It’s that time of the year. A couple of months ago, you took steps to get your pool ‘winter-ready’, and now snow is here!
The purpose of a winter pool cover is to protect your in-ground swimming pool from sun, debris and in the case of solid covers, from contaminants washed into the pool from rain and snowfall. Unfortunately, they can also fall prey to all sorts of maladies from the common to the odd. Here are six enemies of your winter pool cover, and ways to keep them from happening.
Trees. While they are beautiful, provide shade, and help to enhance your backyard setting, they can be the number one enemy of your cover. As the leaves drop, you can more easily spot broken or dead branches, making Autumn a good time to do some pruning. Even tree branches that are a distance from the pool have the potential of being snapped off and thrown down in a high wind. Trees are truly the number one cause of winter pool cover failure.
Wind: High winds can get up under solid covers, and pull them right off the pool, sometimes ripping them in the process. Some people like to leave a little water on the cover to help hold down solid pool covers. Wind can also hurl items on your pool cover. Not only tree branches, but door and window screens, just about anything not nailed down can easily become a menace to your cover.
Water: If there is too much water on top of a solid pool cover, it will weaken the seams and make small holes larger. It can even pull the cover towards the pool, and in some cases the cover can fall completely into the pool. Use a cover pump placed on an upside-down Frisbee. That way if there are any holes in the cover, you won’t end up pumping out pool water through the holes.
Ice: In most cases, the ice that forms on a pool cover during winter won’t damage the pool cover. This one needs a little help from you. Never try to shovel, scrape or melt the ice from your pool cover. Covers often look as if they are going to break when they are stuck in the pool and weighed down heavily with snow and ice. But don’t worry, it will melt eventually, and your cover will spring back up to its former trampoline appearance.
Vehicles: This is far more common than you may think. If your in-ground swimming pool is near a street, or if it could be possible for a car to crash through your fence on icy or slippery roads, you may want to consider installing some bollard poles or large landscape boulders to stop or deflect oncoming cars.
Snow: Let’s talk a bit about snow. It’s important to the integrity of your pool, to make sure you remove snow from the cover. The snow can cause your cover to stretch, to the point of destroying it. No matter if you have an expensive cover or a cheap plastic one, snow damage can get expensive. Most pool covers are kept on by a cord that runs around the pool so it’s important to try to keep snow weight to a minimum.
Think about how much snow weighs. There are 7.48 gallons per cubic foot of water in in a cubic foot of snow. – that’s about 62.4 pounds of snow.
Assume wet snow would be equal to 1 inch of rain or 5 inches of snow. This means you would get a resulting 12.5 pounds of snow on your cover per cubic foot. We get this number by simply dividing 62.4 by 5 (inches). In the case of light snow, you could experience about 2 pounds of snow per cubic foot. In either case, you can see that this puts a lot of pressure on your snow cover.
Because your cover is not designed for the extra weight, we suggest that you use a long broom and push the snow off the cover. DO NOT use a shovel or anything with sharp edges because this can damage your winter cover by putting holes in it allowing the dirty water to leak through. As it snows, use the broom to keep the snow from collecting. If the snow is light in the beginning and you have a leaf blower, use that to avoid the buildup all that snow weight.
At Hawaiian Pool Builders, we want all of your in-ground swimming pool experiences to be pleasurable. Knowing these five enemies of your winter pool cover, and how to prevent them, will keep you (and your pool cover) happy.