Swimming Pool Blog
by Rob Cox October 07, 2014
There are many types of pool covers used to protect the pool during the off season.No matter what type of pool cover you have, there is required maintenance every year or two, to replace anchors or water bags, patch the covers, or hold the cover more tightly against leaves and wind.
Here's a quick list of my favorite winter pool cover accessories for different pool cover types.The types of tools or products that you might find in a poolman's toolbox!
Safety Pool Covers
These are the types of pool covers that look like a trampoline, tight across the pool. Threaded brass anchors are drilled into the deck, attaching to springs and straps of a safety cover. An installation rod is used to lever the springs over the anchors, making a tight seal over the pool, and locking out children. Mesh safety covers allow rain water to drain through the very tightly woven material. Solid safety covers can have drain panels, or can be completely solid, and use an automatic cover pump.
Wingmaster Tool: With the wingmaster, you can replace rebellious cover anchors, by extracting them from the deck, then just pop in a new one! This tool is a must for large community pools or swim clubs with hundreds of deck anchors, or the homeowner who wants to avoid drilling extra holes in the pool deck.
Long Cover Tool: In my service truck, I carried a home made cover tool, forged from steel, a 4 ft long rod that made installing the springs over the anchors much easier, with less stooping and bending. You could make your own cover tool with a 3/4" pipe, just notch one end; or you can use the Loop-Loc Installation Rod, a respectable 3 ft long cover tool made of hardened steel.
Cordless Drill: If your pool cover has lots of cover anchors - or if you are closing 5 pools a day and tired of turning hundreds of cover anchors, use a hacksaw to cut a length of a 1/4" hex key and insert into a cordless drill to make turning cover anchors quick and easy. I also like to use T-handle hex keys on anchors that are hard to turn; these allow more torque when twisting than the L-handle hex key.
Solid Pool Covers
Solid pool covers are like a giant tarpaulin - woven polypropylene tapes, which are sealed and coated. They float on the pool surface, and are held in place around the edge of the pool with heavy weights, to lock out wind and debris, and to keep the cover from blowing away. Rain and snowmelt is removed from a solid cover with a small electrric cover pump, either manual or automatic. Leaves and debris on the cover that won't blow off will need to be manually removed with care.
AquaBloks: Water bags are a necessary evil, but every year a few of them start to leak. You can patch them with silicone or vinyl patch, or you can replace them with Aqua Bloks - plastic containers that fill with water and are guaranteed to never leak! They also clean easily, and stack nested during the summer. Try a few on your pool, and you may never buy water bags again!
Leaf Nets: For pools with even a small amount of leaves, removing them from a solid pool cover can be a chore. Lay the Leaf Net over top of your solid pool cover, and tuck it under a few water bags. After the leaves have fallen, remove the Leaf Net and all of the leaves, in one easy motion. Store the Leaf Net when all the leaves have fallen, and it can last nearly forever.
Water Wizard: This durable little utility pump has been made by LIttle Giant for over 40 years. I like it because it's extremely reliable, and can take a few knocks without breaking. It also is the only pump to pump down to 1/8" - which makes it not only great for pool covers, but for flooded basements or dewatering low spots around the house.
Above Ground Pool Covers
For above ground pools with a complete pool deck surrounding the pool, you can possibly use a safety cover, but for the rest of us, a floating solid pool cover is used. A cable runs around the cover, through a few dozen grommets. Hanging weights on the cord, on on the inside of the cover is helpfuil to keep it tight. Some wind protection may be needed for many pools, and some sort of dewatering system to remove rain water and snow melt, regularly and rapidly.
Cover Clips: For areas of high winds, or even moderate winds - which is just about everywhere - aboveground pools need something to hold the pool cover down, and keep air from getting up underneath. Without this, a cover can be ripped to shreds in minutes. Cover clips, (or Cover Seal) are used to snap the cover to the edge of the pool, locking out wind.
Air Pillows: Many people think that Air Pillows are used to puddle the rain water into smaller area, around the pillow. Or if you pull the cover tightly over the air pillow, rain water will just run right off the pool. Not true, in either case. Air pillows prevent a continuous ice sheet from forming across the pool, which puts pressure on aboveground pool walls. Highly recommended accessory for those in the snowbelt.
Cover Drain: There are two ways to remove rain and snow melt from the pool cover, either electric cover pump, or some sort of gravity/siphon drain. One of the most ingenious methods is the Dryco Cover Drain, which attaches to the center of your cover. The drain connects to a hose that in turn is connected to the pool wall return! No electricity needed - Brilliant!