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Should I Cover My Above-Ground Pool in the Summer? Pros and Cons

Whether you have limited space in your backyard or prefer to enjoy swimming seasonally, an above-ground pool is a good option for owning a swimming pool, especially if you are under a tight budget or want to avoid lengthy construction times. But an above-ground pool requires proper maintenance for it to provide optimal enjoyment. This includes covering it, but when and how often?

Covering an above-ground pool is an effective way to regulate its temperature, keep it clean, and limit water loss through evaporation, especially during the warmer months of summer. When properly used, a pool cover can reduce your costs, while minimizing the hassle, of owning an above-ground pool.

Depending on where you live and how often you use your above-ground pool, you may find that covering it regularly in the summer can drastically reduce the need to refill it and lower your costs of treating the water with chemicals. Keep reading to learn why this is along with a few additional benefits of using a cover on your above-ground pool when the weather gets hot.

Should I Keep My Above-Ground Pool Covered in the Summer?

The hot months of summer are when an above-ground pool truly proves its worth as it provides instant relief from the sweltering heat. It can also serve as your personal backyard oasis whether you’re just dipping your toes while reading your favorite book or doing cannonballs with your friends.

As the temperature rises during the warmer months of the year, so too can the need to cover your above-ground pool.

Using a pool cover in the summer will not only prove to be a time-saver so you can spend more of it in the water instead of maintaining your pool, but it will also benefit your pocketbook by saving you money, starting with your water bill.

Using A Pool Cover Minimizes Water Loss

First and foremost, exposing your above-ground pool to direct sunlight will greatly increase water loss through evaporation.

You may find yourself having to replenish the water in your pool to keep it at a proper depth and this can be a continuing need throughout the summer season.

Depending on where you live, this can lead to exorbitant water bills, especially in drought-prone areas.

Covering your above-ground pool in the summer can minimize the amount of water that you lose needlessly through evaporation by shielding your pool from the water-pilfering effects of direct sunlight and wind while providing a protective barrier that traps water vapor and keeps it in your pool where it belongs. This can lead to significant savings on your water bill.

Here’s a video talking about amount of water loss most pools will see:

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.

Other Benefits of Covering Your Above-Ground Pool

Water conservation is not the only benefit of covering your above-ground pool. There are several other good reasons to use a pool cover aside from saving money on your water bill, including these important benefits:

  • By keeping out debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt, a cover can keep the water in your above-ground pool clean so that you can spend more of your time enjoying your backyard oasis instead of cleaning it with a pool skimmer
  • Water is not the only thing that will evaporate from your above-ground pool during hot summer months – any chemicals that you use to treat the water will also escape from your pool, so you may find yourself adding chlorine, pool shock, water balancers, and algaecides more frequently
  • Covering your above-ground pool during the summer months can also help regulate the water temperature and minimize temperature fluctuations (especially if you prefer a cooler water temperature)

With solid reasons like these to cover your above-ground pool in the summer, it may seem that there are no arguments against this practice. But, as with so many things, there is a flip side to this coin so keep reading.

Is It Better To Keep a Pool Covered or Uncovered?

While direct sunlight can accelerate the rate at which water evaporates from an above-ground pool, it is also an effective (and cheap) way to heat the water.

With as much as 85% of the energy contained in sunlight absorbed by the water, bright summer sunshine is an economical way to keep your pool heated. (source:

Just as a pool cover can prevent water loss through evaporation, it can also block your pool from absorbing heat from sunlight. If you prefer swimming in a heated pool, it may be in your best interest to leave your above-ground pool uncovered (at least during the day) so that the water can heat naturally. Otherwise, using a pool cover may require that you heat your pool even in the middle of summer.

The hassle of placing a cover on an above-ground pool can also be a deterrent. If you have decking around the pool’s edge, it may be easier for you to cover and uncover your pool regularly.

But if your above-ground pool is a standalone structure, it may be a bit cumbersome to pull a cover over your pool, especially by yourself without any assistance.

But in the grand scheme of things, the numbers indicate that it is better to keep a pool covered than uncovered. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are measurable benefits to covering your pool, whether it is above-ground or in-ground. Here are some compelling statistics to consider:

  • Covering your pool will allow you to use 30% to 50% less water to maintain proper volumes
  • Reduced evaporation will reduce the amount of chemicals needed to treat your pool by 35% to 50%
  • In certain cases, a pool cover can also result in up to a 70% reduction in pool heating costs

Overall, the scales seem to tip in favor of covering your above-ground pool to lower your maintenance costs and keep the water free from debris.

But ultimately, a pool is about enjoying time spent in the water, so if keeping your outdoor pool heated in the summer is important to you, then leaving it uncovered during the day may be an option worth considering.

Should You Cover Your Above-Ground Pool Every Day?

For a pool cover to do its job effectively, it needs to be used regularly. In other words, if your goal is to lower your water bill or reduce your use of pool chemicals, then the cover needs to be utilized as much as possible, which is to say, whenever the pool is not being used.

At a minimum, you should cover your above-ground pool every night, especially during the summer months when it is being used more frequently.

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.

Final Thoughts

An above-ground pool is the most affordable option for having a swimming pool in your backyard. But pool ownership comes with important responsibilities, not the least of which is maintaining it so that the water is safe for swimming.

As an effective cost-reducing and time-saving measure, covering your pool, especially during the warmer summer months, is a practice worth adopting.

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