Solar Pool Enclosures of New York
I’ve had my share of customers who are particularly abusive to their safety covers. One client
called me to complain that the safety cover we installed was
fraying. I went to inspect it and saw that, indeed, the stitching
out of the side of the cover was pulling apart. After questioning
the client about how he was using the cover, he confessed that he
had been doing back flips and dives from the second-story window
onto it, basically using the cover like a trampoline. No wonder the
stitches were pulling apart. How could he not figure that out?
Another client called because the leading edge on his automatic
cover was bowing. It’s designed to keep the cover upright,
but if there’s too much weight on it, it will pop out of the
track or start to bow when you try to move it. Even an inch of
rainwater can cause that to happen.
Well, this one was definitely bowing, though the clients
insisted they didn’t run it with any water on it. I was
puzzled as to what would cause the bowing, so I inspected the rest
of the cover and found mysterious purple stains dappling its
surface. After questioning the rest of the family, we learned that
these purple blots were wine stains. The clients’ teenaged
kids were having parties on the cover, using it as a waterbed and
laying out on it when the parents weren’t home. The bowing
resulted from the teens riding the cover — after a few
drinks, they thought it would be fun to retract the cover back and
forth like an amusement park ride. Their parents definitely were
Quality Pool Service
Last year I had a well-to-do client who leased a huge farm on the
eastern shore of Maryland. The place had a 20-by-40-foot pool with
a sand filter, and our customer hired us to service it.
Our first day on the job, we found a pool that hadn’t been
opened, much less serviced, in four years. There was a safety cover
on the water, but it was playing host to a jungle that had
eventually grown through the mesh.
My first thought was, “How the hell do we get this thing
off?” The plant growth was so thick, we basically had to
machete everything off the top. Once that was done, we were able to
drag the cover off the pool and flip it upside down. There were
aquatic plants growing under that cover with entire root systems in
place. And that’s saying nothing of all the frogs and insects
getting a free ride in this pool-turned-aquatic preserve.
After disentangling all those roots, we needed to find a place big
enough to lay out the cover so it could dry. That thing stayed out
in the yard for a month — it took that long to dry. But after
all that, believe it or not, the safety cover was still in good
The pool itself wasn’t an easy job either, but we were
able to clean out the disgusting sludge after going through about
100 pounds of shock. Everything on the property is perfectly fine
now, but it took a good eight weeks to get it back in
Pool Care Specialists
Chadds Ford, Pa.
The most challenging cover I’ve ever installed was a
100-percent cable cover with no straps. We’ve done a grand
total of two of those, and we’ll never do another! Our
clients had come up with the crazy idea of such a cover for their
pool because they wanted something unique, and didn’t want to
see any straps over the top.
To make matters worse, there was no deck around the pool. We had
to drill everything into the tile. The toughest part was tightening
everything up — it had to be tight enough so no one could get
even a hand’s width between the deck and that crazy cover.
I’m not sure why we even agreed to the second such job when
it came up.
Another time we installed a temporary cover for a drinking-water
reservoir in Ohio. One of the large water storage towers had to be
fitted with a new foundation, so they emptied the tower into a
temporary reservoir. Because it was an open reservoir, it needed a
cover — and boy, what a cover! It was the largest one
I’d ever encountered: about 100 feet wide by 300 feet long.
Now that would be a big pool. It was a huge job that took seven men
three days to complete using old-fashioned straps. At least it
wasn’t 100-percent cable!
Pool Cover Specialists of the Southeast
I was in North Carolina servicing a remotely located pool —
one of those wilderness retreat-type places. Part of the service we
include is cleaning the pool cover storage area, since these spots
get a lot of debris.
This particular pit was about 16 inches deep, and I started the
job by using a 5-gallon bag of shock to clear it out. Halfway
through sucking up all the leaves, I saw, out of the corner of my
eye, a big yellow something under the pool cover mechanism. At
first I thought, “Oh, it’s just a turtle.” But
when I stooped lower to take a closer look, I saw scales on the
creature’s skin and heard the telltale warning sound: It was
a huge rattlesnake! It was coiled around itself into a mound the
size of a volleyball. I must have jumped back a mile!
Jake, as I later named him, was about 4 feet long with a 2-inch
rattle. His massive body was too thick for me to get my hand around
— not that I tried! We’re not used to seeing
rattlesnakes in this part of the country, and had I been bitten,
I’d be dead. This pool was accessible only by a
four-wheel-drive vehicle, and there was no one there to rescue me,
much less a hospital within hours of my location.
For the next half hour I scratched my head, trying to figure out
a way to deal with my unexpected companion. As I tried to come up
with a solution, the snake began to slither up and over the cover
mechanism, then thought again and wrapped himself around the rope
wheel. The cover was only open about 6 inches, and I quickly seized
the opportunity to close the rest of it. My thinking was that he
would be severed in half — that cover would apply about 1,500
pounds of pressure on his body. Surely that would be enough to kill
As the tension slowly spun the rope wheel back, I expected to
see two parts of a dead snake. Instead, I saw his head — and
the fact that he was still very much on the move. Not touching or
going anywhere near the snake, I rolled the cover back to set him
loose, and spent yet another 20 minutes trying to figure out a plan
B. I finally grabbed a stick and a fireplace poker, using them like
a pair of giant chopsticks to pull him out, and deposited him into
a clear plastic bag. He still wasn’t dead, but at least I
could get on with the job at hand.
Later, I tossed him into my trunk and kept him there until he
Now I’m having him stuffed, and plan on displaying him in the
office as a cautionary tale for my employees. Thanks to
Jake’s warning, I’m buying poles with mirrors on the
bottom — the kind police use to sweep suspect cars —
for all of my guys. You can never be too careful.