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Pool Opening Checklist ☑️

I know what you’re thinking. A Pool Opening Checklist ?!  Rudy lives in Florida; what is he doing talking about opening and closing swimming pools. Well, Rudy is a New Yorker (born and raised) and spent a decade working with pools in the Northeast before taking off to the land of newlyweds and nearly deads. So, I created the following Pool Opening Checklist

Solid or mesh, it doesn’t matter. You want fewer headaches with your openings; you’ll start peeling as many of those covers off as you can immediately following the last freeze of spring. If you haven’t already scheduled your openings with your customers when you buttoned them up for the winter, you should call them now and tell them what day you have them on the schedule. Yes – Tell them. You have a business to run.

We don’t have time to ask, and all that will do is lopsidedly load the backend toward Memorial day while you try to find things to do in March. Don’t give them the luxury of making your May a daunting task just because the pool owner is indecisive or wants to save a couple of months of service expense. Besides, you’d rather have the extra two months in your pocket anyway.

Do you offer a winter service? I’m just curious, and it wasn’t something that happened when I was up North. But, in recent years, I heard of a few who charge a fee to come out, remove debris and water from the winter cover, peel back a corner, and balance the chems.

Pool Opening Checklist

Pool Opening Checklist

⏹️ Remove water from cover with submersible pump (if solid cover)

⏹️ Remove debris from cover with a leaf blower

⏹️ Remove Pool Cover

⏹️ Rinse & Clean pool cover


☑️ Baking soda sprinkled lightly onto the cover after it dries will reduce the chance of mold

⏹️ Fold cover and place into a bigass plastic container with a lid to help to prevent ants and rodents


⏹️ Clean pool deck with a stiff bristle broom and a non-phosphate TSP cleaning solution (1 cup TSP to 5 gallons of water ratio).


⏹️ Remove winter plugs and replace hydrostream fittings

For the latest swimming pool hacks, techniques, and News, check out the Talking Pools Podcast

Ready the pool!


⏹️ Remove skimmer plate (if applicable) and reattach faceplate.

⏹️ Remove Gizzmo from the skimmer (if applicable)

⏹️ Reattach Handrails & Ladders

⏹️ Top off the water level to the mid-point of the skimmer opening. An automatic water leveler (shown below) can be used with a garden hose. If a garden hose is used without the leveler, an old T-shirt should be tied around the end of the hose as a filter to trap impurities.


Get that pump & filter prepared!

⏹️ Add Teflon tape to pump freeze plug(s) and thread back into the pump (do not overtighten).


⏹️ Lubricate O-ring on filter drain plug with a silicone or Teflon based lubricant and thread back into the filter (do not overtighten)


⏹️ Close heater drain cocks – qty of 2 to 4 drain cocks depending upon heater model/size (if applicable).

Similar article How to Winterize a Pool Heater

⏹️ Reassemble pool filter if needed. Lubricate tank O-ring with a Teflon-based lubricant (as shown above).

⏹️ Lubricate pump lid O-ring with a Teflon-based lubricant (shown above).

⏹️ If a multiport valve is used, position the selector to the ‘FILTER’ position.

⏹️ If filter pressure gauge was removed, add Teflon tape to the valve and thread back into place (do not overtighten)

⏹️ Partially unthread pressure relief valve atop filter tank to open.

⏹️ Fill the pump pot with as much water as it will hold. Replace the pump pot lid. Restore power to the pump motor. Note: This step may need to be repeated several times to prime the pump and system until water circulation is restored. WARNING: Do not allow the pump to run dry without water.

⏹️ Once the pool water is circulating, remove any debris that may have fallen into the pool from the cover with your pool tools. Thoroughly brush the pool’s walls, floor, and tile line with a nylon bristle pool brush.

Some light cleaning

⏹️ Allow the pump to operate and circulate pool water for 24 hours.

⏹️ If the pool water is clear, set time clock trippers to schedule the pool pump motor to operate for eight hours per day. If the pool water is murky or green – the pool pump will need to run 24 hours per day until water clarity is restored. If a variable speed pump is in use, the GPM (gallons per minute) will be programmed to complete one complete turnover per day.

Pool Gallons ÷ Hours pump will run in a day ÷ 60 = GPM needed

Chemistry made easy

⏹️ Run a complete water test to determine pool water chemistry

⏹️ If you have a saltwater pool, you will need to test the salt level in the pool water

⏹️ Add the dose of Natural Chemistry pool perfect enzymes based upon the amount of water in your pool.

⏹️ Balance pool water Chemistry

Chlorine (if used) 2.0 to 4.0 ppm

pH ideal range 7.4 to 7.6

Total Alkalinity ideal range 80 to 100 ppm

Calcium Hardness ideal range 200 to 400 ppm

Cyanuric acid level to 30 to 50 ppm

For chemical quantities necessary to make changes to water chemistry, see Chemical Dose Chart

Use less chlorine!

⏹️ Test pool water phosphate level

⏹️ If phosphate level (phosphates are algae food) is above 100 ppb, add the dose of Natural Chemistry Phos Free necessary to remove the amount of phosphate above 100 ppb in your pool. This step is vital if you have a saltwater pool.

If pool water is green or uses less chlorine during the season, we recommend adding Blueray XL pool water minerals.

⏹️ Schedule your customer’s pool closing NOW and take a deposit.

For information on setting your customer’s pool up to avoid algae altogether while using less chlorine (or eliminating algae if a problem exists), please get yourself a copy of my book, How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae.


NOTE: This pool opening checklist has been prepared with the pool professional in mind and assumes an intermediate pool professional level of knowledge. We recommend scheduling your pool opening with your local pool service company if you are a pool owner. The items shown on this page are available for purchase on Amazon – if you click the image on this page, your price is the same if you purchase on Amazon in any other method. However, we will earn a small percentage from that sale.


Rudy Stankowitz is a 30-year veteran of the swimming pool industry and President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants

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