swimming pool covers???

billbland

Member
Mar 12, 2009
6
We have owned a inground 18x36 pool for 8 years. We have never covered the pool in the winter
up to this point. I have gotten tired of fighting cleaning out leaves in the pool since we have a lot
of trees. Can anyone with some experience in swimming pool covers give a suggestion of the best type and brand of pool cover to use? I don't want to spend the money for one of those trampoline style pool covers though. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Bill :p
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
I get a super cheap tarp style pool cover. My experience is that the more expensive ones don't last any longer in practice, something always comes up after two or three years to ruin the cover (branch falling, mouse nesting during the summer, etc) so the longer life of the more expensive covers are wasted.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
JasonLion said:
I get a super cheap tarp style pool cover. My experience is that the more expensive ones don't last any longer in practice, something always comes up after two or three years to ruin the cover (branch falling, mouse nesting during the summer, etc) so the longer life of the more expensive covers are wasted.
I'll +1 that. I know lots of folks with tarps and the cheaper ones are just as good, really. I like my Loop-loc for 2 reason. 1) i'm a asthetics person. I like the clean look. 2) I have a 4 yo and 1 yo. i like to let them out back after pool season and not have to worry about them falling in if i turn my back for 2 seconds.
 

alben

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2009
74
Central Minnesota
I use a safety cover year round. After scooping out dead rabbits, gophers, and other small critters out of the pool, scooping out gobs of leaves all the time, and always having a safety issue always nagging me in the back of my mind regarding pets and children, I got a safety cover. Best investment I ever made. The safety cover is on whenever we are not in it. I don't have to worry about our dog, or now our child falling in the pool. No more scooping out leaves. Peace of mind. My wife and I have the system down so we can pull the cover on and off quickly and efficiently.
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
I'm with Jason. Cheap tarp and replace it every few years. I have grass around my pool which complicates using a Loop-loc type and I rely on a padlocked 5-foot fence to keep kids and critters off the cover. In the Swim sells decent covers and tubes. I recommend Rule pumps, I had bad luck with Little Giant.
 

DWSPool

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
84
Southern Indiana
We have a trampoline-type cover set-up, but the cover finally rotted through and we will need a new one this fall. It was a dense mesh - allowed water to filter through, but not large pieces of brush; however, decomposed leaf litter still made its way into the pool over winter with the rainwater.

For the tarp system, I assume you need a tarp pump to pump off rainwater. How do you handle heavy snow and ice in the winter? How does cost of the water bag+tarp+pump system compare to the trampoline type cover system? The trampoline-style replacement cost is about $800.
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
DWSPool said:
For the tarp system, I assume you need a tarp pump to pump off rainwater. How do you handle heavy snow and ice in the winter? How does cost of the water bag+tarp+pump system compare to the trampoline type cover system? The trampoline-style replacement cost is about $800.
Tubes and cover for an 18'x36' run maybe $140-160. Just a cover around $100-$120. Pump is $150-$180 for an automatic. The Rule pump I use is built to stay out all winter, which is key in NJ as we can get rain all winter long followed by snow and back to rain. In Minnesota, you could bring it in in the cold months. The tarp lies right ON the water, so snow and ice can just pile up as high as it wants to, no worry about cleaning it off. I got six years off my first cover, and my Rule pump is on its fourth year, after I went through two crappy Little Giants--they really can't stay out all winter like the Rule can. I also have to replace a tube (or two) every year, add $15.

The solid covers beat anything else for an easy cleanup, IMHO. I open to crystal water, and the pool is perfect every year once I vacuum up a few worms (grass surround--no way to keep them out). I can pull and install by myself, with the help of a cinder-block and a few bungee cords (never a darn kid around when you need one).

I see you are next to a forest. I am, too, with lots of pin-oaks that keep shedding leaves until April. I use a leaf net, which I empty twice in the fall (ten-minute, one man job) and then leave on all winter because of the pin-oaks, even though you are not supposed to. This makes the Spring opening a lot easier. I think that cost $80, and it is 5 years old and going strong.
 

DWSPool

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
84
Southern Indiana
Thanks for the info Durk - about $400 is better than $800, by half :) I will likely try that setup this year - sounds like it should also ease our opening next spring.

"I see you are next to a forest. I am, too, with lots of pin-oaks that keep shedding leaves until April."

What!? A forest in NJ ?? No way. :mrgreen: Seriously, we visited a relative in NJ many years ago and I was very taken by the amount of beautiful forestland in NJ.
 

Peter_S

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2010
70
NE Ohio
If you are willing to do a little outside maintenance through the winter you can get away with a very cheap pump. I bought a light plastic sump pump from Home Depot...less than $25 IIRC. It's battery operated but you don't need to run it very long. Toss it into the water that's trapped in the cover, turn it on until the flow starts, stick your hand into the icy cold water, turn it off and it will siphon the water away. I added a longer discharge tube so I can drain the water further away from the pool.

