If you’re among the many inground pool owners who’ve decided to protect their pool with a Safety Cover this year, Congratulations! Not only have you chosen the best type of off-season protection for your investment, you are also making the most responsible choice possible for your family, neighbors, pets and area wildlife. That’s because Safety Covers provide something standard tarp-style winter covers simply cannot: protection against accidental submersion & drowning.
In the event that someone (or something) ventures out onto a Safety Cover while it is over the pool, the cover is designed to easily support their weight – they will not become trapped in the cover or submerged in the water – as could possibly happen with a standard tarp-style winter cover. There may never be a time when you need such accidental protection – but it’s great peace of mind to know that it’s there, even when you aren’t.
What is a Safety Cover?
Before we move on, let’s review… a Safety Cover is a protective off-season pool cover that’s pulled taut across the pool, and secured with straps connected to anchors installed around the pool’s perimeter. Like any winter / off-season cover, a safety cover will prevent leaves, dirt & debris from getting into your pool water while the pool is closed. But unlike a standard winter cover, a Safety Cover is designed to also prevent accidental submersion, providing protection for your family, neighbors, pets and wildlife.
Safety covers require approximately 36” of concrete decking, wood, pavers or other suitable material around the perimeter – so there’s a solid footing to sink the anchors into. For planters or grass areas surrounding the pool, you can substitute aluminum pipes or stakes. Safety covers are suitable for use with inground pools and some decked on-ground pools, but not with standard aboveground pools.
Choosing a Mesh vs. Solid Safety Cover
Safety Covers are manufactured with one of two types of material – Woven Mesh or Solid Vinyl. Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a Safety Cover, deciding on either mesh or solid material is the next step. Each type works a little bit differently, but both provide the accidental submersion protection that gives the product its name. Read below to learn about the different features and benefits of both types of Safety Covers. And if you have any additional questions, feel free to contact our team of friendly safety cover experts for prompt, professional assistance at 1-800-983-7665.
Mesh Safety Covers
With a mesh safety cover, leaves, dirt & debris are trapped on top of the cover surface, while rainwater & snowmelt can slowly seep through, into the pool. Here’s some features of a Mesh Safety Cover:
Basic Features of a Mesh Safety Cover
- Mesh safety covers prevent leaves and debris from entering the pool but allow rainwater to pass through
- Mesh safety covers are made from a lightweight yet strong weave of materials
- No puddles of standing water will form on top of a mesh Safety Cover
- Available in several colors to match your mood or décor
Advantages of a Mesh Safety Cover
- Mesh safety cover material is 4lbs per 100 sq. ft., which makes a mesh safety cover easier to install, remove & store
- Because water can pass through the material of a mesh Safety Cover, the cover is not weighed down by standing water
- When you open your pool in the spring, your pool water should be mostly clean – with just fine particles on the floor
- Save on water resources with a mesh Safety Cover – no need to re-fill next spring
- Eliminates the need for a cover pump with a mesh Safety Cover
- Because water passes through a mesh Safety Cover, it dries quickly – allowing leaves & debris to blow away
Disadvantages of a Mesh Safety Cover
- Some debris and particles enter the pool through the porous mesh surface, more cleaning is needed at spring opening time
- Some Mesh safety covers do not block all sunlight – which encourages algae growth
- Sunlight through the mesh can also vaporize chlorine and other chemicals in pool water
100% Solid Safety Cover
Solid Safety Covers are made of high-quality PVC reinforced vinyl. With a solid Safety Cover, all dirt, silt, debris and rainwater are kept out of your pool during the off-season and accumulated water is drained off the cover in one of two ways – with a cover pump (for 100% solid covers), or via drain panels (mesh panels built-into some solid safety covers – read more about those, below). Here’s some features of a 100% solid Safety Cover:
Basic Features of a 100% Solid Safety Cover
- Solid safety covers prevent sunlight, dirt & fine particles from entering the pool while covered
- Solid safety cover material provides extra protection from tree branches, or heavy animals
- Water is kept off the cover’s surface through use of a cover pump, or mesh drain panels
Advantages of a 100% Solid Safety Cover
- A solid safety cover helps keep your pool water clean over the winter by preventing the accumulation of silt & fine debris in the water
- Solid safety pool covers block sunlight entirely, which prevents algae growth in the pool water
- Solid safety cover pool openings are easier – the pool will be as clean as the day you closed it
- 100% Solid safety covers prevent water balance fluctuations and algae growth; blocking acid rain, pollen and phosphates from entering
Disadvantages of a 100% Solid Safety Cover
- If you are using a 100% solid safety pool cover, you MUST use an automatic pool cover pump
- Manufacturers will charge for an automatic cover pump; solid safety covers are more expensive
- You must check the cover pump during the off-season to insure that it is operating properly
- Solid safety covers are heavier than mesh covers – requiring a little more effort
Solid Safety Covers w/ Mesh Drain Panels
A newer addition to the Safety Cover line-up offers the features of both a mesh and solid safety cover, in a single product. A solid safety cover with sewn-in mesh panels gives you the protection from dirt, silt, debris & algae that many pool owners love – but eliminates the need for a cover pump (which many pool owners will appreciate!). This type of safety cover is made with one or more mesh drain panels, which allow rainwater & snowmelt to drain into the pool. This prevents the potential hazard of water build-up on top of the cover, and helps keep the cover dry while it’s on the pool.
The fine mesh weave of the drain panel keeps all but the smallest particles out, and minimizes the amount of sunlight that gets in – so your pool opening is usually as quick, easy & predictable as it would be with a 100% solid cover. One drawback to this type of cover is that contaminants can wash into the pool, such as pollutants, acid rain or phosphates, which can affect your water balance and cause algae to grow.
There’s many good safety cover products out there, and lots of options on where to buy yours. Narrow down your choices by choosing from Mesh Safety Covers, 100% Solid Safety Covers or Solid Safety Covers with Drain Panel material. Then shop around for the best combination of price, quality and service. At SPP, we can get you the best safety cover prices from four top manufacturers, including GLI, Loop-Loc, Meyco and HPI – in a wide variety of safety cover prices, features and warranty coverage. All covers include all hardware and information needed to install your new Safety Cover yourself – for a job well done, that costs even less!
SPP Pool Enthusiast