How to Protect Your Pool Cover in Winter

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When your pool isn’t in use, you lower the water levels and place a cover on top both for safety and to keep debris out of your pool. However, while you’re protecting your pool, you might not have considered protecting your pool cover. Putting up a pool cover for the winter isn’t the same as throwing up a pool cover overnight. With snow and ice placing weight on your pool cover, it could possibly rip or, if you’re not careful, collapse if people or animals walk over it without realizing it’s there. Be proactive, and your pool cover will do its job all winter.

Install a Gate

After a heavy snowfall, your backyard resembles a thick blanket of snow; you can’t even see the pool anymore. You, a child or a pet runs into the backyard to bound through the snow — and falls right through the invisible cover. Get a gate for your pool, and no one will forget where the pool is.

You’d be surprised how well snowfall can disguise your pool; you may be certain it’s a few yards one way when you step out, but you could be mistaken. Both for your safety and the upkeep of your pool cover, avoid accidentally walking on the cover or tossing excess snow on it. Keep wild animals away as well. Clearly mark the pool with a fence and gate, and continue to use the fence and gate for safety when you reopen your pool.

Brush Off Snow and Ice

People, pets and wild animals aren’t the only things that could add excess weight to a pool cover. Snow and ice are unavoidable in the cold months, but you cannot let them accumulate over the pool cover. The excess weight will rip and tear the cover, or at the least, cause it to sag and potentially open air pockets between the cover and the water remaining in the pool. When you’re outside shoveling and clearing your porch, sidewalk and driveway after every snow fall, brush your pool cover free of snow and ice.

To remove snow and ice without causing damage to the cover, do the following:

  • Avoid using shovels, which may poke the cover
  • Use a wide broom with an extra-long handle
  • Walk around the pool, rather than stretching to reach anything
  • Pull the snow toward you, not further onto the cover
  • Once the snow is away from the pool, you can shovel it further into the yard so it doesn’t melt onto the pool cover in the spring

A leaf blower may work for a light snow covering, but don’t count on it to work all winter.

Add a Leaf Net

Leaves and other plant debris are especially harmful to your pool cover during the end of fall and the beginning of winter when plant life is preparing for hibernation. An entire tree’s worth of leaves could fall in one night, especially if it’s windy. Install a net several inches above your pool cover to catch additional debris. Use your pool scoop or a leaf blower regularly on the leaf net to move the debris away from your pool; alternatively, unroll the net all at once, and drag the leaves and debris away.

Weigh It Down

The tauter the pool cover, the less likely it is to sag or rip under pressure. Keep your pool cover securely in place with water bags or aqua blocks, which are bags or blocks filled with water intended to sit atop the edges of your pool cover all around the pool. Alternatively, you may choose to weigh it down with jugs filled with sand or water, but water bags and aqua blocks are specifically designed for pool use and will perfectly fit along the edges, even at the corners.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, a pool cover improperly tended during the winter allows bacteria and insects to thrive in your pool, which will pose a health hazard come spring. Keep your pool cover tight, taut and free from the extra weight of winter debris, snow and ice. Put in some extra work now, and your preventative care will keep your pool safe over the winter.

About the Author: Sharon Lee is a home and living blogger.