Pool Opening

See pages three and four for a description of how to open a pool, remove the cover, and set up the equipment and filter. 

___________ Gallons                 Chlorine       Bromine       Baquacil/PHMB

1.  Housekeeping.  Remove all debris before adding chemicals.  Scoop out leaves, pine   needles, and large debris.  Brush walls to loosen up algae, water mold, or slime.  Vacuum pool bottom.  If the water is too high, or the bottom is very bad, vacuum to waste.  If you do not know exactly how, ask us.  Never vacuum on backwash.  If you can not see the bottom of the shallow end, you may wish to floc the pool now or later.  Now could be faster and more efficient.  That may change the order of things or the type of algaecide you use.  Talk to us, and refer to the Pool Tips™ on Algae Treatment, and on Cloudy Water.  You can also start up a pool by following the steps in the Algae Treatment.  Floc requires a high pH (8.0) to work, so you may be changing your pH to something different from that in Step 4.

2.  Filtration.

  1. (Sand filter):  Replace filter sand, or use a filter cleaner to clean last year’s sand – unless the sand was cleaned at closing time last year.   Run the filter 24 hours a day until the pool water is completely clear.  Then, run at least 8 hours a day for the rest of the summer.
  2. (DE filter):  Remove any Diatomaceous Earth left from last year.  Clean the filter elements with filter cleaner, unless the elements were cleaned at closing time last year.  Then add new D.E.  Run the filter 24 hours a day until the pool water is completely clear.  Then, run at least 8 hours a day for the rest of the summer.
  3. (Cartridge filter):  Clean the cartridge with filter cleaner if it was not done last fall.  Run the filter 24 hours a day until the pool water is completely clear.  Then, run at least 8 hours a day for the rest of the summer. 

3.   Testing.  Finish adding any necessary water to the pool, and run the filter at least 6 hours to circulate.  Do your normal home chemical test – make sure that all of your reagents are fresh this year or your test strips have not expired.  Remember the results.  If it’s convenient, it would be best to bring a pint of pool water in for our lab work.  If you have  a high mineral content, you could stain the pool when you add the chemicals in Step 5.  We could have prevented that if we caught it first.  Make sure your pH is above 6.2 or below 8.4, or you (and we) can not get an accurate test.  Otherwise, continue on to the next step, and bring your water sample in at least four days after shocking the pool.

4.   PH Adjustment.  If you use chlorine or bromine, your pH must be adjusted to 7.6 or lower, or the shock may not work.  A higher level may be allowable in some cases, depending on the water’s Total Alkalinity and the form of shock being used.  If you use Baquacil, it wouldn’t hurt to adjust the pH now, but it’s not as critical.

5.   Opening Chemicals.  Add shock, algaecide, and sanitizer at roughly the same time, but never mix chemicals together!  Add them to different parts of the pool, according to the label directions.  Run the filter at least 24 hours.  If you use a Pool Frog or Nature2 Ionization Purifier Cartridge, do not replace it until you complete a computerized water balance.  Even if you only used last year’s cartridge a few weeks, you need a new one now.

A.  Sanitizer:  ______________________________________________________  See the label, at least a daily dose; depending on what you use.  If you have a salt-to-chlorine generator, see Step 7C.

B.   Algaecide; an initial dose: ____________________________________________(Target Algaegon 50 at 10½ ounces/20K, Target No-Foam at 8 ounces/20K,  Target Algae Bomb at 1 bottle/20K, Target Metal Free at 32 ounces/20K, Baquacil Algicide at 10½ ounces/20K) or see the label for the proper dose.  If you might be floccing later, use No-Foam or Algae Bomb.

C.  Shock/Oxidizer; a normal dose: ___________________________________________(Target™ Super Shock at 1 gallon/15K, Baquacil® Oxidizer at 1 gallon/10K, Bioguard Burn Out at 2 pounds/12K).  If you like using a different shock (but not Potassium Monopersulfate) use your normal amount of that.  If you are on the Baquacil Economy or CDX program, pour the Oxidizer in front of the skimmer, not inside it.  If you are on the Baquacil CDX program, go right to Step D.

D.  Baquacil CDX (only if you are on the Baquacil CDX program).  Immediately after adding the Oxidizer from step C, add ________ pints of Baquacil CDX (at 4 pints per 10,000 gallons); directly into the skimmer with the filter running.  If you have more than one skimmer, pour equal amounts into each; but totaling only the amount shown.

