Do you need the best pool air pillow and worried how to choose it? If you have an above-ground pool, you know how much fun it can be. But when winter comes, especially if you live in a colder climate, it can be a hassle to take care of.
Do you just leave it to freeze into a huge ice block? Do you cover it and hope for the best? Or do you drain it and then have to go through the process of filling it again in the spring?
None of those are ideal solutions. But when you’re closing your pool for the winter. You can save yourself a lot of hassle with the addition of just one tiny piece of pool equipment a pool pillow.
What is a Pool Pillow and What Does It Do?
A pool pillow is a small, inflatable vinyl pillow that is placed in the center of your pool between the winter cover and the water. This simple concept is an effective way to maintain your winter pool cover and can be used on both above-ground pools and inground pools.
The pool air pillow helps to keep your pool safe during the off-season by acting as an ice compensator. It manages the effects of rain, snow, and ice accumulation, and prevents damage to your pool cover.
Placing an inflated pool pillow under the cover creates a void on the surface of the water. As ice, rain, and snow accumulate, pressure will increase, and ice will expand toward the space created between the pool air pillow and the pool cover. This way, your pool is protected from the damaging effects of winter weather.
A pool pillow is not only useful for preventing rain, leaves, and snow from gathering in the center of the pool. It also compresses when absorbing the expansion of ice, which leaves room for compression so that the device doesn’t inflate fully.
Without an air pillow in your pool, the ice would usually expand outward and put pressure on the pool cover, pool walls, and your pool supplies and equipment. This expansion can cause severe structural damage to your cover, liner, and walls over time.
How to Use a Pool Air Pillow
As straightforward as the product is, follow these steps to properly use your pool air pillow during winterization.
- Find the small red valve located on top of your pillow. Push the valve in with your finger to expose the opening, then use a simple air pump to inflate the device. If you don’t have an air pump, you can also use a hair dryer on the ‘cool’ setting or a shop vac on the reverse to blow up the pillow.
- Only inflate the pool pillow to 60-80% capacity. After inflation, it should still feel quite soft. If you blew up the device entirely, there would be no room for compression. Place duct tape over the air valve to prevent the pillow from deflating over the winter. Larger pools may require multiple pillows for adequate protection.
- Your air pillow will have grommets for string ties. Tie a strong, thin rope to your pool pillow using these grommets. Velcro is another way to secure the cushion in the center of the pool. Attach one piece of velcro to the device and the other directly to the winter pool cover center. This method keeps the parts together without risking string breaking.
- Place the pillow in the center of the pool. You can use the string to help position the pad(s) into place. If you are using multiple pillows, consider tying them together to secure them.
- To secure the pillow in place, tie the attached strings’ ends to opposite edges of the pool. The tension in the lines will keep the cushion in place. But do not link the ropes too tightly, as tight strings may tear the pillow or break, allowing the device to float freely.
- After the air pillow is in its rightful place, go ahead and start pulling your winter cover out. It’s best to have multiple people help you with this so the pool cover can be positioned correctly on top of the pad.
- Cover the pool as you would normally. After you have laid down the surface, check to see that the pillow is still in the correct position.
- If the pool pillow has shifted, you can use a pole to move it back into position. Just be careful not to puncture the pool cover with the pole.
Tips for Buying the Right Pool Air Pillow
A specialized pool air pillow is essential for winterizing your pool. While DIY alternatives such as floating flamingos or exercise may help to some extent. They do not have the appropriate design or durability to get the job done correctly.
One of the most important aspects of a suitable pool pillow is its design. The pad must stay inflated and endure the entire offseason, so durability is of the utmost importance.
Heavy-duty vinyl material that resists puncture is important for the best pool air pillows. A cushion made of soft material would puncture, deflate, and close the space between the device and the pool cover. Look for a company that offers a warranty against product failure.
Here’s an option from In the Swim that should be a good fit for most inground and above-ground pools:
Pool pillows come in several different sizes, and the best size for you will depend on the dimensions of your pool. Some large pools may even require multiple pillows, especially in cold areas where they are susceptible to ice.
By using pillows specifically designed for pools, you can extend the lifespan of your pool and keep it looking its best for years to come.
However, many pool owners only need to purchase one 4′ x 8′ pillow. This size is large enough for pools up to 12′ x 18′. If you have a pool more prominent than that size, you may want to look into more extensive options or even use several standard pillows to spread the load across the surface.
Size is essential for pool pillows because they need to create a space between the water surface and the pool cover. If the pillow is too small, it won’t be able to create enough space to prevent damage from ice.
If you have a small pool, a 4′ x 5′ pillow may provide enough space to compensate for a reduced surface area.
Importance of Pool Pillow Positioning
The most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your pool pillow is to position it in the middle of your pool. This will help to distribute the snow and ice evenly, which is essential for protecting your pool liner and walls during the winter.
A central pool pillow has many benefits, one of which is that it keeps debris from accumulating in the middle of the pool cover. Pool owners know the difficulties of cleaning up the excess waste We can’t reach or the frustration of water accumulation weighing down and tearing your pool cover. This can also result in a sagging pool cover, which nobody wants.
With a pillow, leaves and water will fall to the pool’s outer edges, making clean-up much easier. Underneath the surface, a correctly positioned pad prevents the occurrence of large chunks of ice, as a central location keeps frozen water broken up. In other words, less time spent cleaning and more time enjoying your pool.
There are several ways to keep your pillow in place during the winter season. You can anchor the pad in the water, use velcro, or tie the device in place. If the pillow shifts after you put on the pool cover, use a pole to guide it to a different location.
FAQ For Pool Air Pillow
Why use an air pillow when closing a pool?
If you have an aboveground pool in a colder climate, an air pillow is a winter essential. This rugged vinyl pillow absorbs the pressure from freezing and thawing, protecting your pool cover and walls. When the water freezes, the air pillow compresses to relieve pressure on the walls.
Should you use an air pillow for an inground pool?
There’s no need to use an air pillow for inground pools in winter. The walls of an inground pool are in the ground and have dirt supporting them. So, even if your pool freezes over, it has enough support to withstand expanding ice.
Does the pool pillow have to be in the middle of the pool?
The pool pillow should be centered within the pool to allow for an even distribution of ice. If the pillow is off to the side, there will still be an area that is not iced over. But this often puts a strain on the pool cover and can cause it to rip due to the uneven distribution of ice and snow.
How do I keep my air pillow in the middle of my pool?
In order to protect your larger pool, you may need to use multiple pillows. Your air pillow will likely have grommets that will allow you to tie it down with a string or rope. Another way to secure the cushion is by using Velcro. This will help to keep it in place in the center of the pool.