Solid winter pool covers are by far the most common type sold today. They do a good job of protecting a pool during cold weather and retarding the growth of algae as the weather warms prior to opening a pool. Unfortunately, improper installation destroys many covers long before they should require replacement. Improper installation is often the reason. Here's how to do it right and save money.
Once your pool is drained to the proper level, lines blown out, anti-freeze and winter chemicals added it's cover time. The correct way to install a cover is very similar whether your pool is above ground or in-ground. Lay the cover over the top of the pool and ensure that the overlapping material is even all the way around. Once this is done place the securing hardware in position. For above ground pools this means threading the cable the loops or grommets and attaching the winch or tightener. For in-ground pools, install the water bags or Aqua Blocks through the retaining loops sewn into the cover.
The next step is to form the cover to the sides of the pool around the entire perimeter. The idea is to have the cover lie on top of the pool water for support and stay against the sides to prevent wind from getting underneath. After the cover is in properly in position, get out the garden hose and spray water on the cover to the depth of an inch or so. This holds the cover down. At this point you're almost finished. For above ground pools, tighten the cable as tightly as possible and get the cable up under the top rail. For in-ground pools, fill the water bags or blocks about two-thirds full of water and make sure they are securely in position.
Tips and Tricks:
-Always buy a solid cover with as much overlap as possible. The standard 3 ft. above ground cover overlap in particular is a bare minimum. Four feet is better. Wind is a pool cover's worst enemy. The best ways to ensure that wind doesn't destroy a cover before its time is having enough overlap to more than cover the top rail. A new product called cover seal provides great insurance. Essentially a roll of industrial stretch film, cover seal is wrapped around the top rail over the cover and down the sides of the pool virtually eliminating any way for wind to get under a cover.
-Air pillows can save you money. Don't use them and you'll save.
-Hanging milk jugs on a winter cover is the best way to ensure you'll replace it right away. Not only does the weight of the jugs put unnecessary stress on the cover, they virtually invite wind damage.
Installing your winter cover correctly pays dividends. Your cover will last longer and your pool will be easier to open in the spring. This is also the method winter pool cover manufacturers recommend. Not following their directions could void your warranty!