There are significant benefits to associations that cover their pools at night. The primary benefits of pool covers are that they:
save water by reducing the evaporation of water, and
reduce energy costs by reducing heat loss by up to 90%.
Types of Covers. There are three different kinds of pool covers, tracked, anchored and floating, each with different safety regulations. "Floating covers" seem to cause the most concern. Since they are designed to float on the water, they can collapse under the weight of a child, allowing the child to become trapped under the cover and drown. As a result, pool covers are regulated.
Regulations. Orange County, for example, allows floating pool covers under the following conditions:
The pool must be segregated from all dwelling units by an approved fence or enclosure.
The pool is under the supervision of responsible persons who have sole access to the pool area when it is not open for use. The pool area must be locked to prevent any usage of the pool when the cover is placed on the pool water. The pool may not be reopened for use until the responsible person removes the pool cover and properly stores it.
- The pool cover, when not in use, must be rolled up and stored at least four (4) feet from the pool (see informational bulletin).
Associations with pool covers should check the regulations in their own counties.
Insurance Issues. Insurance carriers are concerned with pool safety and that includes making sure pool covers are properly installed and regulations followed, pools are fully fenced with self-closing/locking gates, pool rules are in the open, depth markers are clearly marked on the top deck (not on the inside of the pool), a shepherd’s hook and other general life safety equipment is readily available and the pool drain has been approved per the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
Recommendation: Associations with pool covers or those who want to add them should:
Contact their insurance broker to make sure there aren't any policy exclusions related to pool covers;
Seek approval from appropriate regulatory agencies;
Follow applicable safety regulations;
Hire licensed, experienced pool operators to maintain your pool and equipment; and
- Have their insurance carrier inspect the pool, and then implement any safety recommendations made by the carrier.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.