If you’re a pool owner and you want to find a smart, economical way to protect your pool from unwanted visitors as well as from the elements, you’ll want to go with a pool safety cover (see Parts 1 & 2). Safety covers are just as effective at keeping debris out of your pool as winter covers. They can also give you peace of mind knowing that small children or animals are far less likely to find a way into your pool than they would be with only a winter pool cover.
Tips for Using a Safety Cover for Your Pool During the Winter
If you do choose to use a safety cover to protect your pool during the winter months, there are a few things you’ll want to pay close attention to as winter approaches.
- First, make sure your pool is at an optimal water level.
- Next, securely cover drains and jets to help keep the water level from going down during the winter months.
- Check your water level from time to time. If it starts to go down despite your efforts, add some water to it. Keeping your water level up allows the safety cover to do its job properly.
- Always make sure to take proper precautions to winterize your pool. These steps include cleaning the pool, testing the water, chemically balancing it, lowering it to the proper level.
How can you determine the proper level for lowering your pool water? It will depend on the type of cover you choose. If you use a solid cover, you’ll probably only need to lower the water level several inches below the skimmer. If you use a mesh cover, you’ll want to lower it at least a foot or even one and a half feet below the skimmer so that the extra water that accumulates from snowmelt and rain has a place to go. Whatever you do, don’t completely drain your pool.
The reason you don’t want to take too much water out of the pool and don’t want to empty it is that an excessive amount of dry air can structurally harm the cover. The potential for large amounts of weight from heavy snow or rainfall is another reason to leave extra water in the pool. It’s better for the cover to only sag slightly and rest on top of the water than to have nothing underneath the cover to boost it up when it’s filled with snow, rainwater, and debris. If the cover were to sag too much in the middle, it could suffer damage and need to be prematurely replaced.
With all of these potential downfalls, you may wonder if it’s best to just leave the water level alone and not lower it at all. But there are problems with that idea. It could end up hurting your pool skimmer if the water is so close to the outside air that it freezes. You want the level to be low enough that it will be insulated from the cold by a layer of air and the safety cover.
Different types of safety covers work best in different climate zones. If you live in a cold area of the country, select a cover with a drain that feeds any extra water back into the pool. Those who live in milder areas of the country can use a cover that has a pump instead.
No matter what time of year it is, purchasing a safety cover is a smart move. You can use it all year long to prevent children or pets from a tragic accident, and when you close up the pool, it can function as a winter cover as well.
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