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Pool Opening Information

Getting off on the right track can set the pace for the season.
 
The Pool and Spa Informational Website
askalanaquestion.com

Getting The Swimming Pool Season Started.
 

 
 

Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

 
Pool Refresh eliminates phosphates and metals.

The Blaster automatic filter cartridge cleaners, for pools ands spas.

Stain Reversall Kit.
NUVO Ultraviolet Sterizers for Residential Pools. Solar-Breexe Robotic, Solar-Powered Pool Skimmer-cleaner.
Batter-Powered Leaf Vacuum.

Pool opening may involve some work, depending on how you did at closing,  Get the chemistry right, deal with algae and staining issues. Get the filter running and check for leaks.  Give thought to chl1d, pet and animal safety.  Get things running, before the temperatures rise.

Torque-Lock Concrete Crack Repair System.

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How to start up a new pool or open a pool, after a winter closing?  after a Pool opening refers to the steps necessary, to return the pool to operating status. Proper opening techniques can save time and money and get you in the swim sooner. The more debris and algae, in the pool, the more chemicals will be required. There is no quick fix. Try to get the free chlorine level to 5-10 PPM, as soon as possible. If problems arise, refer to the Pool Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.  For additional information, visit this page:  Pool Opening Suggestions

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Getting Ready To Switch To A Salt Chlorine Generator?

I am wanting to convert my above ground pool from a mineral system to a salt water system. Will I need to use the mineral reservoir? Also is it necessary to use the Algaecide at start up?  Thanks.

Andrea, 3/21/2014
Model SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools.

If you continue to use the minerals, it will provide backup sanitation, which will allow you to get good results, even while maintaining a lower free chlorine level.  Add enough chlorine and your pool should clean up, even though you don't add algaecide.  The combination of the minerals and a good free chlorine level should be all you require.  We offer several, affordably-priced, salt chlorine generators that require no-installation, include lots of advanced features and can treat pools from 15,000 to 25,000 gallons.  A salt chlorine generator id the better way to do chlorine. 

If this website was helpful, in solving your problem, please consider joining our E-Letter Mailing List.  You'll receive 1-2 E-Letters a month, with helpful information, new product updates, suggestions and sale announcements. I hope that I have provided the solution.  Enjoy the season.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 3/21/2014
 

Getting Started?

MY HUSBAND AND I JUST PURCHASED AND ABOVE GROUND 30' ROUND POOL. WE JUST FILLED IT WITH WATER AND HAVE YET TO ADD ANY CHEMICALS TO IT. CAN YOU SUGGEST HOW TO GET THE POOL STARTED?

Lisa W., Coldwater, MS, 5/20/2016


While your question seems simple enough and it is, it is also worthy of being on the "top 10" list. Depending upon the source of the water being used to fill the pool, you can save yourself a lot of anguish, time and money by doing a few things before adding chemicals. Have the water, that will be
Liquid MetalTrap used to fill the pool, tested for pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, iron and other heavy metals might be present. If there are heavy metals present, it is best to add one dose of a quality, phosphate-free metal treatment, such as Liquid Metal Trap, for each 0.5 PPM, as the pool is being filled. If the tests for heavy metals are negative, you might want to add a dose anyway. Allow about 6 hours of filter operation before adding other chemicals. Now you're ready to adjust the pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness. Try and avoid having chemicals, especially chlorine products, remain in prolonged direct contact with the liner: run the filter and stir things up with the pool brush. If the pool is to be maintained on chlorine, you should add stabilizer. Try and maintain a Free Chlorine level of 1-3 PPM, at all times, whether the pool is being used or not. The labels are only a guide! How much chlorine your pool will require will depend upon location, Sun exposure, bather usage and frequency, water temperature, etc. It may sound difficult, but is easier to do it right, than to fix it after some neglect. Having a reliable water tester can help you avoid problems. The all-digital ColorQ Water Analyzer will eliminate all color matching and guesswork. I hope that these suggestions will prove helpful. I hope that these suggestions will prove helpful. Enjoy the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/20/2016
 

Pool Cleaning Made Easier?

Every springs I do battle to dead leaves flying into the newly opened pool.  Ultimately, some sink to the pool floor and cause staining.  I seem to be vacuuming all the time.  Any solutions?

Justin L., Pt Pleasant, SC, FL 3/5/2015Floating Pool Skimmer

A Floating Pool Surface Skimmer/Cleaner will remove floating debris and does it all on its own.  It operates fully autonomously, throughout the day as
long as the pump is running.  It helps filter out leaves fine debris, before they have a chance to sink.  It helps eliminate dead zones and allows you to shorten the filter cycles.  It may not completely eliminate the need to vacuum, but does keep the pool cleaner, for longer periods of time.  If you have a suction-side pool cleaner, it can be operated, at the same time, using a specially designed hookup attachment.  I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 2/1/2015


Messy Opening and Safety Issues?

