5 Winter Pool Cover Problems
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When temperatures get as low as they do in the winter, you hardly want to go outside.

But this is exactly what you need to do to find and fix problems with your winter cover – when you see the cover needs to be cleaned, patched or adjusted.

If a winter swimming pool cover slips off in the cold seasons when nobody is using it, it can be a shock to find months later. Debris can just pile up, along with unwelcome algae guests.

Let’s explore 5 pool cover nightmares you don’t want to deal with when it comes to winter covers.

  • Cover Falls into Pool

pool-cover-fell-into-poolThe pool cover can fall into the pool if – as mentioned above – you do not keep a solid handle on it and keep it tightly wrapped over the pool. Keep in mind that you will not be doing much – if anything – over the long winter months, so you should have it tight enough to stand up to the cold, strong winds you may experience.

Periodically keep an eye on the cover to catch a glimpse of any issue early on so you can quickly fix it and prevent worse problems.

If you notice your cover slipping into the pool, creeping towards the edge, what you can do is just grab hold of the cover edge firmly with both hands, bend your knees, and lean back, pulling the cover back over the deck. Now put more weight in that area. Do NOT use bricks or cinder blocks because they may be pulled in, and damage the pool or pool cover.

  • Tons of Water on Cover

tons-of-water-on-pool-coverLiterally tons, of water. When snow or ice accumulates and starts to melt, or when rain builds up on the cover, you will notice a lot of unwanted water on the cover. Remove water regularly with a pool cover pump. These pumps are submersible and stand up to freezing temperatures. Connect to a garden hose and plug into any 115V grounded outlet.

Speaking of snow and ice – that’s something you would rather avoid than try scrapping off the cover. Keep the cover pump handy for when that stuff melts – naturally. No use in messing with the ice or snow on the cover since you could tear the cover by mistake.

Water on the top of the cover can attract worms, and while that may not seem like a problem to some people, the sharp beaks that are associated with birds that feast on worms can be a problem for covers! See our selection of automatic pool cover pumps to keep your cover mostly dry during the off season.

  • Cover is Loose or Slack

loose-or-slack-pool-coverIf your cover is too loose, then that will allow for debris to accumulate as well as inhibit algae growth. Many times the cover is simply too large for the pool. In this case, fold the cover under itself, to leave 3-4 ft of overlap all around the pool. For areas of limited space, use extra water bags. It is important to remember to keep the pool cover latched on tightly.

Aboveground pools can use wall clips, wall bags or cover seal to help hold their cover tightly. Inground pools use water bags or water tubes to secure the cover.  Floating, solid pool covers should be pulled outward, to remove most wrinkles, and anchored solidly with water tubes or Aqua Blocks. These will hold the cover down, but not damage the cover or pool if they happen to fall into the pool.

Pool Water Bags come in single and double tubes. Place these water tubes on the corners, sides or edges of the pool, laying them end to end, and overlapping in areas of little deck coverage.

  • Leaves and Debris on Cover

scooping-debris-from-a-pool-coverLeaf Rakes are an obvious solution to the problem. Simply sweep off the leaves with the leaf rake, extending to reach every spot on the cover. All you have to do is attach the leaf rake to the pool pole then scoop across the cover to collect leaves, sticks, acorns. Empty into a 20 gal can on the pool deck, with a few holes in the bottom for the water to run out.

One of the most common ways to eliminate the issue of leaves piling up on your pool cover is to find a Leaf Catcher. Simply place it on the top of the pool cover and after the leaves have fallen, you just remove the leaf catcher and voila – all of your leaves are gone. You’ll still need to pump the cover all winter, to remove rain and snow melt.

  • Tear or Rip in Cover

holes-in-pool-coverIf you notice holes or tears in the cover, it could be from several different sources. Tree branches could fall and land, animals such as birds could get the worms that are on the water which is on top of the cover, debris build-up could prove too much weight to handle and cause tears – these are among the most common situations and reasons for tears in the cover.

