Winter pool covers can be a big expense; taking care of your pool cover will ensure many years of service.
One factor to a swimming pool cover’s longevity is the size of the pool cover in relation to the pool. Measure your pool carefully before ordering. Purchasing the right size cover for your pool, and not one that is too small or too large, will help prevent problems. When you shop for a pool cover online, shop for Pool Size, not Cover Size.
Before ordering a new pool cover, measure your pool, to know the longest length and widest width. Solid pool covers will automatically have usually an overlap of 3-5 feet. This means that you will have 2’ to 2.5’ of extra material all the way around the pool, after the cover dips from the coping or deck edge, to the water level.
Ice and Snow on your pool cover can cause problems. Ice, we cannot do anything with – don’t try to remove ice or snow from the pool cover. Don’t try to melt it either! But when it melts naturally or as it melts, it’s important to keep the water pumped or drained from the pool cover.
If you live in an area where you are bound to have snow and ice, you want to keep the pool cover free of as much water as you can. Ice can be very sharp and can cause a slit in the cover. It is a good idea to keep a cover pump on the pool cover at all times.
Water on your pool cover. Above ground pools can use the cover drain to keep rain water and snow melt gravity draining from your pool cover. At only $20 ea, pool cover drains are a real bargain. In ground pools with a large slope very close to the pool could also use the Cover Drain to gravity drain the pool cover. For everyone else, electric pool cover pumps range from $45 for basic to $135 for automatic. Connect a garden hose and run to an area where erosion will be minimal, or connect to a sprinkler, to diffuse the discharge.
Some people like to keep an inch of water on their aboveground pool cover, to hold it steady in high winds. It’s better, however, to keep the pool cover regularly and completely pumped off – for the reason that water attracts worms, and worms attract birds, with sharp claws and beaks. Plus, the weight of the water can put stress on cover seams, breaking or leaking into the pool.
Placement of your pool cover pump is important, both how and where. Place the pump in the center, and adjust the cover if necessary, so that all areas of the pool cover drain towards the pump. When you place the pump, do not throw the pump onto the pool cover. A good method is to hook the cable from the pump with your pool pole, and reach the pump out to the center where you gently place it. You can also place the pool cover pump in a Frisbee and use your pool brush on a pool pole, to gently push it out to the center. Don’t ever use bricks or rocks on the cover to help weigh down the cover pump.
High winds blowing your aboveground pool cover? The wind can also do a lot of damage to a pool cover. For an aboveground pool, you will have a cable and winch. In some areas, this is just not enough. The wind can get under the cover and stop flapping it around. This will cause the cover to start chaffing on the sides. It can also cause the cover to rip and tear. If you live in a very windy area, there are a couple of things you can do to protect your cover.
First thing you could do is add Cover Clips. Cover clips slide over the cover and the top ledge of an above ground pool. Clip these on the pool top rail, every 6” - all the way around the pool. Another way to prevent the wind from getting under the cover, is to use a Cover Seal. This is a roll of polyethylene/polypropylene film, kind of like a thick kitchen plastic wrap. You just wrap this around the pool cover edge a few times. There is also a product called Wall Bags. These are small water bags that you fill up halfway with water. You place these on the pool cover, just over the pools edge. They weigh down the cover's edge to prevent the cover from popping up in high winds. Wall bags can also be hung onto the outside cover cable.
If you have an in-ground pool, use water tubes or Aqua Blocks placed in the loops of the pool cover, spaced end to end. Some pool owners will also attach a rope on the corners, through the grommets, and stake it to the ground. This will give the in ground pool cover extra support during high winds, but is usually not necessary if enough water bags are in place.
Leaves on the pool cover. What harm could having too many leaves on the cover? Well, if you do have a small hole on the cover, the “leaf tea” that is on your pool cover will mix with your blue and clear pool water. Secondly, if you have any nuts or berries falling, this can attract squirrels or birds, again with their sharp claws.
To remove leaves from your solid pool cover, use a Leaf Rake. Attach to your pool pole and push and pull the leaf net across the cover surface and scoop up the leaves. Glides better when an inch or two of water is still on the cover, and with any cover wrinkles pulled out. Another method is to use your plastic bristled pool brush to push the leaves to one side, where they can be picked up. A soft, plastic yard rake may be gently used, but don’t ever use other yard rakes or snow shovels to clean a winter pool cover.
If there are large sticks or branches on the pool cover, use caution in removing them. Try to get underneath and lift it off the pool cover. If a sharp edge of the stick is dragged, it may snag the cover and create a hole.
Leaf Nets are great, If you have a lot of leaves fall during Autumn, like we do. It took me many years to finally buy one for my pool, but once I did, I can tell you that my Leaf Net is our favorite winter pool accessory. I just lay the leaf net over the pool when I close, and my husband and I each take one end and walk to the other end of the pool and pop the leaves off.
Tree limbs are the most common cause of torn covers. Every fall it is a good idea to trim any branches that may fall onto the cover. Do this before closing the pool, to eliminate any limbs from falling onto the pool cover.
Pool Cover Hole Repair: If you should get a hole in a solid pool cover, you want to patch it to prevent contamination of your pool water, and prevent the hole from spreading. In a pinch, you can use duct tape on both sides of the pool cover hole. This will prevent the leaves from falling through the hole as well as keeping any dirty cover water from getting in. For a longer lasting cover repair, however, use our Winter Pool Cover Patch Kit.
If you have a safety pool cover, the kind that anchors into the pool deck – we also have Safety Cover Patch Kits. Available in 6 types to match most mesh & solid safety cover colors and materials. Small holes or tears up to 6 inches can be patched successfully. For larger holes, I would recommend that you consider a panel replacement, or a factory sewn patch. You can always send us a picture and measurement of the hole. We will send it to the safety cover manufacturer to get their suggestions on repairing larger holes or rips on safety pool covers.
When spring comes, it always a good idea to clean the cover thoroughly before you put it away. We have a pool Cover Cleaner that makes this really easy. You just spray it on the cover and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse the cover off and watch the dirt and grime flow away. Safe and non-toxic to use.
Make sure you let the cover dry good before you fold it up. We do not want any mold to start growing during the summer months. Fold it up tightly and put it away. A lot of people call in and say mice got into their cover over the summer. I put my cover in a big plastic container. If you have a really big cover a clean garbage can will work well. This will prevent any mice from getting into the cover.
Keeping the cover area free of tree limbs, leaves, excessive water and taking steps to prevent the wind from getting under the cover are a few ways to protect the longevity of your cover. I hope that you found this blog post informative, and I wish you many years together, with your pool cover.
SPP Pool Enthusiast