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Winter Pool Cover Tips

Winter covers are an essential part of winter pool maintenance, and they're something that every pool should be equipped with. Great for use in all types of climates, winter covers protect your pool during the long off-season months when no one will be swimming.

Winter covers help to keep dirt and debris out of your pool while keeping the water and chemicals in. They also block sunlight and UV rays, helping to prevent algae growth while the pool goes unused.

Let Leslie’s help you find the winter cover that fits both your pool and your budget. We'll also help you out with a few helpful winter cover tips to make installation a breeze.

Types of Winter Pool Covers

As we mentioned earlier, there are winter pool covers for nearly every type and size of pool available. For starters, there are covers available for inground pools and above ground pools. It's also easy to shop for pool covers by shape – round, oval, or rectangular. No matter which type of pool you have, or what the shape is, chances are good that you'll be able to find one that fits the size dimensions of your pool.

Some winter pool covers are thick and are designed to protect the pool from falling debris and curious small animals. Other covers are lightweight and built for easy installation and removal. Thicker covers are likely to carry a longer warranty from the manufacturer, but are usually more expensive than their lighter weight counterparts.

winter pool cover on above ground pool

Sizing a Winter Pool Cover

Before purchasing a winter pool cover, you need to make sure you're purchasing the correct size. For rectangle and oval shaped pools, measure the length and width of the pool. For round pools, measure the diameter across the center of the pool.

Winter pool covers are designed to have a bit of overlap. As an example, let's say we're buying a cover for a 15' x 30' rectangular swimming pool. When looking at all of the available winter covers, you'd want to purchase a cover that's labeled as 15' x 30'. In reality, if you look at the product description, you'll discover that the cover is actually about 4'-5' longer on each side to allow for overlap. In the case of our example, the cover you'd receive would actually be around 19' x 34'. At Leslie's, we label our covers according to pool size to make it easier to shop for the correct cover.

BONUS TIP: Got a pool that's between sizes, and you're having trouble finding the right cover for it online? There are a couple of options. If you have a uniquely shaped pool, your best bet might be to consider purchasing a safety cover. They're a bit more expensive, but have a much longer lifespan than winter covers, and you have the option to get a custom fit for your pool. If you'd rather stick with a winter cover, stop by your local Leslie's store to see if we can help you find any other sizes or options available.

Tips for Installing a Winter Cover

  • Installing a pool cover is a much easier task with TWO people.
  • After pulling the cover across the pool, anchor each end with several water bags.
  • Loosely drape the cover over the entire pool, and tuck the cover flat against the pool walls and surface.
  • Use water bags or winter cover blocks around the edge of the cover, placing them 18 inches apart. If you live in a particularly windy area, it's often best to place the water bags end to end.
  • Be sure to not fill the water bags completely full. By filling the water bags between ½ and ¾ full, this prevents the bags from rolling around or splitting open if the water freezes.
  • Install an air pillow on the pool surface, underneath the cover. Air pillows are designed to protect your pool walls against freeze expansion from the layer of ice that forms at the pool's surface.
  • Only inflate air pillows halfway to prevent bursting from ice pressure. Ropes may be tied around the pool edge and through grommets located on the air pillow(s) to keep them in place during the winter.
  • After the winter cover is installed, Leslie’s recommends installing a leaf net over the top of the winter cover. Leaf nets catch all large debris, and make spring opening even easier.


If you have any questions about finding and installing a winter cover that is right for your pool, please call or visit your local Leslie's store to speak with an expert. Be sure to check out our large selection of winter pool closing products to protect your pool and spa through the cold off-season.

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