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The temperatures are rising. The sun finally shows itself more often again. The time has come. The next pool season is here!

Well, if you are now standing in your garden and see only a dirty pool cover from the pool, you are surely already dreading the work. Especially fresh pool owners, who are doing a pool start-up after winter for the first time, are terrified.

However, you really do not need to worry. With a helper and a few practical things, your pool will be usable again in no time and can soon be dedicated.

Preparation of the pool commissioning

For spring pool commissioning, you’ll need a few tools. Some items you will already have at home because you already use them in the garden, around the house, or for pool maintenance.

When it comes to wearing protective clothing, most people still have some catching up to do. Time and again, dangerous injuries occur from inhaling chlorine gas. Nationwide, dozens to hundreds of pool owners end up in emergency rooms every year due to poisoning caused by negligent handling of pool chemicals.

With proper protective equipment, many of the accidents could have been prevented. If you’re preparing for pool opening this year, protective gear is part of the package.

Here’s what you need to get your pool up and running

Check out this checklist to see what you need for commissioning:

  • Pool brush
  • Pool cleaner
  • Pool shocker
  • Pool landing net with telescopic rod
  • Garden hose
  • Test strips
  • Silicone grease
  • pool chemicals
  • a helper
  • Safety glasses
  • a pair of chemical protective gloves

Care must be taken when working around pool chemicals. We have had good experiences with the following chemical resistant protective gloves:

Recommended
ThxToms Chemical Resistant Nitrile
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A shopping list for pool chemicals you need.

A starter kit already includes all sorts of pool chemicals. Which chemicals you need from it will be decided by the results of the water test.

Either just order the starter set or buy only the chemicals you need right now for the pool.

If you want to open your pool, you may need:

  • Chlorine granules (e.g. chlorine tablets).
  • pH-Plus
  • pH-Minus
  • Algaecide
  • Alkalinity booster
  • Flocculant
  • Water Clarifier
Recommended
Rx Clear Deluxe Spring Chemical
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Pool startup spring: getting a pool up and running again after winter

We will now go through step by step how to open your pool. For the first steps, protective clothing is not yet required. So instead of goggles and rubber gloves, put on sunglasses and slather yourself thoroughly with sunscreen.

Step 1: Remove dirt and standing water from the winter cover.

First, use a broom that has soft bristles to get leaves and coarse dirt off the pool cover that has been covering your pool over the winter. Now use a pump to suck the water from the cover.

Pumps vary in power. Some suck the water out at lightning speed and even dirt and leaves can’t hurt them, while other pumps suck slower and have trouble with dirt. Don’t overload the pump, but help out by removing coarse debris with a broom.

Step 2: Remove the winter cover.

For this task, you’d better get your helper. Stand on opposite sides of the pool. Now lift the tarp together and unfold it little by little. Make sure that as little dirt as possible gets into the pool water and that the pool tarp does not drag over rough ground.

Now carry the tarp a few feet away from the pool and spread it out flat on the ground. Inspect the winter cover tarp. If there is more severe damage, now – yes, now in the spring – is the time to order a new one. By the time you need to winterize your pool, you’re bound to have forgotten about the broken pool cover.

Recommended
Blue Wave Bronze 8-Year 24-ft Round
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Step 3: Cleaning and storing the winter pool cover

Now clean the cover spread on the ground with the broom. To do this, first apply soap and then carefully scrub the tarp with the broom.

Be careful when choosing the cleaning agent. Use either a non-aggressive household product or just regular soap. Pool cleaners are far too aggressive and can destroy the winter cover tarp. You should also not use sharp-edged or abrasive tools when cleaning.

Once you have cleaned the entire tarp with the cleaner, drying is now on the agenda. With towels you now wipe the cover, fold the tarp and store it in a storage box.

Recommended
cucunu Outdoor Storage Box 65
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Step 4: Fish the pool

Using the landing net, now fish out anything that fell in when you removed the cover. Now also remove any large debris that could clog the filtration system.

The landing net is only the first step. The pool water won’t be truly clean until the subsequent steps, but everything you get out of the water now will make the subsequent cleaning work massively easier.

Ideally, you should then use a pool robot to conveniently remove further impurities from the water.

Recommended
YAGENICE Intelligent Pool Cleaning
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Step 5: Take out the winter plugs

Let’s hope that you had sealed all the pipes with winter plugs against water penetration. Otherwise, the water can enter the pipes, freeze in sub-zero temperatures, and damage pipes and the filtration system as it expands.

Now walk around the pool once and remove all plugs. Bubbles may form as the water flows back into the pipes for the first time.

Step 6: Install ladders and other extras

Now it’s time to reinstall ladders, pool slides, the diving board, pool lights, or any other pool accessories that add comfort and fun to your swim.

And now couldn’t be a better time to once again grease screws and hinges with silicone lubricant. So take advantage of the opportunity. After all, who wants to jump off a creaky diving board?

Recommended
DANCO Waterproof Silicone Faucet
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Step 7: Add water

Over the winter, your pool has probably lost a few inches of water – even with a winter cover on the pool. When winterizing the pool, we also advise lowering the water level a bit to prevent damage.

Now it is time to refill the pool so that the water reaches its normal level. When choosing the filling water, make sure that this water is not contaminated with metals, nitrates, phosphates or other impurities.

