How to Open an Above-Ground Pool in Spring

Clear, clean above ground pool open for the summer season

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 4 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 4 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Even if you winterized your pool, come spring you could still find your above-ground pool in a substandard state, and some parts might not be in the condition they were in last fall. To get your swimming hole to a usable state, follow this guide to learn how to open an above-ground pool. You'll be back to swimming in no time, no matter how harsh the winter weather was.


Before you start to open your pool for spring, inspect your equipment and piping for damage. You'll want to make repairs before continuing to open the pool.

Safety Considerations

You will be working around dirty water and strong chemicals. Always take precautions with handling and wear proper personal protective gear such as gloves and a mask when necessary.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Pliers
  • 6-in-1 screwdriver
  • Channel locks
  • Hose
  • Broom


  • Bungee cord
  • Chlorine shock
  • pH powder
  • Alkalinity powder
  • Calcium powder


  1. Clear off the Cover

    • Use a cover pump or siphon to drain the water that is on top of the cover.
  2. Remove the Cover

    • If the cover is secured by a wire, untie it.         
    • Drag the cover off of the pool and onto the floor. Don't worry about some dirty water going into the pool; the chlorine shock should take care of it.
    • Take a broom and hose and clean off the cover as best as you can and leave to dry.

    If you have trouble getting the cover off, tuck a hose up under the cover and add some water to the pool; a higher water level can be helpful.

  3. Connect the Mechanicals

    • Connect the pump inlet hose to your skimmer and the filter outlet hose to your pool return fitting.
    • Use hose clamps at all connections and make sure everything is snug.

    Do not run the mechanicals. You should not run the mechanicals of a pool if there’s no water in it.

  4. Fill the Pool

    • Add water to the pool until it is slightly above halfway up the skimmer mouth. The higher water level will give you a good margin for error with the water level on initial startup.
  5. Prime the Pump and Start

    • Prime the pump with pool water and seal the housing.     
    • Remove the cover for the skimmer mouth and return fitting.
    • Turn the multi port to filter.
    • Turn on the pump.
    • Open the bleed screw on top of your filter until the water comes out, then close and check for prime.
    • If your pump does not prime, shut down, close valves, add more water to the filter basket and try again.
  6. Clean and Install Pool Accessories

    • Rinse off or wipe down any pool accessories, such as ladders, railings, or slides, before putting them in the water. It's easier to clean them before they're installed or partially submurged.
    • Reinstall the pool accessories.
  7. Add Chemicals

    • If your pool has a deep and shallow end, add liquid chlorine to the shallow side.      
    • Add all other chemicals by walking around the pool and dispersing.
    • Brush down the pool after all chemicals are added to ensure mixing.
    • Test the water again, at least 24 hours after first adding the chemicals, to make sure you've achieved the correct pH.


    Do not add chemicals to a pool that isn't running. If your pool won’t start or hold prime, the unmixed chemicals sitting at the bottom of the pool will bleach and/or stain your pool finish.

  8. Run and Backwash the Pool

    • Leave the pool running for the next few days, paying attention to the filter pressure.
    • Backwash the pool at least once a day while maintaining the water level. The pool should clear up after a few days.
    • Use a pool vacuum, brush, and skimmer to remove anything grody or large that doesn't clear up on its own.
  9. Fold and Store the Cover

    • Position you and your helper on either side of the cover at one end.
    • Drag 2- to 3-foot sections towards the front of the cover, folding it over and over on top of itself.
    • Repeat this process until you have one long strip. Then you and your helper grab one end and drag it on top of itself.
    • Repeat the process again and step on the cover to help compress and remove trapped air.
    • Starting at the folded edge, roll the cover onto itself. Once at the end, secure with a bungee and store for the season.

When to Call a Professional

You'll need to all a professional to help you open your pool if there are any issues caused by the mechanicals or pool that you cannot resolve yourself.

If you cannot get your pump to hold prime, this would indicate that air could be getting into the system. This could be from a failed seal or a crack in piping in the line, and it will have to be repaired.

If your pool has been running for a week and does not clear, this could indicate that there is a foreign substance in the pool that will require specialized chemicals to remove. Or it could be that your filter media could be dirty and need to be changed. As with all other maintenance procedures, properly backwashing your pool can help extend the life of your filter media and help keep your pool clear.

You may want to call a professional if, when starting up your pool, the water level drops by itself. This indicates that there is a leak either in your plumbing lines or the pool itself, and it will have to be traced and repaired. Another possible indicator of this would be if your system has trouble holding prime.