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Thread: Winter Cover

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    Winter Cover

    Well kids finally decided the pool is now to cold to swim any more. Now time to find my first winter cover.
    I have researched many different types and brands. Im looking for any personal experience with different covers, cover gizmos like the water bags, pillows, shrink wrap, etc..... what works and what is a waste of money. Thanks in advanced for any help.

    Its a 12x24 doughboy
    12x24 Doughboy. 8700 gallons~ 2 HP Dyanmo Pump~ 26" Sand Dollar Filter~TF 100 test kit~ Zodiac Ranger AGP automatic cleaner.

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    Re: Winter Cover

    I've had really good luck with my 28' round arctic armor mesh pool cover. Going on my 6th year with the same cover. Cost was around $120.

    I've never had any success with the cheap air equalizer pillows. Each year I'd fork over $15.00 on the long oversized air pillow only to find it completed deflated halfway through the winter season leaving my mesh cover submerged in water. About 6 years ago, I decided to purchase something more durable to equalize my pool of the winter and keep the cover off the water. I bought three Intex Intex River Run II rafts to use as my ice equalizer pillows during the winter. Going on my 5th year with them. They do a fantastic job (espically with the high-back pillow on the raft) keeping the cover suspended and prevent water from puddling on the cover. They also inflate and deflate in less than two minutes with a threaded air cap unlike the convention air pillows which are a pain to deflate. I also use ten 8' water bags to hold the cover down, then I use 30 2" steel spring clamps (with rubber ends) to roll the cover under the top rail/cap and "clip-it" with the clamps kind of like hanging a t-shirt on a cloths line. Knock on wood..... ten years and never had a cover fall in. All rain water and melted snow pass through the cover without issue. I breakout the back-pack leaf blower in November and blow the cover clean of all leaves and twigs. Add a gallon of shock (thru the mesh cover) in November and then another gallon in May. Pool is always clear in June when I pull the cover. Usually a quick vacuum to remove any fine silt on the bottom, SLAM the pool (per Pool School directions), and two days later the pool is crystal clear ready for the kids.
    2002 24' Aluminium Sharkline Coronado 52" AG Pool, Hayward EC50 DE Filter, Hayward 1HP Power-Flo LX Pump, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    In the Artic Armor install instructions it says water should pool on the cover to help hold it down? Is that how its supposed to be or isn't that the reason you use the Rafts to high center the middle if I understand correctly.
    12x24 Doughboy. 8700 gallons~ 2 HP Dyanmo Pump~ 26" Sand Dollar Filter~TF 100 test kit~ Zodiac Ranger AGP automatic cleaner.

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    Re: Winter Cover

    if your pool is a large pool, it helps GREATLY to have something inflatable holding the center up..it makes getting it off in the spring SO MUCH EASIER! I have a 33ft round AGP. The water from rain and snow will still pool on the cover, just not all towards the middle, and it makes it much easier to pump off when you are ready to open.

    Hope that helps
    Dan
    33' x 52" Swim and Play Inc. PARAGON AGP. Hayward H200 Heater. Hayward Power-Flo LX 1.5hp pump. Sta-Rite Cristal Flo T-210WF Sand Filter. Stenner 45M5 chlorine pump

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by flyweed
    if your pool is a large pool, it helps GREATLY to have something inflatable holding the center up..it makes getting it off in the spring SO MUCH EASIER! I have a 33ft round AGP. The water from rain and snow will still pool on the cover, just not all towards the middle, and it makes it much easier to pump off when you are ready to open.

    Hope that helps
    Dan
    Dan - Do you have a solid cover or a mesh cover? With a mesh cover there really is no puddling when the cover is pulled tight and raised off the water surface using two or three inflatable equilizer pillows or rafts. All the water passes right through the cover.
    2002 24' Aluminium Sharkline Coronado 52" AG Pool, Hayward EC50 DE Filter, Hayward 1HP Power-Flo LX Pump, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Heavyweight - You are correct. The whole purpose of having a mesh cover is to keep the water from puddling up. If you use 3 large pool pillows (or 3 large inflatable rafts) and pull the cover tight, it will suspend the cover over the surface of the water and allow the rain water / snowmelt to pass through the cover. My only recommendation is to loosen the cover and let it "drape" or hang loosely over the pillows prior to any heavy snowfall. If pulled too tight, heavy snow WILL tear a mesh cover, especially if it's 3 or more years old. Here's what my mesh cover looks like right now. Just before heavy snow is expected, I'll release the 2" spring clamps (30 of them total) one section at a time allowing the cover to hang loose over the rafts. Then in late March, when the threat of snow has subsided, I'll pull the cover tight again and clear any leaves with a leaf blower.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    2002 24' Aluminium Sharkline Coronado 52" AG Pool, Hayward EC50 DE Filter, Hayward 1HP Power-Flo LX Pump, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Saleen. mine is a SOLID black cover with cable and clips to tighten around the pool. No water in, no water out. We have tree's very close to our pool, so even while a mesh cover is nice, there is still little particles of crud that fit through the mesh and get into the pool. So I like the solid cover, put a float in the middle of the pool and call it good.
    33' x 52" Swim and Play Inc. PARAGON AGP. Hayward H200 Heater. Hayward Power-Flo LX 1.5hp pump. Sta-Rite Cristal Flo T-210WF Sand Filter. Stenner 45M5 chlorine pump

