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Above Ground Pool Opening in 5 Easy Steps

The above ground pool opening process is not much different from opening an inground pool, other than being faster and easier! To make your opening experience even easier, we've put together a list of the 5 easy steps to open your above ground pool.

1. Uncover Your Pool

cover pump for above ground pool opening

The first task is to remove the winter cover that, hopefully, you placed on your pool last fall. Covering your pool in winter keeps the pool safe from dirt, debris and algae-growing sunlight.

Use a small cover pump to remove any excess water on the cover. Then remove the cover slowly to prevent leaves and debris from falling into your pool. Once you get the cover off, spread it out in a clean, dry area such as the driveway. Wash your cover using a garden hose and a push broom or pool brush to get rid of leaves and dirt. Allow the cover to dry fully before folding it up for summer storage.

2. Check for Leaks

After you remove the winter cover and begin the above ground pool opening process, you'll have a good view of the pool and how it fared over the winter. Check your pool and equipment for any leaks or cracks that might have developed over the winter months. Your pump and filter should be drip-free if they were winterized properly. If they're in need of some repairs, visit our pool parts department.

Also inspect the pool skimmer for any cracks or damage. Skimmers can crack easily in the winter if you didn't use a Gizzmo. But thankfully, minor skimmer cracks are easy to repair with the E-Z Patch 22.

3. Add Water and Prepare Equipment

Once you've finished checking the pool and equipment for leaks, start filling your above ground pool with water. While you wait, start hooking up the hoses from skimmer to pump and filter to return, tightening all hose clamps securely. Replace any pump and filter drain plugs you removed during winterization. Once your filter hoses are connected to the pool, you can remove the freeze plugs or Gizzmo, and replace the return eyeball fittings and skimmer baskets.

pump basket for above ground pool opening

Then, return the pump basket to its proper place and lubricate the pump lid O-ring with a Teflon-based lube. Set the filter valve to the filter position for sand and DE filters. Once the water reaches the middle of the skimmer, open up any valves in front of the pump and allow the pump to fill with water.

Open up the filter air bleeder and start up the filter pump, watching the pressure gauge rise. You should quickly see air bubbles coming into the pool. If not, shut off the pump, and check that all valves are open and all plugs are removed from the pool returns.

If your pump doesn't catch prime and begin pumping, verify the pump lid is tight, the hose adapter coming into the pump is tight and sealed with Teflon tape, and that the incoming hose has no splits or kinks.

4. Clean the Pool

If you used a winter cover, chances are there will be no surprises during your above ground pool opening process, and the pool will be clean. However, if any debris found its way into your pool, it must be removed quickly to avoid algae growth. Use a leaf rake to gently scoop out large pieces of debris before vacuuming. Smaller debris or algae can be removed using a manual pool vacuum or an automatic pool cleaner like the E-Z Vac, which is not only a highly effective cleaning tool, but also easy on the wallet.

5. Test and Adjust Water Chemistry

above ground pool opening chemical value packs

Proper water balance is the key to clean, bacteria-free water and a healthy swimming environment. Use a fresh test kit or test strips to check the chemical levels in your pool. Make adjustments to Calcium Hardness and Total Alkalinity first, followed by pH and Cyanuric Acid. Do this before you shock the pool, and add chlorine tablets. Let the water filter for 24 hours, and then re-test before swimming to ensure you have the ideal water balance.

Many of our customers use our handy pool chemical value packs when opening their pools. We have Spring Opening Kits or Full Season Kits, each sized to match the capacity of your above ground pool.

Once the basics have been taken care of, your pool opening duties are complete, and you are free to enjoy the pool with your friends and family. Always remember that safety comes first, so swim well and swim safe!

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.