Twice a year in backyards everywhere, pool owners take part in the same important event: opening and closing the pool. How you open yours in the spring sets the tone for your swim season with less maintenance and upkeep worries throughout the summer with a proper start up. And just as important is how you close it for the winter – making all the difference between an easy opening and a messy nightmare next year. Here’s how to make both events a success.
It's time to swim!
If you completely cover your pool for the winter, start with step 1.
If you just slow down your cleaning and maintenance over the winter, start with step 5.
- Fill the pool so that the water level is in the middle of the skimmer opening.
- Remove the cover. Clean and dry it thoroughly before storage to prevent mildew and deterioration.
- Remove all plugs and fittings from return lines. Reinstall all equipment and accessories. Check the diving board, slide and stairs for wear, looseness and corrosion. Make sure the pump, skimmer and heater are working properly.
- Check your filter for proper operation and clean the filter element.
- Clean the pool. Skim the top of the water for debris. Brush the pool thoroughly and vacuum. Run the filter for 24 hours to recirculate the water.
- Test for total alkalinity and adjust if needed. Wait two hours before proceeding to the next step.
- Check pH and adjust to 7.2 - 7.6 if needed. Wait one hour before proceeding to the next step.
- Check the water hardness for proper level of calcium and adjust if needed.
- Check the chlorine stabilizer level and adjust to at least 30 ppm, if necessary.
- Apply Aqua Chem® OPTIMUM® Chlorinating Granules according to label directions for pool opening. Apply the product at night, with the pump running.
- Add Algaecide PLUS® or 20% Algaecide according to label directions for pool opening.
- In the morning, test a fresh water sample for the residual chlorine level and adjust to 1 - 4 ppm, if needed.
It's time to swim!
Opening steps for a small above-ground pool.
- Start the pool equipment following the manufacturer’s directions. Circulate pool water with the pump on for one to two hours.
- Test and balance pool water.
- Apply 1.3 ounces of Shock PLUS® per 1,000 gallons of pool water.
- Do not swim until a 1-4ppm free chlorine residual is being established.
- Add an algaecide such as Algaecide Liquid according to label directions for pool opening.
Once a week, and after heavy swimming use or a heavy rainfall, repeat step 3. For these and any other products, please refer to the label directions for more details on proper application, storage and handling instructions. Always use a clean, dry, measuring scoop/spoon for each chemical addition.
It's time to shut things down...
- Test your pool water with Aqua Chem 6-Way Test Strips. Enter your results in our online water testing for instructions on balancing the pool water.
- Be sure the pool is free of algae and has chlorine residual before closing.
- Clean the pool by brushing, vacuuming, and cleaning out the skimmer basket(s).
- Chemically clean the filter with Filter Cleaner.
- Add Shock Xtra Blue®, OPTIMUM® Chlorinating Granules, or Shock PLUS® according to label instructions. Circulate for four to six hours, to disperse throughout the pool.
- Add Algaecide PLUS® or 20% Algaecide according to label instructions. Circulate for two to four hours to disperse product throughout the pool.
- Winterize equipment per manufacturer’s directions. A partial drain may be necessary depending on seasonal demands.
- Cover pool and secure.
- A midwinter shock may be necessary for pools in warmer climates.