Winter never goes easy on anyone, especially considering you will have to close your swimming pool. But after months of chilly weather, it comes that time of the year when the sun shines again. The temperature starts rising. All the signs point to a pool season. Everything starts pushing you to reopen your inground pool.
But when you stand on your patio staring at your dirty pool cover, you start wondering where you should start. Everything in your body tells you it’s a mess. You start questioning yourself. Should I open it? Will I manage it?
Well! Even though how to open an inground pool might seem like so much work, don’t worry. I’m here to tell; you can do it yourself, of course, with some safety measure. I should also warn you, you’ll need to get handy, and you might need to get a friend to assist.
But before that – Safety First.
Before you can start the reopening process, you will need to ensure you have everything you need for the whole task, significantly, the safety gear.
After pool reopening, many people end up in emergency rooms because of pool chemical poisoning, with the majority being pool owners.
But that shouldn’t scare you away. Most of the injuries reported could have been avoided if they wore the right protective gear when handling the chemicals.
How do you Open Your Inground Swimming Pool (Simple Steps)
It’s time to get handy. Stop staring at the dirty cover and get things done. I will take you through the simple you need to open your inground pool after months of nap successfully. Follow along.
Step 1: Gather Necessary Pool Opening Materials
Before I can take you through how to open an above ground pool, you will need to stock your tool and equipment box with the following:
- Safety Goggles
- Chemical-Resistant Gloves
- Pool Cover Pump
- Pool Cover Cleaner
- Start-Up Chemical Kit
- Skimmer Net with a telescoping pole
- Pool gasket lubricant
- Inground Pool Brush
- Thread seal tape
- Garden Hose
- Soft Broom
- Pool Shock
Step 2: Clear Your Pool Cover Top
Get a soft broom and sweep away all the dead leaves, twigs, and other debris that might be on your pool cover. Make sure all the large gunk is out, and you’re left with the murky water.
Pick a pool cover submersible pump and remove all the water on the cover. If you don’t have a pool cover pump, you could also use a sump pump.
With some pumps working faster in sucking everything along the path, some won’t handle the fast pumping. That’s why it’s best to consider your pool cover pump’s capability to avoid overworking it.
Step 3: Remove the Winter Pool Cover
Now that all the debris and water resting on the cover are gone, it’s time to remove it and give it a pleasant cleaning.
You will need to remove all the spring-holders from grommets while rolling the cover out to prevent it from falling inside the pool.
Floating is not a problem, but if water was to find its way on the cover’s dirty side, you might be dealing with another yucky problem.
Do you remember the friend I mentioned earlier? This is the stage you need help. You will need to remove the cover out and lay it somewhere flat without dragging it over the rough surfaces as they could tear it apart.
The spot needs to be away from your swimming pool, a place where the cover cleaner can’t find its way into your pool water.
Use this time to inspect the cover to see if it will survive another winter or if it needs some repairs. It damaged beyond repair; you might want to register that you need another pool cover for the next season.
If that is the case, you can skip the next step; there is no need to clean it; disposal is the best move.
Step 4: Clean and Store Your Pool Cover
After laying the cover on the flat ground, spread it. Ask your friend to help you to unfold to avoid dragging it on the rough surface. Once it’s all spread, it’s time to get handy. It would be best if you gave it a thorough clean.
Take a budget with water, add some cover cleaner, and spread it all over; do not miss a spot. If you don’t have a pool cover cleaner, you can also use a car wash soap.
Once spread, take the soft broom you used in the second step to scrub it gently.
It’d be best to avoid using a sharp or abrasive brush or harsh chemical cleaner; they could damage your precious pool cover.
Once you scrub the cover with the soft broom, you can use your garden hose with clean water to rinse off the cleaner or the soap.
Allow the cover to air dry, or use a towel or a leaf blower to fasten the process. When all the water has dried up, fold it and pack it inside a storage bag. You could also use a heavy-duty storage container with a lid.
Store your cover in a cool, dry place. Avoid the ground or floor. The setup acts as an invitation for rodents, bugs, and other pests that find their use your home as a refuge during the hot weather.
Step 5: Skim Your Inground Pool
Now that the pool cover is out of the way, it’s time to get things going. The first thing you need is to skim out the debris, twigs, and other items that might have found their way into the pool during the napping period.
Use a skimmer net to grab everything out, everything that might clog the pool filtration system when you start it during cleaning.
This step isn’t a cleaning stage; you will do more cleaning later. All you need is to take care of the large debris in the pool.
Step 6: Remove Plugs and Ice Compensator
Do you remember the winterizing plugs you installed after blowing the pool plumbing to block water from getting in them? You need to remove them here.
If bubbles form, it’s not a warning sign; it’s normal for this to happen when the water flows back into the pool pipes.
If you also used an ice compensator together with winterizing plugs in the pool skimmer, it’s a must you remove them here.
Step 7: Reinstall the Pool Accessories
If your pool uses a removable pool ladder, step rails, diving board, a slide, or other accessories that you removed when winterizing it, you need to reinstall them here.
Before you can install them, make sure you lubricate and grease the hinges and other joining joints. It will help you have an easier during the next winterization.
If you don’t want to get too much handy here, you can get someone to do the attachment. However, it’s an easy process that shouldn’t scare you.
