When gentle snowflakes dust your backyard into a winter wonderland, you can’t help but sit and watch quietly, taking in every beautiful, frosty panorama possible. On the other hand, when weather warnings call for heavy snow and high winds, those delicate little snowflakes can quickly turn into drivers of destruction for your outdoor paradise. Every pool owner is worried about how their pool and pool cover will hold up through the winter season, but those who live in areas with regular heavy snow or the occasional blizzard have to worry most about their pool’s well-being.

When your pool is buried under pounds and pounds of snow, you’re worrying about what’s going on underneath. We’re going to let you ease your mind by making sure you take proper precautions before a snowstorm. Never prepared a pool for a blizzard before? Need a refresher? Want to stop worrying all winter long? Well, you’re in the right place.

First things first, clean up the area around your pool. If there’s any outdoor furniture, cover it or put it away. You want your pool’s edges to be accessible, and you don’t want high winds and heavy snow moving or breaking any furniture pieces, even if they’re made to be weather resistant. Having anything too close to your pool runs the risk of tearing the cover, damaging your decking, or scratching your stone. If it’s never been moved by a blizzard before, it’s probably okay. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and store it.

Whether you have a pump or mesh panels, review your cover’s draining agent. A pump needs to be stored before the storm, far from freeze damage and heavy wind and snow. Check that your mesh panels aren’t blocked by ice or any other debris, so the melted snow post-blizzard won’t sit on your cover for too long. Making sure you have a way to remove standing water is vital for your pool cover’s health in the winter. Break out your pump after the snow has fallen, when temperatures warm up and snow piles start to thaw. A pump obviously won’t work with heavy snow, which may damage it from weight or freeze damage. Avoid these outcomes and wait.

Double check your winter preparation. If you correctly winterize your pool already, water lines and valves should be all cleared out and antifreeze should have been applied. Your pool cover should be secure on all edges, so take a walk around the perimeter to double check connections and ropes. Take a look at any trees or bushes near your pool; if any branches look overgrown or brittle, trim them. You don’t want branches collapsing onto your cover from heavy snowfall. If everything is plugged correctly, covered, trimmed, and secured, you’re all set for the storm.

Once the snow starts falling, it seems like an endless wall of white. Sit and wait. You’re not going to be able to do much in the midst of a blizzard, so relax, and let nature run its course. Drink some hot chocolate. Watch some holiday movies.

What’s critical in preparing your pool for a snowstorm isn’t only what comes before, but what happens after it’s over– preparation for the next storm.  Once the storm clears up, take your chance to assess the cover. If possible, blow off any soft top snow and shovel or rake off the more substantial debris underneath. You want the least amount of snow possible weighing on your cover. If you have a very strong cover it should be okay, but it’s best to clear off what you can to avoid putting long-term high stress on the ropes and connections.

Big winter storms come and go, but your pool is a permanent investment in your yard that needs proper attention before nature gets the best of it. Prepping your pool before a big storm is a sign of an attentive pool owner, and you’ll benefit from your efforts in the spring with cleaner water and the next off-season with an undamaged pool cover. Good luck bracing the winter cold!