Aslo stick a piece of old pantyhose, kneehigh etc. over the pump to keep leaves and other junk from clogging the impeller.
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
DWSPool said:
Thanks for the info Durk - about $400 is better than $800, by half :) I will likely try that setup this year - sounds like it should also ease our opening next spring.

"I see you are next to a forest. I am, too, with lots of pin-oaks that keep shedding leaves until April."

What!? A forest in NJ ?? No way. :mrgreen: Seriously, we visited a relative in NJ many years ago and I was very taken by the amount of beautiful forestland in NJ.
Well, the woods on these hills were last clear-cut about 150 years ago, so these trees are still growing. But we are happy that the pretty parts of NJ are less well known. If our fall foliage were in Vermont or Virginia, we'd have tourists every fall. No, thanks!

Peter_S's system would make for a pretty miserable Jan. and Feb. here in NJ given the distance from my house to the pool and the fact I'd have to do this at night, and might be tough on a 18'x36' IGP. But the screen idea is valid--I use one of those mesh drawstring bags for camping, and it keeps all the crud out of the pump. I don't go anywhere near the pool from December to mid-March unless I see water accumulating.
 

Peter_S

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2010
70
NE Ohio
Durk said:
DWSPool said:
Peter_S's system would make for a pretty miserable Jan. and Feb. here in NJ given the distance from my house to the pool and the fact I'd have to do this at night,
:lol: I don't think our winters are much better than yours, Durk. One year I was breaking ice to get the pump into the water underneath my fingers got so cold and shrunk that I lost my wedding ring in the cover. But that's what make pool ownership so much fun...and I found the ring when things thawed a bit.

I know the guys in AZ and Cali are rolling on the floor right now.
 

billbland

Member
Mar 12, 2009
6
Thanks for all the replys. I ended up buying a LOOPLOC solid cover with center drains back in the fall and it worked
like a charm. Should have invested in one years ago.
 

alben

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2009
74
Central Minnesota
I am sure you are going to be happy with your investment. I use the same type of solid safety cover year round for safety reasons and to keep the leaves out. Our first cover lasted 10 years, being used year round. Being that it is a $1,800 cover, that equated to $180 a year. Like I said earlier, my wife and I have the "system" down, to where we can uncover/cover the pool in a matter of just a few minutes.
 

dmj4

Well-known member
Jul 22, 2009
60
Hi Alben;

Would you be able to post a photo or link to the cover you have? Also, if you put it right back on, where does it sit when you take it off? Does it pull back under a diving board or something?

We are trying to keep ours leaf free. The dry summer is causing leaves to fall, now. It is sad. Summer is not supposed to be over, yet.

We have thought about one of the ones that runs in a track or something, either electric or hand turned.

Thanks!!!!
 

alben

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2009
74
Central Minnesota
Attached is a photo. As you might be able to see, there are quite a few pine needles and berries from a mountain ash. All in just 3 days. So what I do is keep a leaf blower handy and quickly blow off the cover before I pull it back.

As for pulling the cover back, as I unhook the spring thingies on one side, my wife or daughter unhooks the opposite side. We do not unhook all springies. The ones we do not unhook are the far end and the last set widthways. Then we grab the loosened cover from the middle set of springies and pull to the end and just leave the cover on top of the wild violets and vegetation. All but the last 6 inches of the pool is uncovered. Very easy to do actually.

To put the cover back we just grab the widthwise straps and pull. Easy to put back as well. However, both opening and closing the cover requires two people. Not a lot of muscle power needed, but it does take two people.






- Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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dmj4

Well-known member
Jul 22, 2009
60
alben said:
I am sure you are going to be happy with your investment. I use the same type of solid safety cover year round for safety reasons and to keep the leaves out. Our first cover lasted 10 years, being used year round. Being that it is a $1,800 cover, that equated to $180 a year. Like I said earlier, my wife and I have the "system" down, to where we can uncover/cover the pool in a matter of just a few minutes.
I really, really appreciate the pictures and the description. So, yours is a solid cover, not mesh. Does it have the slots to let rain water drain into pool? If not, why did you decide to get one without them.

I'm sorry to be so ignorant about them. We do have leaves and it seems our spring rains have been flood level the last couple of years. Now, we are dry as a bone.

Thank you!
Donna
 

alben

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 23, 2009
74
Central Minnesota
It turns out, that you don't need "mesh" panels in the safety pool covers. Water will drain through even the heavy duty solid safety covers. These safety covers are not like canvas, where canvas will hold water from going through indefinitely. Instead, water will go through the cover, like a very fine filtering mechanism. I personally would not get the safety covers with mesh panels, as I see no need for it, and that could possibly be just an area that would be weaker, unsafe, or wear out faster.
 

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