This is the reason you will probably find pool cover patches undoubtedly helpful. If the tear isn’t big enough to warrant a new cover, then you can be thankful that these patch kits are in existence! These patches halt the tears and holes from getting bigger and becoming a massive headache later. Note that patch kits are available for both winter covers and safety covers.

Cover Patch Kits allow you to provide a fix – whether it is a temporary or permanent solution – and will hopefully allow you to keep your cover working throughout the winter, giving you a great protection all winter long.

Now that you know some of the worst pool cover problems to expect, you can anticipate in advance and have the supplies ready for the long closed swimming pool season.

happy-halloweenAvoid a pool cover nightmare in the spring by preparing well before the weather takes a turn, and by visiting your pool cover often this winter!

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Alex Malamos
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

Halloween Swimming Pools
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scary-halloween-lifeguardHalloween is on a Friday this year! That means lots of parties!

Northern pool owners are already closed for the season, but southern pool owners are still enjoying their pool through October. Before it officially becomes ‘off-season’, have some fun with a Halloween party.

Here are some spooky décor ideas and Halloween pool activities for all you sunbelt pool owners out there  – there’s still more time to enjoy the fall weather around the pool!

Halloween Décor

1). Pumpkins Galore

halloween-floating-pool-pumpkinsIt’s time to harvest pumpkins in the garden or the multitude of pumpkins at the local pumpkin patch. Floating pumpkins in your pool is a really neat way to decorate the swimming pool. You can carve real pumpkins and place small candles inside so your designs can light up the pool. If you don’t want to use real pumpkins, your local craft store carries an array of plastic pumpkins that will look just as appealing.

2). Party Pool Dye

skeleton-in-poolSwimming pool dye is a fun way to get into the Halloween mood. Whether you choose creepy red or goblin green, swimming pool dye is a terrific way to decorate. Party Pool dye is non-toxic and won’t stain your pool and in 3-5 days the color will filter out, and you’ll be back to a beautiful blue pool.

3). Bubbles and Candles

soap-bubblesAdd laundry soap and point your pool returns at the surface to create a foamy swimming pool. After the party, shock the pool to break up the foam, and run the filter. Decorate the swimming pool with candles to make a magical backyard that is perfect for an outdoor party.

4). Dry Ice

dry-ice-in-poolFor Halloween this year, make a spooky swimming pool with dry ice or fog machines. A foggy atmosphere gives a spooky aurora to the yard. If you put dry ice in the pool, take safety precautions and make sure that no one is swimming. Touching dry ice can cause skin burns.

5). Plexiglass Pool Cover

plexiglass-party-pool-coverIf you want to expand your backyard and create a dance floor or dining area, you might consider having a party rental company install lighted plexiglass panels over the pool, or a stage over water for the band to play, or for a costume contest catwalk. Pricey, yes and a super creative way to transform your pool area into an incredible space for big events.

6). Spider webs, Tombstones and Skeletons

skeleton-in-pool-chair-floatIt’s time to dig out your go-to decorations in in the basement. Don’t be afraid to use the decorations you already have and spice them up with some new décor from the store. Spider webs are a classic decoration that can be placed in bushes and trees surrounding the pool. Get some tombstones and make a creepy scene in a corner.

7). Glowing Hands

glowing-handsNeed some unique lighting ideas in your swimming pool? Get some latex gloves and put a glow stick in each of them. Inflate the gloves and tie them off, and set them afloat. At night it’s really creepy to see glowing, floating hands in the swimming pool.
 

8). Sound Effects/ Halloween Music

halloween-pool-party-musicMusic and sound effects are the perfect way to set the mood for the Halloween season. Sound effects might be good if you are not outside the entire time, otherwise the repetition might get a tad annoying to your guests. There are plenty of Halloween CDs out there for adults and kids that incorporate fun/creepy music. Or, make your own Halloween playlist!

