When the weather is hot and the sun is shining brightly overhead, an above-ground pool truly proves its worth as your personal backyard oasis. But seasons change, and even in the middle of summer, Mother Nature can put an unexpected damper on plans for taking a dip in the pool. When the skies turn gray and rain begins to fall, should you leave the cover on your above-ground pool?
If the forecast calls for light rainfall with nominal precipitation amounts, leaving your above-ground pool cover on will keep out debris and reduce the need to re-treat the water afterward. But if a major storm is heading your way, leave the cover off to avoid damage from heavy rain and wind.
Conventional wisdom would suggest covering your above-ground pool when it rains. Aside from shielding your pool from wind-blown leaves and twigs, a pool cover can also minimize the amount of chemicals needed to restore the water’s chemical balance. But there are times when leaving a cover on can lead to more damage and headache. Read on to learn how to make this important judgment call.
Do You Have To Cover Your Above-Ground Pool When It Rains?
When blue skies turn gray and sunshine gives way to raindrops, a decision needs to be made about whether to cover an above-ground pool.
The answer depends on the intensity of the incoming storm and the amount of precipitation that is forecast to fall. But one factor that is equally important as rainfall is whether the rain will be accompanied by wind.
Cover Your Above-Ground Pool During a Light Rainfall
If the weather forecast calls for light rain and mild winds, then you would probably be better off covering your above-ground pool. There are several reasons for this recommendation, namely:
- During a mild storm, light winds can blow leaves, twigs, and other airborne debris into your above-ground pool and clean-up afterward can be time-consuming
- Rain is naturally acidic (source: des.nh.gov) due to the presence of atmospheric gases like carbon dioxide (and acid rain is even more acidic due to human influences), so even light rainfall amounts can disrupt the pH balance of your pool
- Rainfall landing in your pool can also cause chlorine and other chemicals in the water to become imbalanced, thus requiring that you re-treat your pool to make it safe for swimming again
- Algae spores can become airborne even during mildly stormy weather so covering your pool can protect it against algae growth
Covering your above-ground pool during a mild rainstorm can provide a highly effective protective barrier against wind-blown debris and chemically disruptive rain. By taking this preventive measure you can minimize the time spent cleaning up and get back to enjoying your backyard oasis.
Here’s a video showing how involved the cleaning can be after a storm:
Leave Your Above-Ground Pool Uncovered During a Major Storm
When weather conditions worsen and the forecast calls for heavy rain accompanied by strong winds, you should strongly consider leaving your above-ground pool uncovered.
This strategy may seem counterintuitive, but these are the reasons why this is the best tactic when facing a major storm:
- Even a properly fastened pool cover is no match for strong winds which can tear it away from its tie-downs or deployment mechanisms
- Wind-blown debris, such as tree branches, can cause severe, irreparable damage to a pool cover
- Heavy rain will find its way into your pool no matter what type of cover you use
- Even if your pool cover stays on during a major storm, the sheer weight of heavy rainfall accumulating on top of the cover can result in serious damage
Ultimately, determining whether or not to cover your above-ground pool amounts to a judgment call that is entirely dependent on the circumstances. Weather can be wildly unpredictable but if the forecast calls for fierce winds and heavy rainfall, you may want to leave your pool cover off.
While you will likely face a major cleanup effort afterward, choosing this course of action will likely spare your pool cover from major damage and save you the expense of having to replace one.
Is It Better To Keep a Pool Covered or Uncovered?
Deciding whether to keep a pool covered or uncovered depends largely on the climate where you live. If you live in the southwestern part of the country your summers are typically hot and dry so perhaps minimizing water loss through evaporation is the primary concern.
But in the northeast, summer rainstorms are the norm so keeping wind-blown debris out of your pool may be the number one need.
Generally speaking, covering your pool provides these benefits:
- A pool cover can save you money on your water bill by reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation and minimizing the frequency that you need to refill your pool
- Along with the water from your pool, any chemicals that you use (e.g., chlorine, pool shock, algaecide) to treat the water will also be lost through evaporation, and covering your pool will reduce the need to re-treat the water
- Covering your pool can also help regulate the water temperature and reduce the need to run your pool heater
- A pool cover minimizes the time spent cleaning your pool by providing an effective barrier against debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt
While covering and uncovering your pool can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you find yourself doing it every day, the potential benefits to your pool and your pocketbook make it a worthwhile chore.
Should I Turn Off My Pool Pump When It’s Raining?
As far as your pool pump is concerned, deciding whether to turn it off during a rainstorm follows a similar logic as determining if it is better to keep your above-ground pool covered when it rains. This decision should be based on the intensity of precipitation that is expected.
If the forecasted amount of rain is light and not prolonged, leaving your pool pump running should be fine.
The reasoning here is that outdoor equipment like a pool pump is built to withstand the elements to some degree, and if weather conditions are mild, your pool is better off with its chemically balanced water circulating and impurities being removed.
However, if a major storm with heavy rain and strong winds is headed your way, you would be well-advised to shut all of your pool equipment down until conditions improve.
With large amounts of rain inundating your pool and high winds flinging debris all around, running your pool pump is fruitless and you run the risk of it becoming damaged. (For the same reasons, you should leave the pool cover off.)
An important aspect of owning an above-ground pool is knowing what to do when weather conditions turn sour.
If you are dealing with light rain, leave your pump running and cover your above-ground pool. But if you are in the path of a major storm, turn off your pool equipment, leave the cover off, and brace yourself for a major cleanup effort afterward.