My husband and I purchased a resale last December. Although the pool was operating when we first viewed the house, it was closed and covered by the time we took title. We know nothing about pools. Call us city folks. Over the course of the winter, the solid plastic cover over the pool, collapsed at one end. Evidently, this was a result of leaves and water collecting on top. I can only imagine what a mess is now inside the pool. The pool is a vinyl inground type, about 20 X 40. It is spring now and we are going to have to face the challenge. Where do we start? The pool is fenced in, but not separated from the house. I'm concerned about the kids and dog. Helpful hints will be appreciated. Thank you.

Sharon H., Milton, MA, 5/31/2013


It does sound like you're in for a lot of work. If it were up to me, I would call in a pool service company to open the pool, get everything working and start you on the road to crystal clear water. That way, you can observe, ask questions and, perhaps, learn about operating the equipment. A local pool professional can help you with matters of water testing and chemicals. But, if you want to do it yourself, here is where to start. If the cover still has water and debris on top, get a cover pump (small submersible pump that is attached to a garden hose and placed on top to remove water) and pump off as much water as possible. Try and remove the debris with a pool leaf rake: without causing a collapse. Pull the cover off, trying to keep as much debris, as possible, out of the pool. Clean the cover, allow to dry and store indoors until winter. Now you are looking at a disaster of a pool,
with the water somewhat below the skimmers. If your water is of good quality and not from a well, you can start adding water. If your water is fromOne of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers. a well, you might want to have it tested: minerals can cause staining and are best treated before chlorine is added. The filter has to be hooked up: depending upon the type it may have been removed for the winter and stored indoors. A local dealer or friend might be able to help with the hookup. Once the filter is running, you are ready to start adding chemicals.  A reliable pool water tester is a must.  I suggest the #2056 Color PRO 7, which is simple to use and eliminates the bothersome color-matching.  I would start with 2 pounds, per 5,000 gallons of pool water, of a shock treatment. This will begin the decomposition of the leaves and debris. Find out how to use your pool vacuum and use it to start removal of the debris on the bottom. Have the water tested for pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and chlorine stabilizer and add chemicals as required. Test for Free Chlorine, every few hours, and add more shock, if the Free Chlorine level drops below 3 PPM. The pool should start to look better and better, but could take a few days to really clear up. I know that I have oversimplified things, but you will get by with some common sense and some pool dealer advice. During the summer, all this work will be a fond memory. You might want to browse through the archives on the topics of pool maintenance, cloudy water, etc. There are safety products available including Pool Alarm Systems, for all types of pools. These products can add a high degree of security. You can help protect your dog and even some uninvited critters from drowning, because of being unable to exit the pool. An escape ramp helps provide an easy escape route, for pets and animals. You might check to make sure that the main drain is an anti-entrapment design, as it can prevent serious accidents. Local laws can vary, so make sure that all safety devices are in compliance, with all current federal and local regulations.  Being aware is, of course, always important! I hope that I have been of assistance. Good luck with the pool and enjoy the summer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster/ 5/31/2013


Empty Pool And Broken Pipe?

Great website! Very informative. A question for you…is it possible that liner shrinkage (from an in ground pool sitting empty for almost two months) could introduce enough force into the plumbing  to fracture an inlet pipe/fitting? Thanks!

Thomas K., 4/6/2011


If the pool is empty, water can collect and could be more apt to freeze, as compared to a filled pool. However, this might not have anything to do with freeze-thaw problems. If the ground water level rose to a level, higher than the pool floor, the pool could float up and cause pipes to break. Depending on how the pipes were layed out, it might not take much to cause damage. Leaving a pool empty, for long periods of time, does involve risk. So, I guess the answer is yes. Picture a rowboat almost filled with water and barely floating. Remove water and the boat floats higher. A pool can be like a floating boast, especially if heavy rains have elevated the water table. Sorry I can't provide something more helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/6/2011


Not Quite Ready To Open?

I am not going to open the pool as early as I usually do. A friend suggested that I pull back the cover and add a few gallons of liquid shock, in order to help keep the water a few weeks longer. What do you think of that idea? The pool is a vinyl inground. Thank you.

