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Winter Pool Covers Information

Properly covering the pool brings springtime benefits.
 
The Pool and Spa Informational Website
askalanaquestion.com

Makes Springtime Opening Easier
 

 
 

Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

 
Fix A Leak for pools and spas. Cover-Pools automatic pool safetyt covers. Torque-Lock Concrete Crack Repair System.
POOL REFRESH eliminates phosphates and heavy metals. One of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers.
Water broom sweeps away dirt, debris and chemical spills. In some parts of the county, automatic safety covers can be used, as part of a winterizing program.  Make sure that the pool is closed in clean and operating conditions, with no leaks, no algae and no debris.  Click on the image above, for information about automatic pool covers. Auto-Filler maintains optimum pool water level.

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How to use a winter pool cover and help protect the equipment? Winter pool covers are used for several primary reasons: to protect the pool from harsh winter weather, to help keep out accumulations of wind-blown dirt, leaves and debris, to keep water from re-entering the pool and for safety reasons. Cover are made from a variety of materials including mesh fabric, vinyl and laminated materials. Some types of covers are designed primarily to seal off the pool for the winter, without necessarily considering the safety factor. Other cover stress the safety factor. Inground and Above ground cover are different in design and usage. Stock or custom covers are available to suit most needs. Proper winterizing protects your investment and can help make springtime opening easier and less expensive. If problems arise, refer to the Pool Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Winter Pool Cover Choice?

I have a new 16' X 36" inground vinyl pool. I live in upstate NY and will soon have to decide on a cover. I am undecided between a solid cover or a mesh cover. Help pointing out advantages would be helpful. Thanks a lot.

Ralph, NY, 7/6/2013

A solid cover can be made from a variety of materials and can be anchored in place or held in place with water filled bags. The anchored covers can provide greater safety, but both are designed to keep water and debris out. Mesh covers are anchored in place, provide great safety, but allow water to pass through. Some solid covers have draining features built in. Other types combine the benefits of a solid cover with a mesh cover. In the final analysis, you have to decide on your needs and which type of product best fits your budget. Consider the ease with which the pool can be covered, if you are planning on doing the work yourself. Good luck and I hope that I have helped with the decision.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/7/2013


Self Draining Winter Pool Cover?

I am buying my first pool and the salesman has sold me a winter cover that is self draining. No little submersible pump needed! He also said I do not use a pillow with this cover since the water will not accumulate on top. I remember my father saying that a pillow is needed to protect the sides of the pool from ice that freezes under the cover. Can I use this cover without a pillow or am I in for trouble?

Steven E., 10/14/2012


It is called progress and you're not in trouble. At least not this kind of trouble! The pillows are used on above ground pools to raise the cover up, so that water will run off. Some water will accumulate around the perimeter and help keep the cover in place. In your case a pillow would serve no function, as the cover is designed to drain any accumulations of water. Have a good winter.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/14/2012


To Cover Or Not To Cover Pool?

Hi Alan , thank you for the helpful information you're providing us with. I live in Montreal Quebec" the freezer" I had an in ground pool 80k liters built last year with vinyl liner and the installer carried out the closing last winter. He blew out the return lines and plugged them, blew out the skimmer line, plugged it and installed a foam kit that acts as ice compensator in the skimmer. He lowered the water level and drained the sand filter and the pump. He advised not to cover the pool during winter, did not remove the pump just left the plugs open and did not mention any thing about liner protection and air pillow. When I opened the pool last summer every thing went well. Now it is my turn to close the pool this season. What would you suggest to do? Is the pool cover essential and what is its purpose? What would I use as ice compensator? Thank you in advance for your answer.

Khaled L., Montreal, Quebec, 10/4/2011

Cover-Pools pool safety covers.
The cover helps keep dirt and debris out of the pool and makes springtime opening a lot easier. Branches and foreign obj
ects are kept out of a covered pool and this will help protect the liner. A covered pool will experience less freezing than an uncovered pool. If you use a pool safety cover, it will help protect children and animals from falling into an open, uncovered pool. There are several types of covers available. You can use an ice compensator and/or winter plug, in the skimmer, and it will act as an ice compensator. For the pool, you can add air pillows, foam noodles or empty, capped plastic bottles. I definitely am in favor of covering the pool. I hope that this information will be helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/4/2011


Pool Cover Drain - Leaving Open Or Closed?

I have a solid safety cover with drains located in the middle of the cover. These drains have Velcro covers and I am not sure why. It is my thought to just leave these covers off and let the rain/snow drain into the pool. I guess my question is, if you leave the covers on, why are the drains there in the first place? Thanks.

Michael D., 10/16/2011


Mesh covers or covers with drains tend to let small particles and waste to pass on through.  The pool water level will rise, depending on the amount of rain and/or snow. The higher pool water level might need to be lowered. With the drain closed, water will accumulate on top, as will leaves and debris. Again depending on the amount of rain and or snow, the cover may need to be pumped off. In the spring, it can be a challenge to deal with a cover full of water and debris. I becomes difficult to remove all the water and debris, without allowing some to spill into the pool. I hope this helps explains your choices.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/17/2011


Pool Covering Dilemma?

