Pool Cover Maintenance: Start Here
Whether you have an automatic, solid or mesh winter cover or you’re looking to invest in one for your inground pool, it’s important to understand how to maintain your pool cover to ensure proper functionality and longevity. When kept in good, working condition, a pool cover can help you protect your loved ones, keep your pool clean and protect it from dirt, debris and inclement weather, and in the case of an automatic safety cover can even help you save money on utility costs by helping to prevent water evaporation. While we always recommend contacting a pool professional for any maintenance needs, we want to equip you with the knowledge and resources to understand best practices when it comes to pool cover maintenance. We’ve put together this resource to answer your questions and provide everything you need to keep your pool cover in working condition. So whether you have an automatic safety cover or an all-season solid or mesh cover, here are our expert recommendations for proper cover maintenance. If you still have questions, contact us for help.
Pool Cover Maintenance FAQ
Before we get into the pool maintenance questions below, it’s important to note that you should always contact a professional for maintenance and repairs. Your swimming pool and pool cover are a significant investment and DIY maintenance could potentially cause damage or result in your pool cover not working properly. In some cases, DIY maintenance may negatively affect or negate your product warranty. Always use caution and contact an independent builder for help.
How Do You Maintain a Pool Cover?
While there are some general rules and guidelines to help you care for your pool cover, cleaning and maintenance specifications ultimately depend on the type of cover you have. For an automatic pool cover, your maintenance routine will consist of cleaning the cover, removing water and debris, regularly inspecting the fabric and parts and having your automatic pool cover regularly serviced by a pool professional.
This automatic pool cover maintenance checklist includes additional details and instructions.
Solid and mesh winter pool covers also require regular cleaning and inspection. While your all-seasons pool cover is doing the legwork of bracing your pool from the elements, you need to do your part to keep it in good working condition. These winter pool cover care tips will help you understand how and when to clean and inspect your winter cover.
Do I Need to Clean my Pool Cover?
The short answer is yes, you need to clean your pool cover. You want to make sure it’s clear of dirt, debris, any unsightly objects or materials and anything that can potentially damage the fabric or obstruct the cover from opening. As a general rule, you should clean the fabric at least once per year.
Depending on where you live, you may experience a different climate or various types of debris in your pool and on your cover. Here are some resources to help you keep your cover clean:
How Often Should I Open my Pool Cover?
Whether or not you should open your pool cover during the off season depends on the type of cover you have. All season solid and mesh covers are designed to stay on your pool for longer periods of time, like throughout the winter, and only partially opened for routine water balancing.
On the other hand, you may think you need to leave your pool closed permanently during the winter months when it’s not in use, but weather permitting, it’s important to open your automatic safety cover once per week.
When you do so, open the cover all the way for several hours in order to allow excessive chemicals to dissipate/evaporate.
Pool Cover Maintenance Tip: Invest in a Cover Pump
A cover pump is a handy tool to help regulate the water level and prevent water from accumulating on top of your cover, if you have a solid cover.
We generally recommend a submersible pool cover pump that pumps no more than 20 – 30 gallons per minute, but always check with a pool professional to determine the best cover pump for your specific model. Like your pool cover, you will need to perform minimal, ongoing maintenance to keep your pump cover in working order.
Cover pumps often pump out pool water, sometimes unintentionally draining your pool. Always monitor your cover pump and ensure that the entire pump and hose is unplugged and removed from your pool when not in use.
For more information, check out this guide to pool cover and cover pump maintenance.
Winter Pool Cover Maintenance
As the name implies, a winter pool cover or all season cover, serves to protect your pool during the colder months when it’s not in use. Maintaining your winter cover will help to protect your family, your pool, and of course, the pool cover itself.
How Do You Maintain a Pool Cover for the Winter?
- Regulate water level
- Balance your pool water at the beginning of winter before it freezes
- Ensure the pool cover is tight and fits properly on top of your pool
- Clean your cover regularly
- Keep snow/ice accumulation off the cover
- Keep your cover dry
- Check for rips, tears or holes
Should a Winter Pool Cover Be Tight?
Your winter pool cover should be tight enough so a child or pet can’t get under the cover. As a rule of thumb, if your fist can’t fit, then neither can your child. Your covers should be tight to create an effective barrier to keep rain, dust, debris, snow and other unwanted materials out. Covers should be centered and straps should be close to 50%, allowing some adjustments to be made over the course of the season, if necessary. If your cover is too loose, it’s easy for materials to get inside. On the other hand, if a cover is too tight it can be hard to open for routine maintenance or when opening your pool in the spring.
When you work with a pool professional, they will ensure that your cover fits the specific size and shape of your pool.
Automatic and Retractable Pool Cover Maintenance
Like a solid or mesh cover, you want to keep your automatic cover clean, but because of the additional parts like the tracks and the motors, there are a few other steps involved. As we have mentioned, you should always contact a pool professional prior to performing any maintenance on your pool or pool cover.
Here are the basic steps to maintain your automatic pool cover:
- Clean your cover regularly
- Maintain proper water balance and water chemistry
- Check the tracks/mechanism: clean the tracks and lubricate the mechanism
- Inspect the ropes, pulleys and sliders: getting your cover serviced regularly by a professional will ensure these parts function properly and replace them as needed
- Maintain the motor
- Replace the cover fabric
How Do You Lubricate an Automatic Pool Cover?
Lubricating your automatic pool cover mechanism can help to keep it operating properly. Lubricating a pool cover mechanism is not a DIY task so make sure you contact a certified dealer for help.
You want to lubricate the mechanism 1 to 2 times per season. A pool dealer will remove the old lubricant and any chemical build-up. They will then add lubricant to specific spots depending on your particular cover model.
When to Replace Your Automatic Pool Cover
It’s also important to look out for signs that you may need to replace your automatic cover. Make sure to spot check your cover for the following:
- Signs of wear and tear like peeling or cracking. These can be caused by temperature changes and pool chemicals.
- Frayed stitching or webbing. The webbing is what holds your pool cover together. When this begins to deteriorate, your cover will not function properly.
- The surface feels stiff or brittle.
- You notice the webbing beginning to bunch around the rope.
A pool professional can help you assess the condition of your cover to determine if it requires repairs or replacement. Here is a more in-depth guide to the signs that it’s time to replace your automatic pool cover.
How to Remove and Store Your Winter Safety Cover
When the warm weather rolls in and marks the start of pool season, it’s important to remove and store your winter safety cover properly to prevent damage. Removing your cover can often be a two-person job, so it’s important to ask for some help. Once you’ve taken your cover off your pool, you’ll want to store it in a cool, dry place. Follow these steps to remove your winter safety cover.
Once you remove your cover, there are still some steps you need to follow to get your pool ready for swimming. Check out this guide to opening your pool for spring.
Contact us for Questions on Pool Cover Maintenance
If you still have questions, we’re here to help. Visit our Help Center for more pool cover maintenance resources or contact us for additional information or assistance. We want to help you maintain your pool cover so you can protect your pool and your loved ones and enjoy your backyard oasis for years to come!