The Easy & Quick Way to Open an Above Ground Pool After the Off-Season

When you are ready to open an above ground pool after the off-season, you need to know how to do it the right way. There are a few key things you need to do to make sure your pool is clean and ready to be used again. Read more here.

The pool season is just around the corner, and you’re raring to jump in. But wait! 

Before diving in, you need to prepare your backyard for a summer of refreshing dips. Your first step should be opening up your pool, which sounds simple enough but can actually be a little tricky if you don’t know all the steps involved.

In this article, we help you go through the step-by-step procedure for opening your above-ground pool when it’s time for swimsuit season.

What You’ll Need to Open an Above Ground Pool

Pool Tools in Above Ground Pool

Gather your supplies and get ready to go! Things become a lot less daunting after you’ve gathered everything you need. We’ll guide you through the step-by-step procedure and make this process as laid back as possible. Here are some of the things you’ll need.

  • Pool cover pump
  • Soft broom or skimmer net
  • Pool cover cleaner
  • Starting-up chemical kit
  • Someone to help you

What Are Start-up Chemicals

After your first water test, you’ll have an idea of what you need to add to balance your pool’s water chemistry before opening your above-ground pool. You may only need a small quantity of shock, or you may require the entire chemical kit. We’ll find out very shortly.

You may already own a chemical start-up kit, or you may want to experiment on your own. If you decide on a kit, it should contain the following items: 

  • Stain, Rust & Preventer
  • Algaecide
  • Pool shock (chlorine)
  • Water clarifier
  • Sun sorb

Typically, start-up kits do not include the chemicals necessary to balance pH and alkalinity, so you’ll need to purchase those separately if you miss owning one.

Chlorine and pH Balance Chemical Kit

Here’s all you’ll ever need to be fully prepared for anything and not let the process drag on. 

  • Chlorine or sanitizer of your choice
  • pH increaser
  • pH decreaser
  • Alkalinity increaser
  • Calcium hardness increaser
  • Metal sequestrant
  • Water clarifier
  • Algaecide

Step by Step Guide to Opening Your Above-Ground Pool

Opening an above ground pool might seem like a pain, but it’s actually not too complicated—as long as you follow this helpful guide. Here are some steps you can follow to open up your pool:

Step 1: Clean Your Pool Cover With a Pool Pump

Take your skimmer net or soft broom and try to remove as much dirt from the cover as you can by sweeping it up. If you get off as much as you can now, you’ll have less to lift with the cover and less to worry about dropping it into your pool later on.

Take care not to rip up your pool cover. It’s spent the entire winter guarding your pool against trash and waste. Accidentally ripping it with a rake or prickly broom at the last minute is a tragic ending for something that has been tirelessly safeguarding your pool.

Make use of your submersible cover pump to eliminate any water that has accumulated on the surface. If you don’t have one, a sump pump will suffice in the meanwhile. If there is water on the lid, do not attempt to remove it. There’s a chance that you’ll break the cover and damage it, or worse, you’ll wind up spilling all of that disgusting water into your pool.

Step 2: Time to Remove the Pool Cover (Ask a Friend for Help)

Abover Ground Pool Cover

Ask a friend to help you lift the cover off the pool. You can’t do it alone, and there’s no shame in asking for assistance. A sturdy ladder would be helpful to reach your favorite spot on your pool deck.

Once you’ve successfully removed the cover. Spread the cover out nice and wide. The best place to spread the cover is on a flat surface where you can see it. Most of us don’t have a garage large enough to fit a pool cover, so your best choice is likely to be your front yard. And oh, this isn’t a flag, so no repercussions when you drop it in the ground. 

Step 3: Wash, Brush and Store the Pool Cover

If your pool cover is still in excellent condition, clean it with a gentle brush and some pool cover cleanser. You’re only asking for your pool cover’s premature demise if you use any harsh chemicals or cutting-edge tools.

Once you’ve removed the season’s worth of debris from the pool cover, turn on your garden hose and thoroughly rinse the entire thing off. You may either let it dry in the sun before flipping it over, or you can use a leaf blower to expedite the drying process.

Step 4: Time to Reinstall Your Pool Accessories

Now’s the time to bring back the beauty of your pool. Everything you took out from your above-ground pool before winterizing should be put back in now. Rails, ladders and your diving board may all be returned to their original locations.

Your pool accessories were probably taken out and cleaned carefully before being stored safely away last winter since you are a responsible pool owner. If that’s the case, All you need before putting back your pool accessories is to remove the dust with a quick wipe.

