People cover or do not cover their pools for many different reasons. The biggest reason to cover your pool is safety. If you have small children or pets that could wander near the pool you may want to cover your pool when not in use. You might want to cover your pool to keep the water warm when the nights get cool. You may want to cover your pool simply to keep leaves from blowing in during the winter months. Their are several different options for covering your pool depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
Here are a few options to consider if you’re thinking of covering your pool.
Solar pool covers are just that, they will draw heat from the suns rays and warm your pool water. They are by no means protective and if a child or pet were to try and walk on one the cover would give way immediately. They look similar to bubble wrap and float on top of the pool water. They can be purchased at any pool supply store for usually less than $200 depending on the size of your pool.
They are an inexpensive option during the winter months to keep leaves out of your pool and keep your water a little cleaner. They will also warm up your pool water in the spring so that when you take the cover off your water temp will be a few degrees higher than if you hadn’t used the cover.
Standard Winter Covers
This kind of pool cover is basically a tarp that is held down with water bags. It is not a weight bearing cover and if a child or large pet walks on this cover they would definitely get wet and most likely fall into the pool.
It does a good job of keeping leaves and other debris out of the pool but will need to have rainwater and melted snow periodically pumped off to ensure it does not collapse into the pool. You can pick up one of these covers at any pool supply store fairly cheaply.
Safety Covers are the most popular type of pool cover for in-ground swimming pools. They are made of a strong mesh material that lets water seep through or with a reinforced solid material that requires the use of small pump periodically to remove the accumulated water from the surface of the cover. These pool covers are built with spring-loaded straps that are connected to anchors that have been drilled into the pool deck.
This pool cover can bear a good amount of weight and does a great job of keeping debris out of your pool. It requires little to no maintenance once it’s on. The one drawback is that since it is made of mesh, dirt particles can pass through along with rainwater and melted snow, which might result in dirty water when you remove the cover. A safety cover fully installed should cost you around $1200 – $1500 depending on the size of the pool. You can usually count on this cover to last 12 to 15 years.
There are a few things to think about when considering an automatic pool cover for your in-ground swimming pool. Motorized or crank? Exposed tracks or hidden tracks? What you decide will greatly influence the price of this cover, which can range from $8,000 to over $15,000 depending on the size of the pool and design of the cover.
Automatic pool covers can be used on demand and usually open and close in less than a minute. A built-in safety feature for automatic pool covers is that the switch to open/close the cover must be turned and held in place the entire time the cover is moving. You cannot simply flip a switch and walk away from the cover while it is in operation, this insures that children and pets will not be trapped under a closed automatic pool cover.
The upside is they do a great job of keeping your pool clean, they keep unwanted swimmers (human & critter) out of your pool and they act as a great solar cover.
A minor draw back is that because they are mechanical they require yearly service visits to keep the tracks clean and to administer general maintenance. You’ll want to keep your automatic pool cover in proper operating order, just as you would make sure you get regular tune-ups for your car. Also the vinyl material the cover is made of is not as strong as the mesh safety cover and may wear out sooner than the mesh material as well as not support as much weight as a safety cover.
I hope we have given you some insight into swimming pool covers so that you can make a more informed decision when making your purchase.