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Saleen455
    Heavyweight - You are correct. The whole purpose of having a mesh cover is to keep the water from puddling up. If you use 3 large pool pillows (or 3 large inflatable rafts) and pull the cover tight, it will suspend the cover over the surface of the water and allow the rain water / snowmelt to pass through the cover. My only recommendation is to loosen the cover and let it "drape" or hang loosely over the pillows prior to any heavy snowfall. If pulled too tight, heavy snow WILL tear a mesh cover, especially if it's 3 or more years old. Here's what my mesh cover looks like right now. Just before heavy snow is expected, I'll release the 2" spring clamps (30 of them total) one section at a time allowing the cover to hang loose over the rafts. Then in late March, when the threat of snow has subsided, I'll pull the cover tight again and clear any leaves with a leaf blower.

    Where did you purchase the 2" spring clamps and how expensive are they?
    AG 24' ( Columbia PL30-6 sand filter), 2hp 2 sp pump, cholorine, Tennessee
    Taylor k- 2006 test kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    You can get those 2 inch spring clamps at any home center like Lowes or Home Depot.

    I got mine at Lowes three or four years ago. I think I paid around $2.00 per clamp???

    I ordered a few more this year on Amazon. They have an 8PK of 2" Spring Clamps selling for $5.99 with free shipping ($0.74 per clamp). Tough to beat that price.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    2002 24' Aluminium Sharkline Coronado 52" AG Pool, Hayward EC50 DE Filter, Hayward 1HP Power-Flo LX Pump, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Saleen455
    You can get those 2 inch spring clamps at any home center like Lowes or Home Depot.

    I got mine at Lowes three or four years ago. I think I paid around $2.00 per clamp???

    I ordered a few more this year on Amazon. They have an 8PK of 2" Spring Clamps selling for $5.99 with free shipping ($0.74 per clamp). Tough to beat that price.

    Thank you so much.
    AG 24' ( Columbia PL30-6 sand filter), 2hp 2 sp pump, cholorine, Tennessee
    Taylor k- 2006 test kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Saleen455
    You can get those 2 inch spring clamps at any home center like Lowes or Home Depot.

    I got mine at Lowes three or four years ago. I think I paid around $2.00 per clamp???

    I ordered a few more this year on Amazon. They have an 8PK of 2" Spring Clamps selling for $5.99 with free shipping ($0.74 per clamp). Tough to beat that price.

    Thanks for the info on the clamps! We bought ten of them from Lowes for $1.88 each and they work really well! Now the countdown starts til Spring 2014!!
    27x52 Garden Leisure AGP, Hayward Dream Line 1.5 Sand Filter, TF-100 Test kit
    BBB and Loving It!!

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    Re: Winter Cover

    We use a solid cover, held down with jugs tied to the grommet holes. We have had to pump out the cover several times already this fall. With a mesh cover, our water levels would now be too high and we would be pumping out pool water. I don't see how we could maintain the chlorine levels if fresh water were entering the pool. In Michigan, we can get a lot of snow but always have solid frozen pool water. So we have to decrease the water level below the inlets and skimmer openings before it freezes. With a mesh cover all that snow would seep into the pool, raising the water level during the mid-winter thaw. We would have to make sure the levels stay low enough for ice not to creep into the openings. I could see the mesh cover being beneficial in the spring, getting "free" water but what have you all found with maintaining chlorine levels until spring opening without opening up to a "green" pool?
    16 x 28 Doughboy Mystic Garden AGP with 7' deep end (used expandable vinyl liner) ~11,800 gals. Deep end main drain. Thru-the-wall skimmer, one return at deep end. Media Master 150# sand filter. Doughboy PowerPak II pump, 1 hp. Pentair MinimaxCH 150m natural gas heater. Polaris 65 when it feels like working . TF-100 test kit. No longer 'pool stored' 5 years and counting. In sunny but fickle metro-Detroit.

