An automatic pool cover is a swimming accessory installed according to the swimming pool’s design. This cover work is to mainly prevent any kind of debris from falling into the pool. Other functions revolve around safety, especially in regard to avoiding incidences of children, adults or pets falling into the pool. For this reason, it is necessary to
The cost of an automatic pool cover varies according to various factors such as; the design/shape of the pool, it also depends on the dimensions of the pool, type of the material that is used on the pool cover (most used materials are aluminum sheets or Polycarbonate sheet), complexity of installation and automation. According to the market, the cost of installation ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 and this is more of a realistic figure one can spend. We should also put in mind the cost of labor which largely depends on the complexity of the installation of the desired pool cover.
Putting the above statement in mind, swimming pool owners who want to install the automatic pool cover should know that there are 2 types of pool covers that one can choose from. They include; automatic pool cover and semi-automatic pool cover. Continue to keep reading to discover the differences.
Semi-Automatic Pool Cover
According to PowerTrak, this cover is installed in a fairly rectangular shaped swimming pool and deck. It is suitable for medium and small pools. The cover uses a 14.4-volt rechargeable drill to run. To operate, the drill drive socket is placed over the uniquely designed drive shaft in the patent gear reduce motor. The machine has 2 gear reducers motors placed on each side whereby one is will help you in opening of the cover and the other will help you in closing of the cover.
The main advantage of the semi-automatic pool cover is that after use, the drill can be kept in a secure store hence avoiding unauthorized access to the swimming pool. Who would not wish to have such an advantage?
Fully Automatic Pool Cover
This pool cover is much easier to use as compared to the semi-automatic pool cover. All you need to do is to simply activate the system. To activate the system, you need to put on the switch. In installing this fully automatic pool cover, one has to lay down the leading edge tube where the pool cover will be attached. Then, other 2 leading edges have to be installed parallel to each other on tracks along the swimming pool. The tracks can either be installed on the deck or along the inside edges of the pool. An aluminum tube is also installed at the back where the pool cover shall roll on and off the swimming pool.
This type of pool cover consists of a series of interlocking gears which uses electricity to run hence, it will be automatically spinning the aluminum cover on/off the aluminum tube installed at the back.
Its main advantage is that it is easy to use, it saves time and it doesn’t require any effort in operating it unlike for the semi-automatic pool cover.
Armed with a bit of background knowledge on the 2 types of Automatic covers, let’s see how much we shall spend on installing one in a swimming pool.
Cost of a Automatic Pool Cover
This type of cover is expensive as the total cost of installation may vary depending on different contractors and also the size and design of the pool. According to the market, the cost of installation ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 and this is more of a realistic figure one can spend.
Depending on your contractor and the pool’s design, these are the cost that you will need to consider for installing an automated pool cover.
- The housing shall be excavated for the 3 drains to air or pit.
- A 3 conduit for hydraulic shall be put in place.
- A power mechanism which shall be of a 3/4 conduit.
- A key switch which shall have an electric run.
- The mechanism at the panel shall have a 15 amp GFCI dedicated circuit or a 20 AMP for hydraulic.
- The electric runs shall be of over 50′ heavy-gauge wire.
- Electrical run for the accessory board.
- Low voltage wires of ¾ conduits shall be needed with an Auto shutoff or a cover link wired controls.
- The concrete shall be a minimum of 6 inches thick, 3500 PSI.
- An additional deck shall be put around housing and a tile shall be created on the lower beam and beam cover.
- The unit price is based on the track space, the pool length including steps.
- The tracking space shall be of 25′ 6″ or more. It may require a large main mechanism tube and a large leading edge for fabric.
One can either buy a universal track standard or an underside track.
- A 2 sided or 3 sided track channel for fiberglass or concrete.
- Flush track and a snap top track
- A vinyl-liner of 90°, 45°, 6″ radius or 24″ radius.
- Track channel for vinyl-liner pools.
- A vanishing edge which is either 45° or 90°.
- Track extrusions which are painted.