Rich G., Paramus, NJ, 6/2/2012


I assume that the pool is covered and that the filter is in storage. Therefore, there is no circulation. An vinyl lined pool should not have chlorine added without the benefit of circulating water. This could result in some bleaching of the liner. Adding chemicals, especially chlorine, without the filter operating, is not a good practice. Are you willing to risk damage to the liner? If the pool was masonry, there would be no problem adding the chlorine. It's your decision. The idea has merit, as long as care is taken to avoid damaging the liner. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/3/2012

How to clean up a pool opening, with less work.

Use a Robotic Pool Cleaner, for better results, with less time and effort.
Use a Floating Pool Skimmer, to skim debris, before it sinks down.
Turn a return jet into a powerful surface skimmer, in any pool.
Remove dirt and sediments or spot clean, using a hoseless, portable vacuum.
Easily removes leaver, from any type of pool, using this battery-powered leaf vacuum.
Blue Diamond Robotic Pool Cleaner RC Floating Pool Skimmer Return-jet powered pool surface skimmer. Portable, battery-powered hand-held vacuums, for all types of pools and spas. Batter-Powered Leaf Vacuum.
A Robotic Pool Cleaner operates independently of the pool pump, for better results. A Floating Surface Skimmer removes debris, before it can sink. Attaches to any suction line. Convert any return jet into a powerful skimmer, with simple installation.  For all types of pools. Use a portable, hoseless pool vacuum to clean a spot or the whole pool. 8 models. A cordless and hoseless, battery powered leaf vacuum will make in easier than ever.
Click on any image for complete product and ordering information.

Jumping The Gun?

Out of curiosity (I am in Connecticut and the pool is still covered) I did a few tests on my pool water (gunite pool with a winter cover that lets water through) and the pH seemed like it had gone up a lot (the pH number went up) over the winter – is this normal? I did the acid demand test and I think it took like four drops of the reagent that is used to measure acid demand. For one thing what is the preferred way to bring the number down and secondly should I wait until the pool is opened in probably six weeks or so? I would assume I need to wait as the pump needs to be on, etc. I have heard of people around here putting some chemicals under the cover to get a head start on the de-winterizing. Also, why would the pH go up over the winter? From rain and snow? Thanks for your help and a great site.

Paul B., Connecticut, 4/4/2005


That's not how it usually works. Acid rain and carbon dioxide should cause the pH to drop - even in CT. Being that the pool is gunite, it is possible that the walls are influencing the pH. In any event, the sample was not representative of the pool. It won't be until the pump is up and running. I would wait the 6 weeks and not worry about it, until the cover is off and the filter is running. That's when a water analysis helps tell you what to do. Putting in chemicals, under the cover, can lead to problems and is not worth the risk! I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/4/2005


Unwanted Dearly Departed?

We just bought a new house which contained an inground round pool. We have absolutely no experience with pools. It had a cover but somehow both a chipmunk and lizard managed to make their final resting place at the bottom of our pool over the winter. We removed them but now are wondering if we should just dump the water and start over. Please help. Thank you.

SCOTT H., 4/12/2007


In the routine course of getting the pool back into proper condition, after a winter of dormancy, you will have to add lots of chlorine: enough t
o boost and maintain the free chlorine level at 1-3 PPM. Doing this will destroy all traces of the dearly departed. There is no need to drain the pool. This is not all that uncommon! If you are interested in prevent a recurrence, adding a pet escape ramp will give these critters an escape from the water entrapment. If is simple to install and does not interfere with the pool use, if you flip it onto to deck. If the problem is just frogs and small critters, it just might be what you need.  Good luck and enjoy the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/12/2007


Black Swampy Water?

Alan, thanks for providing the website. I live in the Detroit area and have a 24' round aboveground pool. Upon opening this year (after years of successful openings), the water looks like black swamp water! Cant see the bottom! There is a silty, black substance on the liner surface under the water and I'm not sure what to do here. Should I drain it and start over, or do I fill'er up and let chemistry and filtration do the work? I have had excellent results every year. I found a few holes in my winter cover after removing all the leaves & junk and suspect that the dirty water migrated into the pool. What do you think? Sincerely.

