How to Use a Pool Pillow With Your Winter Cover
- Matt Giovanisci
Many pool owners, especially people who have above ground pools and live in climates that get below freezing, have to use a pool pillow under their winter covers when they close their pools for the season.
If you ask them why they use them, many won’t know and will probably say it’s just something they were told they have to do (that was us for several years). Others may say it is to keep debris to the side of the pool so the cover can be easily cleaned off, or to keep water off to the side so the cover can be easily drained.
Those are side benefits, not the purpose of pool pillows.
The Purpose of a Pool Air Pillow
The purpose of a pool pillow, or the technical name of “ice compensator”, is to compensate for the accumulation of rain, snow and ice over the winter months which will inevitably build up over time.
By placing an air-filled pool pillow under your winter cover you create a void in the water and on the top of the cover, so when rain and snow falls, and ice accumulates and pressure builds on the cover, the ice will have a place to expand, which is inward toward the pillow.
Without having the pool pillow, the ice will expand outward placing pressure on your pool walls causing potential damage to your cover, liner or pool walls.
The pool pillow is cheap insurance policy for your expensive pool.
Make sure you inflate the pillow to only 60% to 80% of its capacity to allow for compression. Using tire tubes or exercise balls won’t perform the same function as a specifically designed pool pillow which is meant to compress.
The Process of Using a Pool Pillow
Closing an above ground pool has been a very frustrating part of pool ownership for many people over the years.
Inflating the pillow, tying strings to two ends on the flimsy grommets, trying to get the pillow in the center of the pool then tie the strings to the sides of the pools is usually a 2-person job, often with a similar conversation each year; ”Is it centered yet?”…”NO!”…”How about NOW?”…”NO…over to the right more!”
Assuming you eventually get it centered and tied in place, you now have to drag the winter cover over the top of the pillow which is a very difficult process. You need at least two people and sometimes have to wait for a nice breeze to help lift the cover over the pillow, or use a pole to poke the pillow under the cover while lifting the edge of the cover with another pole, etc.
Often times what happens, the grommets on the pool pillow tear or the string breaks, and the pillow floats freely to the side of the pool.
Proper Placement of a Pool Pillow
This is not good, because the placement of the pool pillow is an important aspect of its function.
Having the pool pillow centered in the pool provides for an even distribution of ice and snow, which is better and more effective throughout the winter as well as in the spring when the ice melts, minimizing large chunks of ice. Also, the side benefits mentioned above, having the pillow centered makes it easier to remove debris, ice chunks and water from the cover.
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The Pool Pillow Pal
The Pool Pillow Pal is a device which connects and centers the pool pillow to the winter cover without the hassle of ropes or ties.
Simply attach the white cover patch to the center of your winter cover (round or oval) and the black pillow patch to the center of your pool pillow. Inflate the pillow between 60% to 80% of its capacity, connect the pillow to the cover, and float the cover and pillow in place as one integrated unit! It’s that easy!
The Pool Pillow Pal will keep your pool pillow centered and secure throughout the winter. For more information, check out this 2-minute instructional video:
Happy Swimming! Happy Closing!