This winter has been tough. Pools were frozen solid for a solid 3 months. Record cold temperatures and snowfall.
Aboveground pools are hit the hardest. The pressure of several feet of snow on top of a 20,000 pound floating iceberg can rip liners or crumple walls.
Today, we’ll look at the worst winter worries for aboveground pools – Ice and Snow.
Iceberg in your Pool
Aboveground pool walls are cold, like an ice tray, and the ice sheet grows very fast and thick. Inground pools have soil surrounding the walls, which gives both support and temperature regulation.
As water turns to ice, it expands 9%, putting pressure on the pool walls as it expands outward. Using an air pillow under a tight pool cover helps prevent a solid ice sheet from forming.
The water level in your pool, supports the floating sheet of ice, as it presses up against your pool walls and liner. If the pool develops a leak, or if the water level is accidentally lowered – the ice sheet can scrape down the sides of the pool wall as it falls, shredding a pool liner. If the water has frozen into the skimmer opening, it can damage the wall, as shown below.
If the winter pool cover is frozen solid into the ice sheet, itself under several inches of ice, the cover will rip, or in some cases, it can pull the walls in, or severely damage the pool top rail and uprights. Especially when the walls are rusted from skimmer and return leaks, as shown here.
Snow Damage to Aboveground Pools
A foot of snow on top of a 24′ round pool weighs nearly 7000 pounds. Triple that to 3 feet of snow, and many pool walls just can’t stand the pressure. Walls typically buckle at the weakest point; the area of the wall that the skimmer and return are connected into.
The weight of snow and ice on top of the remaining water in the pool increases the pressure, and can also cause tiny holes in a pool liner to open up into leakers. Now we have real problems, because when the water leaks out, it no longer supports the ice sheet above it. If it falls suddenly, it can rip the liner or damage the pool wall.
Ice & Snow Repairs to Aboveground Pools
Wall damage may seem unrepairable, and in some cases it is – but in other cases, there are methods for repairing an aboveground pool damaged by snow and ice.
Since most aboveground pool walls come in a continuous roll of sheet metal, you can’t usually just order a new panel, unless the damaged area is a separate stainless steel panel used for the skimmer and return.
But, you can usually straighten out bent and buckled steel walls and uprights. All you need is a 2×4 and a large hammer or maul. Lower the water in the pool to a point below the damage, and pull the liner away from the wall. Have a helper hold the 2×4 on the inside of the pool, while you hammer on the outside, flattening the wall, removing the creases, and restoring the wall to full height.
In cases where sections of the wall are too mangled or have torn, you can use replacement sheet metal pieces, riveted or bolted in place, on the inside of wall. Duct tape the patch edges before reinstalling the liner.
Preventing Ice & Snow Damage
- Always use an Air Pillow under winter pool covers
- If the pool leaks during winter, release the pool cover.
- Remove snow buildup on top of the pool – carefully.
- Use skimmer closures like Aquador, to protect your skimmer.
InTheSwim Blog Editor