Pool Air Pillow Alternatives: Top DIY Solutions

As a pool owner, you might be exploring alternatives to traditional pool air pillows for winterizing your pool. Finding the right option is essential to protect your pool from the damaging effects of expanding ice and snow.

Some popular alternatives you may come across include DIY homemade alternatives made from plastic bottles, tire tubes, yoga balls, foam insulation, or regular inner tubes. While these options can work in a pinch, they are not specifically designed for the job and may not provide the same level of protection as a specialized pool air pillow.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various pool air pillow alternatives to help you make an informed decision on what best suits your pool’s winterization needs. Keep reading to discover more about these solutions and how they can potentially protect your pool throughout the colder months.

The Purpose of Pool Air Pillows

An important aspect of winterizing your above-ground pool is the use of pool air pillows, which serve a key purpose in preserving the condition of the pool.

Are Pool Pillows Necessary?

A pool air pillow, also known as an ice compensator, is an essential component of winterizing your pool. When water freezes, it expands, which can cause damage to the pool walls and liner.

Placing an air pillow in the center of your pool helps disperse the pressure of the water and ice towards the pool pillow, reducing the risk of damage to your pool walls during the winter months.

These vinyl, inflatable pillows also create a slope on the pool cover, helping debris and water to slide off instead of collecting on top, though that is not its intended purpose. Pool pillows can also protect your pool cover by keeping it from touching the water if you have enough of them..

Common Pool Air Pillow Challenges

While pool air pillows are effective in protecting your pool, they are not without their challenges. Some of the common issues you may face include:

  • Deflating: Vinyl air pillows can deflate over time, losing their ability to protect your pool. Check your pillow for any leaks or punctures and replace it as necessary.
  • Moving: The air pillow may not stay in the center of the pool, which can affect its ability to disperse pressure evenly. You can use a rope to tether the pillow to the sides of the pool to secure it in place.
  • Oval Pools: For those with oval pools, finding the right-sized air pillow can be a challenge. It is recommended to use multiple small pillows instead of one large one to better fit the shape of your pool.

Although using pool air pillows may require a bit of effort and maintenance, they are an essential solution to protecting your pool during the harsh winter months. Finding the right pillow and using it correctly will help ensure your pool stays in top shape for swimming season.

What Can I Use Instead of a Pool Pillow?

As a pool owner, you might be interested in exploring alternatives to traditional pool air pillows. This section highlights a few popular alternatives that you can consider for your above-ground pool during the winter season:

  • Tire Tubes: One common alternative for pool air pillows is using tire tubes. Tire tubes can be easily inflated and placed under your pool cover to provide a similar effect to a pool air pillow.
  • Yoga Balls: Another alternative you can consider is yoga balls. These are often made of a durable, thick material that can withstand exposure to the elements.
  • Inner Tubes: These can also serve as an alternative to pool air pillows. They provide a similar floating effect and could, in principle, help alleviate pressure from expanding ice.
  • Plastic Bottles: Collect a bunch of empty plastic bottles with caps included, preferably larger ones such as empty pool chemical containers. String them together to create a large plastic ball that can float atop your pool and act as a makeshift air pillow.
  • Foam Insulation Panels: From this Instructable, tape sheets of foam insulation together and then wrap it up in a plastic sheet. Duct tape the seams such that all of the tape is located at the top of the block, out of the water. Add a rope around the block to tie ropes that can secure it in place in the pool.
  • Pool Floats: Pool floats, such as vinyl inflatable floating bolsters, can add buoyancy under your pool cover, helping to minimize the pressure of expanding ice on your pool walls. Just don’t use those cheap floats from the dollar store.

When deciding on an alternative to pool air pillows, consider factors like durability, effectiveness, and suitability for winter pool protection.

Keep in mind that dedicated pool air pillows are specifically designed to protect your pool during the winter season, so weigh the pros and cons before opting for an alternative solution.

Pool Care and Winterizing Tips

As a pool owner, it’s essential to take proper care of your above-ground pool during the winter months. Winterizing your pool can help prevent ice damage, protect your investment, and extend the life of your pool. Here are some useful tips and advice to guide you through the process.

Chemicals and Pool Closing Kit

Maintaining the correct chemical balance is crucial when closing your pool for the winter. Before you begin, ensure that you have a pool closing kit containing essential chemicals to stabilize the water, prevent algae growth, and protect the pool’s surfaces.

  • Test the water for pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels. Adjust them accordingly.
  • Shock your pool with a suitable pool shock, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Add an algaecide to prevent algae growth during the winter months.
  • Allow the pool circulation system to run for 24 hours after adding the chemicals to ensure even distribution.

Additional Equipment and Accessories

Along with proper chemical treatment, proper equipment and accessories are essential in protecting your pool from ice damage, rain, snow, debris, and leaves. Some useful items to have on hand include:

  1. A quality winter cover to protect the pool from weather elements and block sunlight.
  2. An air pillow or alternative to absorb the pressure caused by expanding ice.
  3. A leaf net to catch autumn leaves and prevent them from accumulating on the pool cover.
  4. A cover pump to remove rainwater and melted snow from the pool cover.

Make sure to store your pool equipment and accessories properly during the winter months to prolong their life and protect them from damage.

Keep an eye on warranties and additional protection offered by manufacturers and suppliers, especially when purchasing products from stores like Home Depot. Proper winterization and taking care of your pool will minimize structural damage and help prevent voiding your pool warranty.

Parting Words

While there are some pool air pillow alternatives, you have to consider if they are even worth the time or effort. After all, there is no guarantee that some of these solutions can hold up for the entire winter.

On the other hand, pool air pillows actually are designed to be placed in freezing cold conditions all winter. Plus, they are not even that expensive and arguably well worth the money spent since they can last the winter, and in fact, may last multiple winters if you get a high quality one.

If you have issues with your pool pillow deflating, then you may need to look for a different brand or invest in a higher quality one, because pool air pillow alternatives are not necessarily better in regards to effectiveness, longevity, or even price.