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Choosing a Mesh Leaf Net or Winter Cover – What’s Best for Your Pool?

Your pool is a major investment, and protecting that investment is important. Repairs can get expensive, and letting your pool fall into disrepair will lower the value of your property.

In the worst case scenario a leaking pool liner can lead to damage to your pool wall, and erode the soil in the surrounding area. Damaged pools can even be serious safety hazards. Protecting your pool means protecting your investment, your property, and your family.

In the summer regular maintenance and cleaning is the best way to keep your pool in tip top shape, but all good things come to an end – including summer. As the leaves start to fall, and warm days become few and far between it becomes time to close your pool.

Protecting your pool in the warm summer is important, but just because swimming season has come to an end doesn’t mean that your pool doesn’t need Winter protection.

In the Fall, Winter, and Spring this means investing in a cover for your pool.** The good news is you’ve got plenty of options.

Standard Pool Covers

Most pool owners have a standard pool tarp to cover their pool when it is not in use. These basic tarps are made out of a flimsy material which often allow water, dirt, and debris to collect on the pool’s surface. While they are effective at keeping out minor precipitation and some falling debris, tarps fall short when matched against the harsh storms of fall and Spring, or the heavy snows of Winter. More importantly, a basic tarp is not safe – children, small animals and people could easily fall in, especially if the area is snow covered.

In addition to the safety risk, a regular tarp will struggle to make it through the fall, Winter and Spring without tearing and allowing water and debris into your pool. Storms, snow, leaves, and lots of rain mean that your pool is constantly under threat. Leaves, sticks, and other debris can damage your lining, but so too can constant freezing and thawing, and even biological risks from animal droppings, bugs, and decaying organic matter. Thankfully there are other options available.

Leaf Nets

A leaf net is a tarp made of loosely woven mesh. Unlike standard tarps, it is pulled taught over your pool and is specifically designed to handle the worst that fall and Winter can throw at it. They come installed with the use of a winch and cable for above ground pools, and water bags for inground pools.

Leaf nets catch the falling debris during the fall – debris like leaves, twigs, and other small organic matter. They also provide added protection against light snow and hail, and can help prevent animals from walking on top of your pool.

Unfortunately, leaf nets will not provide full Winter protection. They are great for pool owners who want to keep their pool open in the late fall when the leaves start falling, but leaf nets are made of a very lightweight mesh which is only designed to hold up to the weight of leaves and very small debris. With the heavy weight of snow, the net will tear, or will pose a threat to your pool’s structure (if above ground) with the weight of snow.

Leaf nets also do not provide UV protection, as they are nets rather than solid covers. Thankfully, Winter covers are available for additional Winter protection.

Winter Covers

Winter covers are a major upgrade from standard pool tarps. They come in a range of styles, thicknesses and features, and are purpose-built to be installed on your pool throughout the late Fall and Winter months.

Like leaf nets, Winter covers are usually installed with the use of a winch and cable for above ground pools, and water bags for inground pools.

Winter covers will protect your pool from Winter damage and will protect your pool liner from falling debris and even UV damage (it may be cold in the Winter but the sun is still shining on good days).

There are two main types of Winter covers:

Mesh covers: Mesh covers are similar to leaf nets, they are inexpensive and will stop debris but are less effective against snow and rain.

Solid covers: Solid covers are more expensive than mesh covers but they provide far greater protection. They are also stronger, and generally last longer. Solid covers will keep precipitation out of your pool, and leave your pool much cleaner in the Spring than other Winter covers.

Winter Covers Versus Leaf Nets – Which One Wins Out?

Trying to decide between a Winter cover and a leaf net? Well, there is no doubt that a Winter cover provides more protection, but they are also bulkier so they are less suitable for Fall swimming (since they take a while to set up). Winter covers will protect your pool from UV light, but water may build up on them if debris blocks runoff. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which is why the best solution is to invest in both a leaf net and Winter cover. Leaf nets are usually installed over top of Winter covers, allowing them to prevent sticks, leaves and debris from building up on your Winter cover. This stops precipitation from building up and also protects your Winter cover from damage, extending its life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a Winter cover offer Winter protection?

Yes, a Winter cover will protect your pool from snow, sleet, hail, rain, and anything else mother nature can throw at it.

Why use both a leaf net and a Winter cover?

Using both helps to ensure an easy pool opening - while keeping your pool safe over the Winter. With a leaf net and a Winter cover you’ll get the best of both worlds, and your leaf net will extend the life of your Winter cover.

Why not just use a leaf net?

A leaf net won’t protect your liner or your pool from potential Winter damage.

**Note: Please be advised that if you are situated in an area that reaches consistent freezing temperatures of -40° or below, unique pool closing procedures may be required. Please refer to the proper pool closing guide for your type of pool for more details.

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