You’ve added an air pillow to your swimming pool, cleaned it, and covered it. You’re ready for freezing weather, confident that your pool winterization is complete, and sure you won’t have to think about pool maintenance again until Memorial Day approaches next year.
I’m sorry to burst your bubble! If your area gets a lot of snow, you’ll need to look into how to remove snow from a pool cover. Don’t let the weight of snow combined with freezing temperatures wear out your pool cover or damage the pool itself.
Why You Need To Remove Snow From Your Pool Cover
The good news is that you don’t always have to remove snow from a pool cover. I’ve seen above ground pools that are drained well below the skimmer level in the winter that lasted for years without snow removal.
However, the pool covers didn’t last as long as they could have. And the pools themselves might have held up even longer had the owners done a little snow removal after the worst storms.
Removing the snow after a heavy snowfall can help preserve your cover and prevent damage, particularly to an above ground pool. Snow weighs a lot and can add hundreds of pounds on top of your winter pool cover. If the cover isn’t floating or frozen to the water’s surface, it won’t last long under that kind of pressure.
In an above ground pool, the winter cover can pull on the sides and warp, bend, or even collapse a pool sidewall with enough weight bearing down on top of it. Inground pools won’t collapse, but the snow’s weight can tear the cover or pull the anchors out of the pool or damage the vinyl liner if you have that type of swimming pool.
The weight of the snow stays about the same as it melts, though it takes up much less space. Even a couple of inches of snow on a pool cover can weigh hundreds of pounds. If it rains and makes the snow wetter and denser, the weight on top of the cover will increase. If that freezes into ice and more snow falls on top, it can be a recipe for disaster.
You can’t judge the weight based on the appearance of the snow. One inch of wet, heavy snow can weigh several times more than one inch of fluffy powder. Plan on removing all of it and avoiding the guesswork.
How To Remove Snow From Your Pool Cover
Regardless of which type of pool cover you use, it should be touching the water. Water or ice beneath it helps support the weight of water and snow that accumulates on top of it.
If the cover hangs above the water, all the weight pulls against the pool walls. This weight could potentially collapse an above ground pool or tear out the pool anchors on an inground pool.
Keep the water level in your pool below the skimmer hole by at least a few inches, and try to keep the floating pool pillow you have in the water beneath the pool cover closer to the middle than any sides.
Also, monitor the water level in your pool, particularly if you have a mesh cover that lets melted snow drain into the water. Drain your pool as needed to keep the level below the skimmer, and add water if necessary to ensure the pool cover doesn’t hang above the water’s surface.
These maintenance tips can help preserve your pool during freezing temperatures even if no snow falls. When it does, you have some options when you’re ready for snow removal.
Push snow off the cover and over the side of the pool with a push broom. If you can’t reach the center, brush the snow away as far in as you can to let the snow melt run toward the sides and potentially into the pool.
I use a handheld leaf blower for any snow that’s light enough to be blasted away. The combination of a push broom to clear the edge and a leaf blower to get rid of what’s in the middle works best for me unless the snow is dense and wet.
Using pool salt is a quick way to fast-melt light snowfalls without having to drag out the broom or leaf blower. Be sure it’s pool salt specifically for pool use and not rock salt or commercial ice melt like you’d use on a sidewalk.
Pool Cover Pump
Solid covers need a pool cover pump to remove the water that accumulates on top. You’ll need to remove snow more often with a solid cover or risk having to replace it next season. When the snow melts, either leave the cover pump on or remove the water diligently. One inch of standing water on a solid cover is too much.
Waterproof Heat Cable
If a storm has dumped a couple of feet or more of snow onto your pool cover, a heated cable to speed the melting process and a pump can help you get as much weight off the pool cover as you can as quickly as possible.
The Wrong Ways To Remove Snow From Your Pool Cover
Snow removal isn’t complicated, but there are some methods you should never use to remove snow.
Don’t use anything with the potential to tear your pool cover or the vinyl liner if your pool has one. Avoid shovels, rakes, and anything metal or with sharp edges or points.
You might think you’ll be careful, and you’ll intend to be, but one miscalculation can mean hundreds of dollars spent to replace a cut or torn pool cover.
If you do end up tearing your cover and need a new one, read my guide on the best pool covers.
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How To Prevent Snow From Accumulating on Your Pool Cover
Keeping snow off your pool cover sounds easier than removing it after it collects there. Unfortunately, preventing snow accumulation usually involves removing it in smaller amounts rather than letting snow pile up.
When I’m expecting several inches of snow, I’ll go out and clear snow off a few different times through the snowfall, same as I do my front walk and driveway. I prefer to do a little at a time than wait until a couple of feet have accumulated.
If you keep these tips in mind, your pool can weather the winter and be ready for you to enjoy it when summer rolls back around. Be sure to read my guides on winter pool cover maintenance tips, winter pool maintenance, winterizing your pool too.
Questions? Always happy to help answer them, just let me know.