Step 5: Time to Fill Your Pool Water Back to Normal Levels

Above Ground Inflatable Pool Closeup

Even if you have a pool cover, you may have lost a few inches of water due to evaporation throughout the winter. Additionally, depending on the method you chose to shut your pool, you may have lost some water during the procedure.

So it’s time to refill your pool with water until it reaches normal operating levels. When doing so, make sure to utilize a hose filter to avoid introducing any additional pollutants into the pool.

Step 6: Take Out the Winter Plugs From Pool Equipment and Skimmer Line

Remove all the winter plugs that you placed in your skimmer and return lines when you closed your pool last season. 

If you utilize an ice compensator or a skimmer cover to keep your pool from freezing, make sure to remove them as well.

As you work around the pool, reconnect all the disconnected plugs, attach return jets into the return lines, and then do the same for your pump, filter, heater, chlorinator, and pool cleaning. After removing all of the winterizing plugs from the pool equipment, reconnect the regular plugs. This is a very important step when you open an above ground pool.

Important note: Do you live in a frigid climate? You probably used antifreeze in your lines when you close your above ground pool for the season. If so, make sure that you have turned your pump to the "waste" setting. After that, turn it on for a minute before removing your winterizing plugs. This will get the water going and the antifreeze out of the system.

Step 7: Connect All the Detached Wires and Fire Up the Pool Pump

Above Ground Swimming Pool with Filter and Deck

It’s time to connect all of the wires and connectors before we turn on this bad boy.

The skimmer connects to the pool pump, the pump attaches to the filter, and the filter attaches to any other equipment you may have installed in the pool (like chlorinator, heater, etc.). If you don’t have any of those, you may just connect them to the return line.

You may now reactivate the pump by flipping the circuit breaker. Check to see if the pool pump is operating correctly by running water through it. You may now use the “filter” setting on a multiport filter.

If you need to prime your pump, switch everything back off, remove the pump cover, and fill it up with some water. After that, reassemble everything, reconnect the power, and change it back on. Hopefully, this will start things moving.

Keep an eye on your equipment for a few minutes to ensure they’re in good operating condition and free of leaks or drips when you’re opening your above-ground pool after the off-season.

It’s time to give your pool filter a backwash to bring it back to life. To avoid problems, we recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s backwashing, or filter cleaning recommendations, depending on the filter type you use.

Step 8: Cleaning Time

Cleaning Above Ground Pool with Vacuum

Before you add any chemicals when opening your above-ground pool, make sure it’s clean. Pools should be brushed, including the walls and any tricky crevices and crannies to get to. You may vacuum the pool as well while you’re at it. After a long winter, the floors require some tender loving care and thorough cleansing.

If the buddy you recruit is still hanging around, he or she will undoubtedly be willing to provide a hand in exchange for a free pool pass during the summer months.

Once you and your buddy are done cleaning the pool, start skimming the water’s surface for any bugs, leaves, or other debris that may have drifted in while you were busy doing everything else.

Step 9: Test and Add the Start-up Chemicals

A Pool Water Test Kit Held in Hand on Water

Get your test kit ready and check how things are after being stagnant throughout the off-season when opening your above-ground pool. 

Those handy test strips are ideal for weekly inspections, but because you’ll reopen your pool after winter, it’s a good idea to obtain a second opinion. Along with the at-home test, take a water sample to your local pool store for a professional analysis.

Here are the numbers that you should be looking for.

Total Alkalinity:80 to 120 ppm
pH7.4 to 7.6
Chlorine2.0 to 4.0 ppm

Step 10: Shock the Pool

It’s time to shock the pool. When you’re shocking your pool, always keep in mind that too much shock is better than not enough. If you still find contaminants in your water after shocking it, you need to clean the pool water again.

If this is the first time you’ve opened up a pool since there was a harsh winter or it’s been closed for more than two months, then use 2 pounds of shock per 10,000 gallons of water.

“It’s a good idea to add shock after the sun has gone down to avoid losing any to UV radiation, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when adding chemicals to your pool.”

Rick Patterson,

Step 11: Operate the Filter for 24 Hours

Congratulations! You have finally reached the last step to properly open an above ground pool, and after completing all of your preparations, remember to:

  • Turn on your pool pump and let it run for at least 24 hours.
  • Remove any visible debris with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Retest your water, and once the water’s chemistry levels are in the ideal levels, get your swimsuit and hop in!

Bottom Line

We hope this article has helped when opening your above-ground pool after the off-season. If you need additional information, please feel free to leave a comment below, and we will be glad to assist you further.

Below are more pool articles that you will definitely find useful. Check them out! To view more pool articles, click here. Thanks again and happy swimming!

Leave a Comment