Stephen B., Detroit, Michigan, 5/3/2008


Do not drain the pool! It could result in liner shrinkage. The holes in the cover allowed contamination into the pool and that depleted any chlorine that
One of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers. might have been present. The conditions, as you have described them, are consistent with algae growth and accumulated debris. Fill the pool up and get the filter operating. Add 2 pounds of shock for each 5,000 gallons of pool water. Test the water for Free Chlorine and keep adding additional shock at the rate of 1 pound per 5,000 gallons of water, until a Free Chlorine level of 1-3 PPM is established and remains after an overnight period. Depending upon the actual condition of the water, it may take considerably more shock than you might surmise. The longer you take to establish a Free Chlorine reading, the more chlorine will be required.  Adding an algaecide will help in eliminating the algae. Adjust the pool water chemistry on a timely basis. Make sure that the pH is not above 7.6, inasmuch as high pH values will reduce the effectiveness of the shock treatment. To help clear up the water, add a dose of a quality blue clarifier. Vacuum and scoop out as much debris as possible. Things may seen bad, but it will clear as soon as enough chlorine has been added. Once clear, resume normal sanitizing and filtration. Having the right water tester can help solve and avoid problems. The all-digital ColorQ Labs eliminate all the guesswork and the color-matching. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/4/2008


Plumbing 101?

Just discovered your website and found it extremely helpful. I purchased a house last November with a 20x40 inground vinyl lined pool. The previous owner had closed it for the winter, storing the pump and accessories indoors. He gave me a brief overview of what I would need to do to open it up this spring. But, you know, the old "in one ear and out the other." Anyway I was wondering, if you have any diagrams of common pool plumbing and set-up. I know it's basic plumbing 101, but I could really use something visual. Any help would be appreciated.

Eric P., Milton, Vermont, 2/24/2010


I am afraid that I can't help with plumbing schematics. All pools are not the same, as there are many variables based on equipment, shape, construction, etc. It's not complicated, but it is necessary to know the specifics.  If you are really a novice about pools, consider having a professional open the pool. That would be your pool opening 101. It can save a lot of time and aggravation. You'll also find out how to operate the equipment and get started on the right track. The number one bad mistake would be to allow all the debris, that may have accumulated on the cover, to fall into the pool. Technique is important! If you ever hit a bump in the road, I'll be here!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/24/2010


Water On Top?

This is my first year having my pool, we closed the pool fine and put a pillow in the center. During the winter water, leaves, and ice stacked up on top of the pool cover. I tried getting as much as I could off but after it froze over I wasn't very successful. Now its spring and the ice melted leaving a lot of water on top which is making the pool cover drop down and on one side the cover was pulled close to inside the pool. I'm trying to find a way to get all the water out since its so deep. Do you have any recommendations?

Pool Rookie, 4/6/2005


There are submersible cover pumps that can be used to remove accumulated water. Or you could take a length of hose and create a siphon. It make take a day or so, but it will remove the water. The more you get off, the less likely it will be that you get this debris in the pool. Good luck and enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/6/2005


What About The Pump?

Alan, I just bought a home with an above ground pool. The previous owners told me that they winterized the pump with some chemical (unknown). The pump was not covered up or brought inside. The water looks fine and I have read all of your information on opening pools for the summer. My question is, what do I need to do to the pump before turning it on? I assume turning it on would push all of this winterizing chemical into the pool. Should I drain it and how? and Is this a good technique for next year when I do it?

Lori H., 5/18/2010


If you were lucky the winterizing agent was a propylene glycol based product. Since it is all a mystery, why don't you set the filter to pump to waste for a few minutes. That will keep the unknown out of the pool. I would prefer to remove the pump to an indoor location for the winter. If the filter is not a sand filter, you might be able to do the same with that as well. Otherwise, draining and sealing off against water intrusion is next best method. Enjoy the summer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/19/2010


Drained Away?

After looking under the cover of our pool we found that most of the water has drained out. How do you go about locating where the hole is in the liner, if that is the case? Thanks.

Linda A., 3/1/2012


This may not be the most important step to take, but try and prevent the cover and all of the debris on top from falling into the pool. All that would
Fix A Leak leak sealer for pools and spas. do is add to the problem. Unfortunately, you did not provide and specifics, as to pool type. The pool leak could be in a main drain, return fitting or the built-in steps. That is if there are any of these features. It is possible that the leak is at the current water level. Mark the current depth, for use as a reference point. If the leak was very small, if may be difficult to see a water loss on a daily basis, because some water will be lost due to evaporation. Fix A Leak is a product that is used to seal leaks, such as yours. It is added to the pool and makes a seal, as it leaks out, after being carried to the leak. If the water continues to drain out slowly, it will stop at the level of the leak. There are concentrated dye solutions, that can be added to a still pool, that can help trace the flow to the source of the leak. There are companies that specialize in locating pool leaks. It is not a good idea to leave a vinyl liner pool without water for extended periods, as such practice can lead to liner shrinking. If the pool is an inground, structural damage is possible, if substantial water has drained out. I hope that this information will point you in the right direction. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/1/2012


Removing A Cover?

Can you advise how to best remove an in-ground winter cover that appears to be made of a solid material? We have not started this pool before, as we just moved in. Thanks.
 
