Pool Cover Essentials For Inground Pools

by Pool Builders on 12-01-2008 in Articles

Let's face it - pool covers is not an exciting topic; unfortunately, it is a very important one that must be addressed based on the specifics of pool type, geography, and safety concerns. Think of it this way, once the decision is made, the cover is purchased and installed -- the enjoyment can truly begin!

The process starts by deciding which design will work best. Does it need to provide safety for children and animals? Does it need to protect the basin from the elements? Or, is the climate such that a simple solar blanket will provide enough protection? If children or pets are in the picture, then the main priority has to be safety.

Safety covers are required to hold the weight of a child and two adults, within a 3-foot area, which is 475 pounds-- give or take. They must also provide drainage to prevent drowning if something or someone wanders onto the cover. In addition, the material cannot have any opening large enough to allow a child or animal to slip through and fall beneath. Given these criteria, this type of pool cover is heavier, more complicated to install and use, and is more expensive. But a price cannot be put on the safety of loved ones!

For owners living in cold weather climates, a winter cover can be the way to go. In this case, it encloses the entire surface area and is then attached to the perimeter or the edges can be weighted down with sand bags. They are not designed to be removed on a daily basis but to be installed when winterization occurs. Debris, dirt, leaves, snow and ice are blocked from entering and spring opening becomes easier. If it is within the budget, look to buy one with mildew inhibitors, reinforced seams and even UV stabilizers.

For those owners living in a warm weather climate, a solar blanket may just be the ticket. This variety keeps debris from entering the water and retains the heat from the day keeping the water warm on cooler nights. These tend to be easy to install, cheaper to purchase and are low maintenance. They can be taken on and off easily to allow for year-round access to the water. Solar blankets are a great option for the swim season as well. A solar blanket acts like a giant solar collector, absorbing heat and transferring it to the water. A covered pool can attain a 10 to 15 degree heat increase resulting in a big savings on heating cost. Who can't use some savings these days?

If the pool is in the design phase, consider a cover that uses tracks. These are constructed of vinyl and are stored on a reel system and then connected to tracks that run the length of the pool. Within this category, two types are available: manual and automatic. The manual variety requires someone to crank it open and crank it shut. The automatic variety uses a motor to do the opening and closing. As would be expected, the manual kind is more affordable than the motorized kind. A retrofit, to a track system, on an existing pool is possible but very costly. Many local companies can provide assistance with install and maintenance.

So, now the decision process looms. A pool cover must be used to extend the life of the pool and to help with energy costs. Get this step out of the way and the focus can turn to the fun kind of cover -- cute summer cover-ups!

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