With Spring on its way, it is time to consider your pool opening and whether to do it yourself or hire a professional. Here, I will explain the benefits of allowing a pool service company open your pool for you. All pools are different and I would recommend that you check with your pool service before following any of my suggestions. These are general statements and may not apply to every situation.
Professional Pool Opening
I believe that you will find that most pool companies will limit the amount of time spent on a pool opening. Two hours will probably be the maximum amount of time allowed by any company. This is important since certain tasks, like pumping water off of a tarp cover, can take an incredibly long amount of time. I recommend to all of my customers with solid covers to keep them drained off during the winter. This way, there will not be several inches of water to remove in the spring. The biggest mistake that you can make when removing the cover is to dump the water from the cover into the pool. You should never do this during a pool opening, unless you want a cloudy pool for a few weeks.
If your cover is mesh, you don’t have as much to worry about, but I would still recommend checking the water level in the pool. That is the second point I want to make. The water level in your pool should be filled to near the top of the skimmer. This will give the technician opening your pool extra water for vacuuming to waste and backwashing the filter. Making sure the water is full will ensure that all tasks needing to be performed can be and may help prevent the technician from having to make a return visit. You should also be sure that everything needed is available to your pool technician on the day of the opening. Common items we look for are cover bags, skimmer baskets, handrails, ladders, ladder bumpers, escutcheon plates, directional fittings, equipment plugs, etcetera.
After the cover is off and folded, the pool equipment is started up. A good pool professional will start-up the system with the filter set to waste (if possible). This way any foul water will exit the system and not enter the filter or return to the pool. At this point, the pool can be vacuumed to waste as well. This prevents the debris or dirt from entering the filter and speeds along the cleanup process. In extreme circumstances or when vacuuming to waste is not an option, a separate pump may be used to vacuum the pool (draining water as vacuuming). Pool pros also tend to carry extra attachments for their vacuums, allowing them to trap debris prior to it entering the pool plumbing. This ensures that the lines are not clogged by leaves and other common debris found at pool openings. If the pool happens to be so green that the floor cannot be seen, a vacuuming is still beneficial. Every bit of algae that can be removed from the floor will help to move the cleanup process forward.
Once vacuumed, hopefully the water and floor are looking good. Handrails and ladders are installed at this point and directional fittings are put back in the returns. The chemicals should be checked and adjusted. Most pools will need some chlorine shock and I might recommend a large dose of algaecide. For very green pools, a copper based algaecide is recommended. If the water is clear, algaecide 60 may be added. After adding chemicals, it is a good idea to brush the pool to help them dissolve completely. If the pool is clear and clean at this point, any pool cleaner can be put in to finish the job. Your pool opening is now complete.