Ask the General: When is the Best Time to Open My Pool?

Dear General–

Spring finally made it! The weather is warming up, and the summer swim season is almost upon us. We’re ready! We’re dreaming of spending our days relaxing in our inground fiberglass pool! When is the best time to open our pool?

Signed- Amping in Ann Arbor

best time to open your inground fiberglass poolDear Amping–

Your pool opening and closing schedule will vary based on where you live. But the short answer for YOU is … now! Once we’re past the danger of a damaging freeze, it’s time to kick it into gear. The sooner you get your fiberglass inground pool open, the sooner you’ll be having fun in the sun with all your family and friends. While you may have already scheduled a pool maintenance pro to come and open up your pool, there are still some things you can do to get the ball rolling so you’ll be in the swim ASAP.

Here are some things you should be thinking about right now in order to maximize your swimming time in the days to come:

  1. Check your water level. Even with your pool tightly covered, water will find its way out over the winter. Your water level needs to be up to mid-way on your skimmer before you remove your pool cover. Groundwater levels are often at their highest in the spring (especially if you got a lot of snow in the winter). If you don’t keep your groundwater pressure equalized, you can cause catastrophic damage to your fiberglass inground pool.
  2. Remove your pool cover. After you’re sure your water level is correct, pump off any water on top of the pool cover. Make sure you’re pumping AWAY from your pool so you’re not just adding more groundwater around it. If you have a leaf blower, you might use that to blow off any leaves or other debris. After that, the process depends on which kind of pool cover you have.
    • Automatic pool covers. You’ve heard me speak the virtues of automatic pool covers before, and hopefully you have one. Your pool opening is sure easier if you do. Make sure you’re opening it gradually with your touchpad, checking to make sure your cover isn’t sticking or crooked in the tracks as you go.
    • Standard winter covers. Your winter cover needs to be properly removed, cleaned and sanitized to store away for your fall pool closing. Be sure to check with your cover’s manufacturer for removal instructions–each one is different. Removing it the wrong way can cause unwanted debris to fall into your water and contaminate it, making it more difficult to get your water healthfully balanced.
  3. Check your equipment. Once your water is at the proper level, your cover is off, and you’ve skimmed off any large debris from removing the cover, you can turn on and check your pool equipment. Pumps, filters, filter media, skimmer baskets and lights that have been sitting idle in the elements all winter might need tuning up or replacing. The time to find that out is now, before swimming season kicks off. Most professional pool opening services will do a complete check and alert you to any problem areas or necessary repairs. If all is working well, leave your pump on and let the water circulate for at least 12 hours.
  4. Check your pool water chemistry. Once your water has had a chance to circulate, you’ll need to test it to see where you’re starting out in terms of water balance. This can be very challenging at the start of the season. Whether or not you have a pool service pro open your pool, you might need help getting your water balanced after a long winter. Many swimming pool professionals provide a free, computerized water analysis that tests for many more water balance factors than a standard home test kit. It’s always a good idea to have your pool water professionally tested on a regular basis so that you’re keeping track of all the necessary components of balanced and healthy water. If you get your water properly balanced when you’re opening your pool, you’ll have an easier time keeping your water chemistry balanced throughout the swim season.
  5. Give the pool a spring cleaning. Now is the time to give your pool a good cleaning before the swim season gets underway. Start by scrubbing the pool walls. Be sure to use a soft brush or sponge when cleaning your pool walls, and avoid abrasives such as sandpaper and steel wool will damage the finish of your pool. After you’ve given the walls a good cleaning, it’s time to vacuum. Start from the shallow end and work your way down the slope of the pool. Be sure to clean thoroughly around the steps and other crevices where debris can accumulate.
  6. Inspect your safety equipment and pool accessories. Your handrails and lifesavers need to be swim-ready by the time you are. Take time in the spring to inspect, maintain or replace safety equipment, fiberglass pool accessories and even outdoor furniture so that you can be ready to relax poolside on opening day!

Take some steps now to get as many tasks checked off your list to prepare your inground fiberglass pool for opening. Have a safe, fun, relaxing pool season. Almost time to float around and enjoy.

Until next time–

The General