Snow is beautiful when it’s falling gently from the sky, but when it piles up it can make a huge mess. According to FEMA, 1 foot of fresh snow ranges from 3 pounds per square foot for light, dry snow (what the western part of the U.S. gets) to 21 pounds per square foot for wet, heavy snow (what the East Coast typically gets). Additionally, ice weighs significantly more – 1 foot of ice weighs approximately 57 pounds per square foot. Yikes!
Here’s what you should do to take care of your pool during winter weather:
Before The Snow
Make sure you winterize your pool! This includes lowering the water level, balancing the pool chemistry and using an “air pillow” to separate the pool cover from the water. Don’t hesitate to call your local pool professional to do this process for you because it is such an important step! If you don’t have a local pool professional, use our dealer locator to find one close to you.
While It’s Snowing
Don’t just watch it snow – keep an eye out for snow and debris accumulation on your pool cover. If there’s more than an inch of water on your pool cover, the weight of the water can cause stress and damage your pool cover. It’s important to note that many winter pool covers can handle up to 10 inches of snow, but if the water level in your pool has dropped since the cover was put on, it can fail. Additionally, large amounts of snow can have different effects on different types of pools and covers, so it’s better to take action now than to wait and see what happens!
As it is snowing, regularly go out and gently brush the snow off your pool cover with a long broom and never (let us repeat that – NEVER) use sharp objects to remove snow or ice. Don’t forcibly remove or try to melt any ice on your pool cover. Simply be more diligent about cleaning off your pool cover when ice is present. You should wait for ice to melt and pump the water off your pool cover as quickly as possible. This will prevent it from refreezing and damaging the cover.
Finally, while you’re focusing intently on cleaning off your pool cover, don’t forget to remove the snow from around the pool as well. This is especially important for an inground pool. By removing the snow around the pool there will be space for the melting snow to run off and you’ll have a clear place to walk! Just make sure you don’t accidently shovel snow ONTO your pool cover!
After The Snow
When ice and snow melt, the runoff can flow into your pool. You should pump any runoff off your pool cover as quickly as possible. Why? If there is a significant amount of runoff or snow on top of your pool cover it can cause the pool cover to make contact with the surface of the water. This creates added tension to the pool cover and can allow sharp pieces of ice to slice through the pool cover. And depending on the type of pool you have the ice could also cut the pool lining.
Additionally, natural precipitation is more acidic than the ideal pH of pool water because of air pollution so, the runoff will change your pool's water chemistry. This change can cause scaling, corrosion and algae build-up. Additionally, increased acidity can eat away at the plaster or metal parts of your pool, causing significant damage. Runoff can also bring dirt and debris, which can damage your pool's surface and impact the water quality. The result is more work in the spring when you open your pool.
Finally, it’s important to remember that you take plenty of breaks from working outside during winter weather, wear layers and use safe shoveling techniques. If you follow these simple steps, you can help protect your pool from the snow and ice and make sure your pool will be ready to open this spring!