How to Use a Pool Cover Pump

As part of winterizing our swimming pools, we protect dirt, debris and water from getting inside with a pool cover.  As the inclement weather arises, we are left with water build up on top of the cover.  The weight of the water can cause damage such as stretching, pinholes or worse, a full blown tear.  By removing the stagnant water we prevent it from turning green from an algae bloom.  Algae blooms can lead to mosquitos.  We don’t want that!  You also never want to retract the pool cover when there is water on it.  There is a crucial piece of equipment we need to have to remove the water build up, and thus prevent damage.  It also saves us the costly hiring of a swimming pool maintenance company to remove the water one we are ready to uncover our pools for the season.  This device is known as a cover pump.

What is a Cover Pump?

A pool cover pump is in the name.  It pumps off the water that accumulates on the surface of your pool cover that is attributed to rain or snow.  Cover pumps will typically have a flat base on them to help prevent them from tipping over.  Sometimes the cover can get wavy.  Most automatic cover pumps shut off at ⅜ of an inches of water whereas they turn on when there is 2-3 inches of water.  

How to Use a Cover Pump

First, you’ll want to place the pump on top of the swimming pool cover.  Then you’ll want to plug it into a standard outlet.  Make sure the outlet is GFCI protected to exclude the danger of electrocution.  You’ll want to place the cover pump where the water seems to form the biggest puddles on your cover.  Feel free to use your pole and net to push the cover pump where you want it to go. Next you will take your standard garden hose (it is not recommended to use more than a 50 foot hose) and screw it onto the adaptor on the pump.  Some pumps come with their own discharge hose.. It is a must that the hose be run off your pool deck and most definitely away from your home to prevent damage.  Running it into the yard or a flower bed is a good option.

Most cover pumps have a screen on the bottom to prevent leaves from getting sucked up into the cover pump, clogging it.  You may need to clean this screen throughout the winter season.  If you have chosen an automatic cover pump, it will automatically shut itself off when the water reaches a certain level.  If you opted for a manual pump, you will physically need to turn it on and off.  Do NOT leave your manual pump on to run dry.  This can damage the pump and is not considered a warranty issue.

We need to remember that we have to actually use  our cover pumps.  They not only prevent damage as previously discussed, but can prevent accidental drowning in the accumulated water atop the swimming pool cover.

Sizes of Cover Pumps

Most cover pumps are measured in gallons per hour (GPH).  In some cases it may be gallons per minute (GPH).  The “larger” the pump, the higher the GPH.  When selecting your cover pump size, think about how much rain or snowfall you get at a specific time (single incident) and also the frequency of rain or snow fall. Breaking it down into weeks is probably best. Then,once you have determined the anticipated amount  of water, you can make an educated decision on what size of cover pump you will need.  If you don’t get much water accumulation, I recommend a smaller pump like this one

Are Cover Pumps Expensive?

That answer depends on where you shop, the brand, the size of the cover pump and whether you are going with automatic or manual.  These things all come into play when a manufacturer determines cost.  But these days, you can have quality, reliability AND a name brand for around half the price of those other guys.  I know we are all familiar with the American household name of BLACK + DECKER  They have been around for ages and are known for their craftsmanship and reliability.  They have graciously extended their product line to include swimming pool equipment.  If you get a lot of water building up on your swimming pool cover, I recommend going with this cover pump.

Not only is it made by BLACK + DECKER, but pumps 1,500 GPH!  As an added bonus it has an extra large discharge hose of 30 feet.  You will also get peace of mind with a three year warranty.  See you poolside!

The proper way to operate a pool cover pump is explained in this article. In addition, find out here if pool cover pumps are submersible.