Step 8: Putting the pool pump and filter into operation

Clean the filter system thoroughly. If necessary, you should also replace the filter media. Quartz sand will need to be replaced at least every three years, and glass granules and Fibalon at least every 4 years.

Connect the filter system to the piping. Check the gaskets while doing so. Replace worn gaskets and coat all gaskets with silicone grease.

Recommended
DANCO Waterproof Silicone Faucet
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Before you start up the filter pump normally again, it can’t hurt to turn the pump shaft a few times by hand to check if the pump shaft turns smoothly.

To do this, insert a suitable screwdriver through the fan cover – with the power plug still disconnected – and use it to push the pump shaft.

Note: If you see a sudden increase on the pressure gauge while in power mode, the pump must be turned off immediately. Check to see what is causing the blockage and only then restart the pump.

Step 9: Add flocculant to the pool.

During winterization, the level of heavy metal in the water may have increased. Heavy metals in the water can cause numerous problems: they turn light hair green, attack the filtration system and pool walls, and the disposal of water contaminated with heavy metal is not allowed everywhere.

Therefore, add flocculant to the pool water, this will cause the heavy metal to clump together and fall to the bottom. Your filter can now capture the (small) clumps and eliminate them from the water.

Recommended
Clorox Pool&Spa Sink to Clear
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Step 10: Test the pool water

Check the water quality with test strips. For a particularly thorough check, you may want to have the pool water professionally tested at a specialty store.

The experts will record even more values, and more often than not, they will give you tips on how to correct them. This will give you an accurate baseline for subsequent work to get the pool ready for the upcoming pool season.

Set the pool chemistry in order of alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness and finally chlorine content. You also want to respond to rare special cases such as a nitrates or phosphates in the water. In general, though, you should avoid using unnecessary chemicals.

Recommended
Pool and Spa Test Strips - Quick
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Step 11: Basic cleaning of the pool

At this point, we advise a proper cleaning of the side walls. Use a pool brush to do this. Vinyl pools would damage you with steel bristles, so choose soft materials for the bristles, such as nylon.

Then, vacuum the sediment buildup from the bottom of the pool using a pool vacuum.

Recommended
POOLAZA Pool Brush, 17.5" Pool
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Step 12: Perform shock chlorination

Shock chlorination of pool water kills algae, bacteria and pathogens. Effective shock chlorination, which removes all unwanted foreign matter from the water, is only possible when a certain level of free chlorine is reached. You can calculate the concentration using measurements from your water test.

You must be very careful when handling highly concentrated chlorine. Put on your safety goggles and put on chemical protective gloves before handling the pool shocker.

Recommended
ThxToms Chemical Resistant Nitrile
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The pool shocker is first dissolved in a bucket of water. The solution is then evenly distributed in the water by walking slowly around the pool while pouring.

Note: Never use the same bucket for dissolving different chemicals. If pool shocker even comes together with residue from other chemicals, your little experiment may end explosively.

Recommended
HTH Pool Care Shock Advanced,
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Step 13: Filter the water, then again and again and ….

After the job is done, simply let the filtration system run for at least one full day. This will give your filtration pump plenty of time to distribute the pool shocker throughout the water and filter out dead algae and other debris.

When you wake up the next day, your pool will likely be crystal clear and ready for your first swim. If it’s still a little murky, it may be due to the pool shocker. Just add some water clarifier to quickly restore clear water.

Recommended
Robarb R20154 Super Blue Clarifier
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Step 14: Get in the water!

So, the pool is ready for swimming. Maybe the water is still a little too cold, but that’s where a heat pump or solar pool cover can help. So that’s no excuse.

Recommended
Sun2Solar Blue 16-Foot-by-32-Foot
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Getting your salt water pool up and running

For all those who want to start up their saltwater pool and don’t know whether the above instructions are also suitable for saltwater pools, we can reassure you: you can proceed in exactly the same way. Here is the short version again:

Putting a saltwater pool into operation: Step-by-Step

  1. Remove dirt and standing water from the winter cover.
  2. Remove the winter cover tarp
  3. Clean and store the winter cover tarp
  4. Sweep the pool
  5. Take out the winter plugs
  6. Install ladders and other extras
  7. Add water
  8. Start up pool pump and filter
  9. Add flocculant to the pool
  10. Test the pool water
  11. Basic cleaning of the pool
  12. Perform shock chlorination
  13. Filter the water, then again and again and ….
  14. Get in the water!

Final safety tips

Safety always comes first. In conclusion, here are some important tips from us:

Test the water quality regularly to avoid hazards to bathers and to prevent unpleasant problems such as algae growth and bacterial proliferation.

After an intensive treatment with all the pool chemicals, you should thoroughly clean the area where you prepared the chemicals.

The winter cover should be stored in a dry place and away from sunlight. For example, a simple storage chest is a good choice.

Store the chemicals in a cool, dry place, separated from each other. In the best case, leave the individual agents in their original packaging so that they can be clearly identified later.

So, if you’re now standing next to your pool with all the steps still ahead of you and hoping someone will do the work for you, it’s a bit of a bummer for now. Just remember that after today’s work you’ll be able to swim in your crystal clear water tomorrow.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.