Inground Pool Covers

An inground pool cover will heat your pool, lower heating costs, reduce evaporation, provide a safety barrier for children and protect your pool from harsh winter weather. A wide variety of inground pool covers are available in just about any shape, color, size or material and we'll go over the different types available to residential pool owners looking to save money and protect their investment. 

The benefits of inground pool covers range from increasing the heat of the pool water to reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation. You will need to fill your pool less while reducing the amount of time spent balancing water chemistry. We'll compare the different types of covers so you can make an informed decision about purchasing a new cover for your pool. If you live in a climate where your pool water gets too hot in the summer and you want to keep it cool, be sure to read all about pool shade covers like sun sails, pool umbrellas and pergolas. 

Types of Inground Pool Covers

There are 4 main types of inground pool covers. It's common for owners to use more than one type of cover throughout the season as needs change. A solar cover is great during summer months especially if you want to heat the pool water where a winter safety cover is ideal for long term pool closures. 

Safety Pool Covers
Solar Pool Covers
Winter Pool Covers
Leaf Net Pool Covers

Safety Pool Covers

safety pool covers

There are 3 types of safety pool covers; mesh, solid and hybrid. Safety covers are designed to keep your pool water clean, protect pool hardware, prevent algae growth and set your pool up for easy pool opening in the spring. In addition, they add a layer of safety by preventing anyone or anything getting into your pool during the off-season. 

Mesh Safety Covers

The most popular inground pool cover in North America is the mesh safety cover. It has the reputation of being incredibly strong, lightweight, affordable and easy to handle. Mesh covers keep debris; sticks, leaves, rocks out of the pool while allowing water to drain through. This prevents unsafe accumulations of water on top of the cover and you don't need to use a pool cover pump. 

All mesh inground pool covers have a UV rating and treatment that protects the cover against prolonged exposure. It also means sunlight won't reach the water in your pool that can trigger algae growth. Even the most powerful algaecide used during pool closing can be overpowered in the off season if enough sunlight reaches the water and the conditions are right. 

The best inground pool safety covers come with sturdy, weather-resistant anchoring systems and hardware and are made of high quality polyethylene fabric. The cost for a new cover ranges from $300-$750 for generic sizes; 14'x28', 16'x32', 18'x36' and 20'x40'. A custom sized cover will cost slightly more if you have an odd shaped pool or need to account for water features. 

Mesh Safety Cover Maintenance

Although a mesh safety cover is very low maintenance you may need to clean the cover off throughout the winter or off-season. If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall accumulation you should remove snow before it reaches 3-5 inches in height. Heavy amounts of snow left on the cover for long periods of time can reduce the lifespan or damage the cover fabric and anchoring hardware. 

The easiest way to remove snow from the cover is to use a broom with a pole attachment. This may take some work if the snow is wet and heavy which is why it's recommended to stay on top of keeping the cover clear all winter. A quality backpack blower can come in handy for keeping the cover free of light snow and debris as well as keeping the pool deck clean in the summer.  

Solid Safety Covers

Solid safety pool covers are the ultimate in protection for your pool because absolutely nothing gets through them including water, debris, animals and curious children. A properly installed cover is an important layer of safety when considering pool safety equipment for your backyard play area. 

The biggest benefit of a solid safety cover vs mesh safety cover is you won't get any sediment or dirty, untreated water in your pool. It makes it a lot easier to get your pool balanced chemically in the spring and also keeps the water sparkling clean. The downside is you will need to keep the cover free of water with a cover pump if you notice heavy accumulations.

The top rated solid safety pool covers are incredibly secure and come with the Underwriters Laboratories or UL safety seal of approval for both the US and Canada. They are lightweight and strong and will often come with a pool cover pump to be used with the cover. The Loop-Lock pool safety cover is arguably the best inground pool cover on the market today based on quality, reviews and an industry leading warranty. 

Solid Safety Cover Maintenance

A cover that accumulates water poses a safety hazard as well as makes it very hard to remove the cover in the spring. Water that ends up in the pool during cover removal can dilute salinity and chemical levels, add stress to your filter system and increase the time and cost to open your pool properly. 

A cover pump or submersible pool cover pump will remove water built up on the cover during the warm winter or rainy months. If you live in colder climates in the Northern United States or Canada you should remove snow before it accumulates throughout the winter. As the snow melts or during the rainy season before opening, a pump will be incredibly handy to keep a solid safety cover clear. The pump should only be used once temperatures remain above freezing to avoid damaging the pump. 

Hybrid Safety Covers

Hybrid safety covers are a cross between mesh and solid covers. The bulk of the cover is non-porous so you get the UV blocking benefits of a solid cover. The difference is that there is a porous, mesh section in the middle of the cover that allows water to drain through. They provide increased UV protection while being easier to handle than solid covers and you don't require a cover pump. 

