When & How To Open Your Pool in Canada

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With spring just around the corner, pool owners may be asking themselves: how and when should I open my pool this year? This is particularly true if you’re a first-time pool owner. Just the mere thought of opening that stagnant mess of a pool can be daunting. Your pool cover is likely soiled and the water beneath it is no better looking. 

While some pool owners prefer to hire a professional company to deal with opening their pool in the spring, others prefer to save money and do it themselves. Indeed, the cost of hiring a company to open your pool in Canada can range from $250 to $500 depending on the size of your pool. 

Luckily, the pool opening process isn’t too lengthy, but it can be tricky if you’re not familiar with operating your pool’s equipment and with balancing the pool’s water. You’ll also need to know what measures were taken to winterize your pool in the fall so that you can undo them. 

When To Open Your Pool in Canada

The right time to open an in-ground pool or an above-ground pool will depend on the weather. You don’t want to get excited and open your pool on the first warm day of the year. Instead, you want to wait until the warm weather is here to stay. This means consistent highs of over 20 ºC. In Southern Quebec and Ontario, the best time to open a pool is usually late June. However, it’s important to monitor the temperature projections and not just open your pool on a whim. 

How to Open Your Pool in The Spring

From removing the cover to balancing the water, there are several steps involved in properly opening your pool for the summer. Here are some easy steps for opening your pool the right way:

1. Clean & Remove The Pool’s Cover

How to Remove Pool Cover

If your pool was properly put to rest for winter, it should have a winter cover over it. The first step to opening your pool in the spring is to remove this cover. However, you’ll first need to remove any water at the top of the cover. We recommend using a cover pump to remove this water. 

Once the water has been removed, it’s time to remove any debris from the pool cover, such as leaves, branches, and dirt. This can be done with a broom or a leaf blower. 

It’s now time to carefully remove the pool cover. If there is any debris left on the pool cover, you want to do your best to prevent it from ending up in the remaining pool water. If any debris ends up in the water, don’t panic. Simply remove it with a skimmer.

How To Clean And Store Pool Cover

Now that your pool cover has been removed, it’s time to clean it and dry it completely before storing it for the summer. We recommend cleaning your pool cover with a broom and spraying it down with a hose. If necessary, use a cleaning agent that’s suitable for your pool cover, such as BioGuard Stow Away Pool Cover Cleaner on Amazon. Use a gentle brush to scrub the stubborn parts of the pool cover. 

Once the pool cover is clean, let it dry out completely before folding it up and putting it away. If you’ll be storing it in a humid environment, such as a basement, we recommend sprinkling some talcum powder on both sides of the cover to prevent mold and mildew from forming. 

2. Reinstall Your Pool Equipment & Remove Winterizing Plugs 

If you winterized your pool to protect it from freezing temperatures, it’s time to return your pool  to its original state. 

The first step to de-winterize your pool is usually to reinstall your pool equipment. This means reconnecting your pool’s filter and pump. It also means reinstalling your pool’s heater, if you have one. Basically, any equipment that your pool requires to operate, such as plumbing lines for above-ground pools, should be reconnected. 

If you added any winterizing plugs to your skimmer and return lines, don’t forget to remove them. You’ll also have to reconnect any return valve fittings that you may have disconnected when winterizing your pool. 

3. Fill The Pool To a Normal Water Level

If your pool was properly winterized last winter, the water level should be about half a foot to a foot below the skimmer. Using a standard garden hose, fill the pool back to its normal level. A normal water level for a pool is about the middle point of the skimmer’s opening. 

4. Turn the Filtration System Back On 

It’s now time to turn your pool’s circulation and filtration system back on to make sure everything is working properly. You want to make sure that there are no leaks or unusual sounds. 

5. Add Prevention Chemicals

It’s common for metals to build up in pool water throughout winter. These metals can stain your lining and have an effect on the softness of your pool’s water. For that reason, it’s important to do a stain and scale prevention treatment in the first few weeks of pool season. We recommend Natural Chemistry’s Metal Free Solution on Amazon. It will also come in handy if you live in an area with hard water. 

6. Test & Balance The Pool’s Water 

After your pool’s equipment has been operating without issues for a few hours, it’s time to test your pool water. Your pool water should then be balanced based on the results. Here are some key elements that you’ll have to test for:

Total Alkalinity

The first step is to test and adjust the pool water’s total alkalinity (TA). The optimal total alkalinity range for pool water is between 80 and 120 ppm. If needed, you can increase your pool water’s TA using sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda. However, since you’ll need large quantities of it, we recommend buying 

pH Level

Next, you’ll need to test your pool water’s pH level. Your pool water shouldn’t be too acidic, nor should it be too basic. The optimal pH level for pool water is between 7.2 ad 7.4, which is within the basic range. 

Calcium Hardness

In the same way that calcium can build up on your household appliances, calcium can build up in your pool water. You’ll know you have a calcium build-up problem if you start noticing white lines near your pool water line. In order to prevent a calcium problem, it’s recommended to test your pool water’s calcium hardness level. The optimal calcium hardness level is between 200 and 400 ppm

7. Sanitize Your Pool Water

Once your pool water has been properly balanced, it’s time to sanitize it to rid it of bacteria. In Canada, chlorine is the most popular sanitizing agent used in pools. Chlorine comes in many forms (liquid, granular, or tablet), so the type of chlorine you choose is up to you. For clean pool water, your pool’s chlorine level should be 3 ppm. 

Pool Opening FAQs

Should you shock your pool when opening it?

There are many moments where shocking your pool water is a good idea. Not only should you shock your pool water before closing it for the winter, but you should also shock it at the beginning of the pool season. Shocking your pool water will kill any bacteria and algae that formed while it was closed for winter. 
Shocking your pool basically means adding enough chlorine to raise the free chlorine level in the water. When shocking a pool, the free chlorine level should be about 10 times the combined chlorine level. The process of shocking a pool destroys all contaminants, such as algae and bacteria. 

When is the best time to open your pool?

The best time to open a pool should be determined by the weather. The general consensus is to open when your pool when the weather is consistently above 20° C. In most parts of Canada, this is often in June.

How to test pool water?

In order to test your pool water, you’ll need some pool water test strips. The same test strips can be used for testing the water of a hot tub if you have one. Most pool water test strips will test your water’s, free chlorine/bromine, total chlorine, cyanuric acid, total alkalinity, and pH level. While that might sound daunting, test kits make it easy to understand the test results using a colour-coded chart. The testing process takes less than a minute.

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