Can you imagine looking at your pool cover and seeing a hole in the cover? Panic sets in and then reality takes over. What do I do? Whether it is a water tube cover or a safety cover, the repair would differ depending on how immense the tear or rip is. Should I fix it now, or wait until spring? Read On, my dear reader...
SOLID POOL COVER REPAIRS
If it is a water tube cover and the tear can be accessible, a temporary solution would be to repair it. You could use duct tape, or for permanent repairs, use a pool cover patch kit. It's a simple peel and stick process, just be sure the surface is dry, and for greater strength, patch the cover on both sides.
If the tear or hole is in the middle of a solid pool cover, you may be better off to wait until spring to try and repair it. If the damage is a large tear or hole, then you will have to wait until spring for the cover to thaw. You will have to move the cover over the pool deck to patch it, so the cover is dry for the patch or tape to adhere.
SAFETY POOL COVER REPAIRS
A safety cover is much easier to repair as long as the tear or rip is not too large. The most common tears on a safety cover could be at the stress points which are typically the corners. A temporary fix could be to use duct tape, but you're better off with a real safety cover patch kit, which will patch the hole, and match the color. To repair a mesh cover during winter, just loosen the springs on one side of the cover, and pull the cover to the other side, where you can patch the cover over the pool deck.
If the hole is small, and you can’t reach the area to repair it, then just wait until spring. If a safety cover needs extensive repair, such as panel or strap replacements - in the spring when you take the cover off, you can send it to the manufacturer for a factory repair. Often times they can repair it at a reasonable cost. If it is beyond repair the cover company will tell you it needs to be replaced.
WHAT IF THE POOL COVER IS NOT REPAIRED?
The ramifications of not repairing the tear when the area is still repairable - is a tear or hole continuing to get larger until the cover is non repairable, and needing replacement.
On water tube covers that float on the surface, the water will seep up and accumulate on the top of the cover and could potentially pull the cover into the pool. Or you can end up pumping out your pool water with a cover pump, through the holes in the cover! I can’t tell you how many times over the years, I have seen winter covers pulled into the pool, or small cover holes opening up into large tears - with tons of gunk and junk spilling into the pool. What a mess!
A safety cover, or an expensive solid pool cover, have a tight weave that helps prevent easy spreading of the material. Winter ice and summer sun can however, cause the exposed fiber ends to fray, which opens up the hole more. It's best anyway to patch pool cover holes - even if they do not seem to be spreading, to keep out sunlight, debris and insects.
GET ONE MORE YEAR OUT OF IT?
The best time to consider replacing your cover is either when you open the pool or before it is time to close the pool. Depending upon how old the cover is and how much wear and tear it has would determine whether or not to replace it now or wait. However, do not make the mistake that I often hear from pool owners -“Oh, we can get one more year out of it!”. A weak cover is susceptible to winter storms, and could fail during the middle of winter, which makes it a nightmare to replace or remove.
CAN A POOL JUST BE UNCOVERED?
Winterized pools should be covered. Even unused southern pools benefit in safety and savings by covering during the off season to block the sun and debris. A safety cover also has huge safety benefits in addition to good looks.
An uncovered pool may bring fading or staining to the pool interior, plus the cleanup in the spring. The only time I recommend to remove the cover would be if the pool has a large leak that can't be fixed during winter. But even then, I would make sure the pool is cleaned and chemically balanced regularly.
POOL COVER MAINTENANCE
The best way to prevent cover problems from occurring is to inspect your cover as you prepare to close the pool and periodically check it throughout the winter. If you want a pool cover to last for a long time, it needs regular maintenance, to keep it as clean and dry as possible during winter.
When you open the pool, remove the cover to a clean area, hose it off, and let it dry before you put it back in a bag or bin for safe summer storage. Finally, if you routinely prune back overhanging trees from around your pool, you'll have a much cleaner pool cover, with fewer cover holes to patch. Follow these simple rules and your pool cover will last for a long time.
MY NEIGHBOR'S POOL COVER
My next door neighbor closed their pool in the fall with a tear in the corner and several small holes throughout the cover. I asked him before he installed the cover on the pool, if he was going to repair it. He replied “It'll be OK for another year”. I commented that I would really consider repairing it now. Once again he replied, more curtly, “It will be Fine”.
After about a month of wind, rain and the water building up on the cover, I noticed over the fence that the tear was getting larger and the holes were getting bigger. I joked to my neighbor that he should "pump the cesspool" (remove the water off and keep the cover clean of debris). He leaned over the fence and said, “Yeah, OK - I'll get it done this weekend. Can I borrow your patch kit?”.
That night, the rains came. It rained straight for 4 days, and before he could take care of it, the cover fell in the pool. What a mess! At this point the only thing he could do is pull the cover out, letting all the water and debris fall in the pool. He tried to get the debris out of the pool but it was impossible with the weather. When it cleared, he spent the next month of weekends, out there trying to clean the pool. (It's still stained!)
The cover was un-fixable and he had to buy a new pool cover to avoid another big spring mess in the pool. You should have heard the yelling in his house over this. He was so aggravated at the 'hole' situation. A simple repair before the closing the pool, would have saved all this crime and punishment. Lesson learned, I guess.
SPP Pool Expert