Commercial pool operators are offered clear and common sense advice from PWTAG who emphasise the requirement for operational and safety training to be available to all relevant staff. The pool should be cleared of swimmers and 30 minutes later the pool cover pulled into place; thereafter, access to the pool hall restricted to authorised people. If heating and circulation are then reduced, they should be restored 30 minutes before the cover is removed.
Ideally the pool cover storage area should be ventilated and the cover inspected weekly for bacterial growth. This may manifest as biofilm – slimy to the touch, but not necessarily visible. Covers will require cleaning regularly – according to manufacturers’ instructions, or as necessary, and at least monthly. A 10mg/l free chlorine solution can be spread across the surface, and left for 30 minutes.
A cover can save a pool up to 20% of heating costs, give you a payback in less than three years, and protect the building structure. So what else do you need to know before deciding? Bear in mind first that you probably won’t benefit from a cover if your pool already has some energy management system, or if the design means that heating and ventilation must be maintained constantly. Manually operated covers are not recommended on larger pools – too demanding on staff, and a risk of getting damaged when moved. Motorised covers are more reliable and economical (and more likely to be used consistently). Materials should conform to British/European standards and of appropriate thickness for safety.
Typical thickness ranges from 4 to 8mm; 8mm is the more efficient. Installation of electrically powered units should be by suitably trained people. Ideally the motor and operating panel will be sited away from the pool surround, or at least enclosed in a secure housing with lockable access. The pool cover should fit over the maximum amount of pool surface area possible. Motorised covers for large commercial pools are typically wall or column mounted.
Smaller pools can have submerged cover systems. People falling into a covered pool and becoming trapped is a life threatening hazard. If the pool area can be secured from access by all URGING PUBLIC POOLS TO COVER UP INDUSTRY NEWS but trained staff, this may be enough to manage the risk. Otherwise, it will be necessary to ensure that the pool cover is capable of supporting the weight of a person walking or falling onto it. If you follow the PWTAG guidelines, and keep the cover the well maintained, a pool cover should have a life expectancy of more than five years.