Autumn brings, sadly, the end of consistent sunny weather and days enjoying the pool. With the first nip of cool air the pool is prepared for the long sleep and the cover is placed, not to be removed until spring. If you’re a new pool owner, you might think all you have to do is leave the cover on and you’re good until it’s time to reopen. In truth, you’ll need to keep an eye on your pool throughout the year, because conditions in the colder months can result in cover damage. You have to know what to look for and handle it proactively so you don’t have to buy a new cover so soon.

Even if you live in an area where the weather is reasonably pleasant year-round, if you cover up for the winter you know there’s always the risk of a snap frost or freak snow storm. If you notice, for example, that sidewalks have become icy, there’s a good chance your pool cover will have ice on it as well. If you see some, make sure it is easily moved before you try to remove it. This may require waiting it out for a short period so it melts enough to become dislodged.

It is important, too, to make sure your cover never sags. Whether you set it up yourself or have professional pool care people over, check that the cover is pulled tightly and that the springs are taut. Ideally, you do not want a large gap between the cover and the pool’s edge, and if it’s wide there is the possibility that ice may slip into your pool. Over time, if this happens often, you could experience a too-high level of water in your bowl. If this happens, look into pumping out some water to maintain an acceptable water level.

In the event of a storm that leaves branches on your cover, remove them when you can. If the debris is found in the middle of the pool, do not walk out on the cover and think it’s going to support you. While some cover brands have ads that claim their covers can support elephants and trucks, you don’t want to take that risk. Find a long broom or pole and remove the debris from a distance.

With vigilant care, you can keep your pool cover functional and intact during winter so it can do its job. Watch out for ice and storm damage!