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pool cover rolled up at the end of an inground swimming pool

How, When and Why to Clean Your Pool Cover in the Winter

Snow can be disastrous for your pool if you don’t control its weight during the off-season. Living in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, it is expected that your cover may accumulate snow. But you will also need to ensure that you cover can take the snow and that you’re able to clear it off regularly in order to prevent further complications.

With the advice of pool maintenance specialists, this article will go through the steps you need to take to safely and effectively clear off snow and any other debris that collects on top of your pool cover during the winter season and will also explain the importance of proper pool cover maintenance in order to protect your investment.

But first, why do I need to clear the snow off my pool cover?

Especially if you have a state-of-the-art automatic pool cover, you may feel that it is unnecessary to clear the snow off routinely. However, neglecting snow buildup on your pool cover can lead to lots of swimming pool damage and will make opening it come springtime that much more difficult.

Excess snow can either cause the cover to rip in some cases, which is a whole extra maintenance that needs to be tended to, or it can even cause the middle of the cover system to cave in and fill the pool with unsightly snow and debris.

Read More: Swimming Pool Winter Closing Guide

Tips on proper pool cover maintenance

What Can Get on the Pool Covers, Exactly?

Covering your pool may protect the pool from elements, but what’s protecting the cover? From snow to falling ice, any debris including dead leaves and even animals wandering over to the cover confusing it for ground or a comfortable place to sleep, pool covers may be shielding your pool water from nature, but nature can still accumulate onto the cover itself.

How to clear it off

Snow, twigs and debris can cause damage to your pool cover, so it is important to keep it clean throughout the winter. When it comes to leaves, twigs, and other debris, you may remove them from the cover using a leaf blower or leaf net. Use a pool brush, pool net or leaf net to remove the debris that collects from under and around the straps and springs of the cover.

Small and moderate snowfalls under 2ft do not require urgent snow removal, but if buildup starts to happen, action must be taken.

For other cases of snow, remove the snow by following these steps:

  • If snow is 3-4 feet, use a leaf blower if the snow is light (powder snow).
  • If the snow is wet and heavy, use a soft-bristle push broom to remove snow from the cover gently. Don’t use a shovel, or you may damage the pool cover.

Tips to avoid damage while clearing

Here are a few tips for maintain your safety as well as your pool’s and your family’s while you’re handling any winter pool cover cleaning. The safest way to approach a cleaning or any event of associated damage is to seek professional maintenance, but the following tips are essential to stay safe and keep your pool and pool cover healthy.

Read More: When to Replace Your Vinyl Pool Liner

Maintaining Tension

Non-automatic pool covers have springs and straps that attach to the pool deck. The springs on a pool cover should each be under the same tension in order to avoid any damages to the cover or pool.

So, throughout the winter, adjust the straps if they loosen to keep the cover taut. Inspect the cover routinely to make sure there aren’t any cracks that increase the dangers of things like feet, animals and debris falling through.

 Handling dead animals in the pool

In the event that a dead animal such as a raccoon, feral cat, bird, squirrel or anything else finds its way into your pool from a faulty cover, the best thing to do is to fish the animal out and disinfect your pool as soon as possible.

You will likely need to shock the pool once more and take care of whatever damage was done to the cover that had the animal get through in the first place.

Because draining and refilling a pool in the freezing months is highly unadvisable, this would be a case where you would need to consult an expert for assistance.

Read More: Hot Tubbing in the Winter

Preventing heavy damages during the winter

In the event that your pool cover dislodges or even sinks, it can be put back into place once all the snow and debris are removed. If you have a tear in your cover, adhesive patches can fix minor cuts and other damage. Never use a shovel when clearing off a pool cover, as it will cause tearing. This cannot be said enough.

Keep an eye open for these pool parts during the off-season

Other than routinely checking on your pool cover for wear and tear, damage and clearing off debris and snow, it’s important to check on a few parts of your pool even during the off-season.

Read More: The Importance of Pool Safety Covers


Examine your pool’s surface by pulling back the cover onto itself, looking for signs of cracking, stains, discoloration, and waterline marks. If you have a concrete pool, check the tile and coping stones for cracks or movement.

To correctly repair any damages, call a professional to add an off-season enzyme for the water to break down organic contamination that causes stains and waterline marks.

You should also be checking the filter and electrical system, ensuring that:

  • All breakers and time clocks are turned off
  • The pool light is turned off
  • There are no leaks or cracks in and around the electrical equipment
  • All the wires are properly connected to the pump, heaters, sensors, and other equipment

Excess Water

And lastly, if you have an automatic safety pool cover, make sure to pump snow meltwater off as soon as possible to prevent ice buildup.

Even when they are not in use during colder seasons, pools and their covers need a little care and supervision to make sure they make it through to the summer.

Consult with a professional to make your winterizing experience as seamless as possible, and don’t forget to keep that cover clean! The more you take care of your pool during the off-season, the more you’ll enjoy it next summer. And for good measure, never ever shovel snow off your pool cover.

For pool services in the Ottawa area, you can put your trust in Poolarama.