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Opening And Closing Your Pool

Opening your pool can be a chore especially after a long messy winter. Some people choose to avoid the hassle and call in a professional, but many others who avoid the "pool guy" typically start the pool opening process in mid-April.

Steps to Opening Your

Swimming Pool

1. If you live in a colder climate where you completely close down your pool for half the year the first step is to clean all the soggy debris off the pool cover. An easy way to do this quickly is to use a submersible pump to suck up the mess.

2. When the water level is low enough clean up the excess debris with a hand-held pool skimmer.

3. Check your pump and filter to make sure that they are operating properly. Clean the pump's leaf basket of any debris.

4. If you didn't clean the filter when you closed the pool you will have to do it before the pool is fully opened. The cleaning method will depend on which type of filter you have.

5. Remove the swimming pool cover making sure not to get any leftover debris into the pool and begin filling the pool with water. The water should be filled to 3-6 inches from the top of the pool. If you have a skimmer the water should be filled so that it just enters the skimmer.

6. Remove all the plugs and fittings from return lines and re-install all the equipment and accessories you dismantled for the winter. Remember to check your diving board, slide and stairs for wear and corrosion.

7. Brush the sides of the pool, vacuum the bottom and skim the top of the water for debris.

8. The last step is adding the swimming pool chemicals that will keep the pool clean. Chlorine and bromine are the two most commonly used pool chemicals. Start by testing the water. First test the total alkalinity level. Total Alkalinity acts as a pH buffer in pool water to prevent large changes in pH. The ideal range is 50-140 ppm but your optimum alkalinity level will depend on the type of pool you have. If you need to change the alkalinity level run the filter while doing so. Wait for 2 hours and then proceed on to checking and adjusting the pH level. The pH scale determines the acidic or basic nature of pool water. The proper pH level is a vital component of water balance. Ideal pH range is between 7.2-7.4.

Wait for an hour after adjusting the pH and then proceed to checking the calcium level. Calcium Hardness levels measure the amount of dissolved calcium in the swimming pool water. The ideal level for calcium hardness is between 200 and 1000ppm. A few hours after the calcium level has been checked and adjusted check the chlorine stabilizer. You can then apply a shock treatment and leave the filter running overnight. In the morning test the water for chlorine level and apply extra sanitizer if needed.

9. Hop in and enjoy.

Closing Your Pool

The way you close your swimming pool will depend on the climate in which you live. Some pool experts say that no matter what climate you live in you can go without draining your pool. Many pools can fare well in cold temperatures when they are partially filled with water because often the water can act as a buffer. A drained pool may crack or pop out of the ground because of pressure from ground water.

1. Start by vacuuming and brushing the pool to remove dirt and algae.

2. Balance the water levels including pH, Calcium Hardness and total alkalinity.

3. Empty all lint traps and skimmer baskets and store them for the winter.

4. Shock the pool.

5. Add an algaecide to the pool water and let it circulate for about an hour.

6. Clean the pool filter if you would prefer not to clean it when you open the pool.

7. Begin draining the pool. If you aren't completely draining your swimming pool the amount of drainage should correspond to the type of pool you own. Vinyl-lined in ground pools should be drained to one inch below the skimmer mouth. Plaster pools with solid covers should be drained to between 1-6 inches below the skimmer mouth or tile. Paint- finished pools with solid covers should be drained 6 inches below the skimmer mouth and pools with mesh covers or no covers should be drained 18 – 24 inches below the skimmer mouth.

8. Shut off all pool equipment and drain the pump, filter, heater and hoses.

9. If you live in a cold climate you may need to add pool antifreeze to skimmer lines, and return lines.

10. Plug all openings.

11. Cover the pool to keep dirt and debris out and pool chemicals in. If you aren't using a solid cover, apply a second shock treatment in mid-winter.

12. If you have a slide or diving board, take it off and store it.

13. Remember to store swimming pool chemicals in a cool dry and secure place away from children and pets.

14. Sit back and relax, knowing you've successfully closed your swimming pool.

If you live in a warmer climate and will be using your swimming pool once in a while throughout the winter continue your regular maintenance regiment with a few slight adjustments. Run your filter a few hours a week to keep the sanitizer level high enough to keep away algae and bacteria. Check your sanitizer level once a week and adjust it if necessary. Remember to frequently clean the pool of debris and consider using a pool cover if you aren't going to be using the pool for a prolonged amount of time.

Hammer Have more questions about opening and closing your swimming pool? Head over to our Pools forum and ask questions to other DIYers who may just have the answer to your question!