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How to Use a Pool Pillow With Your Winter Cover

by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: September 21, 2010

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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

Pool Pillow

The purpose of a pool pillow If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. , 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.

In The Swim Winter Pool Cover Air Pillow – 4 ft. x 4 ft. Price: $10.99 Buy Now from Amazon In The Swim Winter Pool Cover Air Pillow – 4 ft. x 4 ft. If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: March 29, 2020

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

Pool Pillow In Snow

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.

Happy Closing!

Matt Giovanisci, the founder of Swim University®, started in the pool and spa industry at age 13 and moved to bigger companies along the way, helping thousands of pool and hot tub owners every year. He wanted to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale, so he launched Swim University® in 2007. Since then, he's worked to make pool and hot tub care easy for over 10 million homeowners. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.

Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?

We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!

Click here to learn more
The Pool Care Handbook

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