If you have a safety cover it’s best to leave it on at all times to prevent children from getting in the pool without adult supervision. To protect it from wind damage, keep one to three inches of water on the top to prevent the cover from tearing or flapping in the wind.
1. Keep the Water Clean
A safety cover keeps twigs, leaves and other debris from finding its way into the water. This saves you the trouble of scooping it out with a skimmer or a pool brush and can prevent stains from developing. A regular hose down is a good idea as well to keep dirt and grit from collecting on the surface.
If you use a mesh cover, it allows rain and snow to pass through it, while larger debris like leaves blow off. This makes opening your pool in the spring a much simpler task.
Even if you don’t have a mesh safety cover, it is a good idea to remove leaves and other debris from the surface of your pool covers regularly using a leaf rake or a pool brush. Avoid putting this debris directly into a trash or yard waste bag, which can damage the material. A garden tarp, large Rubbermaid or other plastic container with a lid will be an ideal place to put the leaves and debris for disposal.
Regularly inspect your safety cover for holes, tears and signs that it is in need of a replacement. Also check for wear on the ropes and fabric guides. Occasionally applying a 100mg/l chlorine solution on the surface of the cover should help to keep it free from bacteria and minimise biofilm formation.
Consider using a cover pump to remove standing water from the surface of your pool covers. It will not only save energy by keeping the cover and water closer together, but it will make it easier to open your pool in the spring. A pump is also a great idea for pool owners with a mesh safety cover to help reduce the amount of leaves and debris that collects on top of the cover.
2. Keep the Sun Away
If you use your pool frequently, you can keep your water clean year-round by covering it while you aren’t swimming. This prevents leaves, twigs, toys and other debris from falling into the pool. This not only makes it easier to clean the pool when you’re ready to swim, but it also reduces algae growth.
Pool covers save energy, too. They prevent the sun’s heat from being lost by evaporation. This saves money whether your pool is heated with gas, electricity or solar power.
There are many types of pool covers, each serving a specific purpose. Plain plastic covers are simple to install and prevent debris from getting into the pool. Safety covers serve as barriers that stop animals and children from accidentally falling into the pool, but they have a more complicated installation procedure.
Some covers are bubbled, which means they look like large sheets of plastic bubble wrap. These covers work by absorbing short wavelengths of sunlight that generate heat. This heat is then trapped by the cover overnight to slowly warm the water.
If you choose a bubbled cover, make sure it is facing the water so that the bubbles are at the surface. This ensures that the bubbles are generating and retaining heat and not just blowing in the wind.
Whatever cover you choose, it’s important to check it for damage throughout the season. Tears and rips can weaken the cover and reduce its lifespan. Store the cover in a shaded area when it’s not being used, such as a garage or shed. Doing this will help the cover last longer and protect the pool from any weather that might be able to damage it.
3. Keep the Heat in
Using your pool cover to retain heat during the winter months is a smart use of this valuable pool accessory. It helps reduce evaporation of water from the surface, which is one of the major causes of pool water loss.
A solar blanket is a good choice for this purpose, since it uses the sun’s natural heat to keep your pool warmer without requiring electricity or fuel. This type of cover also requires less maintenance, as it can be used year-round.
While a solar cover can be expensive, the investment will pay for itself in lower energy bills over time. If you don’t want to invest in a solar blanket, there are many other options for keeping your pool warm, including bubble covers and insulated vinyl covers.
These covers have a special layer of polyethylene that absorbs sunlight and heat. They can be placed over your entire pool or positioned around the perimeter, and they help to retain heat by trapping it on the water’s surface. These are available in a variety of sizes, so you can find one that fits your pool.
If you are concerned about safety, there are also mechanical covers that run on tracks along the side of your pool. They prevent anybody or anything from entering the water, and they can be operated manually or automatically. They are a great option for public pools, and they reduce liability concerns for owners.
No matter what type of pool cover you have, it is important to keep it secure. One gust of wind can blow it off the pool, and repeated gusts may cause it to tear. You can protect your cover from this damage by adding some weight to it, such as a few large rocks or bags of cement.
4. Keep Out Pests
One of the reasons that many pool owners get a cover is to keep out unwanted animals and insects. By keeping the water clean, you can reduce the chances of them gaining access to it, and you will also make the pool more difficult for pests to reach when they are looking for a drink or a home.
To deter insects and rodents, you can install an electric bug zapper to kill them as they enter the pool area. You can also use a natural insect repellent such as cayenne pepper, citrus, eucalyptus oil, or mint. In addition to this, you can also place a barrier around the pool using a fence that is flush with the ground. This will prevent small animals and children from crawling underneath it.
Even if you tie your cover down, it can still be susceptible to wind gusts that can flap or tear it. To help protect your cover against this, you can add one to three inches of water to the surface to provide a cushion against wind pressure. This will also prevent rain and melted snow from overweighing the cover and causing it to sink into your pool. Be sure to regularly remove this excess with a pool cover pump.
Alternatively, you can consider getting an automatic cover that is very easy to open and close. These covers are operated by pushing a button, and they will retract when you press them again. However, this type of cover may come with a higher initial cost than other types. You should also be aware that it will require regular maintenance, as you will need to ensure that there are no rips or tears in the material.
5. Keep Out Animals
A pool cover is one of the most effective ways to keep out animals. Frogs, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, birds, and other critters are attracted to pools by food and water. While these creatures can be fun to watch, they are not welcome guests when swimming is in the plan. They can also damage your pool cover and cause safety concerns for swimmers.
A conventional pool cover is a large sheet of plastic that acts as a vapor barrier, and can be used in conjunction with a fence. However, it is inconvenient to handle and store, tears easily, and sun damage can degrade it within 1 season. This makes it difficult to keep up with and will not provide the same hygienic and safety benefits as a cover that is designed specifically for a pool.
In addition to a solid or mesh cover, there are several other strategies that can be employed to prevent wildlife from accessing your pool. Some are more practical than others, but all can be effective.
For example, a well-placed pool float or other toy can act as a fake predator that frightens away prey animals. In addition, granular sulfur or Snake Away can be sprinkled around the perimeter of the pool or in areas where wildlife may hang out.
Finally, making sure that the pool cover is free of twigs, leaves, toys, bugs, and other debris will prevent animals from getting trapped inside. This can also be a good time to check the condition of the cover and ensure that it is in good repair with no tears or other issues. It is especially important to check the area surrounding the pool and remove any attracting food items such as pet or human foods, bird and other wild feeders, etc. Regularly cleaning the area will help to reduce animal attraction, as will keeping trees and shrubs trimmed to avoid overgrowth which could create an inviting space for a nest.