Step 8: Refill the Pool Water
Did you reduce the pool water when closing your inground pool? If you did, you’ve to refill the water to the ideal level to ensure the skimmer operates optimally.
If you did not reduce the water, you might have lost few inches during the winter season, even if you covered the pool.
Getting the water level to its normal prevents you from balancing the water chemistry twice. Remember to use a hose filter when refilling to prevent contaminants from getting into your pool.
Step 9: Set up the Filter, Pump, and Heater
Everything is getting together well. Right? Take this opportunity to reinstall drain plugs to the pool filter and pump; use thread seal tape to make the joints leak-prof. Use gasket lubrication grease to protect the O-rings and pump housing.
Check the O-rings for cracks; if cracked, replace them now to avoid them causing airflow into the pump later. Also, reinstall the pool heater, chlorine generator, or other sanitizer systems if your pool uses them.
Once everything is back to its place and tightly connected, you can open the return side valves. If your pool filter comes with a multiport valve, you can set it the lever to waste. While doing so, change or clean the sight glass, pressure gauge, and air breeder.
And now it’s time to flip the circuit breaker back on and start the pool pump. The water should start flowing through and the pool pump primed. If your pump doesn’t self-prime, you can do it manually.
Keep a closer look at the filter to make sure it operates as it should be. If operational, allow it to wash by setting the lever to backwash or replace the filter cartridge if necessary. When done, set the valve back to its normal position, filter.
Running water through the waste can help if you used antifreeze when closing your inground pool. However, some remaining pieces might find their way back to your pool water.
Do not be alarmed. Pool antifreeze is non-toxic and will be filtered out during the filtering and cleaning cycles.
Also, keep an eye on the pressure gauge. If you see a sudden spike, there is a problem. Shutoff the pool pump immediately and check the thing that is affecting the water flow.
Try priming the pool pump again. If nothing is improving, there might be a problem with your pool filter. Remove the cartridge and use a filter cleaner and your garden hose to clean it.
For a sand filter, do longer backwashing; this time, wait for the water to get clear before setting it back to the filter position.
Step 10: Check for the Water Hardness
It’s normal for your pool water metal level to increase while it rests during the winter season. You could also have added some when refilling the swimming pool, mainly if you used hard water from a well.
If you used a hose filter, you could have filtered all the minerals. But that doesn’t guarantee the pool water metal level is balanced.
If the metal levels are high, they can cause staining and buildup onto your pool surfaces. The best remedy is to add a metal sequestrant.
Step 11: Test and Balance Your Pool Water
Now that you’ve taken care of the metal problem, you can test the pool water to see the state of the water.
Using test trips only won’t be helpful, considering the pool was unused for months. The best move would be to take a water sample and visit your nearest pool supply store.
Pool supply stores have the necessary pool testing kits to give you accurate results of the water chemicals.
Check for what needs adjusting and balance it. It would be best if you started with the water alkalinity, followed by the water pH, then you can finalize with calcium hardness.
You could also add Start-Up Chemicals
A Start-up chemical kit brings you all the chemicals you need for balancing the water during pool opening. It will have everything you might need for testing and balancing the water. You could also buy the necessary chemicals, which include:
- Chlorine or sanitizer of your choice
- Calcium hardness increaser
- Alkalinity increaser
- Metal sequestrant
- pH increaser or pH decreaser
- Water clarifier
Step 12: Brush and Vacuum the Pool
Yes, it’s that time when you have to give your pool a thorough clean. Use a pool brush to clean the walls and floor to force the algae out. Brushing helps the sanitizer to be more effective in killing the algae.
Use the right pool vacuum to manually pick all the sediments that might have settled on your pool floor. If the water isn’t clear, don’t worry. That will be taken care of in the next step.
Step 13: Shock Your Pool
Pool shocking is the best and most effective way of killing the algae spores and bacteria and getting the pool water sparkling again.
As I said before, safety comes first. So, while adding the chemicals, wear protective gear. Wear chemical-resistant gloves and safety goggles.
Your system has to reach a chlorination breakpoint to achieve effective shock. You can calculate this using a method that requires you to test for free chlorine levels in the water.
Check the user manual to know the right amount of Pool Shock to use with your pool capacity. Double shocking is always best when opening your pool. Avoid pouring pool shock in the filter basket as it could cause damage.
How do you add pool shock?
Pour small amounts straight into the pool water. Do it as you walk around the pool perimeter.
You can also use a 5-gallon bucket with water, dissolve some pool shock and then pour the solution into your pool water.
Remember never to use the same bucket for different chemicals. Some pool chemicals are explosive and dangerous.
Step 14: Filter the Pool Water
Now that everything is taken care of, it’s time to clean the water. This stage requires you to repeatedly filter the pool water until every water particle in your swimming pool passes through the filter.
The best way to do it is to leave the pool filtration running for over 24 hours. It helps mix the shock to reach all the pool corners. It’s also necessary to clean every debris, algae spores, and other contaminants that might have remained in the pool.
By the end of 24-hours, your pool should be crystal clear and ready. If still cloudy, it’s probably the shock working its magic. You can wait for it until it dissipates, or you can add a pool clarifier to quicken the process.
Everything should be looking perfectly restored at this point if you followed the above steps to the latter. Everything you read above helps make the whole task of opening your inground pool.
Do not skip anything! Enjoy your Swimming!