7 pool opening mistakes you can learn from

Pool opening. It's that first, all-important maintenance task of the swimming season. What makes it challenging is the smaller steps that need to be completed in a particular order. (If you want to learn to do it right from start to finish, check out our pool opening instructions.) This article lets you in on seven common pool opening mistakes so you can get in the swim hassle-free.

Mistake #1: Opening your pool before you do your spring yard cleanup.

Grass clippings, hedge trimmings, leaves, twigs, dirt—these are the typical fruits of hard garden labour, and they’re particularly prevalent as you sweep, dig, blow, trim and rake winter away. Do the heavy lifting of your spring yard work before you open your pool—and before you clean off your pool cover—to avoid cleaning up twice.

Mistake #2: Not treating your pool cover with care.

Remove leaves and other debris from your cover with a leaf rake, not a skimmer. If the cover has standing water on it, you can siphon it off with your vacuum hose or use a submersible pump to remove it, but beware—if your cover has a hole in it, you’ll find you’re pumping water from your pool, as well as the cover! Be sure to clean your cover carefully once it’s been removed from the pool and store it according to manufacturer’s instructions. Vinyl covers should be stored in water (add 500 mL of algaecide or the remainder of your cover cleaner as a preventive strike against green slime). Safety covers should be stored dry and away from mice and ants.

Mistake #3: Not doing a chemical inventory prior to opening.

Last minute trips to the store are frustrating, especially when you’re in full pool-open mode. Check you have enough of the pool opening chemical on hand to get started and do your first weeks of regular maintenance. Check for chlorine tablets, chemicals to increase and decrease pH, chemicals to increase alkalinity, stabilizer, algaecides, test strips and stain removers.

Mistake #4: Forgetting to put in (or take out) a thing-a-ma-bob or whozit.

Plugs, gizmos, eyeballs…there’s a lot of winterizing paraphernalia that gets added or removed when a pool is closed, and you’ll need to retrace your steps to make sure your pool is spring-ready. Remove winterizing plugs from your returns; remove gizmos or other items from your skimmer; replace your skimmer basket; put the plugs back in your pump, filter and heater; replace your filter gauge; and reattach the eyeball fittings in your return jets.

Mistake #5: Not cleaning your pool thoroughly before adding chemicals.

Don’t want to let a little leaf debris and dirt stand between you and your first swim? We get it. But cleaning your pool properly before adding your chemicals will mean you’ll need fewer chemicals to get to the proper water balance, which is good for your pool, your skin and your wallet.

Mistake #6: Not letting your pool filter run before doing your first water test.

A good rule is to top up your pool water, add chemicals and wait 24 hours before doing your first water chemistry test. That should be sufficient time to let the old water, new water and chemicals get to know each other better, giving you accurate water test results. Make sure your filter is running during that 24-hour period.

Mistake #7: Waiting too long to open the pool.

No, your kids didn’t ask us to write this one—it’s actually got nothing to with extending your swimming season and everything to do with preventing an algae bloom. As the weather warms and the sun intensifies, the water beneath your pool cover heats up, leading to algae problems and a bothersome and potentially time-consuming cleanup job. If you're looking for algae prevention and treatment tips, click that link!

Rather leave it to the professionals?