Pool cover buying guide

Pool cover buying guide

Patrick, Handyman, Bath

Guide written by:

Patrick, Handyman, Bath

13 guides

There are plenty of ways to protect the surface of your swimming pool including solar covers, leaf nets and winter covers. Whether your pool cover is secured to a roller or fitted with clips, its main job is to keep your pool clean. However, some covers will also help to keep the water warm or even make the pool safer!

Important features

  • Winter
  • Summer
  • Bubble cover
  • Pool net
  • Roller
  • Automatic
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Covering up a swimming poolhelps to protect it from the harshest weather conditions in the winter or summer and ultimately extend its lifespan. That said, it is not recommended to use the same cover throughout the seasons as winter and summer covers play completely different roles! In terms of safety, a pool cover can help to keep the pool off limits when you're not around. Finally, a pool cover will help to keep the surface of your water clean meaning your pool net will hopefully get a lot less use!

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Pool nets

There are two basic types of pool cover each of which provides a different form of protection for your pool: winter covers and summer covers. Both types of pool cover work to shield the pool and protect the water from external pollutants. While they don't perform exactly the same role, these covers will both make it easier to keep your pool clean.

Winter pool covers

Winter pool covers are designed to stay in place throughout the harshest weather conditions of the year. Whether you have a pool liner or tiles, these covers will help to protect the lining of your pool and make your pool easier to get up and running when spring rolls around.

Summer pool covers

Summer pool covers are designed to stop the water from cooling down too much when your pool is not in use. This will help to prolong the swimming season and make day-to-day pool cleaning a little easier as there won't be any leaves or over-adventurous bugs to clean up! You should be able to remove your summer pool cover on a daily basis.

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Pool liners

There are a few different types of pool protection available:

  • a solar or bubble cover is designed to protect the water and keep it warm;
  • a leaf net or mesh pool cover is designed to keep out any large debris;
  • winter pool covers are designed to protect the water over the cold months. These covers can be attached via clips along the pool edging (with eyelets in the cover) or they may feature a steel frame (in which case, the cover can also be used during the summer).
  • automatic pool covers, also known as slatted covers, enhance user comfort and safety;
  • a pool cover roller can be used to make your pool cover easier to fit.

Out of all of the above options, the most popular pool covers are solar covers and winter covers with clips.

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Pool coping

Summer pool covers usually take the form of a solar cover. Made of polyethylene, solar covers conceal a layer of air bubbles between two layers of plastic. Used overnight and on cool days, this layer of insulation stops the water beneath the cover from cooling down. On sunny days, the sun's rays will penetrate into the bubbles to warm up air pockets which then transfer the heat to the water. With a solar cover, you can easily gain around 5°C compared to an uncovered pool. The swimming season will last longer and evaporation will be limited. If you want to save time, you'll need to ensure that your solar cover is lightweight and easy to handle.

While solar covers produce a kind of sucker effect on the water, they still have to be fitted to your pool coping (unless you have a particularly small pool). Solar covers are easy to set up and are generally designed to wind around a pool cover roller. These covers may be dark in colour to prevent light from penetrating through the cover which helps to prevent algae growth. Don't forget that algae is just like you – it prefers warm water! Some pool covers can even withstand the weight of a person meaning they can act as additional safety devices.

The only downside of a solar cover is that it can be tricky to handle if you don't have a cover roller. Both inground and semi-inground pools should be equipped with additional safety devices designed in accordance with the appropriate standards.

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Pool algaecides

A winter pool cover is designed to spend the cold season outdoors. It must be properly constructed and equipped with a strong fixing system. These covers are usually also fitted with safety devices to prevent falls and drowning. Be sure to check the appropriate standards before purchasing.

Often made of PVC, winter covers are heavy but generally only have to be handled twice a year. These covers are usually fitted with a series of anchors designed to be attached to the pool coping. The cover is attached to the anchors via elastic cords. The cords should be strong and easy to set into position. A high-quality pool cover can last for over 10 years if it is cared for properly but be sure to check the condition of the seams around the eyelets on a regular basis. A winter cover must be completely opaque to prevent algae and photosynthetic bacteria from taking over your pool. An opaque cover will also help to limit temperature variations and reduce the risk of freezing.

Winter pool covers should be equipped with a drainage hole to prevent rainwater from building up on the surface. This drainage system should be fitted with a filter to prevent dirty water from getting in the pool. It's worth noting that the thicker the cover, the less risk there is of it becoming misshapen or developing a dip in the centre. Keep in mind that, while it may be pricey to purchase, a winter pool cover will be a read asset for your pool.

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Winter pool covers

Both summer and winter pool covers offer essential protection for your swimming pool. If you are looking for a safety cover, be sure to check that it conforms to the appropriate standards. Don't skimp on quality when it comes to picking a winter cover – your cover can either be an important investment for your pool or a real waste of money! While you can theoretically go without a summer cover, fitting a winter pool cover is an essential part of preparing your pool for the winter months. And trust us – you'll appreciate the effort come spring!

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Guide written by:

Patrick, Handyman, Bath, 13 guides

Patrick, Handyman, Bath

Professional maintenance and electronics training. I don’t ask to use my tools on the weekend. The car, the boat, the house with its electric appliances, the garden and its swimming pool, they all remind me that they need my attention. In the absence of an unlimited budget, I try to expand my areas of expertise. There’s nothing I like quite as much as being in the weekend workshop with my buddies. Everyone benefits from his experience which ends up being more-or-less successful, it must be said. But that’s part of the charm of DIY, helping each other and realizing a project in a pleasant way. So, if I can help you, it would be a pleasure.

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