If you live in a climate where you must cover your pool for winter, you want to make sure it’s secure. A pool owner’s worst nightmare is to open up their pool in the spring to find it has become damaged from snow load or cold weather.
With so many types of pool covers on the market, you may find yourself struggling to find the best one to preserve your pool through the winter months.
A winter cover has the primary purpose of protecting your pool through the winter. But what if you need a cover that does both? Can you buy a cover that does both? Let’s look at both types of pool covers to help you choose.
The Role of a Pool Cover
In general, pool covers have two key roles. They are either intended to keep your pool protected from weather and debris over the winter, or they are intended to keep your pool safe for family and pets in your backyard. Therefore, when choosing a pool cover, you need to make sure that it meets all of your needs.
Winter pool covers
Winter pool covers are basically large tarps that you place over your pool to protect it in the winter. Their purpose is to protect your pool and pool water so you can easily re-open your pool in the spring. They are different from security covers, as they don’t provide safety against injuries or drownings.
There are different designs of winter covers for inground and above ground pools. Their purpose is the same; they just attach differently. Above ground pools require weaving a cable through grommets around the perimeter of the pool and tightening it with a winch. Most inground pool winter covers are held in place with water bags.
Winter covers are a great budget-friendly option if you only need your pool covered during the winter. They are easier to install than safety covers and usually only need replacement once every three years. As you’ve probably already guessed, winter covers cannot double as safety covers year round due to their design.
Pool safety covers a made from either woven mesh or solid vinyl. They are secured to your pool deck using straps and anchors. The straps are present at approximately five-foot intervals around the perimeter of your pool.
The purpose of safety covers is to prevent accidental drownings by keeping the water inaccessible when the pool is not in use.
Safety covers have the added role of keeping dirt, leaves, grass, and other debris out of your pool. When spring and summer temperatures rise, the cover can also help you to avoid algae blooms from growing in your swimming pool.
Both mesh and solid pool covers are designed to hold up to 4,000 lbs of weight on their surface.
Solid vs. mesh safety covers
There are two varieties of materials for pool safety covers: solid and mesh. They have comparable durability levels, but there are some differences you should be aware of before purchasing.
Mesh safety covers have UV protection is woven into them that blocks algae-producing UV rays from reaching your pool water. They are lighter weight than solid covers and easy to install and remove.
Mesh covers are relatively easy to maintain, and the tiny holes allow snow and water to drain through the cover. The downside to water draining through the cover is that you will have more spring cleanup to do.
Solid safety covers can be more difficult to install than mesh covers and are a bit more expensive. They are, however, solid, so they offer an increased degree of protection for your pool. You can have solid covers custom-made for your pool if you have a unique, non-rectangular-shaped pool. Solid covers are heavier than mesh covers and more difficult to remove.
If you don’t want to manually clean snow and water off your cover, you will need a model with either a center drain or a cover pump. Solid covers still provide UV protection and keep your pool water clean, so there is little cleanup in the spring.
Can You Use a Safety Cover During the Winter?
Safety covers can be used in the winter, as well as the summer. They are generally more aesthetically pleasing than winter covers, which are often bulky and obtrusive looking. They serve the same purpose during the winter season as winter covers but have a whole host of added year-round benefits.
A safety cover will give your pool the same protection from weather and debris but adds safety into the mix. However, if you intend to use your safety cover to double as a winter cover, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- You need to watch the water levels in your pool. When winterizing your pool, make sure to cover all your jets and drains to prevent water loss over the winter. If you find that your water levels are dropping, you may have to add water to keep the cover functioning properly.
- Choose the right cover for your climate. For example, if you live in a warm climate with mild winter weather, you might choose a cover with a circulation pump. Or you might prefer a cover with a drain that puts extra water back into your pool.
Winter covers and safety covers are both good options for keeping your pool covered in the winter. Safety covers will provide you with more benefits year-round and keep your pool ready to go in the spring!