Learn how to open your outdoor pool. From which pool supplies you need to check your pool heater and pump to the safest way to remove your pool cover, follow step-by-step and you’ll be swimming in your pool in no time!

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What You Need for This Project

Good to Know

It is best to open your pool when the temperature is still a little cool. This prevents algae growth at the beginning of pool season. 

Remove the Cover

Step One

Brush Cover

Using a pool brush, sweep off any debris that is sitting on your cover and remove any standing water with a pump. Small electric pumps can be set on top of the cover.  

Note: Always follow the manufactuer's guidelines when operating an electric pump. 
Step Two

Release the Cover from the Anchors

In an in-ground pool, covers usually have straps that hooks on anchors. Some are made of rubber and can be removed by pulling the strap off the anchor by hand.  

Other straps use a spring, which can be released with a special removal rod: 

  • Place the rod through the ring and over the anchor, then twist the rod around the anchor.  
  • The ring should slide up and the rod should be released from the anchor.  
  • Release all the straps from the anchors but a leave a few in place at the end of the pool where you’ll put the cover – this will prevent the cover from falling into the water.  

With a drill, screw the anchors back into the concrete.  

Step Three

Remove the Cover

Now it’s time to pull the cover off the pool. Solid covers fold like an accordion, while soft covers need to be pulled delicately from the surface of the pool. Unfold the cover in a post where it can dry. When it’s completely dry, fold the cover and store it.  
Note: If you dry the cover on the lawn, be sure to move it around throughout the day so that the heat doesn’t burn the grass. Also, do not leave it on the grass for a long period of time, it can potentially damage the lawn.
Step Four

Inspect Pool Accessories

Check all pool accessories such as, the ladder, rails, and diving board for any damage. 

Check the Pool Filter, Pump & Heater

Step One

Reinstall & Remove Freeze Plugs

As needed, reinstall the pump, skimmer, and heater, making sure that all the fittings are secure. Be sure to add lubricant to all the gaskets. You might also need to use pipe sealant or plumber’s tape on the threads of the plugs, sight glass, and gauge.  

Remember to remove any freeze plugs from the jets and skimmers. Install the jets according to the manufacturer's directions. 
Step Two

Reinstall the Filter

Before reinstalling the filter system, release the air pressure by opening the relief valve. When there is a steady flow of water, that means all the air has been released. Close the valve.  

Install the filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

Step Three

Fill the Pool

Add water to your pool until the level is at the middle of the skimmer opening. 

Vacuum the Pool

Step One

Clear out Floating Debris

Using a skimmer, clear out any floating or large debris from the water.  
Step Two

Set Up the Vacuum

Vacuum heavy debris at the bottom of the pool. Vacuums can be automatic or manual.  

  • Switch all the intake and return valves to the open setting at the pump.  
  • Set the multi-port valve to “recirculate,” this will bypass the filter.  
  • Turn on the filter.  

Note: Always make sure the pump is turned on before changing the valve settings.

Step Three

Vacuum the Bottom of the Pool

  • Attach the vacuum head and pole to the hose. Make sure the hose is always underwater.  
  • Insert the adapter into the skimmer intake and hook up the hose to the adapter. Set the filter to “waste” and turn it on.  
  • Gently move the vacuum around the bottom of the pool where there is debris. When you’re done, turn off the filter and disconnect the hose.

Balance the Water Chemistry

Step One

Test the Water

Before you test the water, run the pump for about 24 hours.  

After 24 hours, keep the pump running and test the water chemistry with a test kit. Follow the manufacturer's directions.  
Step Two

Check the pH Balance, Total Alkalinity & Sanitizer Level

  • The pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Add a pH increaser or decreaser as needed. 
  • Check the total alkalinity, which is how well the water resists changes to pH levels. It should be between 80 and 150 parts per million. If it’s low, add an alkalinity increaser. If it’s high, add a pH decreaser. 
  • Check the sanitizer level. The three types of sanitizer are chlorine, salt, and bromine. Chlorine is the most common type. Adjust the levels to 1-4 ppm. 

Note: Always wear safety goggles and rubber gloves when performing water tests and working with chemicals. Also make sure you read and follow each product’s directions including how to use and how to store the chemicals.

Step Three

Shock the Pool & Add Algaecide

  • Add pool shock to the water to remove lingering contaminants. 
  • Add algaecide. Let the pump run for 24 hours.
Step Four

Run Water Through the Filter

  • When the water starts to clear, turn the multi-port valve to “filter." Open the pressure relief valve on the gauge. 
  • Turn on the pump. When a steady stream of water begins to flow from the relief valve, close the valve. Take note of the PSI on the pressure gauge.
  • If you have a DE filter, add fresh DE to the skimmer. The DE will re-coat the grids in the system. 
  • Let the pump run for 24 hours when you first open, then about 8-12 hours per day during the swim season.



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