Why Pool Covers Should Touch The Water; 3 Simple Tips

photo of pool cover touching water

It’s that dreadful time of year when it’s time to close up your pool for the cold months ahead. Proper swimming pool maintenance will help your pool last a long time and create less work when it’s time to open or close it for the season. A big part of this is making sure the cover is on correctly, but should your pool cover touch the water?

Your pool cover should touch the water anytime your pool is covered. The water serves as a support for your pool cover. This allows enough slack to compensate for heavy rain or snowfall.

The rest of this article will explain why pool covers should touch the water, the correct way to put on a pool cover, and how to remove water and debris from on top of your pool cover.

Why Pool Covers Need To Touch the Water

One purpose of a pool cover is to keep unwanted debris out of the pool and to keep the chore of cleaning it to a minimum. For the pool cover to succeed in serving this purpose, the cover should always be touching the water when in use

When storms hit, they can bring lots of rain, snow, and fallen debris. If your cover is constantly getting dumped on, having the water against the cover will serve as a reinforcement. This allows the cover to expand slightly to compensate for the added weight and pressure. 

Automatic covers carry a similar requirement. The water level needs to be above the skimmer, otherwise water, debris, or other objects can strain the motor and tracks.

How To Properly Cover Your Pool

When it comes to putting your winter cover on your swimming pool, there are ten simple steps. Having two people when putting the cover on will help the process go much smoother.

  1. Ensure that the water level is sitting within 18 inches (46 cm) of the top of the pool.
  2. Bring the cover to the pool area and unfold it completely until it’s all laid out.
  3. Make sure to thread the vinyl-coated stainless steel cable it comes with through the eyes of the cover all the way around.
  4. With each of you taking a side, use both hands and lift the cover slightly higher than the pool.
  5. Slowly walk the cover toward the pool on opposite sides.
  6. Drape the cover over the top of the pool until it’s evenly dispersed all around with roughly 4 feet (1.2 m) of overlap.
  7. Make sure to allow the cover to rest on the surface of the water. 
  8. Grab the turnbuckle that came with your vinyl-coated stainless steel cable and thread the two ends of the cable through each side, through the center of the turntable, and out the other ends.
  9. Tighten the cable by turning the turnbuckle two to three times to secure the cover.

It’s important not to have the pool cover on tight or too loose. If it’s taut, it’ll likely become damaged from the weight of snow and water piled on top of it. That being said, being too loose can also cause too much debris to gather on the cover. This can create rips in the cover, cause the cover to become stretched thin, and can cause damage to the walls and top rail of the pool.

Removing Water and Debris From Your Pool Cover

photo of dirty pool cover

Removing debris should be done before water removal. Some water on the top of the pool’s cover is fine, but when it’s more than 2 inches (5.08 cm) deep, it needs to be removed. There are three ways to accomplish this task. 

Clearing the Cover of Debris

Removing debris can be done with a pool rake or a broom. If debris is all you need to remove and there is no water on the cover, a quick option is using a leaf blower if you have one. It will get rid of the leaves and other items without the risk of tearing the cover in the process. If you have debris stuck to the cover, you can use a pressure washer to clean the grime away.

Related: How To Safely Pressure Wash Your Pool Cover

Siphon With a Water Hose

Since every pool owner is going to have a water hose, this may be the most convenient option, but it’s more for above-ground pool owners. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Screw one end of the hose onto the outside water spigot and run the water until it flows steadily to ensure there is no air in the hose. 
  2. Once the water is flowing well, hold the other end high and upright while turning off the water and unscrewing the other end from the spigot. This will trap the water inside.
  3. Once unscrewed, quickly hold that end up the same height as the other and place one of the ends onto the pool cover far enough that it won’t fall off.
  4. Place the opposite end on the ground, so it’s lower than the pool level. 

Scoop With a Bucket

Scooping water off the top of the pool cover with a bucket may quite honestly be the worst option; however, it will do in a pinch. To do this, repeatedly fill your bucket with the water on the pool cover and dump it on the ground. Continue doing this until there is no water left on the cover.

This ePackage Supply 3.5-Gallon Bucket (available on Amazon) is a nice option for this job. It’s easier to maneuver than the larger 5-gallon (19-liter) buckets and has a sturdy handle with a plastic grip that makes it more convenient to carry.

Use a Cover Pump

A pump will be the most efficient option if you want to get the job done quickly and with minimal effort. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive option, with pumps starting at around $30 and going up from there.

Little Giant APCP-1700 115-Volt, 1/3 HP, 1745 GPH, Automatic, Submersible, Swimming Pool Cover Pump with 25-Ft. Cord, Light Blue, 577301

On the higher end of the scale is this Little Giant Submersible Pump (available on Amazon.com). It’s reliable, turns off automatically when there is no more water to pump, and pumps out water quickly. 

A more affordable pump is this AgiiMan Pool Cover Pump (available on Amazon.com), which drains about 850 gallons (3,218 liters) of water per hour and is easy to use.

To pump water off of your pool cover, follow these steps:

  1. Screw your hose into the pump
  2. Place your pump in the area of the pool cover that is the deepest with water. You may need to carefully push it to that spot with a pool brush.
  3. Plug your pump into an outdoor electrical outlet.
  4. Run your hose away from the pool onto the ground.

Related: Are Pool Store Water Tests Accurate? A Simple Answer

Depending on the weather, you may have to do this more than once. If you live in a place where snowfall and rain are common during your pool’s off-season, be prepared to clear the pool cover every time to keep it in good condition and avoid issues later.


Although clearing off your pool cover is a chore that no one wants to do, especially in the middle of winter, it will save you time and effort when it’s time to uncover your pool again once summer rolls back around. 

The best thing you can do is set yourself and your pool cover up for success by properly placing it atop the water and leaving enough slack to prevent damage. After that, maintaining it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Michael Carpenter

Hi, I'm Mike. I grew up in North Carolina having a blast on trampolines, go-karts, and just sitting on the porch with my friends. I have since moved to Las Vegas with my wife, 2 children, and 3 dogs. When I'm not chasing the kids around the house, I am probably chasing them around the backyard!

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