On Adjusting Safety Pool Cover Straps

Loose Safety Pool Cover
How tight should a safety cover be? Is it normal to have a dip in the middle? Does it harm the cover if it is too tight? These questions and more are the subject of today's post.

At In The Swim, we sell over 1,000 safety covers each year, and each new cover must be adjusted to fit properly. Not too tight, and not too loose.

The straps on a safety cover are adjustable in two ways - by tightening or loosening the strap along to pull the spring closer or further away from the cover, and also by sliding the buckle further away from the cover.

safety pool cover buckle

Sliding buckles down the strap, further away from the cover, allows one to run the spring further out, to a maximum of nearly 24" from the cover, useful when you want to anchor off-deck to cover stakes, or extend to an area more suitable for drilling the brass cover anchors.

Installing a Safety Cover Spring onto the Strap

how to install safety pool cover springs

First, pull on both ends of the spring, to extend the spring to it's full length. Place the triangular end onto the strap, so that the round end is pointing down to the ground. Bend the end of the strap toward the cover and run it through the top opening of the buckle. Bend it back toward the end of the buckle and loop it through the lower buckle. Just like a back pack buckle, if you are familiar with those.

How Tight Should a Safety Cover Be?

tight safety pool cover

Safety covers should be drum-tight, with only a slight deflection in the middle. When covers are too loose, leaves can blow under easily, and a high water level in springtime quickly traps leaves and turns your cover into a giant tea bag. Covers that are too tightly installed are also unnecessarily difficult to remove in spring.

How Tight Should Safety Cover Springs Be?

This is perhaps a better way to phrase the question - springs should be between 1/3 and 2/3 compressed, or about half-way. Too loose and you get a saggy cover that bounces up and down in the wind. Too tight and the springs have no slack or room to move when under a heavy snow load.

Adjusting Springs on Solid Covers with Drain Panels

When solid safety covers with drain panels don't drain properly, you can end up with small puddles on the cover, making ugly stains and deforming the panel. To direct the water towards the drain panels, loosen the straps running across the drains, in both directions. Then tighten the outer straps, progressively tighter, until the corners are the tightest, and the middle are the loosest.

Adjusting Strap Length on Replacement Safety Covers

When replacing an old safety cover with new, getting the straps to the correct adjustment length can take some time. If you have the old cover still, you can use it as a template, copying the strap length onto the new cover. Usually however, the old cover is no longer around, and experimentation with strap length will be needed. Keep at it until you get the proper overlap or deck coverage, and proper cover tension. And remember that even rectangular safety covers usually fit with a correct direction or orientation to the pool.

Safety Cover Seams Not Running Straight?

Ideally, the seams of the cover should be running straight in both directions, in relation to the pool. If your safety cover seams are curved or a bit 'wobbly', that can be fixed in most cases by some artful strap adjustment. Tightening on the left side, and loosening on the right side for instance, and tightening the opposite ends, and/or the outermost straps or corner straps, will straighten out the seams that don't run straight from end to end, or side to side.

What are the Purpose of the Vinyl Spring Covers?

In the old days, safety cover springs did not include the vinyl sleeves, or spring covers. These are now included in most new safety covers, and the purpose is to prevent the springs from scratching delicate deck materials, such as wood or travertine stone. For regular concrete decks they can be considered optional, however another nice feature is that they can prevent fingers from getting pinched!

How Often Do Safety Cover Straps Need to be Tightened?

Many times not at all - after the original placement. However, in many cases, the fibers and seams will stretch slightly after being installed for a few weeks, and certainly after supporting the first snow load. The cover fit and finish may improve if some straps are tightened just slightly, after the first year of use. Further tightening is not usually necessary.

Thanks for reading this post on how, when and why to adjust your safety pool cover straps.

Adjusting safety pool covers will not only give a better appearance, but can improve the performance and lifespan of your pool cover, and keep your pool clean during winter.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.