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In order to enjoy carefree fun in your own swimming pool, not only adequate chemical but also manual pool maintenance is required. As a rule, the two aspects support each other, provided that their respective measures are carried out properly, so that one benefits from the appropriate expertise.

An essential part of maintaining a pool is to cover it with a suitable tool at certain times.

Because of the many different ways and materials one can use to cover a pool, it makes sense to look into choosing the appropriate tool.

Apart from acquiring the adequate pool cover, it is further necessary to determine at what time of the day or month to use it in each case. We will also clarify how often and how long you should cover the pool.

Why should you cover the pool?

Many pool owners wonder whether they should cover the pool or leave it open. So to answer this, we will now go into great detail about why you should cover the pool.

There are a variety of benefits that come with covering a pool. However, it should be noted that the respective positive aspects arise only in connection with proper use of the cover. Due to the fact that there is a wide variety in terms of materials, not all benefits necessarily apply to every pool cover.

Lower cost

In general, you should cover the pool primarily for the sake of cost savings. Not only does it make water maintenance easier, but a pool cover also offers many advantages in terms of water temperature and evaporation.

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Less chemicals

In terms of the aspect of water maintenance, the main thing that catches the eye is that the load, especially with larger dirt particles, is significantly reduced.

Furthermore, the chemical composition of the pool water remains more stable, and you can also counteract the formation of algae with an opaque model.

With regard to the necessary maintenance work, these circumstances are expressed in a saving of time as well as costs, for example, in the use of the filter system.

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Lower temperature fluctuations

In terms of water temperature, it is important to create some consistency for two reasons. On the one hand, fluctuations in temperature promote instability in the pool chemistry, which must be avoided.

On the other hand, a pool loses heat overnight, so you either have to use a heat pump or wait until the sun has heated the water before bathing.

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Less evaporation

Last but not least, it is advisable to prevent excessive evaporation of the pool water on hot summer days, which is especially the case when the pool is located in the sun.

However, topping up with fresh water does not only result in an increased financial investment in drinking water costs.

It also leads to the need to regularly readjust the pool chemistry, which is expensive and also eats up time that could be used for bathing.

Frost protection

Similar protection, albeit with the opposite effect, is provided by pool covers intended for use during winterization.

In this case, an insulating option not only wards off the cold, but also the respective consequences that come with it. These include damage caused by frost, which can be very costly.

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In addition, as a pool owner, you are legally obligated to ensure that no one is harmed by the pool.

However, in order to fulfill one’s respective duty of supervision, one must make sure that the chosen pool cover has a certain stability or, ideally, has a test seal.

Through this measure, especially children and pets are better protected from accidents with drowning than without an adequate pool cover.

Protecting the environment

Apart from reduced costs in terms of water consumption, means of chemical pool maintenance and electricity used, a pool cover also contributes to the protection of the environment.

By using it, you reduce energy consumption, save water and, on top of that, less chemicals are needed. A customized as well as high quality pool cover will therefore be positively noticeable in several ways in daily use.

When to cover the pool: The right time

Apart from choosing the right size of pool cover and the materials tailored to its specific purpose, there is another aspect to consider when covering a pool.

This is the appropriate timing, so that the use of this tool can achieve the best results. For this reason, the following sections will discuss both the right time of day and the right month.

The right time of day

Depending on what you want to use the pool cover for, the appropriate time of day for its use differs. In case you have chosen a model to counteract the cooling of the water at night, it should be installed in the evening hours.

This will reduce heat loss by maintaining or minimizing the stored temperature.

In the case of a pool cover, on the other hand, which is intended to protect against evaporation of the pool water, a different time of day is again crucial. If the pool is located in the sun, the pool cover should be installed before the hot hours begin, in any case before the sun reaches its zenith. Even with a location in the shade, this is more than advisable, as the existing heat can also start an evaporation process.

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Normally, the appropriate time is already evident by the purpose of the pool cover. If there is any uncertainty in this regard, the manufacturer’s operating instructions will usually provide information. A reading of the same is generally recommended to guarantee an adequate functioning of the pool cover.

The right month

Many pool covers are used during the pool season, i.e. in the summer months. However, the models designed for use during that season, with the choice of their materials, are designed for these specific circumstances.

Just as you should not use a summer cover in the winter, it is not recommended to use a pool cover for wintering in the summer. As a rule, they are installed when you have prepared the pool for the cold season. This measure prevents more severe damage due to the onset of frost, as well as icing of the water.

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In numerous cases, the right month to cover the pool already results from the intended use of the chosen product. If you are unsure when the optimal time is, usually a look at the manufacturer’s instruction manual will help in this regard.

