Whether you have an above ground or below ground pool, you likely have a cover or plan to get one before the seasons change. Covers are good for year-round protection of your pool, and there are a few dos and don'ts involved. Tarps work well as pool covers and can be easily secured to protect your pool from debris and other off-season issues.
Above ground pools are generally left filled throughout the winter, and a cover helps keep the pool and water under controlled for the season. A cover can help keep the water from evaporating, but it also keeps leaves and other debris out of the water or ice, so the water will melt and be fairly clean in the spring. A cover can also prevent critters from getting into the pool.
Even when the pool is open, a cover can help keep the temperature warm by holding heat in the water by shielding it from escaping or being cooled by wind and outdoor temperatures. A tarp is often easier to use than a pool cover, as it is typically lighter, more flexible and has built-in grommets that can be used to secure the tarp in place.
In-ground pools are great for summer fun, and can be heated to extend the season both in early spring and into the fall. Heated pools benefit from being covered as a cover will help hold heat in the water. Some pool owners may feel it is a big production to cover and uncover the pool, but it will help save energy and keep the water at a comfortable temperature.
In the winter, most pool owners drain their pools in some of the colder climates. Even though the pool is drained, there are several reasons to keep it covered for the winter. A cover keeps water from collecting and becoming stagnant. Water that builds up in the pool can also expand as it freezes and cause stressful wear and tear on the pool, possibly cracking the pool's concrete or tile.
There are numerous commercial pool covers both off the shelf and custom-made for your pool. These can be pricy and require replacement every few seasons. A tarp is more than suitable for the job as many pool covers are cut from the same cloth - so to speak - and cost far less. You can order heavy-duty tarps of 12-mil thickness or greater to protect against harsh winters. Tarps come in every size, including and up to 100' square, which will cover just about any backyard swimming hole. Grommets are easily used to tie the tarp into place to get a taut cover on your pool. You can use tent stakes, tie downs or other methods to secure your tarp for the night or for the season.
For pool season, you can go with a thinner tarp if you want to cover your pool when not in use in order to keep leaves and other debris from falling into the pool. A heavier tarp will provide more protection in colder months.
Whether you have an above ground or below ground pool, there are a few considerations. You want to cover the pool from edge to edge, and possibly have some cover overlap with the ground or hang over the sides of the pool. While you want the cover to keep everything out, including any critters looking for water or lodgings, you want a taut cover that also won't come in contact with the water. Covers that touch the water in a pool can sag. Where the water touches the cover, it can discolor due to the water or any leaves and debris lying on top of the fabric.
With a tarp as a cover, you have the convenience of easy covering, and you can pack it up out of sight when not in use, so you can enjoy your season in the sun.