How To Remove Snow From a Pool Cover

Written by Michael Dean
August 16, 2023

snow on a pool cover

Once you have closed your pool, it is easy to think your winter pool care work is finished. But before you call it quits for the season, you must remember that you’ll need to continuously check your pool throughout the winter season. If your region is especially cold throughout the winter, you must also know how to remove snow from a pool cover.

In this article, I will give you tips on removing snow from your pool cover and how to prevent it from accumulating in the first place.

Main Takeaways

  • You need to remove snow from your pool cover to preserve the cover and prevent serious damage to your above ground pool.
  • To remove snow from your pool cover, use a push broom, leaf blower, pool salt, pool cover pump, or waterproof heat cable.
  • Avoid using anything that may tear your pool cover and vinyl liner.
  • The best way to prevent snow from accumulating on your pool cover is to remove it in smaller amounts. And ensure your pool cover is supported underneath or you are using a mesh cover to avoid too much weight from building up on it.

Why You Need To Remove Snow From Your Pool Cover

The main reason you need to remove snow from your pool cover is simply because of the weight. Snow weighs a lot and can add hundreds of pounds to the 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.

How Much Does Snow Actually Weigh?

Snow weighs around 10 to 20 pounds per cubic foot, and a cubic foot of ice can weigh more than double that! To put this into perspective, if your pool has a surface area of 80 feet, even if the snow is only 3 inches deep, there still may be over 200 pounds of pressure on your pool cover. And if the snow gets to 12 inches deep, this can be well over 800 pounds.

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.

Why Remove Snow on an Above Ground Pools

When snow builds up on top of 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. You should not neglect snow buildup on an above ground pool because this seemingly harmless frozen white substance can weigh MUCH more than you might expect. With over 500 pounds of pressure, even a high-quality above ground pool cover may break and seriously damage your pool. 

Why Remove Snow on an Inground Pools

Inground pools won’t collapse, but the snow’s weight can tear the cover, pull the anchors out of the pool, or damage the vinyl liner if you have that type of swimming pool. Inground pools are generally larger, and inground winter covers can handle more pressure than above ground pools. That said, I highly recommend removing the snow from your above ground and inground pool often to avoid costly repairs and damage to your pool and pool cover. Remember, a good quality winter pool cover for an inground pool can cost up to $500, so it can cost you big time to neglect it.

How To Remove Snow From Your Pool Cover

If you live in a region that gets a lot of snow, you may need to get out and remove snow from your pool cover often throughout the winter. While this can be a pain, you are protecting your pool cover from the heavy weight of snow that will build up throughout the off-season. Here are some of the best and easiest ways to remove snow from your pool cover.

Push Broom

One of the simplest ways to remove snow is to push it 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 from you as far as possible to let the snow melt toward the sides and potentially into the pool.

Leaf Blower

Another method I often employ is a handheld leaf blower. Using a leaf blower is perfect for getting rid of fresh snow that’s light enough to be blasted away. Using a push broom to clear the edge and a leaf blower to get rid of what’s in the middle is the perfect combination unless the snow is wet and dense.

Pool Cover Pump

You can’t use a pool pump cover to remove snow itself, but it is necessary to get rid of the water buildup from melted snow. If you have a solid cover (as opposed to a mesh one), you’ll likely need a pool cover pump to remove the water that accumulates on top. When the snow melts, place the cover pump on top of your cover and pump the water off. One inch of standing water on a solid pool cover will likely be too much weight for your pool cover to handle.

Pool Salt

Using pool salt is a quick way to melt light snowfalls without dragging out the broom or leaf blower. Be sure it’s pool salt specifically for pool use, not rock salt or commercial ice melt like you’d use on a sidewalk. Once the snow is melted, you will need to use a pool cover pump to get rid of the water that has accumulated on the pool cover. 

Waterproof Heat Cable

If a storm has dumped a couple of feet or more of snow onto your pool cover, use a heated cable to speed the melting process and a pool cover pump to quickly pump away the melting snow. Be careful with the heat cable; ensure you use a low-powered one and do NOT turn the heat too high. Otherwise, you may accidentally burn a hole in your beloved winter cover!

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 that can 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 intend to be, but one miscalculation can mean hundreds of dollars spent to replace a cut or torn pool cover.

If you 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. But preventing snow from accumulating is not so simple. If your region gets a lot of snow, it is pretty unavoidable that snow will settle on your pool cover. Your main way of defending against the snow is to be vigilant in removing it and preventing it from destroying your pool.

Keep the Pool Cover Supported From Underneath

This doesn’t necessarily help prevent snow from building up on your pool cover, but it will help prevent the build-up of snow from damaging your pool.

Regardless of the pool cover type, it should be touching the water or a pool pillow. The surface of the water, ice (if the water freezes), or the inflated pool pillow beneath the winter pool cover helps support the weight of water and snow accumulating 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.

Allow the Pool Cover to Drape Down

Your first option is to allow the winter pool cover to hang loose. Drain your pool below the skimmer and then install the cover so that it is concave and flat against the surface of the water. This way, when water or snow builds up, your pool cover won’t be bearing the brunt of the weight.

Use a Pool Air Pillow

Another option is to use inflatable air pillows to support the winter cover. Keep the water level in your pool below the skimmer hole by at least a few inches, and keep the floating pool pillow in the water beneath the pool cover closer to the middle than any sides. This supports the cover and prevents it from collapsing under the weight of the snow.

Use a Mesh Pool Cover

You can also use a mesh pool cover. This type of pool cover will still hold the weight of snow, but as the snow melts, it allows the water to pass through the tiny holes in the mesh, which extinguishes some weight from the cover.

If you have a mesh cover, you should monitor your pool water level. Since water will be constantly entering the pool, you may have to drain your pool partially throughout the winter to keep it at the proper level.

These maintenance tips can help preserve your pool during freezing temperatures, even if no snow falls. And when it does, you have some options ready for snow removal.

Protect Your Pool Cover At All Costs!

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, how to remove water from your pool cover, how to remove your pool cover, and how to keep your pool cover from sagging too.

Do you have more questions on getting snow off your cover? Always happy to help answer them; just let me know.

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