How to open a swimming pool - Pool maintenance
These instructions are based on a typical pool opening for in-ground pools. Since pools vary in size and equipment, you may have to alter your tasks accordingly. The goal is to provide you with enough knowledge to perform your own pool opening. This will save you hundreds of dollars, however you'll have to decide if this cost savings is worth the effort and risk. If you are a do-it-yourself type of individual, then you should have no problem with this project. Topics include clearing the winter pool cover, removing the plugs in the skimmer and inlets, putting the pieces back together that were taken out during closing, priming the pump, and starting the system.
Safety Considerations when Opening a Pool
Please read the Safety First before you begin this project. The advice and instructions presented here should aid you in opening your pool with minimal difficulty. However, as a precaution I need you to read this disclaimer.
Clearing and removing the swimming pool cover
See Remove Cover
Add water to the pool
Take the garden hose and start adding water to the pool to bring it up to the appropriate level which is about half way up the skimmer opening. While water is being added, continue on with the following steps.
Remove Plugs and Set up Inlets and Skimmer
See Skimmer and Inlets
Remove plug from pool pump trap.
Within the pump trap, there should be a winter plug that needs to be removed. This was installed to prevent any chance of water or rodents from entering the plumbing through this openning.
Install the pool pump trap basket and pool pump drain plugs.
After the pump trap drain plug is removed, locate from storage the pump trap basket and the pump drain plugs. Check the rubber O-rings on the drain plugs. If they are cracked, you may need to replace them in order to maintain a seal. Insert the drain plugs and the trap basket. Also attach the lid loosely.
Remove plug from main plumbing return. (near chlorinator).
If your pool has a tablet chlorinator, there should be a plug in the main plumbing return connector. Remove this plug.
Reattach pipes at main plumbing.
After plug has been removed, attach pipes at connector. You may have to apply plumber's putty to the threads at this connector if it leaks at the threads. Don't add any until you know for sure that putty is needed. Also re-attach any connections on the chlorinator and attach the lid. Don't put any chlorine tablets in yet.
See Pool filter assembly
Check all connections.
Check all the plumbing connections between the suction lines to the pump, the connections from the pump to the filter, and the connections from the filter to the chlorinator and to the inlet line. Attach any hoses that connect to the chlorinator. If all the connections are secure, then you can begin adding water to the filter housing. This will aid with priming the pump. Turn the inlet valves to the off position so the water doesn't run directly through. After the housing is full, attach filter housing lid securely.
Starting the system - Prime the pool pump
See How to prime the pump
Attach pool ladder, railing, and diving board
Locate the pool ladder, railing, and diving board. You can attach these parts any time during the opening as long as the cover is off. I usually wait until the system is up and running. However, if you are still waiting for the pool water to reach the halfway mark on the pool skimmer opening, then go ahead and do this task before priming the pump.
Attach the diving board base to the bolts sticking out of the pool deck. Align the holes in the base with the bolts protuding and slip base down on. For each bolt, slip on the wide washer, followed by the smaller compression washer, followed by the nut. Tighten each bolt by hand, make any final tightening little by little with a wrench until snug. You don't want to crack the fiberglass base, so don't over tighten. Tighten snug to the point it won't come lose.
Take the diving board and align the holes on the board to the holes at the back of the base. Slip the bolts down each hole. Slip the wide washer, compression washer, and nut and tighten each by hand. Then make any final alignment adjustments. Tighten each with a wrench until snug but not too tight. Be careful not to crack the fiberglass at the bolt.
Cleaning the pool after opening and removing debris from bottom of the pool.
Inevitably, there always seems to be a way for leaves, worms, etc. to make it into the pool, even though it was covered. Attach your leaf net to the extension pole and scoop out as much as you can. Also remove whatever is floating on the water with the hand skimmer. Whatever is left over on the bottom of the pool can be removed by using the pool vacuum. If you use the pool vacuum that attaches to the skimmer, you probably don't want alot of worms getting though to the pool filter. The trick to this is attaching a pair of old panty hose to the skimmer basket. This will trap the worms and junk in the panty hose instead of allowing it to pass through the skimmer and onto your filter. When you're done vacuuming the pool, simply remove the panty hose from the skimmer basket and place in the trash. The pool supply store also sells a net that slips onto the skimmer basket that does the same thing. If you are not familiar with using the skimmer pool vacuum, follow the instructions on the routine pool maintenance page.
For the next several days, let the pool pump run continuously. I personally believe in letting the pump run non stop throughout the pool season. This is just a personal preference. You can set your pump up to run at scheduled times. Ask your pool installer for recommendations if you are not sure how long the pump should run.
Get the chlorine level up
Now it is time to get the water cleared up from sitting all winter. After you have cleaned the pool the best you can with the leaf basket, hand skimmer, and vacuum, you need to get the chlorine level up on the pool to kill any bacteria, algae, organisms. This will depend on what type of method you use to chlorinate the water. If you use chlorine chemicals, then apply chlorine shock. If you have a chlorine generator, then add salt to the water. Generally one teaspoon for every gallon of water in the pool. Check with your pool installer on the procedure to follow for your chlorine generator when starting for the first time in the season. For a better explanation on pool water, go to Water Quality.
It's the journey that counts!