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    Safety Cover Tips & Tricks

    August 18, 2017
    Matt Spencer

    safety pool covers

    It's that time of year again: The kids are back to school, the days are slowly growing shorter, and pool owners begin shifting their attention towards closing the pool for the winter.

    For those of us with an inground pool safety cover or for those of you considering investing in the peace of mind a safety cover offers, we bring you 10 Pool Safety Cover Tips and Best Practices.

    Mark the Corners of your Cover

    This tip is particularly relevant to those of you with a pool that isn't rectangular. It can be confusing and cumbersome to unfold really large safety covers in the cramped space of your pool deck. I've unfolded my cover over my pool only to realize that it was backwards, and upside down. My simple method is to mark a few corners with a colored zip tie, pipe cleaner or a small bit of spray paint will give the unfolding process a sure sense of direction. It's a small detail that could save you some time.

    Use a 12" Allen Wrench Drill Bit Extension

    If you've ever scraped your knuckles against the hard concrete patio while dealing with a safety cover anchor you probably have already looked into an allen wrench extension for your drill in order to screw in and out the anchors. If you haven't yet, save your back and hands some duress and invest in one of these inexpensive drill adapters, or use a hacksaw to cut off the bend of the standard safety cover hex key. They prevent you from having to hunch over the pool perimeter addressing each extension one-by-one. Of course, you also have to have pretty clean anchors that move up and down easily, or your drill (or mine anyway) will bind up. Last year I put in new cover anchors that not turning easily, and can raise or lower nearly all of the anchors now with my cordless drill.

    Unroll the Safety Cover Evenly

    And it's not really rolled, it's fan-folded, or accordion folded, so that two people can grab one end and it easily opens up quickly. Try not to drag or scrape your safety cover across the ground to prevent wear and tear, and be very careful not to snag a raised cover anchor, if they are already raised. It helps to have two people for this process, but I've managed to do it alone several times with relatively little difficulty. Be sure that each side is secure before tending to the opposite side. The safety cover is much, much heavier when it's wet and can be extremely difficulty to pull out of the water if it becomes submerged, as you may know!

    Use the Grid as your Guide

    safety covers

    The black-stitched reinforced seams of a safety cover act as a grid to help you determine if you are lined-up with the opposite side's tension spring. This is really helpful for odd-shaped pools where is can be difficult to determine which tension spring attaches to which anchor. To think you have your safety cover on correctly, only to find that you have to go back and undo every spring and slide the safety cover over 2 feet, is avoidable - use the grid. The grid is helpful during initial installation as well, in centering the cover properly over the pool, for proper anchor placement.

    Test the Spring Tension

    You usually only have to adjust the cover once, when you put the cover on, but it's a good idea to check anyway, to be sure that tension is equal in all areas of the cover, especially as a cover gets older.

    The compression of the cover springs should all be fairly equal, about 1/3 to 1/2 compressed is best. If you find some are springs looser and some are tighter, adjust these straps to reduce stress on these areas. Evenly adjusted springs, not too tight, will improve cover performance, and extend cover life, and make a safer pool.

    Properly Store Your Safety Cover

    You needn't worry about this at closing, but - a good pool closing begins in the spring when you take the safety cover off for the season. Proper storing is crucial to the longevity of the cover. Be sure your cover is clean before folding it up, and allowed to dry outside before storage. I have made the mistake of storing my safety cover in my storage bag, but in the shed, only to find that mice had turned a few layers of the cover into their own condo association. If at all possible, store the cover indoors (not a shed, indoors) or hung up in your garage in a mouse free location.

    Patch any Cover Holes

    In the episode above, I was able to repair the cover with these fantastic (and inexpensive) self-adhesive super strong safety cover patch kits. One bit of advice I would recommend is to double reinforce the adhesive with some additional 3M Spray Adhesive. Once the patch was in place if was almost impossible to tell where the patch was on the cover.

    Seal Up Gaps

    If your cover does not fit exactly tight against the concrete, dirt and leaves can blow in. Same thing if you have a raised wall, obstructions or steps that the cover interfaces with. You can use pool noodles or larger foam pieces to fill gaps against a raised wall, and water bags can hold a cover flat on pools with bullnose coping that raises the outer edge of the cover.

    Mesh Safety Covers and Green Water

    It's true - some mesh safety covers allow in too much light, pollen, dust or whatever, and many pools with mesh covers open up green in the spring. My pool is much better each spring, now just barely green, since I've been using Natural Chemistry's Pool Magic Spring & Fall, when closing the pool. I'm also looking at another product, our Safety Cover Mate, which blocks the sun completely, and traps silt that passes through a mesh safety cover. Another good product for the problem is Natural Chemistry Pool Magic with PhosFree.

    Winter is Coming

    This may seem obvious but install the safety cover immediately after winterizing your freshly cleaned, immaculate pool. However, life happens, the days are shorter and it's certainly not easy to install a safety cover at night (different story for a different time). Covering the pool quickly prevents all of those autumn leaves and bugs from blowing into the pool, and consuming your winter chemicals. You can also cover the pool before winterizing it, even weeks before, just pull back the cover when you are ready to lower water and blow and plug the lines.

    To me, pool safety covers are as crucial to a swimming pool as water. Safety covers are strong enough to walk on and are great for protecting children and pets. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall it can also prevent accidentally stepping off of your pool deck into an unprotected, icy pool. They are a no brainer and worth the investment.

    We love to hear from our SPP Community! Feel free to drop us a line with any questions or comments!

    Blog Author
    Matt Spencer