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How to Open Your Above Ground Pool

The weather is warming up, and you are itching to open your pool this spring. Is now the right time? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If the grass is turning green, so is your pool! Now that we’ve determined that the timing is right, let’s jump into these important (and easy) steps to ensure you have a smooth, stress-free pool opening.

And remember, the professional, trained team members at any of Zagers’ locations are always ready to assist you with information tailored to your specific pool care needs. If you’d rather let us handle it, you can always check out availability for pool opening services.

Above Ground Pool Opening

Steps for Opening Your Above Ground Pool

1. Remove, Clean, and Store Pool Cover

Drain off any accumulated water on top of the pool cover. Using a submersible pump works best. Make sure the pump is pumping fast enough so it is only pumping the water on TOP of the winter cover. If your winter cover has small holes in it, water from under the cover could come through. Keep an eye on it so you are not pumping out water from under the cover.

Scoop out any remaining leaves or other debris that remains on the cover. Leaf rakes work great for this. Trust us – you don’t want all that gunk to accidentally slide into the pool when you take the cover off, so remove as much as you can.

Remove cover clips and water tubes from the cover (if applicable), and loosen the winter cable. Slowly remove the winter cover and pillow.

Once removed, clean the cover with water and half a bottle of BioGuard Stow-Away® to prevent sticking and odors. Then store the cover in a large covered plastic bin filled with water and the remaining Stow-Away. This prevents dry cracking and any rodents from destroying your cover. While you’re at it, this is also a good place to store your air pillow and water tubes, too!

2. Install Pool Pump & Filter

Check over your pump and filter to make sure all gaskets and o-rings are in good condition and lubricated properly. Use a Teflon-based water lube instead of petroleum jelly, which can actually break down the materials.

If you have a cartridge or D.E. filter, also check over the grids to ensure they are clean and there are no holes or rips in the material.

For sand filters, check to make sure the center pipe and laterals (“fingers” inside of the filter) are not cracked. If the filter was not adequately drained over the winter, freezing could have caused cracking. It is also recommended to replace the sand at the beginning of every pool season (for above ground pools). If you do not detect damage, fill the filter with sand. Typically this is 2-3 bags for an above ground pool.

Hook up your pump and filter system by connecting the hoses as outlined below:

  • Hose #1 going from skimmer to front of pump (where basket is)
  • Hose #2 going from pump discharge to filter inlet (should be marked “inlet” or “pump”)
  • Hose #3 going from filter outlet (marked “outlet” or “pool”) to pool return

If you have a heater, this would go between the filter and the pool return.

If you have a chlorinator, salt generator, or mineral cartridge system, this would go between the filter and pool return – after the heater, if applicable.

If you have a D.E. filter, make sure you add the correct amount of D.E. into the skimmer when you first turn on the filtration system. You should never run your D.E. filter without D.E. in it.

3. Remove Winter Plugs

Remove the winter disc or plug from the return, take off the Aquador (if applicable) from the skimmer, and install the eyeball into the return so that it is pointed down and to the right. You can also reinstall the skimmer basket and skimmer weir at this time.

4. Add Water to the Pool

Using a garden hose, add water to the pool. The water level should be filled to the middle of the skimmer opening to allow for proper water circulation.

5. Add Start-Up Chemicals

With your pool pump running, first add BioGuard Spot Kill to shock your pool water. 1 bottle (32 oz) treats 25,000 gallons of water. If you pool is cloudy or green, don’t be afraid to use a bit higher of a dose.

Let the Spot Kill circulate for about half an hour, and then add Bioguard Back Up 2 Algaecide. An initial dose of 2 oz. per 1000 gallons should be added to the pool. BioGuard Back Up should also be added on a weekly basis to your pool to prevent algae from growing. Add 1 oz. per 5,000 gallons, per week.

You should circulate your pool water continuously for the first 24 hours it is opened.

6. Clean the Pool

Vacuum and brush your pool to remove any dirt or algae that might be present.

Scrub the waterline with BioGuard Off the Wall to remove any water or scum lines that formed over the winter.

7. Get Your Water Tested

Be sure to circulate the pool water for 24 to 48 hours before taking a water sample. Using a clean plastic container, scoop about one quart of water from elbow-depth. Seal the container and take it to your Zagers store of choice for testing and analysis.

Our computerized water analysis system provides accurate results almost instantly. You will receive personalized instructions for starting and maintaining the pool.

Help keep your water perfectly balanced by bringing in a water sample at least once every month during the pool season.

The best part about our computerized water analysis? It’s completely FREE to our customers. Bring a sample in today!

We know—we just gave you a TON of information to remember about opening your above ground pool for the season. But also remember, we’re here and happy to help! Don’t hesitate to ask your local Zagers pool experts for help with starting your summer with a sparkly clean pool.

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