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How To Remove An Inground Pool Winter Cover
When opening pools during the spring of 1995, I practiced removing pool covers the right way for two months straight. This process takes longer than simply pulling the cover when most of the water is removed. But, if you think about what that water contains, and what it will cost you to treat, you will agree that this is the right way to do it. The water that sits on top of your cover is often full of leaves and other organic matter. As this stuff decays, it creates nitrogen. Nitrogen is great for your soil and garden. However, it will consume chlorine like crazy. If any of this water gets into your pool, the likely outcome is high chlorine demand and a delay in your swimming season.
Image courtesy of Piotr, and is titled Spring Flowers White Ones With A Bee.
If you have a safety or trampoline type winter cover you can skip this article all together. Your cover should remain dry and be easy enough to get off without depositing unwanted water into your pool. This article assumes you are using a traditional winter cover with water tubes.
The first step is to dip all of the leaves off your cover. I mean all of them. Any remaining leaves will plug up your sump pump. If they get spilled into the pool, you will have a real mess on your hands. As I have written about before, draining most of the water ahead of time will make removing leaves much easier. Once the leaves are removed, you want to slide your cover and water tubes away from the pool as far as they will stretch uniformly around the pool. This tightens the cover and pushes all of the water to the middle of the cover. Then, using a sump pump in the center of the pool, sweep the excess water toward the sump pump. You need to get all of the water out to ensure that you don't spill some into your pool when you remove the cover. Periodically re-stretching the cover around the perimeter will continue to keep all of the water flowing toward the sump pump.
Ok, now you feel like your cover is mostly cleared of water. You want to make sure. An inch or two of water can add many gallons. Water weighs almost 9 pounds per gallon. I don't know about your back, but mine doesn't want to lift a cover weighting hundreds of pounds. Now you are sure the water is all gone, it is finally time to remove the cover. I would suggest a team of two for this part of the job. Grabbing opposite sides of the cover, pull the cover tight between each of you. Proceed to walk the cover while keeping it pulled tight toward one end of the pool. Keep the water tubes on the cover until you are about to pull the cover off that section. If you get the the end and there is a big pocket of water still on the cover, take a minute to pump that water out. It will save your back and keep that water out of the pool. If all goes well, the cover should now be off the pool and be ready to clean. Good luck.