Should I Get an Automatic Pool Cover for My Pool?
Today's article won't be focusing on fiberglass pools, but on an optional feature to aid with pool maintenance and safety. Kristina Gale, owner of River Pools® of Salt Lake, will be sharing pros and cons of having an automatic cover for your pool, to hopefully help if you're on the fence about getting one yourself.
When I was shopping for a pool for my family, a reliable automatic pool cover was an absolute must. Now that I sell them here in Utah, I hear feedback from many customers. Based on that feedback and my experience, I want to give you a comprehensive list of the pros and cons of owning an automatic pool cover so that you can decide for yourself whether it is the right choice for you.
What Is An Automatic Pool Cover?
Automatic pool covers open and close using a 4-digit pin on a keypad or a physical key located near the pool. Depending on the size of the pool, the cover will open and close in 45-120 seconds. When the pool cover is fully closed, it will feel and look like a giant waterbed. As it is closed, the pool cover rolls into an underground box typically installed at the deep end of the pool.
Pros of an Automatic Pool Cover:
The benefits of owning an automatic pool cover are:
- Safety! Covers are typically designed to hold 2000 lbs
- Keeps heat in the pool
- Cleaner pool & better-balanced chemicals
- Water Conservation!
With a constant flow of children in my house and yard, I had to know that we were keeping everyone safe.
Automatic pool covers can typically hold 2000 lbs. You can walk on it, though not recommended unless absolutely necessary for safety reasons. Walking on the pool cover feels like walking on a waterbed.
For the pool cover to maintain optimal strength, the pool water needs to be filled to mid-skimmer. Automatic pool covers receive their strength from the surface tension of the water.
We keep everyone off the cover, but it is there to help keep children, animals, and debris out of the pool when no one is using it.
Keeps Heat in the Pool
Having an automatic pool cover helps keep heat in the pool as well as heats the pool water naturally - in the Salt Lake City region of Utah, this means a longer swim season!
When the pool is closed, evaporation is eliminated and the sun on the autocover helps warm the water already in the pool. If no heater is on, the water temperature difference between a pool with an automatic pool cover versus a pool without a cover can be as much as 20 degrees.
Does this mean your pool will get too hot?
Personally, I have never felt like my pool was too hot, but I like a warm pool. In the four (4) years I have had my pool, the warmest it has ever been, without the heater on, has been 94 degrees (F) when it was 105 degrees (F) outside. No one complained.
If a pool is staying “too warm” I recommend opening the pool cover during the early morning hours of 5 am-8 am to cool it down. Aerating your pool, or forcing your pool water to interact with the air, will also help cool it down. This is typically done through the use of water features like bubblers, waterfalls, and slides.
Cleaner Pool & Better-Balanced Chemicals
In our experience, having an automatic pool cover keeps the pool cleaner and the chemicals better balanced. Rainwater or snow melt messes with pool chemistry and can leave a pool filthy. An automatic pool cover helps keep melting snow and rainwater out as well as leaves and dirt. Dirt and leaves will still find their way into your pool but at a fraction of what it would be without a cover.
In Utah, we are concerned about using our water resources wisely and an automatic pool cover can help cut back on the need to refill your pool.
Without a pool cover, your pool can lose as much as 2-4 inches of water a week! That is a lot of water you are refilling your pool with. Every. Single. Week.
However, with an automatic pool cover, water loss is much less. Of course, this water loss will depend on how much you are swimming and how many hours the pool cover is open during the hottest parts of the day.
Cons of an automatic pool cover:
The negatives of owning an automatic pool cover are:
- Winter Maintenance
- Cleaning the Pool Cover
- The Autocover box
Owning an automatic pool cover requires some maintenance come wintertime. You will need to watch your pool cover to ensure rain and snow melt does not create a large heavy puddle. An electric pump is generally provided, with the purchase of an autocover, to pump the rain and snow melt off the cover.
You can also lose pool water in the winter and will need to add an inch or two a few times throughout the winter. This happens when the snow load on the cover pushes some of the pool water into the autocover box drain. To fill the pool water back up, you will open your skimmer lid and add water using a hose to bring the water level back up to keep your autocover at max stability.
Cleaning The Pool Cover
Occasionally, you will need to clean the cover. To clean it, use a drop of dish soap and your vinyl pool brush.
For my cover, I do this maybe once every other year, but others like to clean their pool cover several times a year. Color choice drastically affects how dirty the pool cover visibly gets.
The Autocover Box
The autocover box takes up space and can dictate your pool options. If you have an automatic pool cover, you might not be able to get the patio look you want or other add-on feature just the way you envisioned.
This video shows the autocover box and illustrates a few other things to consider when purchasing an automatic pool cover.
Are automatic pool covers perfect?
Aesthetically, perhaps not.
However, when it comes to keeping my family safe and reducing the time I need to spend maintaining my pool and the water in it, owning an automatic pool cover has been the perfect option for my family and me.
If you have any specific questions regarding how an automatic pool cover works for our customers here in Utah, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Want to see behind-the-scenes of a pool being installed or some of Salt Lake City's completed projects?
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Thank you, Kristina! At River Pools, we manufacture world-class fiberglass pools for customers across North America. Our network of independent dealers and franchisees perform high-quality installations for all of our pool models. Feel free to browse our pool gallery, try out our pool pricing calculator, or request custom pricing using the button below if you think a fiberglass pool might be right for your home. Happy swimming!