As a pool owner, you are concerned with keeping the pool well maintained and clean. You also want to make sure the pool cover stays clean too. To keep a pool cover in good shape, you need to keep it clean. These are the helpful tips you need to successfully maintain a healthy, long-lasting pool cover.
Caring For Your Pool Cover
Solid Swimming Pool Covers
For these covers, you need to check the waterline periodically. Heavy debris, water, and snow loads, combined with a low waterline, can add excess strain on your cover, which will reduce the lifespan. Clean the cover every 3-6 months using a garden hose, pool brush, cover pump and mild detergent such as dish soap. Place the cover pump on the pool liner, apply detergent and wet with a hose. Then use a pool brush to scrub the liner. Once clean, rinse with a garden hose and remove accumulated water using a cover pump. If you notice any mold developing on your pool cover, clean it with diluted bleach, then spray off with a garden hose. Make sure your cover is completely dry before storing it to prevent any growth of mold in the future. Be sure to check periodically for rips or tears in your cover. Patch kits are available and should be used immediately as holes in the cover can compromise the cover. Avoid covering your pool within the first two hours of adding any chemicals to your pool. This prevents damage that can be caused by pool chemicals.
Mesh Swimming Pool Covers
Just as with solid covers, you need to check the waterline. Clean a mesh cover with bleach or mild chlorine mix to get rid of any dirt or mold that’s accumulated on the cover. Use a push broom to scrub the cover and rinse with a garden hose. Leave the cover out in the sun and allow for drying to avoid mold or mildew. Check the cover periodically for any rips or tears. Fallen branches and other sharp objects can easily puncture mesh covers, reducing its strength. Repair any sign of a rip or tear immediately. You also want to remove large amounts of snow, debris or water to avoid extra strain on the cover. Water can be easily removed using a cover pump. Everything else can be removed using a brush with a telescopic pole. With mesh covers, you also want to check spring tension periodically. Spring tension should be set to at least half compression. A loose cover can reduce draining and cause more strain to the cover.
To clean your solar cover, hose off and gently scrub cover with a soft brush. Before storing solar covers, make sure to hose off and clean the cover, preventing the buildup of leftover chemicals which can shorten the lifespan of the cover. When your solar covers are stored away, keep them out of the sunlight. The same cells that generate heat for your pool can generate excess heat to the cover. When it is rolled or folded away, this excess heat can damage your solar cover and shorten the lifespan. If stored on a reel, a solar cover protector must be used to avoid heat damage. To avoid the presence of mildew, allow the solar cover to dry completely before storing. Any time that you add chemicals to your pool, do not use your solar cover for at least 2 hours. High chemical loads can cause damage to the solar cover when in use.
Automatic Pool Covers
There is a lot more involved with keeping automatic pool covers maintained and cleaned. Because of the equipment involved in these covers, there are additional steps to take. An automatic pool cover requires more maintenance and cleaning but is one of the most user-friendly covers you can get for your pool. They are also more expensive than other pool covers, so if you have made the investment, you want to take good care of it from the start. There are steps to take daily, weekly, monthly, and annually.
Daily Checks and Cleaning
Make sure your cover is closed every day. An automatic cover pump should be set-up and ready to go, if any rain should come through or if any debris collects on the cover. There are a few important cleaning steps that need to be performed daily for automatic pool covers.
Monitor the water chemistry and chlorine levels on a near-daily basis. Keeping good water balance and low chlorine levels are the best thing you can do to protect an automatic pool cover. Debris and water must be removed immediately to avoid damage to reel components and liner. You can use a telescopic pole and brush to remove any debris. Use a cover pump for any water accumulation.
Weekly Checks and Cleaning
On a weekly basis, you need to open the cover fully. They should be opened for several hours, to allow chlorine byproducts to dissipate by gassing-off at the pool surface. This protects the cover material from corrosive chloramines. You also need to leave the cover open for several hours after each time that you add large volumes of pool chemicals, and after shocking the pool. Every week, you also need to check the water levels which should be mid-skimmer level. Too much water can flood the cover system. Low water will cause more sag, putting more strain on the cover. Any leaks in a pool must be quickly fixed. The good news is that in doing this, you do not have to worry about evaporation. Cleaning an automatic pool cover is easiest when the cover is dry or almost dry. A leaf blower works best, blowing the leaves from side to side, or blowing them down to the leading edge end of the cover. Avoid blowing leaves into the cover box and use a soft broom or pool brush to clean along the edges.
Collect any leaves with a dustpan. A leaf blower will not work on a wet cover. If there is water and leaves, use a rake to start a dredging operation with back and forth motions across the cover. This will scoop up debris and loosen any dirt or algae on the cover. Use a pool cover pump to remove all of the water. Once most of the water is removed, you can start cleaning at the roller end of the cover. Use a garden hose with a nozzle to hose-off the first seam-to-seam section, spraying the debris toward the opposite end of the cover. Use your pool brush to push leaves and debris if needed, and then roll up the cover for that section. Then clean the next section in the same way. Stains on automatic pool covers are inevitable. Cleaning with a small amount of hand soap and water, or scrubbing with your pool brush and pumping off the water will remove most stains, but not all.
Annual Checks and Cleaning
To protect your cover, do three things at least once per year, or 2 or 3 times if you can.
- Clean out the Box – Prop open the cover lid with a screwdriver. Make sure the cover is rolled out or closed, to open up more room in the box. Use a leaf blower, small broom, or wet-dry vacuum to clean leaves and debris away from the box. A dirty box attracts insects and can fill with mildew and algae which is not good for the motor, reel parts or the box itself. Make sure that the drain is clear and that the box always drains well from splash over or rainwater.
- Clean out the Tracks – This is easier than cleaning the box but just as important. Dirt, insects, and leaves, will clog up your tracks in time. Spray out the tracks with a high-pressure garden hose at least once per year. You can spray the tracks from inside the pool, or just lean over to get the spray nozzle into the track, and slowly walk from one end to the other.
- Tighten and Lube – Your automatic pool cover motor will either be hydraulic or electric. In either case, the rope tracks, rope reels, and sliders can vibrate and become loose over time. All parts of the rope and reel system should be checked for tightness and position. Grease fittings are common on the rope reels and every year or two should be given a shot of fresh grease. Drive chains should also be lubed with light oil. You do not lube tracks and sliders but they should be checked for tightness and position.
Whichever type of pool cover you have, maintenance and cleaning are essential to protect it. Debris and collected water can damage a cover over time. .With proper cleaning, you can protect the cover so it can continue to protect your pool. Reach out to us today for any questions or concerns regarding pool cover cleaning. We have the knowledge, resources, and equipment to keep your pool cover in great shape.