If you are lucky enough to live in the snow belt of the United States, you will have to close and cover your pool for the winter. I say snow belt because as I am writing this we are in the second month of snow and bitter cold in Indiana. We’ve been blessed with sub zero temperatures, wind, and snow that continues to hang around. When all this snow and ice begins to thaw & melt there are several things you will need to watch for.
Watch the water level daily:
When we close a pool we drain the water to just below the skimmer opening. However, holes or cracks in the pool liner and/or structure can cause the pool to leak. When a pool leaks the cover will sag, stretch and even rip. With an auto cover, the cover tracks can pull out of the concrete or coping when the water level in the pool begins to drop. Either way, this could cause a major repair and clean-up in the spring. If your pool is leaking, it’s best to keep your pool full by adding water until it is warm enough to find and repair the leak.
Also, if your pool cover tears or is punctured, the weight of snow or rain on the cover can push pool water up through the hole and on top of the cover. By putting a cover pump on you will be draining pool water along with rain water. This can empty a pool. If you catch this early you can simply remove the pump and add water to the pool to raise the cover. If you have a vinyl liner and your cover pump has completely emptied your pool you will want to check that the liner is still in place prior to re-filling your pool. If the liner has shrunk or has pulled away from the walls or stair the liner will not want to stretch back especially if it is still cold outside. Filling your pool at this point, can cause the liner to rip. You may need to replace your liner in the spring. If you know your cover has a hole do not place your cover pump anywhere near the hole. Watch the cover as you begin to pump off the water. You may have to add water to the pool at the same rate as your cover pump is removing water from the top of the cover. As soon as you can remove all the water off the top of your cover remove or open the cover to expose the hole so it can be patched.
You should never try to remove ice because the sharp edges can damage your cover. It’s important to wait until the ice melts then pump off the water. Keeping the water level on top of the pool cover to a minimum is the best way to prevent large build ups of ice.
Protect your pool cover from leaves and branches:
Falling tree limbs are one of the biggest causes of holes in pool covers during the fall and winter. Remove any overhanging tree limbs that could potentially fall into your pool. This will help prevent future tears and rips. Installing a swimming pool leaf net on top of your pool can also help keep your pool free from wet, soggy leaves. Leaf nets are made from mesh so the water drains through without allowing the leaves and debris into your pool. After the leaves have all fallen, simply remove the leaf net.
Check on your pool every day to make sure nothing has changed. Tell your family, friends and neighbors that you have closed your pool down for the winter and that they should not be close to it. Most pool covers are designed to protect your pool from the elements, but they are not made for safety. In no way, under any circumstances should you let people or pets near the pool or on the cover. Ice on any pool is not meant for play.
CLICK HERE to learn about swimming pool safety covers. Safety covers are designed specifically as a winter pool cover and can eliminate a lot of hassle caused by automatic pool covers.
Buy a Little Giant Automatic Cover Pump. Little Giant cover pumps will begin pumping in as little as 2″ of water and shut off when the water is pumped off.
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