Mesh vs Solid

The main advantages of mesh safety covers is you don't need to worry about keeping the cover free of water with a cover pump. They are easier to handle because they are lighter and more flexible. The downsides to mesh compared to solid is they generally don't block as much UV rays which can possibly lead to algae growth. Also, since they allow water to drain into the pool you may experience silt build up in the pool water that can take a bit more time to clean up during spring pool opening.  

Safety Pool Cover Installation

Safety pool covers are designed to be stretched tight and anchored securely around the perimeter of the pool. The days of using water bags, flower pots or anything heavy to anchor the cover down are over if you switch to a quality safety cover. You can count on a properly installed and sized cover staying in place over the harsh winter months even with substantial weight placed on the cover. 

The entire installation process can be completed in as little as a few hours with a drill and hammer. The first step is to install the anchors into the concrete around the pool, marking and drilling your holes in accordance with your cover manufacturers instructions. You may need to anchor into other materials that require specific hardware to drill into. You may also need to pour concrete footings if you don't have a concrete deck or you have areas that require additional stability. 

The anchor installation will only need to be carried out once and care should be taken to ensure the anchors are installed properly. If you are uncomfortable installing the anchors yourself we recommend calling a pool professional with knowledge installing permanent inground pool covers. 

Solar Pool Covers

solar pool covers

Solar pool covers have the ability to convert solar energy into heat for your pool water. A properly sized solar cover blanket can increase and maintain warm water temperatures with adequate sunlight hours in some climates. In addition to heating the water, solar covers prevent evaporation, reduce chemical usage and lower energy costs. 

How A Solar Pool Cover Works

Are solar pool covers worth it and do they work? The answer is yes. A solar cover is a very affordable way to save every pool owner money and time in a few different ways that some pool owners might not even know.

  • Energy Savings. Every ray of sunshine that hits the cover is amplified as it enters the water. This conversion of free energy can keep a pool comfortably warm in some climates or reduce heating costs in pools that require a pool heater
  • Reduce Evaporation. A solar inground pool cover can reduce up to 6 feet of water evaporation in a single season. As water evaporates out of a pool it costs a pool owner money in two ways; heat energy loss and chemical usage. An uncovered pool can lose up to 90% of its heat from water loss caused by evaporation. 
  • Keep Debris Out. A properly fitted solar cover will keep out unwanted dirt, bugs and anything mother nature blows into your pool area. Enjoy a clean pool more often with less time spent skimming and vacuuming while increasing the lifespan of your filter system. 

Bubbles Up or Down?

Solar pool cover bubbles up or down? The bubbles on a solar pool cover should be face down on the water. The purpose of the bubbles is to keep the cover afloat and creating a layer of air or thermal blanket between the pool water and cover. The pockets of air created by the bubbles is heated by the sun and in turn helps retain heat. 

Blue vs Clear

Blue vs clear solar pool cover? The differences between blue and clear are not big enough to make a choice based on science, however there are a few facts worth consideration that lead us to highly recommend a colored solar cover. 

  • The darker the cover the more heat it will retain. A dark cover will absorb more heat and transfer that heat into the pool water. It will also create a better thermal barrier to heat loss from the water to the surrounding air.
  • A blue or black solar cover is more visible. On the topic of pool safety it is arguably better to have a solar cover that is more visible. A bather jumping into a pool that can't see a clear cover on it, is a potentially very dangerous situation. 
  • A clear solar inground pool cover allows more radiant energy through. The main argument for choosing a clear solar cover is that it allows more solar energy through into the water. It's impossible to say if this is more advantageous than more heat being held by a darker cover. 

The best solar inground pool covers cost a lot less than you might think. If you consider all the benefits they provide they end up paying for themselves in no time. We recommend paying a little extra for a higher gauge thickness and replacing the cover every 2-3 years or when you see obvious signs of wear.

Solar Pool Cover Installation

Solar covers are very easy to install and remove. If you are in the market for a new cover the first step is to measure your pool, allowing for a few extra inches. There are a large variety of sizes available and if you have a unique or custom shaped pool you can easily trim the cover to size with scissors. 

Installing the cover on your pool is self explanatory just ensure that the cover is bubble-side down to maximize the thermal blanket effect. The bubbles also keep the cover afloat and when the cover starts to lose its floatation, it's a great indicator that it's time to purchase a new cover. 

A solar inground pool cover is most effective when the edge of the cover is perfectly flush with the edge of the pool, with no gaps and no overlap. It's worth taking your time to trim the cover so it hugs the edge of the pool. In the long run you'll find a properly fitted cover will save cleaning headaches, retain heat and reduce evaporation better. 