6.   Run the filter 24 hours a day until the water is clear.  If it does not clear in a week, refer to our Pool Tips™ on Cloudy Water.  If any algae persists, refer to our Pool Tips™ on Algae Treatment.

7.   Follow Up.

      A.  If you use Baquacil®, you can swim 15 minutes after you add chemicals.  Don’t bother to test again for a week, and don’t expect to add sanitizer for a week or two.

B.   If you use chlorine or bromine, you probably cannot swim for a day or two after shocking.  Test each day, until the chlorine level returns to normal.  Do not trust you pH readings until then.  Test your water every day until the end  of summer.  Vary the time of day, so that you can learn how your sanitizer levels vary with usage, time of day, and sunlight.  Mostly test around supper time.

C.   If you think you use salt, you don’t – you use salt to make chlorine.  And, your salt-to-chlorine generator cannot properly make chlorine or tell how high your salt level is when your pool water is under 60°F.  Run your pool on Granular Dichlor chlorine until the water warms up, and follow the instructions in 7B, above.

8.   Water Balance and Secondary Chemicals.       

Ideally, you should have dealt with water balance or conditioners as part of the lab work in step three.  However, if you skipped it, address it now.  In general, you’re looking at:

A.   Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness.  Very important to long-range health of the pool, and there’s no way of telling what you need without a good laboratory and a computer.

B.   Floc, Clarifier, Bee Klear, Super Kleer, etc.  It couldn’t hurt to add some, and you definitely want to use it if the water’s not sparkling clear after 48 hours of continual filtration:

_____________________________________________________________ (initial dose).

C.   Mineral Control.  Even if metals don’t show in our laboratory test; we’re only testing for 2 or 3 out of easily a dozen potential problems.  And, trace levels of 10 minerals can cause the same problems as 10 times the amount of  only one mineral.  Recommended for everyone; imperative for pools with a plaster finish, heater, biguanide chemistry (Baquacil or Softswim), or a history of bioslime, water mold, mustard algae, staining, calcium deposits, high shock usage, or high sanitizer usage:            _________________________________________________________________________ (initial dose for 1-2 ppm).

D.  Chlorine Stabilizer.  If you use Unstabilized sodium or calcium hypochlorite chlorine (Salt-to-Chlorine generator, HTH, Freestyle, Pulsar, CLC, Sustain, etc.( you’ll probably need ¾ initial dose every year.  If you use stabilized chlorine (just about everything else) you shouldn’t need much.  In any case, we’d be afraid to let you add any until we tested your level – it is possible to over-dose.

E.   Conditioners, Preventatives, such as Proteam Supreme, Bioguard Optimizer, etc.  If you’ve never used it, we can assume an initial dose.  If you’ve used it and kept it up last year, we can guess at ¼ to ½ initial dose.

                 Proteam Supreme for any system, and Bioguard Optimizer for Chlorine or Bromine is 20 lbs. per 10,000 gallons initial dose.  Optimizer for Softswim is 40 lbs. per 10,000 gallons.  After that, maintaining levels should take about 10 lbs. per 10,000 gallons per year.

In any case, expect to use up to 1 lb. pH reducer per pound Proteam Supreme or Bioguard Optimizer used, to bring your pH back down.  We could tell more from a water test, but here’s a guess:

Special Conditioner: ________________________________________      pH Reducer:  ____________________________________________

      P.S.  If you do not already use one of these, ask us about them.  In different ways, they can make your pool water clearer, more comfortable, and cheaper and easier to maintain.

Please let us help you, anytime

Seasonal Specialty Stores.  Your store for style, service and selection.™

120 Route 101A,Amherst,NH 03031  Ph:  (603) 880-8471  Fax:  (603) 595-8497

Web:  www.SeasonalStores.com   E-mail:  store@SeasonalStores.com

Copyright 1992, 1998, 2010, 2012 Gull Group Inc

Technician________________________________________

Our suggestions assume that you have given us a proper description of your pool’s size, history and problem.  Read all labels carefully, and only use chemicals exactly as described on the label.  Never mix chemicals together outside of the pool.  Some of them can cause a fire or explosion.  If we gave you amounts to use this year, they may (in some cases) be different in other years or conditions.  If you are not sure, please ask us to review this each year.