Gary, 7/1/2013
Batttery-Powered Leaf Vacuum
There is a definite advantage in asking before the fact! Take the cover off incorrectly and you'll be sorry. The first thing you must do is pump off as
much water as possible. There are small submersible cover pumps that are perfect for this task. Just attach a garden hose. Once the water is off, try and remove as much of the debris as possible. It is probably not possible to remove everything, but give it your best shot. When this has been done, you are ready to remove the cover. Try and do it such a way as to minimize the amount of debris that might fall into the pool. That's why getting off as much as possible, before trying to remove the cover, is so important. If debris gets into the pool, it can be quickly and easily removed using a battery-powered, cordless, hoseless Leaf Vacuum. After the cover is removed, restore the water level, connect the equipment and start on the road to water quality. I hope it all works out well. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/2/2013


Where To Start?

Hi Alan. Last March (2007), we purchased an inground fiberglass pool, with a cartridge filter. The installation included the opening of the pool and the first closing. The pool company considered the installation and start up of the pool as our "opening", however, we were at work the majority of the time and unfortunately were not there to see what was involved or to take notes or ask questions. We were there to witness the closing and took notes on the steps taken. Now it is coming up on the time to open the pool again, however, we aren't exactly sure of what we need to do and the pool company wants to charge us a few hundred dollars to have them do it. Besides removing the cover and the fittings and plugs from the inlets, what else would we need to do besides shocking it, and cleaning it and adding more water to bring the level back up? Anti-freeze was put into the water lines, does that have to be flushed out or anything? Do you know of any book we can read that gives more information? Thanks for your help.

Karen T., 3/10/2008


A pool opening is essentially a reversal of the pool closing. The one thing that you should be very careful with is the removal of the cover. You don't
BlasterAutomatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners for pools and spas. want to get all that debris into the pool. Use a cover pump to remove all of the water from the top of the cover (if it is a solid cover) and use a skimmer net to scoop off any debris. Once the cover is off, start adding water, remove all the plugs and winter fittings and reconnect the filter and pump. Make sure the filter cartridge is clean: using The Blaster Filter Cartridge Cleaner will make it easy. Assuming that a pool grade antifreeze was used, it can be flushed into the pool. Once filtration has been restarted, chemicals can be added. You will have to add enough chlorine shock to destroy any accumulations of algae and debris and establish an appropriate chlorine level. The other aspects of pool water chemistry should be tested and adjusted, as necessary. Make sure that the cover is cleaned and allowed to dry off, before storing away. I hope that this information will point you in the right direction. Have fun and good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/10/2008


Too Much Anti-Freeze?

We used much too much (non-toxic) antifreeze, in fear of freeze up, and now the pool water is reddish brown due to the antifreeze. Will the sand filter trap it or do we have to replace the water? Thanks.

R. C., 4/7/2009

Pool antifreeze falls into two categories: a solution of propylene glycol or a solution of freezing-point depressing salts. The propylene glycol product
Stain Reversall Kit. can be used to winterize either lines, pumps, filters or equipment, as it is non-corrosive to metal parts. The other type, using the solution of freezing point depressants, is for use in plastic lines only and should have directions that plainly indicate that limitation. It sounds like you might have discharged some anti-freeze that was used to protect a piece of equipment and it is possible that corrosion has resulted because the wrong type of anti-freeze was used. Otherwise, I can account for no other reason for this color. I suggest that you add a dose or two of a phosphate-free, metal treatment, such as Liquid MetalTrap or a MetalTrap Stain Reversal kit, in order to complex any metals introduced into the pool. This should solve the problem with the color. If equipment was winterized, it should be inspected for the effects of corrosion. If you still have the containers, read the directions to see if the product was used appropriately. Good luck and I hope that I have come up with the explanation.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/7/2009


Antifreeze In The Pool?

Is it imperative to remove the antifreeze from the lines rather than just letting it mix with the rest of the water and then treating it as needed for summer start up? No one seems to know. I have a fiberglass inground pool. If not, what is the easiest way to clear the lines and make ready for the season? Thanks.

John, 5/13/2006


If you are using a swimming pool antifreeze, it is expected that the product will get into the pool. This type of product should present no hazard, once in the pool. Enjoy the summer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/13/2006


Liner Problems?