How to cover the pool: All the options

There are a variety of different ways to cover a pool, which are not only based exclusively on the desired use. Rather, depending on whether it is an above ground pool, an inflatable pool or an in-ground pool, you should adjust your choice accordingly. In the following sections, the various pool covers, their areas of application, and varying costs are presented in detail.

Solar foils

A solar cover or foil is a cost-effective way to save energy with an investment of less than a hundred euros. Apart from the fact that solar foils prevent soiling by leaves, they reduce heat loss overnight and sometimes also contribute to the fact that the water heats up faster. However, the specific functions of a solar tarp depend on the particular model.

In principle, one should make sure that the solar foil has a thickness of at least 400 mµ and that polyethylene, also known as PE, is preferred as a material. This is resistant to both chlorine and UV rays, but the solar film should be impermeable to air, but permeable to infrared light. It is imperative to avoid using it in the cold winter months, otherwise the solar sheet will be damaged.

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Cover tarps

Covering foils or tarpaulins are basically available for every type of pool, whereby a solar tarpaulin can also be counted in this category. The differences are mainly in the materials used, so in principle you should differentiate between a summer, a winter and a solar tarpaulin. Regarding the price, it can be said that simple versions are already available for less than a hundred euros.

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A summer pool cover is usually made of vinyl, with the sole purpose of keeping the water from getting dirty. However, they are usually also opaque, preventing the formation of algae.

A cover for the winter is used for fixed pools that are not dismantled during the winter. They are often made of a very durable material, polyethylene being particularly popular in this regard. Aside from protecting against snow and frost damage, a winter tarp reduces debris from leaves and ensures reduced algae growth.

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Safety Net

In terms of its function, a safety net is very similar to a cover sheet in that it reduces light penetration and protects the water from foreign objects. The fine-mesh net can also prevent the formation of algae due to these properties, although the cost varies greatly. These are related to the type of attachment, as well as the corresponding model, but usually start at about a hundred euros.

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Trapezoidal sheet metal

You can get a galvanized trapezoidal sheet in a hardware store already for a purchase price of less than ten euros, but this does not include the possibilities for fastening. Due to the fact that there are fewer producers for this pool cover in comparison, it can also offer to build a trapezoidal sheet on your own.

With appropriate corrosion protection, it is a powerful cover for the winter, on which even large amounts of snow will not affect. Since the material is not permeable to light, possible algae in the water during this period also can not multiply.

On the other hand, whether with a trapezoidal sheet the water temperature is kept stable, storage is easy and evaporation is minimized, depends on the chosen model.

Inflatable pool covers

Inflatable pool covers are ideal for use by inexperienced pool owners, mainly due to their ease of use and the numerous variants available. However, it is essential to pay attention to a high-quality product, which can usually be recognized by the thickness of the film. In terms of price, you should calculate at least two hundred euros.

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After an air pump deploys the inflatable pool cover, neither snow nor rain will collect on it thanks to its dome shape. In this regard, these models not only protect against dirt as well as algae, but also keep the water temperature stable and minimize water evaporation. Since the installation usually involves the tensioning of straps or ropes, it is a permanent installation for the winter.

Convertible roof

A key factor in choosing a convertible roof should be a high-quality film, so for a round pool, for example, you should expect to pay at least two hundred euros in costs. It can be ideally adapted, as the name suggests, to both winter and summer use. This ranges from warming the water temperature to protecting it from frost damage, as well as contamination.

Slatted cover

In principle, a distinction is made between an above-floor lamella cover and an under-floor lamella cover, whereby the latter cannot be retrofitted but is permanently installed.

Since both variants rest on the water, distinctions can be made with regard to the material used. The most common materials are PVC and polycarbonate, although the latter is usually preferred for its durability.

Depending on which model and material you choose, the cost varies, sometimes significantly, but it is at least a few thousand euros. Due to their impermeability to light, the formation or proliferation of algae in the pool water does not occur.

In addition, due to the absorption of heat from the sun’s rays, heating of the water filled into the pool takes place.

Roll protection

Depending on the size of the pool and the desired additional functions, the price of a roll-up pool cover starts at about a thousand euros. It is especially suitable for pools that are completely submerged and minimizes the risk of accidents for children and animals. As a rule, a roll protection is designed for use in summer as well as for a use in winter.

This pool cover is made of PVC-coated polyester fabric, which is combined with support rods. Therefore, a roll protection reliably prevents not only soiling by falling leaves, but also the influence of snow as well as rain.

Provided that you have chosen an excellent quality one, it also minimizes evaporation and cooling of water.

