With spring in the air, it's time for everyone to shed the winter woes and get their backyard pools ready for a fun-filled summer. Before you dive in, however, here are some helpful tips on opening your pool that will have you and your family swimming in no time:

  1. Open Your Pool Early – Opening your pool while the weather is still cool helps prevent algae growth (since algae loves to grow in warm, dark places). Since your pool has been covered all winter, opening it early will make treating the water easier, so that it will be perfectly clear for summer fun.

  1. Get Prepared – Call your swimming pool professional to set up an appointment for your pool opening. It is never too early to get on the schedule to ensure that you get the date you are looking for. A swimming pool professional will make opening your pool a snap. If you are a DIYer, then follow the steps listed below. Remember to create a checklist of must-haves before you get started so you will have everything you need at your disposal to avoid those last minute back-and-forth trips to the pool store. Here is a list of what you will need:

  • ‘Spring Opening Kit' (or chemicals such as shock, chlorine, pH alkalinity and chlorine stabilizer)
  • Telescopic Pole
  • span>Skimmer Head
  • Vacuum Head
  • Vacuum Hose
  • Pool Brush
  • Test Kit or Test Strips
  1. Remove the Swimming Pool Cover – Remove any leaves or debris that may have settled on the cover with a leaf net (and pump off any standing water if you have a solid cover). After removing the cover (see our blog from May 2015), be sure to clean it, let it dry thoroughly, and then store it for the season. Don't be surprised if the pool water is green or cloudy. Just follow the steps below to a beautiful, crystal clear pool.

  1. Add Water if Necessary – It is likely you will need to add water to bring the levels up to normal operating range.

  1. Prepare Pump and Filter System – Check your filter to ensure it is thoroughly clean. Next, start up your filter system, and make sure you prime the pump before starting the motor. (Note:Purge all the air from the plumbing and equipment. Be aware that air will be compressed during this process, so make sure you release any built up pressure before opening your filter, pump or chemical feeder.) At this point, it's a good idea to check for any leaks.

  1. Test the Water – Before adding any chemicals, you want to make sure the pool is free of any debris, dirt or sand. Once you have assessed the pool, run the pump for at least 8-12 hours before adding any chemicals. This will allow the fresh water you added to combine with the pool water that was already in the pool.

After you have run the pump, take a sample of the pool water (making sure you take a sample that is away from your return line). Use your test kit or test strips to check the pH and chlorine levels. It is recommended to bring your water sample to a pool supply store to have them check for the following levels:

  • Total and Free Chlorine (or the type of sanitizer you use)
  • pH and Alkalinity
  • Cyanuric Acid or Chlorine Stabilizer
  • Calcium Hardness

Once you have added the proper amount of chemicals to your pool, be sure to run the pump for 10-12 hours on the first day to ensure the water will be clear and that your pool is ready for use.

  1. Installing Handrails, Ladders and Diving Boards – If your handrails, ladders and diving boards were removed during the winter, be sure to inspect all of them for wear and any damage. For diving boards, check for any stress cracks and make sure the surface has a non-skid surface. It is recommended to replace the diving board if it has any stress cracks. If the surface of the diving board has been worn smooth, experts say to use a refinishing kit to correct it.

  1. Clean the Tiles – The tiles in your pool may need a little sprucing up.  If you don't have tile cleaner, baking soda and a sponge work wonders. Avoid using household cleaners (especially abrasives) to clean the tile. You will only be adding additional chemicals (which can prove to be irritating or harmful) to your pool water.

  1. Safety – The final step is to put safety precautions in place. This is the time to post all "No Diving, No Running" signs by the pool area. Install your removable pool fencing. Check all gate and door alarms. Finally, hold a family meeting about the importance of safety in and around the swimming pool. A safe pool season is a fun pool season.

We hope these tips have been helpful in getting you ready for your pool opening. We wish everyone a safe and happy summer!