6 Steps to Open Your In-ground Pool

How to Open Your In-ground Pool

Did you know that the last Saturday in April is National Pool Opening Day?  Getting your pool ready is a time to rejoice and celebrate the summer fun that is fast approaching. It is also a time to check off all of the boxes of opening your pool correctly. 

At Parnell Pool & Spa, we wanted to help make Pool Opening Day a little easier with a handy-dandy outline of what needs to be done to properly open an in-ground pool. 

Step 1: Remove and Clean the Pool Cover

Removing and cleaning your pool cover is the most time-consuming part of opening your pool each spring. It is also the part of the process that needs to be done correctly to help with the closing of your pool at the end of the season. More energy spent on this step will help to save time and money at the close of the season. 

  • If you have a mesh (safety) cover, the first step is to remove all of the leaves and debris that have settled on the cover over the past few months. Using a leaf blower, brush and pole, or a garden hose with a spray nozzle, clean the cover while it is still attached to the anchors using a product called “Stow Away”. Once the cover is cleaned, remove and store in a garage or shed out of direct sunlight.
  • If you have a solid pool cover, remove any leaves, debris, and water from the cover before removing it. 
    • Next, remove the water bags (or whatever items you have used to hold the cover in place for the winter) and make sure to store them properly for the fall. 
    • Starting at the deep end, fold the cover over on top of itself until you get to the shallow end of the pool. 
    • Once you have folded the cover as far you can lift the cover out of the pool and onto the deck at the shallow end. 
    • Make sure the cover is well away from the pool and unfold it to give it a thorough cleaning. Using a garden hose and nozzle, rinse off the cover and coat with “Stow Away” solution before folding and placing in a garage or shed out of direct sunlight.

Step 2: Prepare the Pump and Filter 

Gather all of the supplies removed during the closing of your pool and have them at the ready. Now, it is time to prepare your pump and filters for summer use. 

  1. Starting with the pump, use Teflon plumber’s tape to wrap the two freeze plugs (hair and lint pot plug and pump housing plug). Checking the threaded openings in the pump to make sure they are free of dirt and debris, install the plugs into the pump.   

 Helpful Hint:  Tighten the plugs by hand only. Over tightening can cause the hair and lint pot or pump housing to crack.

  1. Locate the hair and lint basket that goes inside the hair and lint pot. Place the basket into the hair and lint pot and fill the pot with water from your garden hose. Make sure to check the O-ring and lid lip for cracks, dirt, and debris. 

Helpful Hint: If needed, apply a thin coat of Magic Lube (Teflon lubricant) to the upper lip of the Hair and Lint pot, the threads, or lip of the hair and lint pot lid, and the O-ring and install the lid securely onto the hair and lint pot.

  1. The next step has several key pieces, so let’s take a minute to break them down in an easy-to-read format!
    1. Locate the pressure gauge for the filter tank and check it to make sure it is not filled with water, dirt, or other debris, and wrap the threads with several turns of Teflon tape. 
    2. Next, locate the opening in the dial valve on top of the filter tank and check the opening for dirt and debris (clean the threads if needed). 
    3. Hand thread the pressure gauge into the opening in the dial valve. Do not overtighten the gage or you may crack the body of the dial valve. 
    4. Locate the sight glass and air relief valve (if your system has one), check the gaskets and O-rings to make sure they are in good condition, and reinstall them into the dial valve (again being sure to hand tighten only).
    5. Locate the drain cap for the bottom of the filter tank and reinstall it. Pressing on the handle on top of the dial valve, turn the handle in a clockwise direction, and place the pointer into the “re-circulate” slot on top of the dial valve. This will make it easier to re-prime the system at startup.
  1. Locate all of the valves on your plumbing lines coming from and returning to the pool. The next step is to prime your lines one at a time. 

Helpful Hint: If you aren’t familiar with your pool plumbing and need help, take a picture of your filter and plumbing to the store at Parnell and we will help you figure it out!

Step 3: Remove Winter Materials Prepare Your Pool for Startup

Next, remove all items installed to keep your pool safe during the winter months. Remove the items such as

  • Plugs
  • Floaters
  • Gizzmo
  • Debris/obstructions

Check the flap (wier) and make sure it moves freely and is not obstructed. After placing the skimmer basket back in your pool, make sure to add or remove water so that the level is a minimum of 1/2 way up the skimmer opening inside the pool.

Step 4: Re-Prime Your Pool

Now we are ready to prime the system and start the pool up. To do this, 

  1. Turn on your pump. To be sure that the pump is primed and the water is circulating back into the pool, walk over to the pool and place your hand over each of the return jets. You should feel a good steady flow of water in each jet going back into the pool. 
  2. To prime the drain suction line, slowly begin to open the valve ¼ of the way on the drain line. Let the pump continue to run and the water flow should begin to strengthen until the full flow is restored. Continue to open the drain valve until it is 1/2 way open and go back to check the return jets by placing your hand over each return. You should feel a good strong flow against your hand. If you have good flow through both suction lines and back to the pool, you are now primed and ready to filter the pool water.

Step 5: Put Your Pool Back in Normal Operation

At this point, you are ready to return the pool to filter mode. 

  1. Turn the pump off. Pressing down on the handle on top of the dial valve, turn the handle clockwise until the pointer is over the slot marked “filter”. 
  2. Release the handle and turn the pump back on. Let the pump run a minute or so, checking the returns to be sure you have good flow back into the pool and that the hair and lint pot is full of flowing water with little or no air visible through the lid. 
  3. After a minute or so, check your pressure gauge to see if you are registering your normal operating pressure. 
  4. Inspect the freeze plugs, valves, dial valve fittings, and lines for any signs of leaks. If all looks good you are now back in proper operation mode. 

Step 6: Water Sample

Let the water run for about 4-6 hours to properly mix the water in the pool and bring a water sample to one of our Parnell Pool & Spa stores to have it tested. We will help you to better understand what chemicals need to be added to make your water safe and balanced. 

Need Help?

At Parnell Pool and Spa, we know that opening an in-ground pool the first time can be a daunting task. If you have a question about the proper running of your pool or any questions about opening your in-ground pool, stop by our Fayetteville or Lumberton location anytime. Visit us online at www.parnellpoolandspa.com or take a look at our Facebook page.  

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Maintenance Checklist

Take a look at the following blog for some helpful maintenance hints when it comes to opening your pool.


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(910) 425-6138

4206 Cumberland Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28306

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed


(910) 738-8110

1380 Linkhaw Rd
Lumberton, NC 28358

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed

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