Safety pool covers are one of the most important safety features that every backyard swimming pool should have. Homeowners may already own a solar pool cover and/or a winter pool cover, but these types of pool covers are not safety pool covers and should not be used as such. A pool cover must be able to support a minimum of 485 pounds per 5 square feet before it can be considered a safety pool cover, according to the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) F1346-91 standard.
Two choices for safety pool covers include mesh covers and solid material covers. Both varieties of cover are anchored to a pool’s deck with straps that pull the cover tight over the pool. The straps attach to stainless steel springs and are anchored to recessed brackets in the pool deck’s surface.
Mesh safety pool covers require very little upkeep because debris that may fall on the covers usually blows off the top, and rain and snow drain through the mesh panels; however, because mesh is a screen-like material, some dirt may penetrate the webbing. Alternatively, having a mesh-style safety pool cover prevents the danger of small children or pets coming in contact with shallow water because puddles cannot form on the surface.
Solid safety pool covers are similar to mesh covers in that they can be secured to a pool’s deck by anchors. The difference is that solid safety pool covers may not be most suitable for pools in areas that get heavy rain or snowfall. Precipitation can accumulate on a solid cover which creates a puddle of water over the pool. The puddles of water may weigh the pool cover down enough to create a sag. Even a small puddle of water can be a danger to small children or pets who, if unsupervised, wander onto the pool cover. To reduce this potential problem, some manufacturers of solid safety pool covers include drain panels in the covers. If no drain panels are present, a small cover pump that automatically pumps water off the cover as soon as it is detected may also be used.