Every winter we get lots of calls for replacement pool covers. This year the Northeast has had a fairly mild winter, so most pool covers are still in good shape, but we can almost plan our pool cover sales by the weather.
It's always better to replace a pool cover before you need to because when it goes - it's likely to go right in the middle of winter, possibly dumping loads of cover sludge into the pool.
Ice storms are the worst, followed by heavy deluges of wet snow. These can rip the straps off older safety covers, and quickly sink a water bag type cover, or rip a seam across the pool cover. Heavy winds blowing large sharp branches are the end of many inground pool covers, while aboveground pool covers in high winds can literally flap themselves to death, if not kept tight on the edges, pulled snug across an air pillow.
If your cover has failed, replacing it now, before the worst winter weather hits, good be a smart move. Leaving a failed pool cover in place for several months can allow tough stains and algae to develop, giving you some big spring opening headaches.
Removing a Failed Pool Cover
If the cover is clean, without scum and sludge, leaves and twigs, well then just pull it off the pool! In other cases, where the cover has developed a large gash or split a seam or panel, you will want to proceed cautiously, and clean the cover off before removing it.
In some cases, you can span the pool with a long pole (or two poles), or 2-3 lumber 2x4's, under the cover, to lift a pool cover in the area of a large hole or split seam, keeping it above the water, to avoid contamination, and to be able to pump off rain water without pumping out the pool.
When solid, floating covers are oversized, they can often be slid, skewed or re-positioned over the pool, so that holes can be brought over the deck or coping, or at least be in the short sloping area created as the cover rises from the pool water surface to the pool coping edges.
Use Pool Leaf Rakes to clean off the surface of a pool cover. For floating winter covers, it helps to "tighten-up" the cover before cleaning, pulling it outward to remove any wrinkles or folds in the fabric, and to concentrate the water and debris. A Leaf Blower can be used under one end of the cover as clean-up progresses, to move surface water down to one end, or opposite end of the problem areas.
Cleaning a Winterized Pool
For winterized inground pools you do not want to un-winterize it to clean a pool during winter. You can use Leaf Rakes on a pole to get the big stuff, and most of the small stuff. Vacuuming can be accomplished using a Leaf Gulper and a garden hose, or you can attach a power cord to a pool pump set to accept 115V, and with a few hose connector fittings, you can make a portable vacuum pump. Aboveground pools with stored equipment can just set up the pump and filter for a few hours, then drain and store it again. After vacuuming, brush the pool completely.
Replacing a Winter Pool Cover
Once the pool is cleaned again, you'll want to cover it quickly to keep out debris and sunlight, after balancing the water and adding more winter pool chemicals, and giving it one more brushing for good measure.
Safety covers can be made to fit existing deck anchor placement (or most of them), when ordering a replacement safety cover. Floating winter covers are ordered by pool size, with many quality grades to choose from - and although you shouldn't believe that a 15-year warranty pool cover will actually last 15 years, with pool covers - you get what you pay for. You may not need the best pool cover, but you may not want the cheapest pool cover either.
Talk to you later!
SPP Pool Expert