Do I Need a Pool Cover Pump in Winter?

When we Winterize our Pools, one of the crucial steps is to cover the swimming pool.

This prevents dirt and debris from getting in the water.  If we don’t cover our pool and such debris sits in the water, it can actually wreak havoc.  The leaves and other organic loads become what is known as phosphates.  Phosphates are food for algae.  You actually CAN get algae in the Winter, contrary to common myths.  The leaves can also cause staining on the bottom of your swimming pool which can be difficult to remove come Summer.  

The issue with a swimming pool cover as it sits through the perilous weather, it starts to accumulate water build up.  This can cause all sorts of issues if not tended to throughout the Winter season.  Do you have to have a cover pump?  Not necessarily, but they do make life easier.  If you do decide to forgo the cover pump, there are a couple of less efficient ways to remove the water.

Water Accumulation

Why is water accumulation a bad idea?  The accumulation of standing water can actually be dangerous on your swimming pool cover.  The weight of the water by itself could tear, rip or sag your swimming pool cover.  It is actually a drowning risk for small children and animals that could gain access to the top of your pool.  No bueno!  Stagnant water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and even algae.  I do not advise allowing water to accumulate on your swimming pool cover.

There are some alternatives to a cover pump, but they require more energy and often money.  Here are some of the other options.

Shop Vac

You can attempt to use a shop vac to rid the excess water from atop of your cover.  You will be required to climb and balance with an awkward piece of equipment.  When using a shop vac, you will find that they also get full pretty quickly.  So you may find yourself having to stop and empty it multiple times.  A word of caution:  make sure your pool cover can withstand both the weight of the vacuum and the weight of yourself.  This sounds like a risk I wouldn’t want to take!

Garden Hose Siphon

This could be a simple fix.  This can be accomplished by grabbing your standard garden hose, a brick and your spigot.  Make sure you have a hose that is long enough to reach both the spigot and the edge of the swimming pool cover.  Take one end of the garden hose into the standing water.  You’ll want to secure it on the edge of the swimming pool with the aforementioned brick.  Your hose will be slightly squished and makes for slower draining.  Take the other end of the hose and connect it to the faucet.  Turn on the water from the spigot and let it run approximately one minute.  Then, turn off the water and move quickly!  Act fast and disconnect the hose from the end of the faucet.  The idea is that this will create suction that will start draining the water from your pool cover.  Note:  this may not get all of the water off.  Also remember the water will be directed to the other end so don’t point it towards your home.

Hire a Professional

This would be done prior to opening your pool.  I asked some of my colleagues what the approximate rate was for removing the water build up when opening a pool.  I found that some companies refuse to even do this service due to the risk of the damage the cover may have incurred while the water was standing.  If you are able to find a company that will offer this service, you are looking at around $200!  A few even said a flat rate of $250, while others said they simply charge their hourly rate.  Depending on who you hire and how much water build up you have, this could get expensive!  It is compounded if you also hire the same company to do the swimming pool start up.

Cover Pumps

Cover pumps are the most affordable as well as the easiest way to go. They are used all Winter long hanging out on your swimming pool cover, dealing with the water accumulation issue.  This means less of a risk of damage to your swimming pool cover.  It also means less of a pain-in-the-rear task when it is time to open the swimming pool.  It obviously helps with the risk of drowning that we chatted about above.

You can get a cover pump in manual or automatic.  With the manual, you are responsible for turning it on and off.  If you have a bad memory, like I do, this may not be the type of cover pump for you.  When you opt for an automatic cover pump, you can plug and put it out of your mind.  This is because they can sense when the water gets to the level required for it to turn on and get to work.  It also senses when the water is low enough to shut itself off.

If you ask me, you are doing yourself a favor by investing in a cover pump.  Are you aware that you can get a quality, household name, American made BLACK + DECKER cover pump for less than those other brands?  They are both reliable and affordable.  Check them out here See you poolside come Summer!