I JUST HAD A QUESTION. WE HAVE HAD OUR POOL FOR ABOUT 7 YEARS AND THIS YEAR OUR DOG GOT ON TOP BECAUSE IT WAS FROZEN ATE THROUGH THE WINTER COVER AND RIPPED SEVERAL HOLES IN THE LINER. IN SOME SPOTS THE LINER IS ALL BENT DOWN AND THE WATER IS GOING BEHIND THE LINER AND MAKING A BIG BULGE BECAUSE IT HAS NO WHERE TO GO. IS THIS GOING TO RUST THE SIDES OR MAKE THE SIDES COLLAPSE OR WHAT? WERE NOT REALLY SURE WHAT TO DO ABOUT THIS PROBLEM.

Nameless, 3/21/2004


It sounds like you have the type of liner that is suspended from a bead. The chances are that it is repairable. The water behind the liner should drain out or should be pumped out. I doubt that corrosion or collapse are a serious issue, but there's not much you can do in the frozen state. As soon as the weather permits, you might want to remove the cover and call in a vinyl liner repair specialist. Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/21/2004


Unopened For 5 Years?

Dear Alan, we opened the pool after 5 years of not opening it. We can not get the water to clear. At the pool company everything reads normal. When it is vacuumed brown water comes out of the jets. Does that mean there is something wrong with the pipes or the filter? We even put in a chemical that is supposed to take the chemicals to the bottom but that still hasn't help to clear the water. Help. Thank you.

Bonny B., Phippsburg, Maine, 6/17/2008


Picture all the stuff that has been growing in the pipes and unreachable spots for the past 5 years. I think that you are going to have to maintain a high chlorine level, 5-10 PPM, and keep the water recirculating. If the filter has not been disassembled and cleaned, it should be at the top of the list. Once the chlorine has been allowed to decompose all the accumulations of 5 years of neglect, I'm sure that progress will be made. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/17/2008


High Pressure?

We have an inground pool. We just opened the pool, and I usually replenish the chlorine tablets every few days, the pump seems to have too much pressure when I turn it off as it usually did. Could the configuration be set up wrong? There seems to be bubbling in the pool like one of the valves is not correct. Right now we have both the filter valve and pump valve in the on position. Is there something else that needs to be turned on or off? Thanks.

Stephanie S., 6/3/2008


Most likely the pressure is high because there is debris in the pump strainer, the skimmer baskets or the filter needs to be cleaned. All three are common, after a pool is opened. If, after, normal pressure is restored, the bubbling continues, it could be a sign of a leak or bad connection in the return line. Check all the connections. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/3/2008


Directing The Water Flow?

I just opened my inground pool, and the pressure is fine and it's cleaning the pool. I have 2 skimmers on the side and 2 on the bottom. It looks like the side skimmers are not sucking in any water just the bottom one. I had a pool company winterize it, but they were booked so I opened it my self. The water is clear, just the side skimmers are not sucking in any water or dirt? Why? Is it filtrating thru the bottom 2 opening on the floor of the pool? HELP, since all the pool guys are booked up! Thank you.

Eddie, 5/11/2011


It sounds like a simple enough problem. Let's hope that it is! There must be a valve or valves that allow you to apportion the water between the skimmers and the bottom drains. It sounds like all of the water is being directed to the drains. Check the settings and hopefully the problem will be solved. If not, it could be indicative of a plugged line and will require servicing. Good luck and I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/12/2011


When To Open?

I live in Atlanta, GA, and wanted to know the best time to open our inground pool. My husband says it is to early because there are still blooms from the trees and bushes blowing all over the place.

Dawn, Atlanta, GA, 4/19/2004


I don't know if I would base it on the spring bloom. Given the cost of electricity, I would choose to open a pool perhaps 2-4 weeks before there was some expectation of actually using the pool. Otherwise, you'll incur some needless expenses. Keep an eye on the long term weather forecast and give yourself enough time to get things in order. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/19/2004


Needs Help ASAP?

Hi Alan, I have a above ground pool and I kind of  neglected it all winter long. Now I'm trying to set it up again, but I have this very big problem. There's a big build up of algae all over the pool, try to brush it but it won't brush  off, it's hard, .What's the best thing I can do to soften it so I can brush it off? I need your help really badly. My son is having his 2nd birthday this coming Sunday and the kids want to use the pool. How can I fix this problem immediately?