Sliding roof

With regard to a sliding roof, one has numerous choices, as it is a diversely customizable pool cover. The division of the roof into sliding elements ensures the use of the pool even in winter, and in summer you can quickly convert.

Depending on whether you choose a flat one, a walk-in one, a glazed one or any other option, the price may well reach up to ten thousand euros.

Due to its design, a sliding roof offers flexible use of the pool in combination with good protection from dirt. However, it is necessary to remember that it is not suitable for stabilizing the water temperature or preventing evaporation. Because of its versatility, with a sliding roof, for example, you can also integrate a terrace area to relax more extensively.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions about pool cover answered

Despite the fact that there are various ways to cover a pool in a variety of situations, most pool owners are often faced with specific questions. Those that are more common in a variety of cases are answered in detail in the sections below.

Should you cover the pool during rain or thunderstorms?

During a heavy downpour or a thunderstorm with intense rainfall, the chemical composition of the pool may become unbalanced. In addition, especially in windy weather conditions, increased dirt in the form of, for example, flying leaves can get into the pool water. In addition, the pool water cools down faster, especially during the night, which is why many pool owners think about covering the pool during this time.

It is not necessary to cover the pool during rain and thunderstorms, because you can check the water values promptly afterwards and correct them if necessary. As a rule, in the event of a high amount of fallen water, the pH value must be lowered and the chlorine content increased. Normally, however, the delicate chemical balance of the pool water should quickly return to an optimal value.

With regard to falling objects such as leaves or dead insects that could contaminate the pool, countermeasures can also be taken. Both the removal of larger debris with a pool net and the installation of a filter system can help. Finally, you can also prevent the pool from cooling down with a solar foil, but it will usually heat up again quickly, especially in the summer.

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Should you cover the pool when it is sunny or hot?

This question can not be answered in general, because it depends on the material composition of the cover as well as the intended use. For example, a solar film is conceivably unsuitable in the sun or heat, as it further increases the water temperature of the pool. If the solar foil is also translucent, algae can grow rapidly in the pool water.

A pool cover that is intended for use in the winter, during the so-called winterization, it is made of a different material than a solar foil. Due to the fact that it is dark under a winter foil because of its opacity, you can significantly minimize the risk of algae formation. However, in the summer months, even such a cover should not be left on the pool for too long.

Also with regard to the prevention or minimization of water evaporation, it depends on the chosen model. It can be quite useful to cover the pool in the sun or heat, but it is advisable to pay attention to a few factors when choosing a cover. These include protection against evaporation, opacity of the material and heat generation.

Is it allowed to cover the pool while the pump is running?

In general, it is safe to cover the pool with a tarp when the pool pump is running, provided you choose the right model. This can be recognized on the one hand by the fact that it is adapted to the season and on the other hand by the optimal properties for the intended use.

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For possible accessories, which include a skimmer, for example, you may want to make a few additional requirements, depending on your individual situation. These serve to ensure that the pool liner does not get stuck on the skimmer. As a rule, you can prevent this by covering the corresponding area of the skimmer.

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Is it allowed to cover the pool during or after shock chlorination?

As a rule, shock chlorination is carried out in the evening or at night in order to achieve maximum effect. Due to the fact that chlorine is destroyed by UV rays, it is not advisable to perform shock chlorination during the day. If you cover the pool during or after a shock chlorination during the day, you can counteract the process a little, but the chlorination still loses its effect.

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In order to perform effective shock chlorination at night, it is not absolutely necessary to cover the pool with a pool tarp in normal weather conditions, although it is not necessarily wrong either. However, it should be remembered that the evaporation of the chlorine used is much slower when the pool is covered.

Due to the increased concentration of this substance during shock chlorination, it is not advisable to swim in the pool during this time, so that the subsequent jump into the refreshing water is postponed.

Conclusion: To cover the pool or not?

Whether it is worthwhile to cover the pool can be answered in the affirmative, because a pool cover has numerous advantages. Not only do you save the cost of filling pool water, but also the use of chemical pool care products and electricity costs will be significantly reduced. This happens due to stabilization of water temperature, prevention of evaporation, protection from frost damage and prevention of pollution, among others.

However, one should keep in mind that there are serious differences in terms of the materials used, the intended purposes of use, as well as in individual handling. Therefore, a pool cover should generally be selected based on the specific requirements placed on it, taking into account the pool size as well. Depending on this, the optimal time to use this tool also varies.

In terms of cost, there are already very inexpensive cover tarps and also expensive arbitration roofs, as well as almost every conceivable intermediate level. If there is any uncertainty in this regard, both sound expert advice and extensive research on the subject is highly recommended. Because once you have found the right pool cover, you will inevitably experience an intensification of swimming fun.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.