A solar cover reel might be worth considering if you have a large rectangle pool.  A reel can make it a lot easier for some pool owner's that find they are putting on and taking off the cover frequently. It's just not ideal for odd shaped pools and not worth the hassle or space for smaller pools or above ground pools. A solar cover should be used both day and night to reduce costly evaporation and to retain or increase heat. 

Solar Pool Cover Maintenance

A solar cover should not be left on the surface of the water in the off-season. It should be removed, cleaned and stored properly as part of a thorough pool winterizing or closing. If the cover accumulates a lot of dirt during the season you should also remove it and clean it as needed.

The cover should be removed and laid out flat on a surface that won't damage the sensitive air bubbles on the underside of the cover. A large grassy area is ideal for giving it a good clean with a garden hose, mild soap and a soft broom or something similar. After it is cleaned, remove it from the grass to avoid damaging the lawn, and hang it up to dry. 

If you are storing the cover over the winter, ensure it is completely dry before placing in a storage bin or rolling onto the cover reel to avoid mold and premature damage. The cover should be kept safely indoors or somewhere that the sun or harsh weather can't reach it. 

Solar Cover Alternatives

If the thought of removing and replacing your inground pool cover every time you use your pool seems like a hassle there are alternatives. Solar cover alternatives are easier to use but unfortunately are also less effective. We don't recommend using these products on their own because of their limitations, but they are beneficial compared to not using a solar cover blanket at all. 

Liquid Solar Covers

A liquid solar cover or liquid solar blanket is a cover free way to achieve some of the benefits of a typical solar cover. The invisible and harmless barrier helps conserve water and retain heat energy by preventing up to 50% of normal water evaporation versus not using a cover. You won't see, feel or smell the liquid cover and it shouldn't cause any problems with filtration if used properly.

Liquid solar covers are completely safe to use with salt water pools. It is worth noting that the effectiveness of the liquid cover is reduced if your pool is prone to windy conditions

How does a liquid solar cover work? It works by forming an invisible, lighter than water barrier or blanket that floats on the surface of the water. The ingredients; isopropyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol form a mesh at a molecular level that prevents water and heat energy from escaping. The advanced mono-layer will constantly reform so it's safe to swim in and you won't even notice it, however it needs to be reapplied every 7-10 days under normal conditions. 

Solar Cover Rings

Solar pool rings are an option if you want something that's a bit easier to manage. They are also appealing to some pool owner's because of their attractive tropical prints and designs. The idea is to use multiple mats, that come in either circular or square shapes, to cover a portion of your pool surface. 

Although solar mats won't be as effective as a cover blanket, they can provide some of the reduced evaporation and heat retention benefits in an easy-to-use product. If you end up covering 3/4 of your pool surface you can expect 75% of the benefits of using a regular inground pool cover. 

Winter Pool Covers

winter pool covers

A winter inground pool cover is designed to protect your pool during the winter months from the sun, rain, snow, ice or extremely cold temperatures. They are a cheap alternative to installing a quality mesh or solid safety inground pool cover and in some cases they are adequate but in others they can end up causing costly damage or just not doing what they are intended to do.

If your winter pool cover fell in during heavy snowfall or rain you could end up causing damage to your pool liner. It can cause tears or the weight can pull the liner out of the coping that holds it snug to the pool deck. The best way to avoid this is to use a heavy weighted object with no sharp edges so it won't damage the liner if it falls into the pool. Winter cover water tubes are a great option if you end up going this route. 

Leaf Net Pool Covers

leaf net pool covers

A leaf net inground pool cover is arguably one of the smartest things you can add to your pool if you live around trees that shed their leaves in the fall. There is nothing worse than cleaning rotted, decaying leaves out of your pool in the spring. Keep leaves out of your pool with a cover especially made for the job of trapping leaves. 

How to use a pool leaf net cover? After measuring your pool, purchase a net that is slightly larger than your pool so you have excess overlap. The overlap can be weighed down with water tubs or strapped in using rope and stakes. You may also want to tie it down to your safety cover or winter cover as long as you aren't compromising the integrity of the cover.

The leaf net can be emptied anytime by rolling the corners up towards the center and discarding the leaves in a garbage can. Simply re-install the leaf net if you still see leaves left to be shed before winter. Leaf net inground pool covers are designed to withstand being outdoors but they should not be left on the cover over the winter, or used as the only means of covering your pool. 

If you are in the market for an inground pool cover there are many options that will suit the needs of your pool. Keeping in mind safety, weather and your budget, you should be able to find something that is just right for your pool. We hope you found this page informative and best of luck choosing the right cover for your inground pool. 

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