Automatic Pool Cover Maintenance 101
Let us guess - you couldn’t take it anymore. Just the idea of calling in friends to help you pull the giant, heavy tarp-like winter cover off the pool in the spring made you almost put off opening your pool another week.
Even if you have a more durable version, such as a mesh or solid security pool cover, putting them on and taking them off is difficult. Too difficult to do it frequently enough to keep the pool clean and warm.
So, you’re finally considering installing an automatic pool cover, or maybe you’ve just installed one. The two biggest benefits are that they serve as awesome solar covers and provide constant protection against debris, and they are a safer option for children and guests. It’s also much more convenient to open and close your pool with an automatic pool cover.
With that said, automatic pool cover maintenance will need to become a necessary part of your routine.
At River Pools, we’ve installed many automatic pool covers on our fiberglass pool units, and we’ve done the work to maintain them over time as well.
Here, we’ll share everything you need to know to keep your automatic pool cover in good working condition all summer long.
Daily maintenance sounds more daunting than it is. There are just two simple tasks that need to be performed to ensure your automatic pool cover lasts as long as possible:
- Make sure the cover remains closed - This will help to heat your pool. In fact, by keeping the pool cover closed, you could increase the temperature by 10-15 degrees. Already have a heated pool? The automatic pool cover will help to maintain the heat instead of letting it dissipate into the air. The heavy vinyl actually works better than a solar cover.
- Monitor your water chemistry - One of the downsides of an automatic pool cover is that it tends to hold in chemicals. When that happens, chlorine levels cannot dissipate like they normally would, which can corrode your pool cover. To combat this, keep your chlorine levels at the bare minimum and check them regularly.
Automatic pool cover on vinyl inground pool
Much like daily maintenance, by doing a few simple tasks once a week, you’ll prolong the lifespan of your pool and automatic pool cover.
- Retract the cover - Even if you keep chlorine levels at the bare minimum, you’ll still need to allow the chlorine byproducts to dissipate from your pool surface. To do this, simply retract the cover once a week. This is also a good time to add any chemicals that are needed. Just keep in mind that it’s important to leave the pool open for several hours for the chemical levels to subside.
- Maintain your water level - A major benefit to an automatic pool cover is that you don’t have to worry about a ton of evaporation. With that said, you do need to make sure the water levels remain consistent. If the water level dips below the mid-skimmer point, it can put massive amounts of stress on the webbing, ropes, and tracks, which can cause the cover system to collapse. That’s also why it’s important to fix any pool leaks right away.
- Keep it clean - The easiest way to clean the top of an automatic pool cover is to use a leaf blower to remove any leaves or debris. But it’s especially important to remove rainwater to avoid added stress on the cover itself. To do this, you can use a water hose to remove debris, then a shop vac or pool cover pump to suck up the water.
Automatic pool cover on fiberglass swimming pool
Monthly and Yearly Chores
By keeping up with maintenance on your pool cover daily and weekly, it makes the job of monthly and yearly cleanings much easier and allows you to focus on the bigger tasks such as:
- Cleaning the cover tracks - It’s normal for the tracks to have a build-up of debris over time, but not cleaning it often enough can lead to the system failing prematurely. It’s important to spray out the tracks with a high powered garden hose a few times per year to keep things running smoothly.
- Clearing the housing drains of water - The box that houses the electrical components and mechanisms can sometimes see standing water from the pool or rain. It’s important to make sure it remains dry as added moisture can cause corrosion or damage over time.
- Tightening and lubing the mechanisms and pulleys - First, use a hose nozzle to clean out any rotating surfaces, then make sure to tighten and lube them so that they continue to work properly.
Bonus: Maintenance During Winter Months
Before you close up your pool for winter, the chemicals in the pool need to be thoroughly mixed and dissipated. If you have an ozone generator and a chemical feeder, they need to be at their lowest level, as long term exposure to strong chemicals will damage the cover.
Once you spend a weekend closing up the pool for winter, you may think that you can relax until spring. While you won’t have that much to do, you will still need to periodically check on your pool to make sure the water level is high enough to support the cover.
Additionally, keep in mind that even the smallest amount of snow or water can weigh a lot and add stress to your cover. Don’t let it build up too much, and especially make sure that ice or water does not get concentrated in one area.
Worth the Maintenance?
We know this is a lot to digest, and it may appear that you’ll be spending all your time on maintenance rather than enjoying your pool. But the truth is, if done consistently, you’ll just be performing a few small tasks each time. And think of how easy preparing your pool for a summer party will be and how quickly you can close it up when the night is over. All in all, automatic pool covers are just another way to make your pool experience relaxing and easy.
At River Pools, we manufacture world-class fiberglass swimming pools for customers across North America. If you want to learn more about your inground pool options, you can download our free ebook below, visit our learning center, or check out our extensive video library.