Safety cover on an above ground pool questions/advice.


Jul 13, 2016
Syracuse NY
We replaced our 18'x33' (48" or 52" depth) above ground pool this spring with a new 54" deep pool. The previous pool seemed pretty old, came with the house (we've had it 3 years) and to make a long story short… the side blew out over the winter.

1.) Is this safety cover ok to be installed on an above ground pool like this? See pic. The previous pool top rail sat almost flush/over the decking and that's what was always installed on it. Pics attached. The new pool is a bit higher and sits 2 to 4 inches up higher from the deck (The deck isn't level all the way around). New pool last 2 pics. Don't mind the trim pieces around it as they aren't actually touching the top rail and aren't intended to hold any weight.

We get a lot of snow here and I'm concerned the extra height will be a problem with the cover going up from the deck and then being stretched back down by the snow putting extra force on the walls. It always sags pretty good under the weight of the snow and it looked like the old pool may have had an issue with a little crumpling on one of the walls (before we owned it).

2.) Should I get an air pillow (or two) for under this cover? I think this would be a good idea regardless, to give ice a place to expand that is not against my new pool walls but any insight would be appreciated.

3.) What should I do for the water level? I've read a lot on the subject and am not quite sure what I want to do. I feel like draining to the return and leaving it open might be best to keep the water out of the skimmer. This is what I did with the old pool, just attached a short pipe on the outside to it to let the water drain away from the pool. like I said,… we get a lot of snow and I think the water could easily fill to skimmer in the winter/spring thaws if I plug the return. Perhaps if I leave the skimmer line off to let it drain there if I plug the return? (I connected the new skimmer with a disconnect so I could do this if need be.)

Also for the water level. I have read, (in-ground pools mostly) that these types of covers should be allowed sag down to the water level (and no talk of air pillows). In my case if I leave the water below the return, this will leave a lot of flex on the cover and force on the walls.

4.) Should I just ditch the safety cover and get a standard above ground pool winter cover? I feel like this safety cover is kind of a weird situation/setup. I would hate to get rid of a relatively nice cover but if it's going to potentially damage my new pool that I have spent so much time and effort installing, it's not worth it.

Anyway thank you for reading my very long post and I appreciate any advice you can provide.



Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
It doesn’t seem like anyone has a setup like yours to give you guidance. It is hard to say what will work until you test it.


Jul 13, 2016
Syracuse NY
heh yeah. It definitely seems like a rather unique setup. I have to take cues from above AND in ground closing steps. :p

I think I have my plan:
- Keep the mesh safety cover as it had been working well on the old pool.
- Keep the return open with some extra piping to direct the water away from the pool wall and so it won't fill to high over the winter.
- Keep the water as high as possible but out of the skimmer
-- Looking at possibly bringing the return up a bit with piping so it only drains so far.
- Add some air bags under the cover for ice expansion. (figure it's worth a try as their not terribly expensive.
- Blow out lines, treat water and winterize pump as usual.