 

Halloween Party Games

1). Dive for Your Pumpkins

dive-for-pumpkinsFor Halloween parties for kids, get a dozen pumpkins and place them in the pool. The kids can swim to their pumpkins that they want to carve. After they carve the pumpkins and it begins to get dark, they can float them in the pool with candles inside, or set them in various places around the pool.

2). Halloween Hunt

halloween-hunt-in-the-poolFor the Halloween hunt, fill some Halloween colored eggs with small toys, hard candy or coins and place them in the pool. Make it a fun competition and let the children race in the swimming pool to get as many eggs as they can. If there are many ages, divide the hunts into age groups.

3). Costume Contest

phelps-swimmer-costumeThe possibilities are endless really…whether you want to be a pirate or Olympic swimmer, a themed costume party is a lot of fun for not only kids but adults as well. At least the party host should dress up! Fortunately adult Halloween costumes are easy to buy, rent or make yourself!

Any boy willing to go shirtless could dress up as Michael Phelps. A great idea for babies that are not swimming is a shark or fish costume. Finding Nemo, anyone?

Whether you throw a Halloween bash or simply transform your yard in spooky décor, make sure you take the time to enjoy the decorating experience and have fun with it. Get family and friends involved, so that this Halloween you can have the coolest pool in town!

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Jaquelynn Pettinato
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

Swim Lesson Plans
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learning-to-swim - image purch'd from dreamstimeLearning how to swim is one of life’s most valuable skills, and not only for the benefit of water safety. When you teach a child how to swim, it opens the door to one of the most enjoyable forms of recreation and fitness.

Learn to swim and enjoy water skiing, scuba diving and snorkeling, river rafting and tubing, surfing or playing in the ocean, or joining a competitive swim team. Boating and fishing, and just being around water in general.

Learning to swim provides lifestyle opportunities, but it can also save a child’s life. Growing up with a fear of the water limits recreational choices, and could possibly manifest itself into a deeper phobia of water.

According to the CDC, every day in the U.S., an average of 2 children succumb to drowning, and another 10 are admitted to hospitals in near-drowning incidents. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children aged 1-4, and the second leading cause of death for kids age 1-14.

Drowning is a horrible tragedy, but one that’s avoidable, in most cases. In the words of Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones “Drowning is preventable; two words – Swim Lessons”. However, for small children under 5 years old, complete proficiency is unlikely and should be supplemented with Layers of Protection around the pool, including 4-sided fences, pool alarms and safety covers.

Teaching kids to swim is one of the most important parental responsibilities, just as important as teaching your child to look both ways before crossing the street. As of 2010, 15 European countries had made swim lessons a compulsory part of school curriculum, as reported by the NY Times. Not so in the United States, however – learning to swim is optional.

Let’s assume that because you are reading this article however, that you are already committed to teaching kids how to swim. It may also be assumed that you are reading this article on InTheSwim and therefore probably have a backyard swimming pool, which increases the importance and urgency of teaching your children how to swim.

This article is written for parents who wish to teach their children how to swim – in their own pool. We encourage you to study more about how to teach swimming to children, by also visiting our Recommended Resources listed at the conclusion of this article.

Swim Lesson Planning & Preparation

Teaching kids how to swim requires only a few instruments, first and foremost being a swimming pool. Teaching your child how to swim could be more fun in groups. As you make your annual / seasonal swim lesson plans, spread the word to other parents who may like to join-in.

For Swim Students:

  1. Swimsuit. Take them shopping for their new swimsuit each year, and instruct them never to go swimming without wearing a swimsuit. Teach that swimming in clothes and shoes is unsafe.
  2. Sunscreen. Protect their skin while they are in the pool or on the pool deck. A tight fitting swim shirt or large hat can also be used to protect the skin from too much sun.
  3. Kickboard. For use when learning simple strokes and for kicking exercises, a foam kickboard (not inflatable) can be used in multiple ways during a swim lesson.
  4. Swim Diaper. For those not yet potty trained, a swim diaper, worn over a regular diaper.
  5. Good Health. Delay the lesson if your child has an illness or needs a nap.
  6. Towel. And dry clothing to change into after the lesson is over.

