A Guide to Swimming Pool Covers

Perhaps you've heard the old joke: "A swimming pool is a hole in the ground that you throw money into." One way for pool owners to save money is with a swimming pool cover. A pool cover reduces the amount of chemicals consumed by 30 to 50 percent. It reduces evaporation, a major source of a swimming pool's heat and water loss. The benefits of a swimming pool cover also include increased safety and reduced cleaning time.

Tapping the Sun's Rays
A swimming pool solar cover gathers the sun's rays to warm pool water and helps to stop heat loss through evaporation. Built like bubble-wrap, a solar cover is made of heavier material and is stabilized against the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. A solar cover usually rests on the surface of the pool. These covers are not designed as safety covers and should be removed before swimming.

Cold Season Pool Care
During the off-season, your swimming pool is a magnet for leaves and wind-borne debris. A winter cover (made of heavy duty vinyl or polypropylene) will keep debris out of the pool. Also, since winter covers block sunlight, they will stop the formation of algae. Winter pool covers can be fixed to the pool deck or held in place by water-filled tubes. A mesh-type cover will allow water to pass through while holding back debris. These types of covers do away with the need to pump water off the cover in spring.

Keep Your Pool Safe
If you or your neighbors have small children, a safety cover is going to be your best bet. Safety covers come in mesh or solid materials and attach to permanently installed mounts in the pool deck. The mounting hardware of a safety cover features large springs that maintain enough tension on the cover to support approximately 100 pounds per square foot.

Roll and Store Your Cover
The thought of dragging a wet cover on and off your pool is less than attractive. Several options can minimize the pain of this tedious chore. A manual reel (either hand powered or motorized) is a hands-free way to roll up your swimming pool cover for easy storage. Several manufacturers produce automatic systems that will deploy and retract your pool cover at the touch of a button.

Covering Above Ground Pools
The options for above ground pools are similar to those available for in-ground pools. Make sure to buy a cover that is at least four feet bigger than your pool to leave room for fixing the cover in place. Above ground safety covers usually feature mounting hardware that holds the cover against the outer walls of the pool.

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