How to Properly Open your Swimming Pool

Opening Your Pool

Did you close your pool for the winter and want to try and open it for the spring? Or are you a do-it-yourselfer and don’t want to pay a professional upwards three to four hundred dollars to open your pool? Well don’t fear with a little elbow grease and some know how and this easy guide you can open your pool for the year. But be warned this is much harder then closing your pool. But at least if you do some of the work your service professional may give you a break on the price.

First things first you should remove your pool cover. Depending on what type of cover you have you have to do different things.

  • If you have a mesh cover you should use a stiff bristle floor brush or pool brush and remove all leaves, debris, and dirt from the cover. Using the supplied tool detach springs from the bolts drilled into the concrete deck. If possible before you use a 1/4in Allen wrench to put the bolts back in the deck you may want to lubricate the bolts with WD-40 or a light oil to ease install in the autumn.
  • If you have a solid cover use a sump pump or trash pump to remove all excess water. Using a stiff bristle floor brush or pool brush and remove all leaves, debris, and dirt from the cover.
  • For both types of covers once removed lay out in your yard if possible and power wash all other dirt and grime from on both sides from cover.
  • Allow cover to dry thoroughly if possible.
  • A sloping yard or driveway may make this step of cleaning easier.
  • For solid covers clean and brush down all water bags and air pillows. Allow cover to dry and roll and fold tightly.
  • Fold cover fan style and either place in a waterproof bag or secure with rope and twine to prevent unrolling.
  • Store inside garage or basement or other dry vermin proof place for the summer. Make sure cover is dry to prevent mildew. You may
    beautiful blue pool water

    Swim anyone?

    want to even use mothballs to stop mice and other critters from making a home for the summer out of your pool cover.


  1. Remove all expansion plugs that you may have used to plug wall fittings and skimmer baskets. Place in a bag and store with cover for use in the fall. You want to throw out any dried out or cracked plugs and now would be a good time to replace them so you are ready for the fall.
  2. Reset up your filter. Depending on if you stored your filter or just removed the drain plugs make sure to reassemble properly. Replace all skimmers, wall fittings, hoses, pumps, chlorinators, and nature2 systems. If it is an aboveground pool reattach all hoses leading from the pool to filter/pump assembly. If you didn’t do so in the fall now is a good time to lubricate all o-rings and fittings. Make sure to use Teflon tape in all threaded fittings to prevent water leakage.
  3. Make sure to open all valves to and from the filter. Slide valves also called push-pull valves should be in the down position on most DE filters and in the up position for most sand filters. For multi-port valves there are two options. One is to turn it just to filter position. Or you can turn the filter on to drain to waste position (a.k.a. the backwash position) and run until the water comes out the waste line and then turn off the pump. Switch to the re-circulate position and turn on and run until the water goes back into the pool again. Shut off the pump switch to filter and you are done.
  4. Turn on the power to the pump and prime the system. When you turn the pump on keep an eye on the pressure gauge and your hand close to the power switch. If the psi goes above normal range on the gauge usually about 30 psi turns off the unit. Make sure you have all valves open leading to and from pump. Try repeating priming step mention above. If the pump still won’t prime if you have a main drain try closing that and try priming only though the skimmer basket. If you pump won’t prime after several attempts contact a service person or check for any air leaks.
  5. Once pump is primed check all valves and fittings and returned to normal position for the proper flow. Check for leak and tighten as needed.  If you have a heater you will want to restart that now. Follow your heater’s instructions on pilot lighting that you can usually find on the back door of the heater.
  6. Do preventive maintenance. Spring is usually a good time to do all your preventive maintenance. So look around and see what needs to be repaired. Look for slip hazards or broken electrical parts and lube all your o-rings. Check your water level. If you notice in the next couple days after opening your pool the level getting lower you may have a leak. Call a service professional to come out and take a look and check for leaks.
  7. Clean you pool. Pretty straightforward. Vacuum, skim and brush your pool. You will probably want to use a large leaf bag to get all leaves that may have settled on the bottom. These work better then the smaller skim baskets. Also if you pool is especially dirty you will want to set your filter to waste to bypass the filter and vacuum this way. This is only possible if you have a multiport filter. If you do vacuum to waste you will want to stick a running garden hose in you pool to offset the water lost from doing it this way.
  8. Lastly balance your water. At the start of every year replace your test kit whether you use drops or strips.  Start by balancing you total alkalinity. If this is fine you can move on to balance your hardness. If not balance your TA and allow pool to run for six hours. After six hours you can balance your pH. After balancing your pH allow your pool to run for 8 more hours. Now shock or superchlorinate your pool. Follow the directions on the shock at a rate of one pound per 10,000 gallons.  After 24 hours return to your normal preferred chlorine maintenance program.


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