by Alicia Harris, September 21, 2018
Winter Pool Covers vs. Safety Pool Covers
The days are growing shorter, the weather's getting cooler, and the leaves are quickly changing color and falling from the trees. This can only mean one thing - winter is coming, and it’s time to close the pool! If you already have a pool cover, you’re all set for pool closing season. If not, you’ll need to decide which type of cover to purchase - a winter pool cover or a safety pool cover. What’s the difference between the two? Let’s take a closer look.
Winter Pool Covers
These tarp-like pool covers work well for both above ground and inground swimming pools. They’re the most affordable, and are sold in a variety of thicknesses and materials - either mesh, solid, or a hybrid of the two. If it’s a solid winter cover, you’ll need to purchase a cover pump to keep rainwater and snowmelt from accumulating and weighing down the cover.
Solid winter covers work well to keep out the smallest debris and sunlight for cleaner water and an easier spring opening, but mesh covers allow for a nearly maintenance-free winter thanks to the cover's accumulated water draining into the pool. Installation is fairly simple. These covers are held in place by a series of water bags or water weights for inground pools, or with a cable and winch system for above ground pools. Warranties on winter covers last anywhere from 3 to 20 years, depending on the quality of the cover. Water tubes are inexpensive, but are thin and usually only last a few seasons. A lot of inground pool owners like to use Aqua Bloks instead, which is a sturdier and longer lasting alternative.
The important thing to remember with these types of covers is that they will only keep lightweight debris from entering your pool. If a pet or small child walks or falls into the pool, the cover will not support the weight, and there’s a risk of entrapment and drowning from getting wrapped up in the cover. The same weight concept applies when too much water collects on the cover - it can fall in the pool, taking all the accumulated debris and dirty water with it.
Safety Pool Covers
A safety cover costs much more than a standard winter pool cover, but you really do get what you pay for with these. They’re most commonly used with inground pools, but can be used on an above ground pool if the top ledge of the pool has a wooden deck surrounding the entire perimeter. Pool safety covers are held in place by a system of sturdy straps and spring-loaded hooks attached to anchors in the pool deck or surrounding area. This creates a sturdy barrier that’s tidy and more attractive to look at during the off-season. These covers stay tight all winter, and almost resemble a trampoline across the surface of the pool.
Much like with winter covers, safety pool covers are available in solid, mesh and hybrid materials. Again, the solid cover will require a cover pump to remove accumulating rainwater and snowmelt, but they will ensure a faster spring opening than mesh pool covers. Safety covers can support a remarkable amount of weight when properly installed, including heavy snow, fallen tree limbs, or wandering animals and children. The warranty for a safety cover usually ranges from 10 to 30 years.
Installation is a bit more intensive, with holes being drilled into the pool deck for the anchors. Once this is done, a special installation tool is used to securely attach the cover straps to the anchors. When not in use, anchors are lowered so they're flush with the pool deck and don't pose a safety hazard. Custom safety covers are available for unique sizes and shapes of pools.
Having trouble choosing a pool cover? Give us a call! Our pool experts are here to answer all your questions, helping you find the best cover at an affordable price.