To some, it may seem a bit early to even think about this, but that is the first TIP – the sooner you get things going, the better.
Once the water temperatures reach 60 degrees, algae will begin to bloom. We all know, algae is not a friend! If you are truly against getting things started this soon, at the very least, lift your winter cover, test the water and add some shock to avoid the algae from sprouting.
TRIM & CLEAN: To those of you who are with me and ready to get this started, here we go. Before we get to the actual pool/water, we must start with the shrubs, trees, grass and flowers around the pool area.
Don’t skip this TIP, these beautiful spring bloomers can cause headaches when it comes time to open the pool. Trim and prune hedges, branches, etc. that may have grown over since you closed the pool down. Break out the rake, to sweep up fall leaves tucked under bushes around the pool.
Around your pump and filter, make sure to clear any leaves or mulch away from the equipment. Trim back overhanging trees or bushes that are growing too close.
POOL COVER: Once this is cleaned up you can move over to the winter cover on your pool, and keep cleaning. If you have water on the cover, pump it off, making sure you do not take water out of the pool through the cover.
Most covers are a weave and not truly solid, so water can come through. If you have only leaves and debris and no water, you can simply sweep that off and get rid of it. Now that you can see the top of the cover, and it’s cleared off, you can give it a quick spray with the hose.
A good pool cover TIP is, after removing the cover, lay it out on a solid surface to really give it a solid cleaning. The cleaner you get it now before storage, the more likely it is ready to go in the fall when closing rolls around.
Second TIP, allow the cover to dry completely and fold it up. Last TIP - if you can, store the cover indoors, in a shed or garage, away from moisture and insects.
POOL WATER: So here we are, looking at our pool water, for better or worse. It’s time to get the equipment rolling. Remove any plugs from the skimmer and returns. Put in the skimmer baskets.
You may need to add some water. Just grab that garden hose and fill ’er up, a little on the high side, because you may waste some water, if you have a sand or a DE filter, by vacuuming the pool to waste.
Depending on what type of pool you have; in-ground, tiled, concrete, liner – do an inspection and make sure everything is in good shape. Look for any staining, and get rid of that now. If you have stubborn pool stains, check our pool stain removers in the pool stain chemicals area of our website.
FILTER PUMP: Give the pump and filter a check for any damage, and replace the drain plugs, using Teflon tape.
Prime the pump with water before starting the motor. Lubricate the pump lid o-ring with a good pool lube like Jack’s 327, (don’t use Vaseline), and replace the pump lid tightly. Open up any valves before or after the pump.
TIP: For smaller filters, clean or replace the media in the filter for best results. Using pool filter cleaner or new filter cartridges or filter sand puts you in the best position for a happy swimming season.
Check the position of the filter valve. For the first start-up, I like to set my sand filter to the “Waste” position, and let it flow out of the backwash hose.
Start up the filter pump, and watch for it to catch prime and pump out of the backwash hose, while you look for any other parts that may be leaking. Shut off the pump and switch to the Filter position. Restart the pump and this time watch the pressure gauge and look for bubbles erupting at the pool returns.
CLEAN THE POOL: I start with a leaf rake, and “lift” the leaves and twigs from the bottom. It’s an important TIP to get as much of the bottom mess out before you run your vacuum.
This part of the process can take hours if the pool cover failed during the winter. If you have no large debris, you can jump ahead to pool vacuuming.
Vacuum the pool – to waste, if you have a multiport valve. Just set the valve to the waste position, and run out your backwash hose. After cleaning the pool, I run my filter at least a full 24 hours before adding anything else.
Once it has circulated a day, I use a DIY pool opening kit based on the gallons of water in my pool. TIP ~ it is better to oversize these kits than to undersize. Just follow the directions, pool opening kits make it easy.
Before testing the water, I allow the chemicals from the opening kit to circulate for a day. Once the kit is fully circulated you can test the water and adjust from there. This ensures that you are only adding what you need, and not wasting money, by using unnecessary chemicals. TIP!
While you’re at it, clean all of the equipment and toys that will be in the pool this season. You will be surprised to find how much dirt/dust can accumulate on the ladder, diving board, hand rails, even the inflatables.
Hey, you’re ready to jump in whenever the temperatures hit your favorite swimming degree. If your chlorine level has dropped and your water is balanced, you can put on your solar cover to heat things up.
This head start makes you ready NOW, and not in panic mode 2 days before Memorial Day or the big party you are planning!