Whether it’s almost time to open your pool for the season, or you are researching pool maintenance for the new pool you plan to have installed, you’re in the right place. A little work goes into preparing your pool for that refreshing first swim of the summer, but that work is worth it for your family to be splashing and laughing all season long. After all, a swimming pool is a significant investment, so it’s important to take care of it properly, right from the beginning. This pool opening checklist will walk you through the steps of opening your pool for the summer.

1. Uncover the Pool 

The cover that has been protecting your pool all winter must be properly removed, cleaned, and stored, so it’s ready for pool closing at the end of the season.

Clean Leaves Off the Cover 

Even if you have tried to keep your pool cover cleared of leaves through the off-season, there’s probably a fresh collection waiting for you. Clearing off leaves, twigs, and other debris will prevent the mess from getting into the pool. It’s always important to keep organic matter out of your pool. This is because it depletes chlorine, can introduce bacteria, promote algae growth, and can clog your filtration system. So, before removing the cover, get rid of as much of the debris as you can! 

  1. Remove water puddles with a submersible pump. 
  2. Use a broom, leaf blower, or heavy duty pool rake to remove loose debris.
  3. Finally, sweep away any remaining dirt and debris. 

If you’re going to use a pool rake and pole for this process, make sure it’s up for the job. Light-weight rakes can’t handle the weight, but ProTuff brand can.

Remove Pool Cover 

Once you have cleared any debris, you can remove the pool cover, but you will need a second person’s assistance for this step. First, unhook the anchors or whatever you’ve used to hold down the cover Then, each person should grab one corner of the cover on opposite sides. Walking together, lift the pool cover, folding it towards the opposite end of your pool. If you go slowly, you can work together to prevent any remaining debris from entering the pool. However, if any does get in, you’ll get to that soon, so don’t worry. 

Properly Store the Cover 

Clean your pool cover with a cover cleaning solution or diluted bleach solution. You can do this by filling a large plastic container about halfway with your cleaning solution – a kiddie pool or large plastic trash bin should suffice. Let the cover soak for a few hours, then remove and rinse it thoroughly with water. Next, safely dispose of the cleaning solution and allow the cover and the container to dry.

Hang the clean pool cover and allow it to dry. Ensure that it is completely dry, fold it and store it in a dry, plastic container with a secure lid. Properly storing the cover within the right container will help prevent pest and mold damage. 

2. Check the Deck

Unless this is a brand new deck or you were meticulous about cleaning it through the winter, chances are it needs a little attention. So take a few minutes to clean your deck, so it’s ready for pool season too. 

To make your own deck cleaning solution, mix 1 part bleach, 1 part dishwashing soap, and 8 parts water. 

  • Pour the cleaning solution across your deck. 
  • Use a broom or hard-bristle brush to scrub the deck as you go. 
  • Once you have thoroughly scrubbed the deck, rinse the solution away with a hose. 
  • Use extra solution to treat difficult spots. 

3. Reconnect Pool Equipment

Now it’s time to check your pool equipment. Give everything a solid inspection and look for corrosion or wear-and-tear. If anything appears broken or worn, replace as necessary. You should ensure that there is enough sand or DE in your filter or put new cartridges in your cartridge filter. For pools with a vinyl liner, inspect the liner for damage that needs repairing.  

Next, reconnect your pump, filter, cleaner, or other equipment you previously disconnected for the winter. Take time to lubricate o-rings or replace them if warranted. 

Then you can get out your ladder, diving board, handrails, and other accessories. Check to see if they need cleaning first. For a money-saving tip, check out what you already have on hand. You may be surprised to learn that you can use many household cleaners in the pool. It’s important to get all your pool parts and accessories nice and clean before reinstalling so they are safe and ready to use.

4. Replace Winterizing Plugs

If you’re in a colder climate, you likely used winterizing plugs to seal out water to prevent frozen water from damaging the pool’s plumbing system. If this is the case, replace the winterizing plugs from the return lines and suction lines with regular plugs. If you used a winter guard on your skimmer, remove it, or open the skimmer and remove the compensator. 