 Opening the Pool and Equipment 

We teach a more extensive version of this, with photographs, in our FREE Pool School:  Easy Pool Opening

The day before you start opening your pool, drain the water off the cover using a fast cover pump:  1,000 GPH or faster.  A slow pump or siphon can drain the pool while it’s draining the cover.    Drain or fill the pool to its normal level.  If you need water in the pool, and if you have a well that you need to conserve, you can even pump the water through your filter and into the pool.  Just hook your vacuum hose to the front of your pump – it should be the right size.  If you re-use the cover water, though, you need to immediately finish the opening and get the shock/sanitizer/algaecide into it.  Otherwise, it will bloom algae.

Either way, get most of the water off the cover.  After draining all of the water off, scoop all twigs, leaves, and debris. Wash the deck and surrounding area so you do not get the cover dirty during removal.  It may help to get some plastic to put on the ground where you will put the cover. 

Removing a Safety Cover

If you have a bolt-on safety cover, spray debris off the cover while it’s still on the pool.  Use the removal tool to remove every hook except the four corners.  Don’t screw the pegs back down yet.  Be careful not to hurt yourself stepping on one. Now remove the last four hooks and drag the cover towards one end, on to the deck.  Accordion-fold it about three feet wide:  once or twice per strap.  Clean side touching clean side; dirty side facing dirty side. When done, fold it in half the other way.  Now roll it up from the fold; squeezing water and air out of it.  Store it rolled up in a trash barrel to protect it from mice and ants.

Skip down to The Pool and Filter. 

Removing and Cleaning a Solid Cover 

Pull the cover out as far as possible, or down the sides of an above ground pool.  Stretch it out as much as possible.  If it is going to be muddy there, put plastic on the ground where you will removing the cover. 

Make a three to four foot flap at one end, to stop dirty water from falling in.  Then lift up the cover in front of the flap.  Walk to the other end, lifting the cover in front of you and letting it down behind you.  This takes two people.  You are walking the rest of the cover water to the other end.  When you get there, you will have 35 to 100 pounds of water in a puddle.  Scoop it out with a bucket.

For a long pool, start dragging the cover off the pool, accordion-folding it; clean side to clean side and dirty side to dirty side.  Make your folds about three feet wide.  For a round pool, fold the cover in half, then haul it off.  It’s too hard to fold it neatly.

Next, bring the cover someplace clean.  Spread it out; clean side down, dirty side up.  The space has to be clean, because we have no intention of ever cleaning the clean side.  Wash off the dirty side with a hose or a pressure washer.  Cover cleaner makes this easier, and if you leave some on when you finish, ants don’t like the taste!  You can make your own cleaning solution with 2½ tablespoons of a 50% quarternary algaecide (ask us) mixed into a quart of water.  It must be that particular type, or it can ruin the cover while not cleaning very well.

Don’t try to dry it off.  Fold the cover in half (the long way) then again, then again (1/4, 1/8, 1/16, etc.) until it’s about three feet wide.  Then fold it once the other way.  Now roll it up starting at the fold you just made; squeezing out the water and air.  Store it rolled up in a trash barrel to protect it from mice and ants. 

The Pool and Filter

Spray off the deck again – you probably just got it dirty. Spray carefully around the safety cover pegs before you screw them back in.  If you leave dirt in the screws when you put them in, you may never get them out again!

Install the ladders carefully.  Make sure no dirt gets on the bottom or bumpers, or you may put a hole in the liner.  Make sure both sides of the ladder bear weight evenly.  You need to get into the pool to install drop-in-steps, so you may well save that for a warmer day.

Hopefully, you saved whatever small parts you removed from your filter and salt-to-chlorine generator in your pump basket over the winter, so you know where they are.  Watch out for freeze plugs that you may have removed from the pump or heater.  If you removed the pump, make sure you re-attach the ground wire.  It’s the law.

If you did not clean your filter or generator cell last fall, do it now.  Put back whatever you took apart then.  Be careful if you are replacing the sand; to use the right sand, and to not break the underdrain or laterals.  Your filter should have come with a sand guide to center the stand pipe and keep sand out of the pipe.  If not, buy one or make one out of duct tape.

Whatever you assemble, do not over-tighten.  You can’t tell what is necessary until everything is running.  Remember to use teflon tape anyplace that you screw things together.  Never use pipe dope or anything permanent on screw fittings.  Put a fresh coat of o-ring lube on any rubber o-rings that can be exposed to air, especially on the hair-and-lint pot basket (that’s the basket in front of the motor).

If your pool uses black poly-pipe or cream-colored flex pipe that’s not glued together; double-clamp your connections with each clamp facing the opposite way of the other.

If you have an above-ground pool that uses hoses, check them carefully.  The cheap ones only last about a year or two.  The good ones go three or four years.  If in doubt, replace them.  If a hose springs a leak when you’re not watching, you can lose a foot of water, and burn out the pump.