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    Re: Winter Cover

    I've had a mesh cover for nine years and never pulled the cover in the spring to find a green pool. Here's my 10-step process for closing the pool: 1) stretch the cover tight in the fall using water bags and 2" spring clamps, 2) blow off the dry leaves weekly using a leaf blower, 3) add a gallon of shock thru the mesh cover in November, 4) slightly loosen the clamps before the first threat of snow so the cover hangs loose over the inflatable tubes/pillows and doesn't tear with heavy snowfall/snowbuild-up, 5) don't touch the pool until April, 6) stretch and retighten the cover tight in late April after the threat of snowfall is gone, 7) dump another gallon of shock thru the mesh cover in mid-April, 8) pull the cover off the pool in late May/early June pool water is clear with just a hint of fine silt on the bottom, 9) SLAM the pool per Pool School instructions, vacuum the fine silt, run the filter for 24hrs then backwash and recharge the filter, 10) enjoy the pool all summer.

    As far as maintaining the water level with a mesh cover here's what I do. I drain the pool down to the return outlet. I don't plug the return outlet. Instead I connect a 10' PVC discharge hose to the return outlet so as rainwater and snowmelt pass through the mesh cover, the excess water immediately exits the pool via the discharge hose connected to the return outlet. The water level is always the same all winter long...it stays level with the bottom of the return outlet. Even when the pool freezes, the ice never builds up at or in the return outlet. Never had a single issue with this method and I live in the frigid Northeast.
    2002 24' Aluminium Sharkline Coronado 52" AG Pool, Hayward EC50 DE Filter, Hayward 1HP Power-Flo LX Pump, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Saleen455
    I've had a mesh cover for nine years and never pulled the cover in the spring to find a green pool. Here's my 10-step process for closing the pool: 1) stretch the cover tight in the fall using water bags and 2" spring clamps, 2) blow off the dry leaves weekly using a leaf blower, 3) add a gallon of shock thru the mesh cover in November, 4) slightly loosen the clamps before the first threat of snow so the cover hangs loose over the inflatable tubes/pillows and doesn't tear with heavy snowfall/snowbuild-up, 5) don't touch the pool until April, 6) stretch and retighten the cover tight in late April after the treat of snowfall is gone, 7) dump another gallon of shock thru the mesh cover in mid-April, 8) pull the cover off the pool in late May/early June pool water is clear with just a hint of fine silt on the bottom, 9) SLAM the pool per Pool School instructions, vacuum the fine silt, run the filter for 24hrs then backwash and recharge the filter, 10) enjoy the pool all summer.

    As far as maintaining the water level with a mesh cover here's what I do. I drain the pool down to the return outlet. I don't plug the return outlet. Instead I connect a 10' PVC discharge hose to the return outlet so as rainwater and snowmelt pass through the mesh cover, the excess water immediately exits the pool via the discharge hose connected to the return outlet. The water level is always the same all winter long...it stays level with the bottom of the return outlet. Even when the pool freezes, the ice never builds up at or in the return outlet. Never had a single issue with this method and I live in the frigid Northeast.

    Thanks for this info, will definitely use it. But i do have one question for you, when you dump the gallon of shock into the pool in November and April, do you go all around the perimeter to do so?
    AG 24' ( Columbia PL30-6 sand filter), 2hp 2 sp pump, cholorine, Tennessee
    Taylor k- 2006 test kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Thanks for this info, will definitely use it. But i do have one question for you, when you dump the gallon of shock into the pool in November and April, do you go all around the perimeter to do so?
    Correct. I walk around the perimeter of the pool and dump about 6oz. of shock every couple of feet. Then I hose down the top of the cover so it doesn't bleach out, discolor, or become brittle in the areas I dumped the shock.
    2002 24' Aluminium Sharkline Coronado 52" AG Pool, Hayward EC50 DE Filter, Hayward 1HP Power-Flo LX Pump, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Thanks Saleen455 for a different way of taking care of our "giant ice block" during the non-swimming months. I am going to bookmark this and consider it for next year. :P
    16 x 28 Doughboy Mystic Garden AGP with 7' deep end (used expandable vinyl liner) ~11,800 gals. Deep end main drain. Thru-the-wall skimmer, one return at deep end. Media Master 150# sand filter. Doughboy PowerPak II pump, 1 hp. Pentair MinimaxCH 150m natural gas heater. Polaris 65 when it feels like working . TF-100 test kit. No longer 'pool stored' 5 years and counting. In sunny but fickle metro-Detroit.

