What to Do When Your Swimming Pool Cover Falls In

Get Your Pool Clean and Ready for Summer Swimming

Covered swimming pool with slide
David Cordner/Getty Images

Getting your swimming pool open in the spring is much easier if your swim pool cover stays on during the winter. Having your pool cover fall into the swimming pool during the winter can leave you with a very messy pool to clean up. Cleaning your pool can be a very time-consuming task if the cover has fallen in. 

Here are some tips that can help make the job of getting your swimming pool cover out of the swimming pool and getting your pool ready for swimming easier. Step one is calling your local pool service company and let them do it. Just kidding! Read on for some do-it-yourself tips.

Remove Surface Debris

First, remove any debris that is still on the cover while the cover is still in the pool. The easiest way to do this is to use a leaf rake, which is a skimmer with a deep net. Pull the debris towards you, scooping the debris into the net. Put this debris into a container that has holes in it to allow the water to drain. This will make the debris much lighter and easier to haul. Be sure to keep the container off the deck while it drains so that the runoff doesn't stain the deck.

  • Once the debris is off of the cover, remove the cover from the swimming pool.
  • Inspect the cover for tears and other damage that would necessitate repair or replacement, then clean the cover, allow it to dry, and then put it away for the summer.

Do a Water Check

Now assess the swimming pool water situation. It may not be as bad as you think. The biggest question is how much debris went into the pool? If the water is clear enough to see the bottom and how much debris is there, you can make a choice on which way to proceed.

If there is only small debris and dirt, you can vacuum this out. It is best to vacuum to waste, bypassing the filter and going directly to waste, if your filter system allows you to. If not, now would be a good time to plumb it so it can. You could also check with your local pool supply and see if they rent out pumps to vacuum with or will come out and do it for you.

Options for Dealing With Large Pool Debris

If you can see the bottom and there is a lot of large debris, like leaves and branches, there are two options.

  • One option is to drain the pool and clean out the debris and refill with clean water. To clean out a lot of large debris can take many hours of scooping, waiting for the water to clear, and more scooping. Sometimes this can stretch into weeks of cleaning with lots of chemicals needed to clear the water each time. In many cases, draining the pool can be the easiest, quickest, and cheapest way to go. However, do not do this unless you are thoroughly familiar with this procedure and the accompanying risks.
  • If you have a lot of debris and draining the pool is not an option, you will have to go with option two which is cleaning up the existing water. First, try to scoop out as much debris as you can with your leaf rake or water powered vacuum called a leaf eater, even if you can't see the bottom. Now, start up your filter system so that you can clear up the water. If the water is murky and/or green, you will need to balance your pH and shock heavily with chlorine. Do not worry about the Total Alkalinity, etc, until you have cleaned the pool. You may be vacuuming a lot of water out when cleaning which will necessitate adding water that you would just have to balance all over again.

It's All About Balance (After You Vacuum)

Once you have removed the leaves and other large debris, vacuum the remaining dirt, algae, etc. to waste. After you have cleared the pool of dirt and debris, balance the water chemistry.

And that's it -- you should be now ready to enjoy your pool for the season. Here's a final tip -- If you keep the debris off the swim pool cover while it's in the pool, you will not have to worry about a lot of debris going into the pool if the cover does fall in.