When autumn arrives and it’s time to say goodbye to summer, there are two key questions swimming pool owners have to answer: When to cover the pool and How to cover the pool. The first decision is made based on how comfortable you and your family are swimming in falling temperatures and also how much you want to spend on heating your pool as it begins losing heat more rapidly.
The answer to the second question is either “with a winter cover” or “with a safety cover.” A winter cover is essentially a large tarp that gets placed over the pool with its primary purpose being to keep dirt and debris out of the pool while it is not in use
A safety cover is a sturdy piece of material that, like a winter cover, is placed over the pool to keep it clean and make opening the pool in the spring much easier. However, a safety cover is different from a water bag winter cover in that it has a breakthrough strength typically exceeding 4,000 lbs, which is approximately the weight of a small SUV. The safety cover is secured into the deck and over the pool rather than simply being held in place by water-filled bags or other measures.
Why a Safety Cover Makes Sense
There are a number of reasons you should use a safety cover when you close your pool for the season. They include:
- Access control. A safety cover prevents children and pets from gaining access to your pool.
- Protection of the pool. Having a safety cover in place keeps dirt and debris out, which protects the pool from potential damage and makes opening it in the spring much easier.
- Neat appearance. Safety covers look neat and finished when secured in place. You’ll be seeing the cover all winter, so appearance matters.
- Excellent fit. A safety cover can be made to fit features like raised walls, spas, or waterfalls.
- Durability. A safety cover is strong and durable, and will provide many years of service.
- Cost-effectiveness. While the initial cost may be more than a water bag cover, it is a priceless investment to protect your pool and family.
Solid, Mesh, or Automatic Safety Cover: Many Ways to Protect Your Pool
Safety covers come in three main types: solid, mesh, and automatic.
A solid safety cover keeps debris, water, and light out of the pool. A mesh safety cover keeps out debris, but allows water and some light to pass through. Solid and mesh covers are installed and removed manually, usually in the fall and spring. An automatic safety cover is permanently installed on a track system and is opened and closed using a key switch or touch pad.
Editor’s note: Originally published 9/2018. Updated for relevance and clarity.