these on.

4) Fill and test your water

As part of your pool opening, you’ll need to add more water back to your pool. This replaces what was removed during your pool closing, as well as, that which evaporated over the winter.

Smart Scan test strips for pool opening

InstaLink brand Smart Scan Kit sold at Splash Pool & Spa: $22.95

  • Using a garden hose, add water to your pool until you’ve reached the desired level.

*Pro tip: A good rule of thumb is that your water level always should hit the middle of your pool skimmer.

  • Once water has been added, test it to determine what water treatments and chemicals are necessary to create a good baseline for the season. You can either use test strips to manually test the water chemistry and determine what is needed to restore proper balance, or you can collect a water sample and bring it into our store for complimentary testing and analysis.
  • Once you’ve determined what is needed to bring your pool water chemistry back to order, make note of this as a baseline to refer back to throughout the swimming season. Of course, we can keep these notes on file for you too!

*Pro tip: Before adding any chemicals to your pool, always make sure your filtration equipment is operational and running.

5) Double shock

Shocking your pool during opening eliminates bacteria and algae spores that accumulate over the course of the winter. However, to get your water truly crystal clear, we recommend a double dose of shock to start off the year.

*Pro tip: Refer to the above pro tip on filtration equipment before shocking your pool with any chemicals.

Poolife turboshock for pool opening

Poolife brand Turboshock treatment 1lb. sold at Splash Pool & Spa: $5.95

  • To pull this off effectively, use 2 pounds of chlorine shock like Poolife Turboshock treatment, for every 10,000 gallons of water. If you’re on a salt system instead of chlorine, give us a call to go over the best way to do this.
  • Before actually double shocking your pool, we want to take this time to remind you that proper safety equipment should be used. Chlorine is a chemical. The last thing we want to see is a trip to the hospital due to chemical exposure (trust us, it happens more often than you’d think). Make sure to wear gloves and safety goggles before handling your pool shock.

Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Sure there are a few other considerations along the way, but now you know the basics.

If this is the first year that you’ll be opening your pool, we recommend hiring a professional to come walk you through the process. Don’t have the time or desire to do it yourself? We’ve got you covered there too. Schedule your Splash pool opening here.

If you’re a seasoned vet at opening your swimming pool, what tips and tricks have you learned along the way? Share with us your favorite techniques or time-saving products in the comments below.


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