Fall is fast approaching, in some places leaves are already beginning to turn. Kids are back to school. It is time to start thinking about closing the inground pool for the season. This is a good time to start doing an inventory on your pool supplies to make sure you have everything you will need to close the pool. There is nothing worse than starting a job and realizing you are missing some of the pieces to finish.
A few simple questions to ask yourself:
Do you have the chemicals needed to close the pool? What kind of shape is the cover from last year in? Can it make it through another season or should you be looking into purchasing a new one? How many water tubes or Aqua Blocks do I have? Is my Air Pillow in good shape or should I replace? How about plugs, lubricant or non-toxic pool antifreeze?
All good questions. If you need such pool closing accessories, we are stocked up!
Now that you have checked your inventory and ordered the things you will need, we can begin thinking about covering the pool. Before actually beginning to put the cover on you want to make sure the pool is clean and the water is clear with no leaves or debris in the pool. If you have been suspecting a leak in your pool shell or vinyl liner, it should be located and repaired before closing.
You will need to lower the water approximately 6-8”, below the skimmer and return before covering the pool. On an inground pool you will need to be sure the plumbing lines are all blown out, the skimmer and returns are sealed off with the proper plugs and your closing chemicals have been added. If it is a windy day, you may want to cover the pool loosely, to keep it clean while you finish other closing tasks.
To make sure you have the right size pool cover, you will want to measure the longest length and the longest width. Make sure you include the step section and buddy seats if you have one on your pool. You should order the cover by the size of the pool. Most of our pool covers will come with a 5’ overlap. This means if your pool is 20x40’, your cover will actually be 25x45’. This will give you a 2.5’ overlap all the way around the pool.
When you put the cover on the pool, it should lay on the deck then go down the side of the pool, straight across the pool and up the other side resting on the deck on the other side. The cover should lay flat against the sides of the pool and flat across the pool. The cover should not swoop from one edge of the pool across the water to the other side. The water is what supports the cover hence the “lay on the water cover” name. I find that there is one exception to this rule. In some cases with older inground pools, the customer has to lower the pool more than 6-8”. In this case, you may need to order a larger cover.
You need to make sure you accommodate the amount of space the cover is dropping down. If you need to lower the water 15”, make sure you have enough overlap for the pool cover to go down that far. If you do not the cover will swoop across the pool and you will have problems with the cover staying on the pool correctly.
Lay on the water covers are made with loops sewn every few feet on the edge of the covers. The loops are there to hold the water tubes in place. The water tubes are there to hold the cover in place. You can also use Aqua Blocks. I am in the process of conversion, from water tubes to Aqua Blocks. As I need to replace some water bags each year, I have been buying the equal length of Aqua Blocks instead.
You only want to fill water tubes ¾ full. When the water freezes in these tubes, the ice expands. If you fill them only ¾ full, this will give the ice room to expand without busting the tubes. By doing this you should be able to get numerous years of use from them. I place the tubes at different intervals around the pool before filling. This makes it easier to slide a tube in as you are getting the cover situated on the pool. After the cover is secured with my water bags and Aqua Blocks, I pull on the edge of the pool cover , to tighten it up just a bit, and pull out any wrinkles.
It is nice to have a couple extra water bags on hand in case one breaks during the season. In some drought stricken areas, birds just love to poke holes in them. Another tip is to leave a few old tupperware bowls (the ones you can't find the lids for), around the pool, filled with water. This gives those thirsty birds and critters an alternative water source.
Now spread the cover out over the pool. Make sure the cover is resting on the water and it is placed along the sides of the pool. We don’t want that swooping. Just flat against the sides of the pool and flat on the water. Slide the tubes through the loops and you are almost done.
If you have a mesh cover, you can now relax for the season. The mesh cover will drain any rain water or snow directly into the pool. If you have a solid cover, you will need to get a cover pump to drain the water off the pool periodically. Its okay to keep a little water on it but too much will become very heavy and could be too much weight for the cover. I use a Rule cover pump. This is a great pump because you can leave it out all winter. When the water hits a certain level, it will automatically pump. You may have to move it once in a while if the water seems to puddle in one area or another. Pumps which are not automatic on-off should be shut off after it drains the water, to prevent burning out the cover pump.
Never place a cover pump on a seam, some cover seams are sewn, and in any case, it represents a weak point in the cover. If you place the pump on a seam, the pump may pull the water from under the cover and empty the pool. For this reason, also avoid placing near any holes in the cover. A great idea is to place the cover pump on a Frisbee that is turned upside down. It will remove the water from the top of the pool but will not draw water from under the cover.
I hope this information helps, but if you have any questions on how to close-up your inground pool this fall, you can always give us a call. 800-983-7665
Stay safe and warm this winter!
SPP Pool Enthusiast