We are about to go through another scalding hot summer. What would be a better way to escape the heat than enjoying your backyard pool? However, the cold season has just passed, and your pool is not ready for use yet. At least, not until you learn how to open an above ground pool and execute these simple steps perfectly. Sounds tedious, doesn’t it? But we can’t avoid this task, so let’s begin!
Prepare Your Tools to Open Above Ground Pool
If you have the necessary tools prepared first, you will feel much less confused than jumping into the mission not knowing what to do.
- Sump pump (or pool cover pump)
- Skimmer net (or soft broom)
- Pool cover cleaner
- Test strips or a liquid test kit
Some helping hands will be helpful as well!
Be specific, what are the chemicals I need?
If you have purchased a chemical start-up kit, give it a check and make sure it includes the following products:
- Stain, rust, and scale preventer
- Chlorine shock
- Sun Sorb: It absorbs body oil and lotion, basically non-living contaminants, and keeps your filtration and circulation system running smoothly.
Nonetheless, the chemicals for pH and alkalinity balances don’t come in this package. You will need to get some pH increaser and decreaser, alkalinity increaser, and calcium hardness increaser to be completely ready.
How to Open an Above Ground Pool?
Step 1: Give the pool cover a quick clean
After months of sitting idle, we won’t be surprised if the pool cover is heavy with leaves, twigs, debris. And your very first task will be clearing them all off with the broom or the skimmer we have prepared. Don’t rush! We don’t want to damage the cover that has been protecting your pool from little invaders.
For the accumulated water, we will use the submersible cover pump or sump pump to remove it. Trying to remove the cover with water and debris still on it is a risky move. You might accidentally ruin it and spill the dirty pile into the water.
Step 2: Remove the cover
It’s the perfect time to use some help. You will get the cover off much more easily with several people lifting it up and putting away together. Spread it out on the flat ground and give it an overall examination.
If it’s worn and torn, you can skip the next step and bid goodbye to your diligent cover. Otherwise, let’s see what we have to do with it.
Step 3: Wash and store the cover
Of course, a cover in its prime days deserves some care. We will give it a thorough rinse and scrub. Remember: use light chemicals and a soft brush to prevent any harm done to the cover and avoid an unwanted end. Rinse both sides with your garden hose and let it dry (a leaf blower can speed the process up remarkably).
When you deem it ready for storage, fold it up and keep it in a sealed bag or container. If you leave it exposed, it will be the most ideal target for bugs and rodents to attack.
Step 4: Redecorate the pool
You have removed every piece of accessory from the pool before closing it, and it’s the right moment to reinstall them. Rails, ladders, diving boards – welcome back!
Every responsible pool owner would clean the accessories before storing them in safety, and they wouldn’t mind repeating the process when putting them back in use.
Step 5: Refill the pool
No matter how you closed your pool, the water level will drop due to evaporation. It’s a simple step, but you might want to be careful and use a hose filter to get rid of the impurities and save yourself from more exhausting tasks. The water should reach the halfway mark of the skimmer’s opening.
Step 6: Remove winter plugs
There are winter plugs you have installed in the skimmer and the return lines. Take a tour around the pool and remove them all. The ice compensator and the skimmer cover (if you live in a place with a freezing cold winter) should be gone as well.
Replace them with the normal plugs and the return jets. Your pool cleaner, heater, filter, pump, chlorinator – don’t miss out any!
Note: If you have gone as far as to use antifreeze in the lines, make sure to turn the ‘Waste’ setting of your pump on and let it run for a minute to get the antifreeze out.
Step 7: Connect the equipment
First of all, ensure you have the plugs to the drains and the pressure gauges to the equipment put back.
Secondly, attach the hoses to the equipment:
- Connect the skimmer to the pool pump
- Connect the pump to the filter
- Connect the filter to the heater, the chlorinator, and any other filter equipment
- If you have none, connect the hose straight to the return inlet
Step 8: Get the system running
When you have given the system a boost, don’t forget to double-check the connections for possible leaks and drops.
Note: If the pump is running dry, you need to prime it a bit. It’s nothing tricky! Simply remove the lid and add a bucket of water, and the pump will have the needed motivation to expel the air and start pulling water.
Whether you have a sand filter or a DE (diatomaceous earth) filter, backwash it after you start the system as instructed by the manufacturer.
Step 9: Clean the pool up
As it’s most likely to be the first time you try to open your above ground pool, at this point, you might start getting a little confused since the water is far from sparkly. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten it!
Again, you could really use some help to brush the walls and the little crannies of your pool. Don’t be stingy with your time and vacuum the pool as well. After skimming the surface, you probably will get all the leaves and bugs out of the water.
Step 10: Chemical treatment
Put your test kit or test strips to good use and see what your pool water is lacking or exceeding. If you want a baseline reading to follow long-term or simply have no time for chemistry tests, you can bring a sample to the nearest pool dealer and ask them to do the task.
- Use 2 pounds of pool shock per 10000 gallons of pool water. It’s a double amount compared to the usual. With this strong sanitizer, you can be sure that your pool will be ready for swimming.
- Check the alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness of the water and adjust the indexes until they meet the standards.
Note: Don’t shock your pool during the day, as the sunlight might burn off the chlorine in the shock quickly.
Here’s the ideal chemical balance for a pool:
- Chlorine: 0 – 3.0 ppm
- pH: 4 – 7.6
- Alkalinity: 80 – 140 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400 ppm
- Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm
- Total Dissolved Solids: 500 – 5000 ppm
How about some tips to make your work easier?
- Dissolve the chemicals in a bucket first then add them to the water.
- It’s important to add the chemicals in the water and not the other way around.
- Keep the pump and filter running while you are pouring the solution into the pool.
- If you can, try to add the chemicals somewhere near the return jets so the pressure of water might help to carry and dissolve them.
- Pour the chemicals slowly so they can mingle and spread evenly instead of accumulating at a certain spot in the pool.
Step 11: Retest the water
Give the pool 24 hours and test the pool water once more for adjustment if needed. Make sure your filter and pump run during the wait.
If everything is at its rightful place, congratulations! You have successfully opened your pool!
And that was how to open an above ground pool for the summer after months of being inactive. Now, there’s no obstacle between you and hours of relaxation in the nice pool. If you spare some time and plan regular maintenance, the pool and the equipment will always be in good shape, which will make everything easier when you need to repeat the steps again. Let us know about your experience!