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If you have an inground pool, chances are you don’t think a whole lot about it during the winter months. But that might be a mistake, especially if Old Man Winter dumps a substantial amount in one storm. Sometimes, it is important to remove snow from a pool cover.
Maryland winters can differ remarkably from one year to the next. One year, we may get little more than a dusting a few times. Then the next year we’re battling Snowmageddon. We find it’s always best to be prepared, so you can protect your pool and winter cover. What to do depends on the amount of snow.
Pool Covers In General
Winter pool covers need the support of the water, and if too much water drains out, the solid pool covers can tear or collapse, and safety cover anchors and springs can fail, under a heavy snow load. Your winter water level should be about 3-6″ below the skimmer opening.
You’ll want to monitor the level. If you know your pool has a slow leak, or you discover that it has a leak during the winter, you may need to add water throughout the winter to keep the level 3”-12” below the skimmer level. Any lower than that and the cover could collapse.
Mesh pool covers (safety covers) will look like they are going to break under the strain of snow, and the cover will actually freeze to the water surface. This can look unsettling. But don’t worry, because your cover will bounce back up to the original taut shape when the temperatures rise. Don’t try to speed up the thawing process. Don’t try to break the cover free from the ice. Whatever you do, don’t use a metal snow shovel or anything with sharp edges on the cover–it could tear it.
Solid winter pool covers will hold the snowmelt as the thaw begins, so you need to be ready with your pool cover pump. 10″ of snow translates to about 1″ of water when it melts, and any more than an inch of water on your cover can cause stress, and potentially damage the cover.
Less Than 2 Feet of Snow
If a storm or series of storms brings less than 2 feet of snow, you probably don’t have to worry about clearing the snow off your sturdy winter pool cover or safety cover. They are designed to hold that kind of weight. But that’s as long as the water level doesn’t drop too low. Yes, you should keep water in your inground pool over the winter. Your pool care company will drain a certain amount and will chemically balance the water when they winterize your pool.
More Than 2 Feet of Snow
If we get more than two feet of snow, you may want to take action, after you’ve cleared your driveway and sidewalks. You can clear the snow a foot or two from around the edge, being careful to not get close to the pool or pool edge. Don’t worry about the pool cover itself, but clear the deck around the pool to allow snowmelt to drain away from the pool cover.
More Than 3 Feet of Heavy Snow on the Pool Cover
Well, with this much snow, you’re not going anywhere, so you will want to help your inground pool out after you have cleared your driveway and sidewalks. But no snow blowers or metal shovels should come anywhere near your pool cover. You can easily tear your pool cover by using a metal shovel. You may clear a path around your pool with a metal shovel or snow blower to make getting to the cover an easier task.
If there is more than three feet of heavy snow on your pool cover, here’s what to do:
- You can remove the top level with a plastic shovel. Then, gently remove the snow with a soft bristle push broom. You can also sweep off layers of snow with a regular broom. Once the snow is off the pool cover, you can shovel any snow away from the pool edge, to allow for drainage of snowmelt.
- If the snow isn’t wet and heavy, you may want to consider using a strong leaf blower to blow the snow off of your pool cover.
By keeping too much snow and snowmelt off of your pool cover, you will protect your investment in your pool. If your pool cover is damaged, or your pool cover pump stops working, you may want to call a professional pool services company for help.