How to Combat Pool Winter Damage

It may seem counterintuitive to remove a winter pool cover during the winter months. Especially when every pool company in America says you need your pool covered all winter.

The point of this blog post is to inform you that yes, your pool needs a cover BUT, you will need to pay attention during winter and especially early springtime.

Winter Damage

ICE and SNOW Damage, what you need to know

The weather can be very spontaneous during late winter and early spring. It can be 65 degrees one day and change to 20 degrees at night. This freezing and thawing can shift the ice inside the pool. This shifting of ice can destroy an above-ground pool.

This temperature change represents an issue with an above-ground pool holding 15,000 gallons of water “ABOVE GROUND.”

winter pool
Winter and pools

Think of what an above-ground pool is doing? It’s holding water above ground. Freezing and thawing are causing some above-ground pools to fail from winter damage.

Have you ever wondered why the pillow underneath the winter cover is losing air? It’s because hundreds if not thousands of lbs of ice and snow force the air out.

Some may be using an inferior pillow to break up the ice. It may be time to install a super-strong pillow like the Gorillow brand pillow. It’s the only one I know of that isn’t losing air during winter.

Shameless plug: Gorillow Air Pillow is on Amazon.

Gorrillow Pillow

I live in a colder climate and about 90% of folks lose air in their pillows. Gorillow can help this from happening.

Getting back to this article because you came here for better solutions. So you get this giant block of ice subjected to the changing up and down temperatures in late winter early spring.

Quick Rising Temps

When temps are on the rise, this block of ice can quickly shift, and when a giant block of ice shifts, there isn’t much that can stop it. The pool wall made of rolled sheet metal will fail.

This giant block of ice concentrates its energy in one area, causing a pool wall to blow out.

winter damage
winter damaged pool

If a pool cover is secured tight, it offers no support to a giant block of ice, and this downward pressure locks the cord under the frame, and the next thing you see is the top of the pool going inward, causing a real mess.

The pool liner can suffer significant damage due to winter temps vs. spring temp changes. When the ice forms in your pool, it is thickest at the top, where it meets the cold air.

The most extreme winter damage comes in the early Spring when it starts to warm quickly.

The next thickest is the sidewall, and as ice works its way toward the base, it is not as comprehensive as higher up the pool wall.

When temps rise in the springtime, the ice is thinnest at the bottom, creating a knife-like shape towards the bottom where the pool wall meets the base. Or how about when the little Gizmo doesn’t do its job.

damaged pool from ice and snow
Ice and snow damaged pool

The top gets too heavy, and then it drops down and stamps out the bottom of the pool liner all around where the wall meets the floor.

Another cause of winter damage is when snow is piled so high on a pool it becomes too heavy. When the snow starts to melt, it becomes severe. This weight can place unwanted pressure on the pool, causing a possible pool wall collapse.

cover cord

This kind of damage calls for a new liner and perhaps a whole new pool.

How to solve your Above Ground Pool Winter Problems

So now you know a few things about winter damage that could occur to an above-ground pool. Next, let’s offer a couple of suggestions to help you.

First, let’s start by stating, just because you hired a professional to close down your pool doesn’t mean you are fully protected. Mother Nature always has her surprises.

Yes, It is essential for a good closing but let’s refer to the following suggestions/tips to help guide you.

Ice and Snow Weight Can Kill Your Pool, Cut the Cord!

In early spring, the first line of defense is to monitor your pool during the late winter and early springtime. Suppose you see the stress on the top part of your pool from Ice and Snow.

Water bags AG pool

Go ahead and cut the cord that keeps on the pool cover attached. I know it sounds counterintuitive to do this. But, I can tell you this with 100% accuracy. “It is better to clean debris from your pool than it will be to replace the entire pool.”

A second solution is to use wall bags on the pool cover instead of the cord. This action allows enough pressure to keep the pool cover in place, and if enough weight is going in the wrong direction, the cover will be allowed to fall into the pool without hurting the pool in any way.

I live near Robelle Industries and know they carry these water bags and they look better than milk jugs hanging off your pool. Here is a link to Amazon if your looking to get some this year. Robelle 3803-12 Deluxe Wall Bags for Above Ground Winter Pool Covers, 12-Pack.

Another less tried approach is to lower the water level after leaves and debris of fall have fallen. Once all the debris falls, simply lower the water level so that your pool is about halfway.

pool half filled with water
Half filled pool

This will allow the block of ice that forms to be lower down the sidewall and weigh less. And should result in less weight inside, and if this should shift, the chances of it doing more damage is lower.

Do these suggestions offer 100% protection?

No, they are just suggestions for you to consider. About 99% percent of the time, pools make it through the winter just fine, and all this is just precautions for that 1% of the time it could happen.

I do hope this information was helpful to you. Would you please check out our other above-ground pool-related information? If your looking to purchase a pool and don’t know where to start. This blog will help you.

Thank You,
The Above Ground Pool Builder

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