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Saleen455
    Thanks for this info, will definitely use it. But i do have one question for you, when you dump the gallon of shock into the pool in November and April, do you go all around the perimeter to do so?
    Correct. I walk around the perimeter of the pool and dump about 6oz. of shock every couple of feet. Then I hose down the top of the cover so it doesn't bleach out, discolor, or become brittle in the areas I dumped the shock.
    I thought I would note that we do not recommend adding chemicals to a pool when the pump is not running due to the potential of damaging pool surfaces by having high concentration of bleach localized in one area. It sounds like it has worked for Saleen though. I use an approach very similar to Saleen except that I do not add bleach after closing (I SLAM just before I close as the pool school article suggests) and I still open to a clean pool. The key is to close the pool when the water temp is consistently below 60F and open before it get's above 60F. I typically do it below 55F.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    I thought I would note that we do not recommend adding chemicals to a pool when the pump is not running due to the potential of damaging pool surfaces by having high concentration of bleach localized in one area.
    Personally, I've never had an issue in nine years with bleach spots on the liner when pouring the bleach/shock directly from the bottle through the mesh cover, but if you're concerned about having high concentrations of bleach in one area, you could always dilute the liquid shock or bleach with water before dumping it over your mesh cover into the pool. Just grab an empty bottle of bleach and add 16oz. of liquid shock or bleach with 112oz. of water and pour the diluted mixture over your mesh cover every couple of feet around the pool. Do it eight times and you've just added a gallon of bleach to your pool without having high concentrations dumped in various localized areas.

    My pool is covered 9 months of the year (Sept - May) with a mesh cover which means there's significant chlorine loss through increased amounts of rainwater/snowmelt, not to mention good old evaporation. Pump circulation or not, maintaining some level of chlorine in a pool covered for 9 months with a mesh top is critical to opening the pool in May to relatively clear water. Just my $0.02
    2002 24' Aluminium Sharkline Coronado 52" AG Pool, Hayward EC50 DE Filter, Hayward 1HP Power-Flo LX Pump, TF-100 Test Kit

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Winter Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Saleen455
    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    I thought I would note that we do not recommend adding chemicals to a pool when the pump is not running due to the potential of damaging pool surfaces by having high concentration of bleach localized in one area.
    Personally, I've never had an issue in nine years with bleach spots on the liner when pouring the bleach/shock directly from the bottle through the mesh cover, but if you're concerned about having high concentrations of bleach in one area, you could always dilute the liquid shock or bleach with water before dumping it over your mesh cover into the pool. Just grab an empty bottle of bleach and add 16oz. of liquid shock or bleach with 112oz. of water and pour the diluted mixture over your mesh cover every couple of feet around the pool. Do it eight times and you've just added a gallon of bleach to your pool without having high concentrations dumped in various localized areas.

    My pool is covered 9 months of the year (Sept - May) with a mesh cover which means there's significant chlorine loss through increased amounts of rainwater/snowmelt, not to mention good old evaporation. Pump circulation or not, maintaining some level of chlorine in a pool covered for 9 months with a mesh top is critical to opening the pool in May to relatively clear water. Just my $0.02
    Again, for general advice, we strongly recommend against adding chemicals without a way of distributing them properly.

    With that said, it sounds like your approach has worked well for you...so as duraleigh likes to say, "if it isn't broke, don't fix it". I am curious, does your pool not freeze? What pool temperature do you close and open at?
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Winter Cover

    Water Temp at closing in September (usually the weekend after Labor Day) is usually right around 68 and falls to around 50 by the time we hit late November.

    Depending on old man winter, the pool usually freezes around mid-late December and stays frozen through February. Again, that timetable varies depending on weather conditions.

    As just about every pool owner knows, it's all about finding a personalized maintenance program that works for you....and sticking with it. That's why I really enjoy this forum. So much knowledge and experience, I learn something new every time I come here.
    2002 24' Aluminium Sharkline Coronado 52" AG Pool, Hayward EC50 DE Filter, Hayward 1HP Power-Flo LX Pump, TF-100 Test Kit

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