Well hello, we finally will be getting some warm weather here in the northeast this coming weekend. You know what that means don't you? Time to get out in the yard and tackle some long awaited chores, one being your pool opening. As I mentioned in previous posts you may not be swimming this early but you don't want to be caught in a mad dash trying to get parts for your filter or heater when you have a party planned either, so now's the time to take a look see and lets get the summer started.
I am going to say this just once, the earlier the pool opening the cleaner the pool, if you closed clean that is. If you wait until the water warms up for several weeks under that cover things tend to grow fast and it can bloom very fast and become a mess. In general you want to have the cover off and filter going with chemicals before your water reaches 65-68 degrees F. Procrastinators be warned. :) Many will say, with the recession that they do not want to run the filter so early and spend money on chemicals but if the days and evenings remain cooler you can cut down on filtration as compared to the hours you run during full summer heat. Same goes for Chlorine usage you will use less during this period of time versus full summertime sun and you don't have to look at that cover anymore! Here are the steps for opening your pool, in my next writing I will address some issues you may come across and need to address promptly before you put too much money into a repair.

1. Remove any and all debris from the cover (leaves etc)
2. Drain the water from the cover with either a hose, syphon or cover pump ***Make sure your cover does not have any holes, as you may be pumping out water from your pool and actually drain the pool*** if unsure check regularly while pumping.
3. Once cover is clear remove and put flat to clean and dry before storing making sure it is completely dry before folding (fanfold easiest) use hose and soft brush we don't suggest using any type of soap.
4. Assemble and connect your filter system, if you have an above the ground make sure your hose connections are secure and there are no pin holes in hoses. Check for cracks in skimmer, filter and pump they will look like tiny brown lines and won't necessarily be obvious to your eye but once pressure goes through, these lines will spread apart and leak. Check your plugs making sure they are not frayed or worn.
5. Add water to operational level which is mid skimmer. * If you have a safety cover that is mesh and your water level is higher you may wish to leave at higher level and do your first vacuum quickly to waste where debris will bypass the filter eliminating the need to backwash. This won't be a thorough vacuuming but you can get a lot of debri from the bottom and avoid backwashing one time anyway.
6. Remove plugs and gizzmos from your return lines and skimmers. Any antifreeze that was added to your lines is non-toxic and this may go into pool without any problems occurring.
7. Charge your filter system if needed (A DE filter requires DE to coat the grids or fingers before running. Read your label on the filter to put in correct amount. Sand filters should be changed every 3-4 years depending on use. Once pool is up and running you may need to backwash or clean a few times if pressure gets too high and you lose water flow. This is normal.
8. Add your opening chemicals. We suggest starting with at least 2 gallons of liquid shock and a non-foaming algaecide walking around the perameter of pool dispensing the chemical one at a time. Let the pool then run for 24-48 hrs to clear up. Start your chlorination at this time also. It is during this period that you are scooping leaves, vacuuming and cleaning the filter a few times till you can see the bottom. If you know you will need to backwash a few times save your money before adding all kinds of chemicals, try to get as clean as possible then test the water for your alkaline, ph, and stabilizer levels this way you are not backflushing your money out just start with the shock and algaecide.
9. Assemble and install your ladders and handrails (always check with your building dept as codes have changed recently for above ground pools as far as gates and removable ladders) Install your pool alarm.
10. If you have a heater, make sure you have plenty of propane or natural gas, or if electric have a a professional check the inside for mice, critters etc. This is one item you don't want to mess with.

My last advice and this is a money saver folks, get your water tested, if you balance your water correctly in the spring and test your water regularly you will spend less money on chemicals. Less is more! Measure! Don't just throw in stuff. It is better to add a little PH+ at a time and retest than throw too much and then have to buy PH-. Find a place were they know what their doing and not just selling you the store. This makes for a great hands free summer. So take the weekend off and open the pool. It is time to SWIM!