Spring opening is one of the most exciting times of the year for any pool owner. After months of cold, snow, and ice, the weather is starting to warm up and your pool is nearly ready to be the centerpiece of some backyard fun in the sun! Even though the sun is shining and the water is warm, the pool isn’t quite ready for swimmers just yet. There are still some necessary steps every pool owner must take in order to have a clean and safe pool that is ready to handle a long summer season. Leslie’s is here to help you through the process of opening your pool, so read through these easy-to-follow instructions and you will be on your way to having a clean pool and a great summer!
These step-by-step instructions are designed to help you open your pool for the summer. If you are a new pool owner or are taking care of your pool for the first time, you may want to call Leslie’s at 1-800-LESLIES and request our Pool Opening Service. Leslie’s would be happy to send one of our trained and certified technicians to your house and have them assist you with opening your pool and give you tips on how to easily open your pool in the future.
1. Drain the pool cover
If you have a winter cover or a solid safety cover, you will want to drain as much water as you can from the cover before removing it. You can do this easily with a submersible pump, or if you have an above ground pool, you can use a simple siphon.
2. Remove the pool cover
Using two people if available, remove the cover from your pool. It is inevitable that a little water and debris will fall into the pool from the cover, and this is OK. You will be shocking and vacuuming the pool, so a small amount of water and debris won’t hurt anything.
3. Clean and store the pool cover
After removing the pool cover, lay it out and brush away the remaining debris. Once the cover has dried, sprinkle both sides with Leslie’s Alkalinity Up or talcum powder to prevent mold and mildew buildup. Fold the cover up loosely and store in a cool, dry place.
4. Raise the water level back to normal
Use a hose to fill the water level in your pool back to its normal level, typically about the middle of the skimmer opening or halfway up the tile.
If you did not winterize your pool for freezing conditions, please skip ahead to Step 9.
5. Reconnect your pool equipment
If you prepared your pool for freezing temperatures over the winter, you will want to reconnect all the equipment that was disconnected. This includes reconnecting your filter, pump, heater, and anything else.
6. Remove winter plugs and reattach drain plugs
Make sure to take out all the winterizing plugs from your pump, filter, heater, booster pump, pool cleaners, and everything else with a drain plug, and replace them with their normal drain plug.
7. Clear antifreeze from drain lines
If you used pool antifreeze to protect your plumbing during the winter, you will want to discharge it to waste.
8. Remove winterizing plugs from skimmer and return lines
Make sure to wait until after the antifreeze has been discharged to waste before removing the winterizing plugs from your skimmer and return lines.
9. Start turning your equipment back on
At this point, you will want to start turning most of your pool equipment back on. This includes priming the pump and turning on the circulation and filtration system. If you have an air relief valve on your filter, make sure to open it to bleed the air from the system.
10. Add Metal Free to prevent staining
After a long winter offseason, metals like copper and iron may have built up in your pool. In order to prevent these metals from causing stains or discoloration in your pool, add 1 liter of Metal Free for every 20,000 gallons of water. After adding, allow the circulation and filtration systems to run for at least 2 hours.
11. Test your pool chemistry
Once the circulation system has run for several hours, you will want to test your pool water for pH, Total Alkalinity, and chlorine levels using a good test kit. Ideal levels for these chemicals should be:
- pH – 7.4 to 7.6
- Total Alkalinity – 80 to 120 ppm
- Chlorine – 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
12. Adjust your pool chemistry, starting with the Total Alkalinity
It is now time to begin adjusting your pool chemistry to safe, comfortable swimming levels. By starting with adjusting the Total Alkalinity, you will easily be able to control the pH and chlorine levels in your water.
If your Total Alkalinity is too high, you will want to use Leslie’s Dry Acid to lower the levels to the accepted range. To lower the Total Alkalinity by 10 ppm, you will want to add 1 ½ pounds of Leslie’s Dry Acid for every 10,000 gallons of water.
If the Total Alkalinity of your pool is too low, it can easily be increased by using Leslie’s Alkalinity Up. Adding 1 ½ pounds of Alkalinity Up will increase the Total Alkalinity of 10,000 gallons by 10 ppm. Make sure to wait at least 4 hours after adding to retest the water.
13. Adjust your pool chemistry, starting with the Total Alkalinity
Once the Total Alkalinity is within its proper range, between 80-120 ppm, you can now easily adjust the pH balance in your pool. Bringing the Total Alkalinity back to the normal range should have pushed the pH level close to normal as well, but if the pH is not between 7.4 and 7.6, not to worry.
If your pH level is above 7.6, you can add small doses (2 cups at a time) of Leslie’s Dry Acid. Wait 2 hours with the circulation system running and retest before adding more acid.
If your pH level is below 7.4, adding just 6 ounces of Leslie’s Soda Ash should increase the pH level of 10,000 gallons of water by approximately 0.2. Wait 4 hours with the circulation system running and retest the water before adding more Leslie’s Soda Ash.
14. Test and adjust the Calcium Hardness if necessary
Your pool’s calcium hardness level should always be above 150 ppm. If, after balancing your pH and Total Alkalinity, the calcium hardness is too low, you can bring it up by adding Leslie’s Hardness Plus. Just 1 1/4 pounds will increase the calcium hardness of 10,000 gallons of water by 10 ppm.
Note: Never add Leslie’s Hardness Plus on the same day as Leslie’s Soda Ash or Leslie’s Alkalinity Up. Always wait until the next day to add Leslie’s Hardness Plus.
15. Brush and vacuum the pool
After your pool chemistry has been adjusted, there will still be some remaining dirt and debris from the winter. Now is the time to thoroughly brush and vacuum your pool, giving special attention to areas near pool steps, ladders, or other equipment.
16. Run the circulation and filtration systems overnight
This will allow all the dirt, debris, algae, and bacteria still floating in your pool after brushing and vacuuming to be filtered out.
17. Shock the pool
Shocking the pool will eliminate nearly all of the remaining bacteria and contaminants in your water after the winter offseason. To shock the pool, you can use Leslie’s Power Powder Plus or Leslie’s Chlor Brite. Each of these products will quickly and effectively shock your pool, but be sure to read the instructions to determine how much you should add to your pool.
18. Prevent algae growth during the summer
Even with regular chlorination and a good circulation system, algae can still find its way into your pool. You can either use Leslie’s Algae Control or Pool Perfect + PHOSfree.
Leslie’s Algae Control is a tried and true algae controller that safely prevents algae growth all summer long. Adding just 10 ounces for every 10,000 gallons of water will help keep your pool crystal clear.
A revolutionary new product, Pool Perfect + PHOSfree eliminates phosphates, which are algae’s main food source, and helps to prevent outbreaks of the nasty green stuff. Add 1 capful for every 4,000 gallons of pool water and you should have a clean and algae-free summer.
19. Bring a sample of your pool water to your nearest Leslie’s for testing
Each Leslie’s location offers free testing of pool water, all you have to do is bring in an 8 ounce sample for a trained Leslie’s employee to test. If he or she finds that the water is safe and all levels are where they need to be, your pool is ready for swimming!