How to Choose the Right Winter Cover
It’s almost here. The blowing leaves, the cooler nights and that real “fall” moment- Thanksgiving. As we begin to get the kids ready to go back to school and look towards the end of pool season now is the time to start thinking about ordering your new winter pool cover. The cover choice you make today can make a huge difference in how easily your pool opens next spring. As this decision is an important one, here is some information to help you make the right choice.
Although not required, covering your pool with a winter cover saves frustration and money clearing the pool next spring. In addition to being a physical barrier to any unwanted debris, small branches and mysterious miscellaneous items that end up in the pool over the winter, a winter cover also helps keep sunlight out delaying the growth of algae provided you closed it clean, clear and balanced.
So what are the options?
Aboveground Pool Winter Cover Options
The Solid Covers:
Solid Import 8yr. is a winch and wire winter cover system that secures underneath of the top rails.
Pros: Low upfront cost, providing your pool with the protection it needs against falling branches that could tear your liner. Provides cleaner pool water by keeping all debris out of the pool, unless cover is damaged.
Cons: Low quality material, solid covers make for a more difficult opening, it can also leave the water level lower than desired due to displacement over the winter combined with draining the cover off at the opening.
The Enviromesh Cover: We use the Canadian Made 8yr Enviro Cover which is a winch and wire mesh winter cover system that secures underneath of the top rails.
Pros: High quality light weight material, providing your pool with the protection it needs against falling branches that could tear your liner. Easy removal in spring and no extra water loss due to pumping off the cover.
Cons: Allows water to pass through allowing more debris in the water, early pool openings are recommended with mesh covers. This cover should also be weighted down with water pillows or jugs to prevent the wind from blowing it around.
Recommendations: The Enviro is the cover we actively promote with our clients.
Inground Pool Winter Cover Options
The Bagged Cover– This solid winter cover is a solid tarp like cover which uses water bags to hold it firmly to the concrete or wooden deck. Commonly used on old pools that did not have the coping slot to accommodate the Bead Cover option. You can also get this cover in the “Enviro” version which allowing water to seep through.
Pros: Easy to install, cheap to buy the cover but you still need water bags
Cons: This cover is messy and commonly falls into the pool due to the heavy weight of snow and water. It is not pretty to look at. It can be labour intensive to remove in the spring. Be prepared to spend a lot of time pumping off the water if you do not have the enviromesh version.
Recommendations: choose a Canadian solid cover and double chamber “good quality” water bags and do not over fill them
Please Note: As of 2021 we no longer pump off winter covers at our pool openings. If we are opening your pool and you do not want the water on top of the cover to end up in the pool we ask that you pump off your cover prior to our arrival. As of 2023 the cost of inground pool openings for pools with bagged covers will be increasing.
The Beaded Cover– This solid winter cover fits into a slot in the coping above your liner.
Pros: These covers fit nice and looks good. It provides a barrier preventing debris and water from passing through
Cons: The bead shrinks over time. Installing the cover is hard on the hands and fingers, about the same cost as a bagged cover including water bags
Recommendations: stay away from the “rubber” covers.
Please Note: As of 2021 we no longer pump off winter covers at our pool openings. If we are opening your pool and you do not want the water on top of the cover to end up in the pool we ask that you pump off your cover prior to our arrival. As of 2023 the cost of inground pool openings for pools with beaded covers will be increasing.
The Safety Cover – a “bungee” cord or spring loaded trampoline looking cover that not only prevents damage, keeps out debris AND prevents animals or children from entering the pool or falling through ice. It comes as a mesh or a solid with a mesh drain.
Pros: Very little clean up in spring. Easy to blow off leaves from the cover. Safety aspect provides ease of mind. Can even be used during season while on vacation. Allows water to fill up the pool.
Cons: The mesh cover should be taken off in good time in the spring to prevent algae build up. Solid cover is heavy and bulky, while the “lite” version seems thin. The anchors need to be drilled into the deck. Cover is more costly to purchase but cheaper long term all around.
Recommendation: We like the Mesh Safety Cover. Easier to lift and move and it allows the pool to fill up while keeping all the debris out.
Note: We DO NOT recommend using an autocover as a winter cover in our Maritime Climate. Our winters are a heavy mix of snow, ice and rain making the weight on the cover unnecessarily heavy. Save yourself the money of a new autocover cover and install a safety cover. It’s cheaper!
Cover Alternative or Add-on:
The Leaf Net:
Leaf nets are either an alternate to a winter cover or to be used in addition to the cover. The net is attached with rope to whatever you can use nearby as taut as you can to keep the leaves out of the water. We recommend removing the net after the last leaves have fallen or if you are in a leafy area, removed, cleaned and reinstalled. You want to avoid letting the leaves break down as they will fall through the net- defeats the purpose.
So there you have it, different options for different situations.
Ultimately we would recommend the enviro cover for an aboveground pool (or the ultimate if you can afford it!) and a mesh safety cover for the Inground pools. Ideally, if you have a leafy backyard a leaf net is nice on top of an enviro but unnecessary on the safety cover. When deciding import vs Canadian, the choice is clear- you get what you pay for.
So now that you know what you need to do, call and book your cover while the leaves are still on the trees. Quantities are always limited and certain covers are custom ordered.
If you have any questions on winter covers please email us today to discuss your options and pricing!