We purchased a home that has a 27 ft. above ground pool. The pool is completely surrounded by a wooden deck. We have yet to find a good way to cover the pool for the winter season. Apparently the deck was built around the pool and sits too low to fit a pool tarp over the edges of the pool. We have tried, to no avail, to secure many a pool cover to the deck. The wind is too strong and rips the tarp every single year. The previous owner said that he couldn't come up with a good idea to cover the pool either, so he just left it uncovered. We really don't like that idea, though, because we have put in a new liner. Also, we have tried water bags and they didn't seem to help. Could you give us a suggestion? We are running out of ideas. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Teresa D., 8/30/2005


There are cover that strap down and can be attached to the deck. It would have to be made to order. You could use those foam noodles around the pool perimeter, as means of helping to seal off the pool and prevent water and debris from being blown under the cover. Have you tried an oversized solid cover held in place by water bags? Use a large ball or pillow to get the water to run off. I hope these suggestion help. Good luck.
 
Sincerely. Alan Schuster/ 8/31/2005

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I'm wondering if you could elaborate just a bit more about your suggestions. Are you referring to tarps such as safety covers that lie flat across the top of your pool and deck? And if so, what purpose do the foam noodles serve? I guess I don't understand how to use the foam noodles in the closing of the pool. And with your second suggestion, if you get the oversized cover, where do the water bags get placed? Last year, we tried them on top of the cover at the edge of the water itself, but the wind pushed them right to the middle of the pool. So then, we put them on the top edge of the decking surrounding the entire pool and, you guessed it, they got blown in on top of the cover anyway. Maybe a larger ball in the center of the pool and water bags at the edge of the water with an oversized cover? That sounds promising except I'm not sure yet how to keep the wind out from under the cover if the edges of the oversized cover remain unsecured. At any rate, thank you so very much for taking the time to consider this situation and make suggestions. We so appreciate your opinion and think your information base is superb. Have a great day.

Teresa/ 8/31/2005


Yes, I mean a safety cover. There are many brands, with solid, mesh or combination covers, as well. The purpose of the foam noodles is to seal off the space between the cover and the deck. It prevents leaves and debris from blowing into the pool. This idea was from my brother-in law and seems to work well. With a light weight solid conventional cover, the bags go on the deck, all around the pool perimeter, and hold the cover in place. You can cut off all of the excess cover to avoid it acting as a sail. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/31/2005


Winterizing With A Safety Cover?

Our pool is a 16' X 36' and we had it built with the intention of adding an automatic safety pool cover in the future. My question is can the safety pool cover be used as winter cover? Thanks for the help.

Dawn & Jim, Fayetteville, NC, 6/3/2011


In many areas a safety pool cover can be used as a winter cover. However, the procedures for winterizing are different. The water level must be dropped below the returns, the lines blown out, openings sealed off and ice compensators or winter plugs, added to the skimmers. Afterwards, the water level is raised so that it will help support the cover, in case of major accumulations during the winter. It is still possible to use a conventional winter cover on top, in order to completely seal off the pool for the winter months. A lot depends upon where in the country you are and the type of winter conditions. Your dealer or installer should be able to provide you with specific instructions for your needs. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/3/2011


Above Ground Cover Woes?

I have read how pillows keep the pool cover up so that rainwater will not settle on top of the pool and run off. This is not the case with our above ground pool (36X18 oval). The rain settles all around the edges of the pool and gets so filled at the cover gets pulled in on the side. We were told that when you use a pool cover pump it also sucks the water out. The pool as well. This is really a big problem for us and we were wondering why bother with the pillow since the rainwater does not run off anyway. What would happen if we did not use the pillow? Any suggestions on how to keep the cover from pulling off on the sides? Thanks for your advice.

The G. Family, NJ, 11/8/2005


It sounds like the water level in the pool is too low. If you use a skimmer plate, to cover the skimmer opening, you can keep more water in the pool. That way there is less area for rainwater to accumulate in. The only way the pump can remove water from the pool is if there is a hole in the cover. That would seem to be the case, based on your description. As long as the cover sits on the surface the leak will add water to the top of the cover. You might need a new cover or more than one pillow. I hope that I have been of some help.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/18/2005


The Best of Both?

Good day Alan, It seems that I come every other day with a question however, knowing that we now have a great support, then, why not. Here is my dilemma. As you may recall I am trying to put a mesh safety cover on my pool and been trying to get all information before I buy it, because this is a big investment for me. What I encountered yesterday is; one of my pool chemical suppliers advised me that he had a customer who put a mesh cover on his pool and due to the fact that there are small openings in the cover, much of the small dirt, and dust particles infiltrate through these holes in winter. Another aspect of the matter was that during the summer time, upon installation of the cover, the sun ray would also infiltrate through the cover and cause algae growth under the pool cover. So he ended tossing down this investment! What do you think, is the mesh cover worth it or, no. I cannot go with the solid cover now. Need your help and advice. Thanking you kindly.

