Opening a pool for the first time!!

DrunkMcDrunkMc Registered User regular
I bought a house with my fiance this winter and the house came with an above ground pool. Neither one of us took care of a pool, so we're new to this! The first hurdle is that the cover fell off sometime in the winter with the previous owners, and they never put it back. So the water is pretty black.

My brother-in-law suggested I drain it and refill it over a couple of days. He said it would take way longer to try to shock the muck out. I have a sub-pump and I pay a flat fee in my town for water so that should be Ok.

Should I shock the water once the pool is refilled or just chlorinate it? Should I empty it completely or should I empty 3/4's of the way, refill it and then shock the diluted mess?

Everyone I talk to seems to have a different opinion, so I'm just trying to get ideas!


  • cabsycabsy the fattest rainbow unicorn Registered User regular
    I am not a pool professional! I've helped my family maintain pools, though, so - if you've just bought the house and the water is nasty enough you may want to drain and clean it for no other reason than to make sure the liner isn't damaged and in need of repair/replace. If you can afford to do so I would probably drain it completely, scrub it up well, and refill it. Then you're going to want to make sure it gets chlorinated pretty quickly (you can use a shock or just chlorine, ask a pool professional because I don't know for sure which is better) and stays chlorinated enough for your area - if you're in the south it is much harder to keep a pool algae-free because of the consistently warm temperatures, but not impossible. This is also why I'd recommend drain, scrub, and refill - depending on your region it can be VERY hard to kill off whatever is lurking in that black muck and you may end up spending more money and effort in pool shocks and algicide than you would in just dump scrub refill.

  • PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    If you're going to drain, clean, then refill the pool, followed up by actually maintaining it, then you shouldn't need to shock it.

    Aside from that, after you refill it, take a water sample, go to a pool place, get it tested. You're probably going to need to add things besides chlorine. Also, find out what the recommended amount of time to run your pump is, as it will vary depending on the pool size, climate, and such. You aren't going to want to run the pump 24/7, unless you want to double your monthly electric bill.

  • DrunkMcDrunkMc Registered User regular
    Awesome guys, thanks for the tips! Sounds like a drain, scrub, refill, cholorine with filtering is in order. And goto a local pool place to ask questions like how much to run your pump, what other chemecials I need, etc.


  • PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    Also, while I'm thinking about it, get a fiberglass pole for the skimmer attachment instead of metal. And a net for pulling things off the bottom.

  • DrunkMcDrunkMc Registered User regular
    Good tips! Will do!

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    And if you haven't yet, find out what, if any, security/safety setups your locality and homeowner's policy require you to have. Then make sure you have them done, especially what your insurance company requires!

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    edited May 2013
    I don't know anything about areas beside where I live for that stuff, but here's a short list of what I had to do:
    1. Self closing child proof gates at every entrance.
    2. Alarm that floats in the pool to alert you when something makes a wave big enough to trigger it.
    3. Fence around the pool. I went with chain link to not spoil my wooded/pond view, the links had to be 1 inch or smaller to discourage climbing.

    Edit for a random thought:
    I vastly prefer a saltwater pool, maintenance wise, to a freshwater pool.

    Pantshandshake on
  • OricalmOricalm MDRegistered User regular
    Being a (relatively new*) above ground pool owner and having just reopened mine, let me throw in some additional advice:

    If it's that nasty (ie can't see the bottom), draining, scrubbing, and refilling is probably your best bet. That said, the obvious advice is be careful where you drain it to. Thousands of gallons of water will have an affect on the yard/area if you don't have good run-off. And make sure you put the water out away from the pool. Water getting under the pool is a bad thing. Oh, and it's going to smell like raw sewage. For a while. Trust me on that.

    Additionally, if you do not know which chemical system (there are several types of "chlorine" systems) the prior owners used, you want to start from scratch. Different systems can have adverse (and if what I've been told is true, explosive) reactions with one another.

