With the snowy Pittsburgh weather just around the corner, it is essential to ensure you take the proper steps when managing snow and ice that accumulates on your pool cover. By knowing how to handle the snow and ice properly, you can keep your cover securely in place, and your pool is in proper condition for next season.
At Swimming Pool Discounters, our experts have put together a few tips and tricks on how to effectively manage ice and snow accumulation on your pool cover.
If there is less than two feet of snow on your pool cover, there typically no need to worry since both winter and safety covers are both designed to carry that kind of weight effectively. Be sure to monitor the water level of the pool and make sure it hasn’t dropped.
Your winter cover requires the support of the water, so if the water drains out due to being displaced by too much weight, your solid cover can tear or fall in the pool. Under a heavy load of snow and ice, the straps and springs of safety covers can become weakened and fail.
Mesh covers, also known as safety covers, may look like they are going to break under the weight of the snow. Many times, the cover will freeze to the surface of the water, causing worry due to its unsettling look.
To avoid tearing the cover, don’t attempt to speed up the thawing process. Also, avoid trying to break the cover free from the ice and don’t use a metal snow shovel on the cover because it could cause tearing.
A solid cover will collect the snow melt as it begins to thaw, so be sure to have your cover pump ready. Keep in mind, 10” of snow equals about 1” of water when melted. If you get more than one inch of water on your cover, it could put enough stress on the cover to damage it.
If you get more than two feet of snow on your pool cover, it is beneficial to try to remove at least a foot or two from around the edge. When removing the snow, be careful not to get too close to the pool or the pool edge. You don’t need to worry about the pool cover, but rather keep the pool deck cleared off to allow for more efficient drainage of snowmelt.
You may consider wrapping a plug-in heat cable around the cover pump cord, plugged into a 3-way plug with the pump. This will generate a small amount of heat to help accelerate snowmelt and create a more efficient channel for the water to drain as long as you lay it across the pool cover surface and down the entire length of the pool.
With this much snow on top of your cover, it is essential to clear some of it off to alleviate the strain on your pool cover. You can do this by using a soft bristle broom to remove the snow gently. Keep an eye on the weather forecast to see how much snow is expected and be sure to remove the snow as it falls to make it easier to manage.
You can also use a plastic snow shovel to remove the snow from your cover carefully. Using a plastic shovel doesn’t guarantee you won’t tear your cover, but there is less risk of tearing when compared to using a metal shovel.
You may also consider putting pool salt on top of your pool cover to melt the snow and then pumping the water off. Be sure to only use a few pounds of pool salt and avoid using sidewalk ice melt to prevent putting unwanted additives and impurities into your poo.
This amount of snow may spell trouble for many, but if your pool has adequate water levels, your frozen pool will support up to 60” of snow. To begin managing this amount of snow, you must first clear a path to pool and then start slowly and carefully removing the snow and ice from the pool cover. This will allow you to better assess the cover’s condition.
Both winter covers and safety cover relies heavily on the support of the pool water to help carry the weight of the ice and snow. If you are using a safety cover and you know your pool is leaking, be sure to add water through the winter to keep the water level around 3”-12” below the skimmer opening. If you allow the water level to drop 12” below the skimmer opening, it could result in severe damage to your safety cover, especially if the cover is older.
If you position your cover pump correctly on your pool cover, the pump will do most of the work for you to help manage the snow melt or existing ice as it melts. With automatic cover pumps, they will begin pumping once they are submerged to a certain point and can run throughout the entire winter season. Manual pumps, on the other hand, are turned on and off as needed. At Swimming Pool Discounters, we have a wide selection of high quality, competitively priced pool covered pumps to save money and your cover.
Another effective way to manage snow and ice on your pool cover for above ground pools is to use an air pillow. An air pillow floats in the center of the pool underneath your pool cover to prevent the pool surface from freezing solid all the way across and will also help to channel the water to the cover pump. This protects the pool walls from severe and costly damage. An air pillow should always be used for aboveground pools.