Peter B., 9/20/2004


There is no doubt that standard mesh cover will allow dirt and small debris to pass right thorough. They are great at keeping larger debris, kids, animals and more out of harm's way. Safety is the number one advantage. You can always clean up a dirty pool. There are some mesh covers with designs that better deal with the dirt problem: built-in filtered drains or pumps. Some mesh cover designs limit the amount of Sunlight passing through the cover. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/20/2004

Editors Note: an industry source pointed out that a solid cover can be placed below a mesh cover. That allows for the major debris to remain on top, where it will dry out for easy removal. Water passing through the mesh cover should be removed with a submersible cover pump.


Two Covers Are Better Than One?

I have an in-ground pool with a taut cover that is entirely mesh.  I'd like to cover the mesh with a solid cover to keep out the dirt.  The pool is really dirty in the spring. Can I put a solid cover over the mesh one? I am in Rochester, NY where we can get quite a bit of snow. Thanks.

Joe F., Rochester, NY 9/11/2008


I have asked this question, myself. Contrary to logic, they suggest putting the solid cover, under the mesh cover. Use a submersible cover pump to remove excess water. That way the bulk of the dirt is on top and is easily removed, in the springtime. Then you pump the solid cover dry and scoop off as much as possible. I hope that information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/11/2008


Question Of Closing Technique?

Hi Alan. This year for the first time I had my pool closed by a pool co. I also got a safety cover with a mesh drain in it. The pool co. did a lot of things I have never done before and am curious if they will work. First, he didn't remove the pump, blew out the pipes and put antifreeze in it. Second, he didn't lower the water in the pool below the skimmer as we have always done. He put a couple of crushed-closed bottles with a little antifreeze in them into the skimmer. Said that would protect the skimmer from freezing. Also didn't shock the pool, said all that would do was cause wear to the cover. I live in Maryland and we had a pretty cold winter last year and I am wondering if this will protect the pipes to my pool. And we have always removed the pump and brought it inside for the winter, will it be OK to leave it out with antifreeze in it. Thanks for your help.

Rosie, Maryland, 10/25/2003


Blowing out the lines and protecting the pump with a propylene glycol-based antifreeze will do the trick. Would it have been better to remove the pump and store it indoors? Yes, but that would take time and reflect in the cost. Not lowering the water level will result in water in the lines right up to the bottom of the skimmer. This is, hopefully, below the freeze line. I would prefer lowering the water level and blowing the lines and sealing off the skimmer intakes with a, ice compensator or winter plug. The crushed bottles will act as ice compensators and help protect the skimmers. High chlorine levels can take a toll on the vinyl liner. The chlorine level; may have been high enough, so that additional shock was not required. In your situation, the mesh drain will allow the pool water level to rise over time and I am sure that an experienced company would have taken the necessary precautions for your area. I hope that I have been helpful. Have a good winter.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/25/2003


Repairing Holes In Winter Cover?

I had an in-ground pool put in two years ago and have used a solid winter pool cover to winterize the pool. Last year when we opened the pool the water was very clean. This year it was an ugly brown mess due to three holes in the cover. The holes are about one inch long by inch wide and are very close to each other. It seems that a 6 by 8 patch would cover all of the holes.  Is there an effective way to patch a pool cover? Or should I spend the money on a new cover?
Boxer Adhesives pool and Vinyl Repair Products.
Kevin M., Orchard Park, NY, 5/30/2007


Boxer Adhesives makes a line of winter cover repair kits and patches that you can use.  It just might solve the problem. A hole in the
cover, not only allows dirt to get in, it makes it more difficult to drain the cover and remove the accumulation of debris.  I hope this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/30/2007


Incorrect Sizing Or Installation?

Desperately need help!! My pool cover fell in. What should I do? We have an above ground pool, in which we have decked fully around. When it was time to purchase a cover, we went to a pool store and told them what we have. THEY suggested we buy what you would use for an inground pool. So we spend close to $200 on all their products and last week the cover fell in. They had sold us a cover with the water bags you fill up, and put all the way around the pool. There is not much left around the edges once you cover the pool, but they were told our measurements, and said this was what we needed (oval 12x24). The little winter plug thing you put in the side of the pool where the water pumps water in, also fell into the pool. When we called them for there help, they told us they didn't know what to do? Help - First time pool owners.

Desperate, London, Ontario, 1/16/2005


The fact that the decking completely encircles the pool, does prevent you from covering the pool, as if it were a typical above ground pool. From your description it sounds like the cover was too small and was not resting and being supported on the surface of the water. Once water or snow accumulated on the cover, the weight pulled everything in. The only other possibilities would be if water leaked out (you would see a lower water level) or the level was too low to start with. A properly sized and positioned cover should be in contact with the water, over all but the extreme edges of the pool, and have 2-3 feet of cover lying on the deck all around the pool. This allows for the water bags to seal off the cover and hold everything in place. If the cover is undersized, it may not be worth retrieving it and replacing it on the pool, as the same thing could occur again. It could be best to recover with a properly sized cover. However, you need to confirm that the cover was really too small and not a case of being installed improperly. I am not sure that there is anyway that I can suggest otherwise. In the spring you can clean the pool up properly, when the weather becomes more cooperative. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/16/2005

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