Cover or no cover

wahoowa

Active member
Apr 30, 2010
33
Originally, I was fishing around to see if I should get a mesh or solid loop-loc type cover for a new pool. I just met with a very respectable company that really only services commercial pools and opens and closes residential pools. They suggested I don't do a cover at all. Here are their thoughts.
1) I live in a new neighborhood, carved out of farmers fields and really don't have any trees within 200ft of my pool.
2) I have a high fence (5 ft) surrounding the pool and the gates have the ability to be locked.
3) I have a very free form sport pool with continuous curves that varies from 8 ft wide to almost 30 ft wide.
4) 25 ft of my edge are large boulders with a slide coming down the middle
5) All my deck surface is 12x12 pavers.

Because of these items, the install would be complicated. There would also have to be aluminum tubes drilled into the pavers which likely would cause some cracking and with the freezing and movement of pavers, will be a continual maitenance nuisance.

This person's suggestion was to simply to close in mid-November (live in MD) and then re-open April 1. About once a month during the winter, add some shock and scoop out any debris. The only issue is safety but if I am comfortable locking the gates and keeping the pool area off-limits (which I can do), then it's not a big issue.

Is this a crazy thought? I guess I just assumed you needed a cover.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
I cant tell you what to do really. If it were me, i'd get the Loop-loc. Covering a free form is a little more expensive since the cover is cut custom for the pool, but its done all the time.

wahoowa said:
There would also have to be aluminum tubes drilled into the pavers which likely would cause some cracking and with the freezing and movement of pavers, will be a continual maitenance nuisance.

.
Did you surmise this or is this what you were told? If someone told you this, it's not true. Yes, you do use aluminum tubes, but there is no more maintenance issues or cracking with pavers tha with concrete. The proper installation in pavers is to drill between the pavers, not through them. A Loop-loc properly installed on a paver deck will not disturb the pavers in the least.
 

wahoowa

Active member
Apr 30, 2010
33
Didn't really surmise this. What the pool person said and I also talked to the guy that installed the pavers is I would need about 50 anchor points and tubes. Over the years, with movement, etc. these have a tendency to stick up and the brass covers sometimes don't go in correctly. This requires a hammer to keep them down and also creates some tripping points for little toes.

I guess for me it's somewhat the question of if there will only be a limited amount going into the pool for debris, do you really need a cover?
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
On the 50 anchor points. You might need that many, but the number of anchors is independent of the deck type (paver or concrete). And I disagree with the maintenance issue described to you. Any cover will require periodic maintenance. But pavers or concrete wont make that much difference. And again, you dont drill into the pavers, you drill between them. Anybody who installs a safety cover this way is doing it wrong.


Do you really need a cover? I guess only you can decide that. Just know that in the spring, you pool will be more difficult to get up and running since there will be more cleaning to do than if you didnt cover it. You wont have any way to circulate the water to remove particulates, etc. You can scoop out leaves, but thats about it.
 

sbluhm

LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2008
84
Virginia Beach, VA
I use a mesh cover for two reasons - small children (safety) and two trees near the pool (debris).

You've covered both of those concerns, so in my opinion, I don't see anything wrong in keeping it uncovered.

I have a friend that did not cover last winter, and to my surprise the earth did not stop spinning or explode, both of which I expected.

However, I would recommend keeping the pump running, because:
I think you need to worry about temperature... first, if it's above 60ish, algae can grow, so you better be maintaining chlorine and circulating water, so you need to keep your pump going; second, if it's below 30, the pipes can freeze, but not if you keep the water circulating.

So if you plan to keep running the pump, keep testing and adjusting, and keep debris out somewhat regularly, I don't see a problem with it.

My recommendation is try it this winter.. if it seems like too much hassle or you find unexpected problems (like the earth stops spinning), you can always go for the cover next year.

Good luck!
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
I wouldn't recommend it. Maryland can get really cold in the winter. You would either have to run the pump 24 hours a day in some instances and/or it can get cold enough that even running the pump might not be enough to protect it.
 

sbluhm

LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2008
84
Virginia Beach, VA
bk406 said:
I wouldn't recommend it. Maryland can get really cold in the winter. You would either have to run the pump 24 hours a day in some instances and/or it can get cold enough that even running the pump might not be enough to protect it.

