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.
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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. Start with a
complete water test. The
ColorQ Testers are all-digital and eliminate
the color-matching and guesswork. Easy to
use and affordably priced. Try to get the
free chlorine level to 5-10 PPM, as soon as
possible. This page should prove helpful:
Calculating Chemical Additions. If problems arise, refer to the
Page, as a source of problem-solving
information, broken down into various
categories. Scroll down the page and click on the linked
or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.
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Problem-Solving Information, in a question and
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?
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,
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 is
the better way to do chlorine. I hope that I have
provided the solution. Enjoy the season.
► 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 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
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.
Justin L., Pt
Pleasant, SC, FL 3/5/2015
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.
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,
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 from 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
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
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/3/2012
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 to 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
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 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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/4/2008
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
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
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/19/2010
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 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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/1/2012
► Removing A
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.
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
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
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 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
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 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
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.
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/13/2006
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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 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
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/25/2007
► Off To A
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
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
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
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 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
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
Analyzer, in a quick, reliable manner and without the
bother of color-matching. Good luck with pool and I hope this information
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.
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
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
Sherry, Nashville, TN 3/27/2007
Do everything, the same as before, and
test the salt level
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
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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