Ty, 4/13/2010


I don't know about immediately. How about A.S.A.P? Algae should not be hard, unless, perhaps, it was above the water line and dried out. Raise the
Nano-Stick Clarifiers, forall types of pools and spas. water to the proper level and get the filter operating. Add two pounds of shock, per 5000 gallons of water, and keep the filter operating continuously. Test the water for pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness and trace metals. Your local [pool professional should be able to help you in this area. Pay attention to the pH. The addition of all that shock will likely raise the pH. Try and keep the pH at 7.2-7.6. Test the pool water for Free Chlorine and additional addition shock, until you are able to maintain a Free Chlorine level of 1-3 PPM for an overnight period. The longer it takes to do this, the longer it will take to clear the pool. Test the Free Chlorine frequently and add more shock, if needed, and as the water improves drop the rate to addition to 1 pound per 10000 gallons. It may take a lot more shock than the label calls for, so be prepared! It is all related to the condition of the pool and not the strength of the product. As the water begins to clear up, try adding algaecide and a Nano-Stick Clarifier. This 21st Century product will work 24/7 and last up to 6-months. Safe with all pools and chemicals. It will help get you to crystal-clear. I hope that I have been helpful. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/14/2010


More Pond Than Pool?

We're moving into a house with an old (1955) huge (42x22) concrete pool not used in 4 years with very green frog filled water. What should we do? I realize you would not be making money on us, as we do not live near you but I appreciate at least a little help. Should we let the water out? (it is near a stream easy to fill from). How do we save the frogs? What do we do first? The old filter system works we think.

Marla S., 3/25/2007


You don't have to worry about me not making money, even if I were located around the corner. The website is not affiliated with any chemical manufacturer and is supported by a growing list affiliated companies. My wife is a frog collector, so she would want to save them. It is very likely that your pool will have to be acid washed and/or resurfaced. These things are usually done periodically and there's no telling when the pool was last serviced or maintained. The water from the stream sounds convenient, but could be a major source of problems. Before using that water, have it tested for iron and other minerals. Otherwise, you'll end up spending more on chemicals that the water was worth. Short of pumping the water down, there's no simple way to save the frogs. You should, in any event, scoop out as much debris and frogs as possible. Without adding chemicals it will
be difficult, at best to clean up filtration system, underground pipes and underwater surfaces. Only by cleaning up the pool will a true assessment of the actual conditions and needs be possible. When you've saved as many frogs as practical, it will be time to start. Remove as much debris as possible, fill the pool up to the proper level and start the filter (on recirculate if possible). Start by adding 25 pounds of calcium hypochlorite or 25 gallons of liquid chlorine. Remember, what you have is a pond and we are trying to make it a pool. Lots of chlorine will be required. Test the pH and try to keep it near 7.2, as it makes the chlorine work better. Test the water for Free Chlorine and if there is less than 1-3 PPM, add an additional 10 pounds or gallons of chlorine. Eventually, the water will start to improve as the chlorine destroys the contamination. When you can see bottom, vacuum and sediment to waste. Retest the pH after every chemical addition. As the water starts to improve, switch the filter to the filter cycle. Pay attention to the filter pressure and return flow. Backwash or clean the filter, as necessary. As the water begins to clear, add a dose of a blue clarifier, to help remove fine particles. Keep adding chlorine, until you are able to maintain a 1-3 PPM level of Free chlorine, after an overnight period. Once you have reached a stable chlorine level and the water chemistry is optimized, you should be able to assess the condition of the underwater surfaces. Does it need a resurfacing or will an acid wash be OK? I can't help with that answer. You might want to call in a service company for an opinion, if your knowledge of pools is limited.  If you are interested in prevent a recurrence, of the frog invasion, adding some sort of escape ramp, that will give them and other critters an escape route from the water entrapment.  It is simple to install and does not interfere with the pool use, if you flip it onto to deck.  Use the link for more information and to watch an informative video. I hope that I have been of some help - you'll need it!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/25/2007


Off To A Bad Start?

We opened our inground pool after a long hard winter and found the built in concrete steps needed to be restructured and, after some quotes & opinions, decided to have the stairs fiber glassed. The fiberglass company advised us that we could drain the pool to the floor of the shallow end keeping the deep end in approx 5 feet of water. We did this-even though other companies told us we shouldn't. The long story short, they fixed & fiber glassed the stairs, but the sand around the deep end caved in at various locations around the pool. the guys told us to refill the pool and he would have guys in to "push it back". The water guy says he's full of you know what. Can that be done and, if not, what can we do? Thanks.

Kathy, Abington MA, 5/13/2007


Draining a pool always involves a risk and I always advise against it, unless there is no other choice. Every pool and situation is different to some extent. I'm a chemist and not a construction expert, so there is nothing definitive that I can say about the situation. I don't know what I can suggest other than to get some other opinions before doing anything. Good luck and I'm sorry that the season started off on the wrong track for you.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/13/2007


Choice Of Water Supply?

I am having a pool installed basic 20X40 inground pool. I estimate @ 35,000 gals needed. I have a well and don't want to use it to fill the pool. I also have a stream that leads to a local reservoir. This time of year it is very active and I could easily pump water from the stream to the pool. Will this cause me big problems in the future? If I have the water trucked in how do I know that the trucking company did not get the water from the CT river? ( I live in Conn). Please advise?