I remember last winter the number of people who were in areas where they didnt think they need to shut down had frantic posts on TFP wondering what to do as their filter and pipes cracked in January. :shock:
Yes, my point of reference is southern Virginia, definitely not as cold as Maryland. However, my recollection from last winter is the folks that were frustrated that they had to run their pumps so much because of the cold winter... I'd be surprised if a running pump was not able to protect the pipes and equipment from freezing.

But the point is still valid - if you intend to not winterize, you'll have to keep that pump running any time it's near freezing, and depending on location and winter, that could be quite a lot.
 

wahoowa

Active member
Apr 30, 2010
33
Correct, I am going to winterize. Just add shock and stir it up once a month when it gets cold enough (mid to late November) when algae shouldn't be much of a problem. Don't intend to run the pump.
 

ChiknNutz

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 22, 2010
145
Arlington, WA
I'm kinda in the same quandary here. We have a fully fenced pool area and no trees to speak of in the vicinity. We are just north of Seattle, so it gets cold, but by being close to the ocean, we generally don't get hard freezing temps. On average, it stays just above freezing. However, the last couple of years it has dipped into the teens for a couple of weeks. This will be my first year closing the pool right, as all I've done in the past is remove a few plugs from the equipment to drain the water, never left the pump going obviously.

Month Avg.High Avg.Low Mean Avg. Precip Record High Record Low
Jan 46°F 34°F 40°F 4.37 in. 67°F (1986) 1°F (1950)
Feb 49°F 35°F 42°F 3.41 in. 74°F (1986) 2°F (1950)
Mar 53°F 37°F 45°F 3.86 in. 82°F (2004) 10°F (1955)
Apr 58°F 41°F 50°F 2.96 in. 85°F (2004) 27°F (1951)
May 64°F 46°F 55°F 2.57 in. 88°F (1953) 29°F (1954)
Jun 68°F 51°F 60°F 2.26 in. 98°F (1955) 37°F (1952)
Jul 73°F 54°F 64°F 1.32 in. 93°F (1958) 39°F (1972)
Aug 74°F 54°F 64°F 1.35 in. 94°F (1960) 40°F (1987)
Sep 69°F 49°F 59°F 2.09 in. 89°F (1986) 31°F (1992)
Oct 60°F 42°F 51°F 3.25 in. 80°F (1992) 22°F (1971)
Nov 51°F 37°F 44°F 5.11 in. 74°F (1981) 0°F (1993)
Dec 45°F 34°F 40°F 4.99 in. 66°F (1980) 5°F (1964)
 

wahoowa

Active member
Apr 30, 2010
33
Anyone else have any thoughts on this? I am definitely leaning towards the no cover route at least for one year. I have a pool maintenace company that says for $300 they will come about every month over the winter to add very strong liquid chlorine and use a portable vacuum to suck up any debris. That's a lot of winters to have to justify the cost of the cover (which my quotes are around $4500 for mesh loop loc).
 

ChiknNutz

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 22, 2010
145
Arlington, WA
wahoowa said:
Anyone else have any thoughts on this? I am definitely leaning towards the no cover route at least for one year. I have a pool maintenace company that says for $300 they will come about every month over the winter to add very strong liquid chlorine and use a portable vacuum to suck up any debris. That's a lot of winters to have to justify the cost of the cover (which my quotes are around $4500 for mesh loop loc).
That's not too bad, but something you could easily do yourself and save the $300. Yikes on the $4500 quote, the quotes I rec'd from InTheSwim ranged from $1300 to just under $3000 depending on the quality, with most being right about the $2000 mark. I guess that's the cost of the free-form design, but that still seems way higher than should be. Personally, I'd like to see a product somewhere in the middle...something that is better than just the tarp with water bags, but not quite the full-on "Safety cover". Like I said, I don't need the safety part of it, but do like the idea of the anchors to keep it in place.
 

Anemone

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 9, 2007
48
Northeastern Maryland
I live in northern Maryland and haven't covered my vinyl IG for the past 15 years. We used to use a regular cover with water bags and it was horrible to clean the cover and bags every spring. Most of the time the surface debris got dumped into the pool as we were trying to remove the cover, anyway.