For Swim Teachers:

  1. Swimming Pool. Learning to swim in lakes, streams and oceans can be unsafe, due to deep mud, currents and riptides. A shallow wading pool or ‘baby pool’ is the best place to start, if available. Otherwise, use the shallow end of a pool, preferably with walk-in steps. Aboveground pools or large spas can also be used for teaching toddlers to acclimate to water and learn basic swim skills.
  2. Swimsuit. Set the example of never swimming without a swimsuit. Hat, but no sunglasses.
  3. Enthusiasm. Bring a big smile and a big heart to each swim lesson, with some patience and empathy too!
  4. Swim Lesson Plans. Use a binder that you can stand up, with plastic sheet holders to hold your lesson plan on the edge of the pool. Print our swim lesson plans.
  5. Schedule. Just like other important things, schedule swim lessons for a solid time slot on your calendar. Once or twice per week, for 8-12 weeks could be appropriate.
  6. Pool Noodle. Can be used to provide you added buoyancy, or for kicking and floating drills.

 

SWIM LESSON TIPS:

  • Each swim lesson for infants and toddlers should last only 15 minutes; up to 30 minutes for 3-5 year olds, and up to 45 minutes for children over 5 years old.
  • The ratio of swim teacher to swim student should be 1:1 for children under 5 who have not reached swim stroke and treading water proficiency.
  • Slow and steady. There is no time limit on progressing from one swim level to the next. Some children will take longer on certain levels, and swim lessons may need to repeated, perhaps several times, until the swim student can confidently progress to the next level. Stay positive, and encourage the swim student toward short term objectives and long term goals.
  • Maintain arm’s length distance at all times during swim lessons and constant focus on the swim student. Don’t allow any distractions whenever a child is around the pool.
  • 82 degrees or warmer is most suitable for teaching kids how to swim. Colder pool water will detract from their ability to learn to swim.
  • Using a USCG approved foam life vest may be helpful at other times, but not during the swim lesson. Likewise, don’t use water wings, or ‘swimmies’, because they interfere with proper swim movements, and allow for bad stroke development. Using floatation devices will under-utilize key muscle groups needed for swimming and could also provide a false sense of security.
  • Feed your swim student 1 hour before the lesson, and give fluids after the lesson.

 

SWIM COLLEGE: Ability-Based Swim Lesson Plans

SWIM COLLEGE is not an actual organization, and this curriculum is offered as a generalized outline of possible swim lesson plans. Our swim lessons should be considered a class syllabus only, more instructor study is prudent before beginning an in-home swim training program.

SWIM COLLEGE curriculum is not based on age, but rather on ability, no matter if infant, toddler, pre-school age or much older, the same basic progression is used. In the early years, you may need to repeat previous swim lesson plans as a refresher, and to re-acclimate to the water.

SWIM COLLEGE is arranged as a 4-year curriculum, but students are encouraged to do post-graduate work and continue studying each summer for a total of 6+ years. Swim students can begin at any age, but if possible start between the ages of 12-24 months. Plan each season’s swim lessons for 8-12 weeks, once or twice per week.

For teaching toddlers how to swim, parents may consider professional swim instruction by a qualified instructor, when available. Most municipal and educational pools offer swim classes for kids, or you can search for a local swim instructor at swimlessons.com.

Begin each swim lesson with some safety training, and give reminders and praise for the safe swimmer throughout a lesson. Spend as much time as is needed on each section before moving into more advanced skills. Some swimming skills will take longer than others – be patient and encouraging towards small objectives and larger goals.

And finally, have fun, and let your student have fun too. :-)         

 

bluecrossSWIMMING 101:

Safety Rules

Every swim lesson should have a pool safety component. In the early years, pool safety should focus on definitive rules such as no swimming alone, no swimming without a bathing suit, stay in the shallow end. As a young swimmer develops greater awareness, more advanced pool safety education should be taught, and reviewed annually.

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