As the spring months roll in, it’s time to start thinking about what it will take to get the pool open this year. If you have an inground pool or an above ground pool that’s already in place, you know this is a big process that often takes a bit of hard work and attention to detail. Getting it right, though, helps set you up for a summer full of water fun. Where do you start when it comes to opening your pool after the winter? Before you open the pool shed to get started, consider these steps.
What to Consider When Opening an Inground Pool
If you have an inground pool that’s in good condition, you may be able to open it on your own. If it needs significant repairs or a new liner, it may be a good idea to speak to a professional about making those upgrades.
A good starting place is with preparing your chemicals. Most of the time, you'll need chemicals such as chlorine, pH increaser, pH decrease, an alkalinity increaser, water clarifier, and a calcium hardness increaser. Yes, it's a lot, but you'll need to have these on hand to help you to balance the water on a routine basis. That's most difficult to do at the start of the season. You will likely need to have a pH tester to help you.
Removing the Pool Cover
The first step in the process is to remove anything on top of the pool cover before attempting to remove the pool cover. You don't want to add anything else into it. After pulling off the pool cover safely, put it aside, laying flat since you'll need to wash it and store it later.
Start the Cleaning Process
Using a skimmer, remove any debris possible. This is often the easiest way to get your pool clean. It’s then necessary to remove the plugs to allow water to become moving through the system. Then, put your ladders and diving board back in place. Any other accessories should be put in place now.
Next, top it off with water. Bring it up to a normal level. That way, you can work to balance the water chemistry (using those chemicals).
Once you get the proper chemicals in based on the outcome of the water test, you’ll need to get the filtering process in place and working. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for setting up the filter and testing it. It’s a good idea to do some extra work ensuring that the pool filter and pump are in good condition, such as lubricating the O-rings.
You then need to prime the pump with water after flipping the circuit breaker. Turn on the pump and get it moving. You may need to replace the filter after this first cleaning. Once all of that is done, then you need to go back and balance the pH level.
What to Consider When Opening an Above Group Pool
An above-ground pool follows the same basic process in terms of opening it, with the difference that you’ll likely need to prepare your equipment a bit differently since you don’t have direct water lines and pipes in place.
Start with Chemicals
If you have not done so, take some time to gather all of the chemicals you need (see the list above). You’ll also want to get to know these products to really understand how they work.
Clean and Setup
Remove the debris that’s on top of your pool cover. After doing so, pull away the cover and place it on a flat surface so you can wash it properly. If you’ve removed the hoses for the water filter, it’s time to remove those plugs and hook up the water filter to the pool again. Be sure to put a clean filter in to start the hard work.
Top off the pool with water to get it to the proper level. You’ll want to have the pool ladder and any other attachments in place before you do this.
Then, work to set up the pump, filter, and other equipment to start the cleaning process. First, skim anything you can off the surface. Then, run the pool filter to allow it to pull off the debris. If you have a pool cleaner, it's time to get it in place and working. Once done, you'll need to clean or replace your filter.
Finally, balance your water chemistry and wait until it balances before you jump in to have some fun.
Pool Storage Options to Keep Your Gear Organized
As a pool owner, you know that there is going to be a lot of “stuff” to manage once the pool is open. That means everything from the kid’s floaties to the chemicals you need to keep your pool in good condition. If you are like many pool owners, you know it’s critical to keep these items safely stored to avoid damage to them and to ensure you don’t have to replace them sooner than needed. It may also be important to lock away items that could prove dangerous such as chemicals or cleaning equipment.
As you plan for your pool opening this year, it helps to plan to manage your equipment and gear. Luckily, several types of pool storage options may work for you, depending on the size of your pool and its overall function.
Pool Deck Box
One of the easiest options for smaller pools is to choose a pool deck box. As its name implies, it sits on your deck or any other hard surface near the pool. It has a lid that opens up. Depending on the model you select, these can provide a small to moderate level of storage, providing enough room for items such as:
- Pool toys
- Cushions for chairs
- Smaller pieces of pool equipment such as extra filters
While pool chemicals may fit in here, not all pool deck boxes allow you to lock them. That makes them a bit more of a risk. Some are designed to make it easy for you to store items that you want to keep dry but not necessarily waterproof, such as the kid's toys for the pool. What's more, these are super easy to open and close, meaning the kids should have no trouble getting their stuff out when it's time to head out into the water.
A horizontal shed is another option. This type of storage option, such as a 6' by 3' size, is likely to be ideal for most people, including those with a larger pool, inground pool, or added equipment. You may be able to place all of your gear in here, including:
- Cleaning supplies
- Pool toys and gear
The key here is that it can take up a bit more room, but you may be able to store everything you need to in one place. You can choose other sizes, too, if you need more room. These can be locked to keep people out of it as well, minimizing pool chemical storage risks. Also, because it sits low on the ground, you can easily move it into the space with ease if you have any rolling equipment or bins, such as a pool cleaner. For most people with ample storage needs, a horizontal shed is the best option.
Some people may want something a bit larger and with more storage options. Keep in mind that a larger, standalone shed is an excellent choice if you want pool storage but also room for other items, like garden tools and even your extra furniture. It makes for a great solution for the winter months, too, when you want to store away all of the patio furniture and other gear safely out of the winter elements. A pool shed may range in size, but it typically can include storage for items such as:
- All of your pool chemicals, potentially on shelving
- All pool equipment, including cleaning systems, filter systems, and larger items
- All necessary storage items such as the pool cover you put on in the winter or the solar cover
- The kid's toys, even those large pool floaties that never fit anywhere else
- Extra filters and supplies
- Cleaning wands and longer nets and skimmers that do not typically fit into other storage options
A pool shed takes up more space but offers the best level of storage for most needs. It’s a good idea to consider the overall needs you have carefully. For example, do you want a place to store more than just pool gear? If so, a pool shed is beneficial.
Getting Your Summer Set
With the help of proper pool storage, along with all of the steps to setting up your pool, you may be ready to hit the water and start having fun. What’s more, with proper storage, you can easily clean up after a day in the water and know that it’s ready for next time.