In-ground pipes generally last a long time, but they are often a pain to deal with.  If you want it to be easier, draw a diagram of your entire circulation system, take a few photographs, and make an appointment to talk to one of our senior pool experts.  We will be happy to design a better system with quick-disconnects.  However, it does require the kind of unhurried time to design this, that we can’t do properly on a busy Saturday or without our best advisors. Cold or rainy weekdays are best.  We can also send out a technician to do it for you.

Remove all winter plates, gizmos, and plugs from your skimmer and returns.  Store them someplace where you will find them in the fall.  Now, try to remember where you put the return eyeballs, weir door, hose clamps, etc. last fall.  Was it in the skimmer basket?  Put them all back where they belong.  If you used a plastic winter plate over your skimmer, you need to change back to shorter screws when you remove the long ones holding it on.  If you used a stainless steel plate, which is thinner, you can re-use the original screws.

If you need to get water into the pump in order to prime, do it right before you turn it on.  A five gallon bucket of water thrown into the pump basket quickly should do the trick.  Then get the cover on immediately, before you turn on the pump. It can take up to five minutes to prime. If it doesn’t do it after three tries, call us for advice.

Now that everything is running, go back and check everything you connected.  You need for your connections to be tight enough to not leak, but not so tight as to break something.

For your next step, see pages one and two.

The Slow, Easy Method

What if the weather was really nice Memorial Day weekend?  Would you be rushing to get a cold, green pool ready for a pool party?  Would you be in the world’s longest line at the pool store, because you were shopping the same day as 2000 other people?  Put in 30-60 minutes a week early, and you’ll save time and money later.

At the end of April, drain the water off your pool cover.  Let it dry out in the sun.  Once the leaves also dry out, they are much easier to take off.  Next week, scoop off the leaves that are left, pour some pool cover cleaner onto the cover, and wash it while it’s still on the pool.  Pump or siphon off the water, and let it dry in the sun another week.

The following week, raise or lower the water level to normal, and hook up the filter.  Remove all winter plates, gizmos, and plugs from your skimmer and returns.  If you have a solar cover, take off the winter cover, and put on the solar cover.  If you don’t have a solar cover, come buy one.  It can give you almost two extra months of swimming!

Notice what we just did.  The winter cover was clean and dry before we took it off.  It wasn’t possible to drop the last bit of dirty, leaf-filled water into the pool.  You didn’t rip the cover, fall in, or hurt your back trying to take if off!  Putting the solar cover on by May 1st allows the pool a month to warm up by Memorial Day.

So far, nothing here has cost extra.  The next part costs very little, and saves you lots of money and huge amounts of time if you avoid a late-May algae attack when it gets warm outside.  Run the filter (yes, with either cover still on) six hours once a week (good) or two hours a day (better).  The circulation will help control growth, and speed up the water’s warming.  At this point, you can even bypass the filter’s tank if you want – we’re just circulating the water, not cleaning it.

By mid-May, start to check the water once a week.  Pull up a corner of the cover, and look for algae starting to grow.  It wouldn’t hurt to do a quick test, and add a little sanitizer (chlorine, bromine, Baquacil, Soft-swim, etc.).  If the pool’s full and well circulated, you can even bring in a water sample for your opening balance.  We can give you a printout now, and you can still wait until you’re ready to open the pool to shock, algaecide, balance, etc.  Please see pages one and two.  There, we’ll discuss the chemical procedures.

In any case, get the pool opened and running by June tenth at the absolute latest.  Waiting any longer increases the chances of a quick algae bloom that will ruin all the work that you’ve done so far.  If you have a safety cover, you can follow the same method, but do it much earlier.  Start the filter and chemicals in mid-April, and get the cover off by early May.

Revised:  6/25/12

Please let us help you, anytime

Seasonal Specialty Stores.  Your store for style, service and selection.™

120 Route 101A,Amherst,NH 03031  Ph:  (603) 880-8471

Web:  www.SeasonalStores.com   E-mail:  store@SeasonalStores.com

Copyright 1992, 1998, 2010, 2012 Gull Group Inc

Our suggestions assume that you have given us a proper description of your pool’s size, history and problem.  Read all labels carefully, and only use chemicals exactly as described on the label.  Never mix chemicals together outside of the pool.  Some of them can cause a fire or explosion.  If we gave you amounts to use this year, they may (in some cases) be different in other years or conditions.  If you are not sure, please ask us to review this each year.