5. Check the Water Level

No matter how well you winterize your pool, it’s probably lost a little water. You will likely need to add water to ensure it is at the right level. The general rule is that the water level should reach the middle of the pool skimmer. If the water line dips below the midway point, that’s your sign you need to add water

6. Start the Pump

Once the water is at the right level, your pool equipment will function properly, so you can get the pump ready for action. But first:

  • Make sure the multiport valve is set to “filter.” 
  • Turn on the pump.
  • Observe the pressure gauge to watch for anything unusual.
  • If the pressure gauge has a high reading, try backwashing your filter or replacing the sand or cartridge if you didn’t already.
  • If the pump is not pulling water, prime it by opening the lid and adding more water. Close the lid and start the pump again. 

When the pump is running efficiently, leave it on for the next 24 hours. 

7. Clean Your Pool 

Your pump is running, so now it’s time to clean the pool. You’ll need a few supplies:

Using your pool cleaning equipment, you’ll want to follow these steps: 

  1. Use your pool rake to remove any leaves or debris that’s made its way into the water.
  2. Scrub the walls and stairs with the pool brush.
  3. Follow your pool vacuum’s instructions to clean the pool floor.

If the water is still murky or cloudy, that’s okay. The next two steps will help clear it up. 

8. Balance the Water

It’s important to test your water regularly throughout the pool season. From the time you open it, at regular intervals, and even after storms to see if rain impacts your water. Testing your water regularly ensures it is safe and chemically balanced. You will want to use new test kit reagents every season to ensure they are accurate, or, if you’re using your test kit from last year, take your water sample to a local pool supply store for reading. If their numbers match your numbers, then your old test kit is still reliable.

You will need the following chemicals to open your pool: 

  • Sanitizer (Chlorine, bromine, or biguanide)
  • Pool shock 
  • pH increaser and pH decreaser (to keep pH levels between 7.4 and 7.6)
  • Calcium increaser and calcium decreaser 
  • Stabilizer 
  • Algaecide
  • Clarifier 

Follow the instructions on your test kit and always follow chemical safety protocol when using and storing pool chemicals. We recommend the following levels: 

  • pH Levels – The ideal range is 7.4 to 7.6, although 7.2 is acceptable on the low end, and 7.8 is acceptable on the high end.
  • Alkalinity – 100 to 150 parts per million (ppm) is ideal. 
  • Sanitizer levels – Your water should read between 1 and 4 ppm.

9. What To Do the Next Day

Remember, you’ll leave the pump running for the next 24 hours so that it can clean the water. You want the water to be crystal clear, with full visibility to the bottom of the pool.

Then you’ll have a few follow-up tasks the next day to get your pool ready for action:

  1. Retest the water with your pool test kit and adjust the chemical levels as needed. 
  2. Clean the walls and remove any remaining dirt or grime.
  3. Vacuum the pool floor again to clean anything that settled.
  4. If you have a pool heater, turn it on if desired. 

If your pool water is still cloudy the next day, repeat these steps. Remember, proactive maintenance is the best way to keep your pool water clear. For more tips on what to do about cloudy pool water, read more here.

Good Pool Equipment Should Last Season After Season

After your pool is open, following a regular pool maintenance schedule is key. You’ll quickly learn how not to use pool tools and which tools are most effective. High-quality pool cleaning equipment is essential – it helps make an otherwise tedious task a little easier. Furthermore, when you invest in affordable but quality equipment, you know you’ll always have sturdy tools at hand. You won’t be scrambling to buy new equipment every year. ProTuff’s pool rake is built to last. Keeping your water clean of leaves, twigs, and other debris that naturally find their way into your pool can help prevent clogs in the filter, algae, bacteria growth, and other water issues.  

If you have questions or concerns about pool maintenance, contact ProTuff today. Our products are designed for efficiency, and you can count on us to stand behind their quality. 

Disclaimer: Pool ownership and maintenance is very complicated, and we know every situation is unique. While we’ve done our best to cover the best practices here, we encourage you to reach out to ProTuff directly at info@protuffproducts.com with any specific questions you may have.

The Definitive Pool Opening Checklist – 9 Effective Steps for Opening Your Pool