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How to Open an Above Ground Pool in 10 Steps

If you have an above ground pool, and it’s time to open it, you should really think about doing it yourself. How to open an above ground pool is really easy. All you need is a friend, and the right supplies and it shouldn’t take you long at all.

Let’s get started!

What You Need:

1. Clean Off The Winter Pool Cover

Remove all water, leaves and debris from the top of the cover. To remove the water you can use a submersible pool cover pump or basement sump pump that you can find at any hardware store.

To remove the leaves and debris, use a soft broom or skimmer net. Anything sharp or harsh will damage the cover. The more debris you get off the cover now, the less debris that could fall into the water while removing the cover.

2. Remove The Winter Pool Cover

Carefully remove the cover without getting any extra debris that remains on the top of the cover into the pool. If some dirt and debris does get into the water, it’s not a problem. Using the proper cleaning equipment and chemicals later will sanitize and clean your pool.

3. Clean Your Winter Pool Cover and Store It

Lay the cover out on your lawn or nearby area. Use water, winter cover cleaner (or carwash soap) and a brush to wash down and clean your cover. By doing this, you will ensure a longer life for your pool cover, which can be a hefty investment if you had to replace it.

If you are using water tubes to secure your winter cover to your deck, make sure you empty them and dry them out before storage.

Use a tightly covered plastic container to store you winter cover during the season. This will keep mice and other critters from making a nest or eating your cover.

4. Remove Winter Plugs and Ice Compensator

Go around your pool and make sure all plugs are removed from any and all openings in your pool including the return jet and skimmer bucket.

If you skimmer bucket has an ice compensator in it, such as a Gizmo or empty plastic bottle, remove it.

Re-install all your skimmer baskets and eye-ball fittings into the return line.

TIP: If you used a skimmer plate over the winter, make sure you remove it before starting your filter system. Skimmer plates are designed to keep water out of your skimmer during the winter. It also allows you to keep your pool filled.

5. Add Water To Your Pool (If Needed)

Depending on how you or someone else closed your pool, you may need to add water to your pool to bring it up to the proper level.

Make sure your pool is filled to the halfway point of your skimmer.

6. Re-install Your Deck Equipment

For an above ground pool, this includes the ladder.

7. Set Up Your Pump, Filter & Other Equipment

First, replace all the drain plugs, gauges, and other pieces to your filter system, pump and other equipment.

Then, connect all the hoses to your equipment.

  1. Attach a hose from your skimmer to your pump.
  2. Attach a hose from your pump to your filter.
  3. Attach a hose from your filter to your heater, chlorinator, or any other extra filter equipment. If you don’t have any, attach the hose directly to the return inlet.

If you have a multiport valve, make sure it’s turned to the Filter position.

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8. Start Up Your Pump & Filter

Turn on the power to your pool. At this point make sure the system starts up. Check for any leaks or drips, make sure the ground wires are properly connected to the pump.

TIP: If your pump is running dry, you may need to prime it. Shut off your filter system, remove the pump lid, and add water from your garden hose or a bucket of swimming pool water. This will give the pump the boost it needs to start pulling water. Put the pump lid back on and tighten and start the system again.


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TIP #2: Backwash your filter after you start your filter system up. It’s a good idea to start the season with a clean filter. After backwashing if you have a DE filter, add more fresh DE according to the manufacturers instructions.

Here’s some more information:

9. Clean Up Your Pool

Here’s the tough part. If your pool is clean and clear, congratulations! If it’s not, it’s time to get your hands dirty.

Before adding any start-up chemicals, you must clean your pool. This includes: brushing the walls and hard-to-reach places, vacuuming the pool floor and skimming the surface.

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10. Add Start-Up Chemicals

Now it’s time to add the start-up chemicals. Take a sample of your pool water to your nearest pool dealer and ask for a complete water test to get your pool water balanced.

After adding the proper balancing chemicals, I recommend shocking your pool using 2 lbs of shock for every 10,000 gallons of pool water or 5 gallons of liquid shock per 20,000 gallons of pool water. This is what we refer to as double shocking.

You should do this at dusk or night time to ensure a proper shocking.

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Want to learn how to shock a pool? Watch this video and follow along with these easy steps to successfully shock your swimming pool.

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And Finally…

Let your pool run at least 24 hours and vacuum out any debris. Retest the water and if everything checks out…

Happy Swimming!

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