As summer ends, and we head into autumn, it's time to start thinking about which products to use to cover & protect your swimming pool this season. Owners of inground pools have two basic options when it comes to covering your pool – a standard tarp-style winter cover, or a Safety Cover. In this post, we’ll review the standard features and benefits of an off-season Safety Pool Cover, to help you decide if this is the right choice for your swimming pool.
What is a Safety Pool Cover?
A Safety Pool Cover is an inground winter cover that is anchored into the deck, raised walls or surrounding turf. As with a standard winter cover, a Safety Cover keeps leaves, dirt & debris out of your pool and helps maintain clean water while the pool is closed. But Safety Covers offer a host of other benefits too, which standard tarp-style “lay-on-the-water” covers simply cannot.
Safety Covers are available in two basic types – Mesh (which keeps out leaves & debris, while allowing rainwater & snowmelt to seep through), and Solid (which keeps out dirt, debris and water, while the cover is on the pool).
Unlike a standard winter cover, a Safety Cover is pulled taut across the pool, and is secured by straps connected to anchors installed all the way around the pool's perimeter. In order to utilize a safety cover, a pool must have sufficient decking around the perimeter (concrete, wood, pavers, etc.) for the anchors to be installed. Inground pools with less than 70% of decking around the perimeter will be "declassified" as a safety cover by most manufacturers, but you can still have the benefits and protection of a safety cover, by using lawn tubes in place of deck anchors.
In addition to unparalleled protection from leaves, dirt & debris from getting into your pool while the pool is covered, super-strong Safety Covers also prevent accidental submersion - providing protection for your family, neighbors, pets and wildlife. The straps used on Safety Covers have a break strength of over 4,000 lbs, and although it's not recommended to walk on them, Safety Covers have been shown to support small elephants, cars and certainly your entire family.
Safety Covers are exclusively for inground pools, as well as some “on-ground” swimming pools with complete surrounding pool decks. They are not available for use with standard aboveground pools.
Why Buy a Safety Cover?
Safety Cover prices are typically 2-3x more than a comparably-sized tarp style cover, and the initial installation is more involved than what’s needed to secure a standard winter cover to your pool for the off-season. So why should you considering purchasing this type of off-season cover? There are many great reasons!
To Protect your Investment
A Safety Cover provides superior protection from the elements during the off-season, keeping your swimming pool in peak condition, and making for an easier, predictable pool opening each spring. With a Safety Cover at work on your pool, there’s no worry about winter’s whipping winds, freezing cold or blowing snow – and no need to run out and adjust anything, or apply extra chemicals or messy water bags.
You'll never worry about a mid-winter rip or seam failure, dumping large amounts of rotting leaves and algae into your pool. And if your pool should develop a mid-winter leak, lowering the water level, a standard winter cover will get pulled into the pool. What a mess! Also, because standard winter covers float on the water surface, small holes near your cover will cause the cover pump to pump out the pool water, lowering the water level - things can quickly get messy. Safe Performance; not only for your family and neighbors, but also for your swimming pool.
To Safeguard your Family & Pets
Safety Covers form an impenetrable barrier that gives your family, neighbors and pets unparalleled protection from accidental submersion. In the event that someone (or something) ventures onto the safety cover while the pool is closed, it is designed to easily support their weight, so they will not become trapped within the cover or submerged in the water. They may get their feet wet, but they’ll remain safely out of the pool, and out of drowning danger.
Standard solid covers are completely unsafe. Pets and children that wander onto a tarp-style cover are in real trouble. The cover will wrap around their legs, with the weight of the water beneath the cover making escape difficult. And, any water on top of the cover quickly comes rushing towards this low spot in the cover.
There will hopefully never be a time when you need this much accidental submersion protection – but it’s great for peace of mind to know that it’s protecting your pool, 6-9 months per year. Safety covers are especially important for families or neighborhoods with small children, pets or wildlife. Friends with small children, or grand children can safely play in the backyard without concern for their safety.
To Save Time & Effort
Once you take care of the initial installation - securing the series of anchors around the pool (you can easily do it yourself) you’ll find that your Safety Cover is simple to use, and requires less of your time spent on pool closing and opening chores. Year after year, you’ll enjoy flawless protection, easy set-up, and easy removal & storage. You won't have to fuss with the cover during the winter either.
No more dredging muck from the cover, replacing water bags or fiddling with temperamental cover pumps. Standard pool covers require scrubbing, cleaning and drying every spring - a yucky, mucky chore. Safety covers, if they require any cleaning at all, are easily taken care of with just a light hosing or you can use a leaf blower to clean it, as it's removed from the pool.
To Save Money in the Long Run
Safety Covers do cost more than standard winter covers, because they offer so many more benefits. And since a Safety Cover will last for years, they’ll pay for themselves in just a few short seasons - and give you trouble-free performance, season after season (unlike many standard winter covers). By the time you need to replace a Safety Cover, you will likely have purchased 2-4 standard covers, plus countless water bags and a few cover pumps.
If you have a pool service come to open the pool, most companies charge 2-3 times more for removing and cleaning a solid, water-bag type cover, because it's so much work! You'll save money on water too. Mesh safety covers allow the rain and snowmelt to refill the pool naturally, so you don't need to add several thousand gallons of water to the pool each spring.
For A More Tailored Look
Many pool owners prefer the more tailored, finished look that a Safety Cover provides. Standard winter covers simply can't give you this benefit. And many Safety Covers are available in your choice of color –black, blue, tan, green & gray are come commonly available options. If your pool is visible from the house, you won't be embarrassed with a Safety Cover on the pool. Neat, clean and taut - you could even say that Safety Pool Covers almost look elegant!
If you have a custom shape pool, a Safety Cover will be made to fit every curve and bend to your pool, matching the shape perfectly. Standard pool covers look really clumsy when placed onto custom pools. Unkempt, unsafe and unattractive - you don't want to look at that all winter long, do you?
Next week on the SPP blog, I’ll go over the features and benefits of mesh safety covers vs. solid safety covers so you can make the best-educated decision about which type is best for your pool and your preference. Either way - when you select a Safety Cover, you’re choosing the very best possible type of winter / off-season protection that money can buy.
When you work with the friendly, knowledgeable Safety Cover Experts from SPP, you’ll get (1) the lowest possible Safety Cover price, and (2) expert tips & detailed DIY instructions so you can install your Safety Pool Cover yourself – & save even more. Check Safety Cover Prices online and then compare with your local dealer. For the best Safety Cover prices and expert advice installing it on any size or shape pool, call our pool cover experts at 800-983-POOL.
SPP Pool Enthusiast