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      You’ve probably closed your pool for years without incident. As you go through the offseason your traditional tarp-style winter cover does a pretty good job of keeping unwanted leaves and debris out of your pool and for the most part you’re happy. Well, aside  from the fact that the winter covers never seem to hold up and you have to keep replacing it every couple of years – that can be annoying.

      We’ve found in the past couple of years that more and more people are moving away from winter covers and making the significant investment in a safety cover. Talking to a lot of people who make these purchases, here are some of the most common things we hear:

      • Families with young children want the added protection once the pool is done for the season. A safety cover for families with small children offers tremendous peace of mind, particularly after hearing the statistics on accidental drowning, where 37 percent of children drowned in pools and spas between 2007-2009 happened outside of the summer months. Many of these families have taken many precautions to ensure their children’s safety during pool season, so a safety cover is the next logical step.
      • People who live in neighborhoods and areas with substantial wildlife also see a safety cover as a preventative measure. Many pool owners dread the thought of a neighbor’s child or pet inadvertently wandering into their pool, or even some other form of wildlife if you live in a rural area. The emotional and possible monetary costs preventing such an accident more than justifies the expense of a safety cover to many pool owners.
      • While the first two reasons were largely to avoid tragic accidents, a large number of safety cover owners do so for the good of their pool. A secured safety cover will protect your pool through the offseason far more than a flimsy winter cover and allow you a consistent opening and closing routine each year.
      • Given the longer life span of a safety cover, some owners break even or even beat the cost of constant replacement of winter covers. For these people, a safety cover is just a smart financial decision.

      What type of safety cover is best?

      If you decide to purchase a safety cover you’ll have to do your homework on which type works best for you, your pool and your budget. Your two primary choices are mesh covers and solid covers. Here’s a quick rundown on the advantages and disadvantages of each:

      • Mesh covers are lighter and typically less expensive than solid covers. This makes them easier to put on and take off each year. The mesh also allows water to pass through, and depending on how fine the mesh is, some small amounts of dirt and other particles. The advantage of letting water pass through is that it won’t pool up when it rains or as snow melts, which requires you to remove it – which most people do with a cover pump, which is another expense you may not want if you’re on a tight budget. Along with allowing through some dirt which you’ll have to clean up in the Spring, a mesh cover will also allow a minimal amount of light through. Though most owners don’t run into big problems from this minimal amount of light, mesh covers can be slightly more prone to offseason algae problems than solid covers.
      • Solid covers are just that – solid. Nothing gets through, no water, no light, nothing. This will save you some additional cleaning time when you open as you’ll have less dirt and algae issues than a mesh cover, but you’ll spend some more time installing and removing it each year as well. Of course, as mentioned above, you’ll have to have a solution for removing water, either by using a pump or getting a cover with a built-in mesh drain panel.

      A safety cover may not be something you’ve considered at this point, and maybe you never will, but there are some very legitimate reasons for considering purchasing one. Whether it’s to protect your family, protect your pool, or because you’re just tired of replacing your winter cover, you may want to at least consider doing your homework and seeing if you can find yourself a good deal.

      About the author:

      Adam Henige is co-owner of Swimtown Pool Supplies, an online retailer of pool and spa products. To learn more about safety covers, visit their website.