TOM D., CT, 11/21/2006


I am not sure either is a good option. I suggest that you sample both and have a local pool store do some testing. Primarily, you are looking to avoid water with high iron content or high hardness. You should add several doses of a quality, phosphate-free metal treatment, such as Liquid METALTRAP, before the water is added. A METALTRAP Filter unit, that you attach to the hose, will remove lots of the problem metals and minerals. It can make marginal water less likely to cause problems and save you time and money, in the long run. I hope that this information will be helpful.
 
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/21/2006


Filling From The Pond?

Alan, this looks like a very useful site. We are in the process of installing a fiberglass pool. The pool is in and they filled it (while backfilling) with water from a pond. There are fish in the pond so its not polluted with chemicals, but there are geese as well. The builder (very reputable - in business for 40 years) is saying that it is common to do this. I would have preferred a tanker with fresh water. My wife was horrified. He says the water will clean up and be as clear as tap water when they are through. I'm a little uneasy. Should I be? Also, How will I know which section of your website this question would be answered in? Thanks.

Del C., Fort Wayne, IN, 4/10/2007


Actually, the exact question probably is not on the website, but I will add it. You will receive an email reply, as I answer far too many questions to put them all on the website. The use of natural water is not uncommon, especially in rural areas. The presence of waste from the pond's current
MetalTrap 1-Micron Pre-Filter inhabitants is not a major issue. Chlorine will destroy all of the organic content and the filter should do the rest. Just to protect against the presence of iron and other metals, I would add at least two doses of a quality, phosphate-free metal treatment, such as Liquid MetalTrap. Most metal treatments contain organic phosphonic acid, which can degrade to form phosphate and are not effective, over a wide pH range. To be sure, have the pond water tested for iron and other metals. If present, add at least a dose of each 0.5 PPM found and another dose monthly. Inasmuch as pond waters vary, there is no uniform works everywhere scenario. The METALTRAP 1-Micron Pre-Filter can remove the organic products, that are typically found in naturally occurring water supplies. This can help you avoid staining, discoloration and help you get the chemistry balanced sooner. Test the water and adjust the pool water parameters, as necessary, to the recommended levels: pH, chlorine, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, chlorine stabilizer and heavy metals. You can do all test tests with a ColorQ water Analyzer, in a quick, reliable manner and without the bother of color-matching.  Good luck with pool and I hope this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/10/2007


What To Do?

My above ground pool was just opened, after having been closed for the winter. The water was not in bad shape. After trying, without success to start up the filter, I decided to bring the pump and motor in for some repair. It won't be ready for 3-4 days. Can you suggest anything to do until the equipment is ready? Thanks. Sincerely.

John H., Pottsville, PA, 5/31/2006


Without the filter operating there is not much that can be done. Your above ground pool requires that some care must be taken to avoid damaging the vinyl liner.  I would not add granular chlorine to the pool: you don't want product sitting on the bottom, especially without water circulation. If you would like to add chlorine, use liquid chlorine. Pour it into the water away from the walls and use a vacuum pole or water stream from a garden hose to help distribute and dilute the chlorine. Use a leave rack to remove any debris that might have fallen into the pool, during removal of the cover. Be patient, you have the whole summer ahead of you. Enjoy the summer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/31/2006


Opening With A Salt Chlorinator?

This is our first time opening using the salt system and I think we have trouble. I have above ground 24ft. x 48in. pool. at the end of last summer, we installed saltwater system and (upon changing systems our water got really green then just as we seemed to get water stabilized and clear, it was time to winterize and close . Upon opening the pool this weekend, the water is very, very dark. we have just completed adding the water to the needed level, and seems we need to shock 'big time' to clear to water. My question. Do we start up with opening procedure, as before the saltwater system, (shock, etc) while adding the extra salt (because of adding additional water) or do we shock, etc. get the water stable and clear, then add salt?? We live in Nashville, TN. Our winters are becoming so mild, I think next winter I will keep the pool open and running to help alleviate this situation. Please help
 
Professional Sat Water Test Kit.
Sherry, Nashville, TN 3/27/2007


Do everything, the same as before, and test the salt level and adjust to the proper range. You will have to add shock, as needed, to help destroy all
of the contamination. The faster, the chlorine level is raised, the better. Adjust the other water chemistry parameters, as required. Once done, the Salt Chlorine Generator should be better able to maintain the level. Make sure that the salt cell is clean and that all connections are tight. I hope this information helps.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/27/2007

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