One fall, when our liner was getting old and would soon need to be replaced, we decided not to bother with the cover and have never looked back. We winterized but no cover. We do have a lot of trees nearby and I will admit it turns into a swamp by spring. We scoop out all the leaves, unplug the lines, shock, and run the DE filter 24 hours a day (changing the DE as needed). It takes about a week to clear.

It worked so well that we continued to do it that way even after we replaced the liner. Our "new" liner is about 12 years old and still looks good.

I will never go back to a regular cover. At times, I do think about a safety cover but we have a wooden deck which makes placing the anchors more problematic. The deck will eventually need to be replaced and I guess we will look into the options then, but for now, no cover. :party:
 

DWSPool

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
84
Southern Indiana
We inherited our pool and it came with a dense mesh cover with lock-loops (set into the pool's conrete apron). It let in water but, for the most part, kept out major leaves and branches. We didn't blow off or remove the leaves, so many of them decayed on the cover and the sediment and rain-washed residue built up and caused some trouble in the spring. This past year, the cover finally rotted through and we had to deep-six it. I've been considering the options, especially less expensive ones. I wonder if a leaf net would be a good option - much cheaper, no cover pump to worry about - easy to remove and re-install (to remove the last of autumn's leaves). If anything substantial gets through, we could see it and retrieve it with a leaf bag or dipper. We have no safety concerns - pool has a chain-link fence, we're waaaayyy out in the country and have no small children at home.

Any thoughts out there on a leaf net only as a compromise between no cover at all (ala Anemone) and a solid cover? Could a leaf net be the best of all worlds - say, an optimum solution?
 

Anemone

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 9, 2007
48
Northeastern Maryland
I would be interested in hearing about the leaf net too. We get lots of leaves and it is a bit of a pain (for DH) :wink: to scoop them out in the spring. It is not bad, but if we could prevent the leaves from getting into the pool in the first place, it would be even better.

The past 2 years I "sorta" looked into getting a leaf cover but it appears that they are meant to be placed on top of a winter cover. I am just not sure how well they would work without actually resting on a cover. My guess its the weight of the leaves would cause it to sag into the water. I would also need to find a way to secure it to the deck and I really don't want to deal with waterbags again.

So if anyone has any glowing reports on these my DH would love to hear it :-D, but we will probably just keep doing what we have been doing, since it works for us.
 

DWSPool

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
84
Southern Indiana
My guess its the weight of the leaves would cause it to sag into the water. I would also need to find a way to secure it to the deck and I really don't want to deal with waterbags again.
Good point Anemone - perhaps they are generally not as sturdy as regular covers - however, leaves aren't that heavy unless they are wet and the net allows the water to pass through. As for anchoring it, I was thinking of using bungy cords or ropes through the grommets and tying to our fence - do you have something near the pool to which you could tie cords?

Anyone out there use only leaf nets for a winter cover?
 

PoolGuyNJ

TFP Expert
May 20, 2007
3,192
South Central NJ
A properly adjusted safety cover, whether it's solid or mesh, when dry, will allow the dry stuff to blow off. Improperly adjusted covers that sag onto the pool's surface should have the wet leaves brushed off with a plastic rake or pool brush and then have the straps re-tightened. This will bring the cover back up off the water.

The straps and webbing are sewn through the cover. Solid covers left sitting on the water may have water come through. Unless it's a really big pool, tightening the straps usually solves the issue.

Solid covers without mesh drain panels should have a working automatic cover pump. Make sure the hose that attaches to them can drain or any water stuck in a loop will freeze and clog.

Anchors should be rinsed eat Spring with water and a tooth brush to get rid of any grit. Most covers use a 5/16" hex head. This is the same size as a screw driver bit for a cordless drill, turned backwards. It enable rapid threading and un-threading of the turnbuckle. When threading the turnbuckle back down, its a good idea to loosen the clutch on the cordless drill so as to not torque the anchor portion out. Paver decks should do it right after opening and right before closing.

Wood decks are not a problem. Trex and its clones are though.

I like knowing my closed pool will keep animals out.

Scooping uncovered pools? I have better things to do. Don't you?

Scott
 

plucky71

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 18, 2010
116
Michigan

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