    Find a local pool store and make friends with them. They will be able to go over most of what you need. Make sure you know the dimensions of your pool when you go. They can figure out the rough amounts of chemicals needed to add based on the volume of the pool. Also, find out what type of filter you have. Sand, Cartridge, etc. Depending, you may need to buy other items. In general though, here's a decent guide for you (Ideally you could omit steps 2-4 in the future):
    1) Remove cover - If the cover can be cleaned and re-used, do so. If it's got holes or tears, toss it and plan on buying a new one at the end of the season.
    ___1a) If the cover used clips, make sure to take them all off and save them
    2) Drain pool - You said you have a sub pump. Run the hose as far away from your house as you can. That stuff is really going to stink when it gets going.
    3) Clean Pool - If you've got a lot of muck, you may need a 5 gallon bucket and/or a plastic dustpan "shovel" for hauling out what the pump won't get. Then get some soft bristled scrub brushes and a good cleaning product and scrub all the muck/residue out. Be careful not to tear the liner, and not to fall. Also, inspect the liner for any rips/tears. Reminder: You'll need a ladder to get in/out of the pool. The pool's normal ladder should work.
    ___3a) Make sure you wash out the leftover residue from cleaning with the hose and your pump
    4) Refill the pool - Honestly, if you're pool is much over 5,000 gallons I'd look into how much a truck of pool water would cost. They're a hell of a lot faster than your garden hose, and the water usually comes pre-chlorinated.
    ___4a) Depending on if they plugged the skimmer or drained the water below it, you may have to do 5 before you can finish 4
    ___4b) Your skimmer should have marks of some sort to denote "Upper max" and "Lower min". Shoot for halfway between on your first fill up. After that, use your best judgement based on the weather.
    5) Reconnect pump and filter - Make sure the hoses are tight and have no leaks. Do not turn on the pump until after it fills up with water. You will burn it up.
    ___5a) If they plugged the skimmer, make sure to remove the plug after attaching the hose. Likewise, they probably plugged the return outlet. Remove that plug too, after connecting the hose.
    ___5b) Once you have everything connected, you'll probably want to Backwash your filter. How to do this can vary depending on the type of filter you have, so I'd get a pool company/store to explain, but it's easy.
    6) Turn on pump - Make sure your filter, if it has multiple settings, is set to filter. Again, if it's not obvious I'd get a pool company/store to explain or show you. Once you make sure you've got water circulating and everything is working, then you can:
    7) Add chemicals - Again, this will vary depending on the type of chemical system you go with. After that wait a few days and take a sample to your friendly local pool shop and get them to test it. They can usually direct you on what you need to add to get it in balance, or if you're doing a good job.

    After that, it's general maintanence to keep things going (like adding chlorine/chemicals when needed, clearing the skimmer basket, vaccuuming the pool, backwashing the filter if needed). I've found that with my own test strips I can keep the pool balanced on my own with maybe once a month check-in's at the pool company if the pH gets slightly off.

    Hopefully that helps! And enjoy being the new party hangout!

    Oh, and a couple tips as a fellow new pool owner -
    They sell mats to go under your ladder. If you have a ladder where the feet rest on the bottom of the pool, it's not a bad idea to get one. Especially if you have heavier friends.
    They make "vaccuum rovers" that will crawl around the bottom of the pool and vaccuum for you. Buy one. Seriously, they are amazing!

    *I bought my house with a severely neglected in-ground pool. After draining and trying to salvage it last year, I had to have it collpased and build an above ground pool on the grave.

    Xbox Live: Oricalm
  • Zombie NirvanaZombie Nirvana Registered User regular

    This is the only site you need. Most people do not know what they are talking about. Pool store employees rarely do either since they are kids hired over the summer. Qualifications: I used to be a pool store guy when I was in college and now own a pleasant, sparkling, and low maintenance in ground pool. :)

  • PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    And, in the height of irony, I now have pool problems. Huzzah!

  • DrunkMcDrunkMc Registered User regular
    Hey guys, so I ended up draining the pool, cleaning the pool, filling the pool, shocking the pool, filtering the HELL out of the pool and it NOW works! Its freezing as hell, but its clean!! Thanks for the info! Here are some pics for your persual of w here I was, and where I got to!
    The cover was SO gross

    The cover was drained and the three thousand pounds of wet decayed leaves was removed

    Weird Panoramoa of the pool now clean and refreshing and ice fucking cold!!!

    EsseecabsyRenegade Wolf38thDoexThanatoSxSpiritfireSkeith
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