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Many pool owners, especially those 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 them for the season.
If you ask why they use them, many won’t know, and it’s something they were told to do.
Others say it’s to keep debris to the side of the cover for easy cleaning. And to keep water to the side of the cover for easy draining.
Those are some excellent benefits and not the purpose of pool air pillows.
The Purpose of a Pool Air Pillow
The purpose of a pool pillow, or “ice compensator,” is to compensate for the accumulation of rain, snow, and ice over the winter months which will 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. When rain, snow, and ice accumulate, and pressure builds on the cover, the ice will expand inward toward the pillow.
Without the pool pillow, ice will expand outward putting pressure on your pool walls and causing potential damage to your cover, liner, and pool walls.
Inflate the air 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.
Blue Wave 4-ft x 4-ft Air Pillow for Above Ground Pool
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16 gauge vinyl pillow for above ground pools.
The Process of Using a Pool Air Pillow
Closing an above ground pool has been a frustrating part of pool ownership for many people.
Inflating the pillow, tying strings to two ends on the flimsy grommets, and trying to get the pillow in the center of the pool.
Assuming you can get it centered and tied in place, you now have to drag the winter cover over the top of the pillow which can be a painful process.
You need at least two people to lift the cover over the pillow or use a pole (with no sharp points) to poke the pillow under the cover while lifting the edge of the cover with another pole.
Often, the grommets on the pool pillow tear or the string breaks, and the pillow floats freely to the side of the pool.
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Proper Placement of a Pool Air Pillow
Having the pillow centered in the pool provides for an even distribution of ice and snow, which is better and more effective throughout the winter, and in the spring when the ice melts, minimizing large chunks of ice.
Also, having the pillow centered makes it easier to remove debris, ice, and water from the cover.
How to Close An Above Ground Pool in 6 Steps
Want to learn how to close an above ground pool? You're in luck! I've put together this easy-to-follow guide that will help you get it done in ONLY 6 steps.
The Pool Pillow Pal Will Help Keep Your Pillow Centered In The Pool
The Pool Pillow Pal connects and centers the pillow to the winter cover without ropes or ties.
- 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.
I talked to Wesly Clark and Tony Oropallo, the inventors of The Pool Pillow Pal. We discuss the idea, how they started, and what put them on the map.
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!
Spend Less Time Cleaning and More Time Swimming
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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 21st, 2010