The housing shall include a bench frame of aluminum/fiberglass lid, painted lid extrusions, vanishing lid trays for the walk on and a bench for the deck mounting mechanism.
A 110 V motor and hard-wired 3-wire key standard shall be needed.
•Auto-shutoff control with amp limit.
•A digital touchpad control with a wireless cover link.
•Water shut off feature.
•A hydraulic hose with a hydraulic pump.
All these items are at par with the American Society Testing and Materials (ASTM F1346-91) standards for pool safety.
9 Tips for Maintaining a Automatic Pool Cover
Now that you have your automated pool cover installed, it is imperative to carry out regular maintenance of the cover for it to last long. You can adapt the following useful activities in maintaining your pool. These activities can easily become the norm.
1. The pool cover should be professionally serviced at least once in a year. It is important for the cover to be professionally serviced as some parts such as the pulleys and sliders wear over time hence need for replacement with new ones. Failure of which, worn out pulleys and sliders can cause the cover to jam on the tracks and stop working. Also, the maintenance contractor will have to service the electric connection system so as to repair or replace worn out parts. This is to avoid any electric faults.
2. To avoid buildup of gases as a result of various chemicals in the pool water, it is advised that the cover be rolled off the pool once a week.
3. Always remove standing water on the cover by use of the cover pump. This is especially during the rainy season.
4. After treating your swimming pool with chemicals, ensure you leave the pool open for at least 3 to 4 hours so as to allow any gas formed to escape into the atmosphere. During this time, (when the pool is open) ensure that no child comes near the pool unaccompanied.
5. From time to time remove dirt and debris leaves, twigs etc) from the pool cover by soft broom logged on one of those long broomsticks. It is important to remove the debris and dirt from the cover because it damages the cover especially when they start to decay.
6. Always inspect the pool cover tracks regularly so as to remove any kind of debris and dirt through sweeping or using a hosepipe. In the case of salty pool waters, the salt residue normally damages the tracks through corrosion if left for a long period of time. This can be prevented by washing the tracks regularly using a hosepipe.
7. Before opening and closing the automatic cover, always look out for obstructions such as towels, pool toys, floaters etc. The obstructions can easily be rolled up in the tracks hence jamming the whole system.
8. This might be obvious but it shall be stated anyway, that no one should be in the pool when the cover is being closed and even while being open. Several incidences of people being locked up in the pool have been reported when the automatic cover is being rolled out to cover the pool. This causes panic on the victims and can eventually drown.
9. The pool cover housing must be cleaned regularly of debris and dirt such as leaves and sticks. It is important to do so as the debris can clog the drain hence making the box to be filled with water which shall damage the whole system.
It is important for you to know the merits and demerits of having an automated pool cover so as to be well informed.
An automated pool cover saves you money in regards to operation cost in the following areas.
- The covering reduces water evaporation and heat loss to about 70%.
- You shall save money in regards to buying pool chemicals as the covering helps in keeping the pool chemistry in balance by reducing the water evaporation.
- Due to reduced evaporation, you will save money from your monthly water bill as there will be no need to constantly add water to the pool.
This pool cover is convenient as it prevents debris from falling into the pool hence it aides in reducing the number of times the pool is cleaned.
The Automated cover is easy to use and it does need one to move a muscle. All one has to do is to flip the switch on.
This pool cover comes in handy in reducing incidences of children drowning in swimming pools. Approximately 350 to 500 children under the age of 7 years drown in pools each year. This number can be greatly reduced.
In regard to safety, this pool cover can act as a fence around the swimming pool hence saving the cost of installing a permanent fence around the pool.
It is expensive to install and maintain an automated pool cover compared to other pull covers. To replace the vinyl material one has to depart with at least $5000. This can be frustrating to the pool owners considering the initial cost of installation. The vinyl material is normally replaced after 5 to 6 years.
Having a swimming pool at your back yard makes the environment serene, inviting and relaxing. Unfortunately, the pool can turn out tragic if safety measures are not put in place such as having a pool cover. You have the choice of choosing on the best pool cover that you would wish for. However considering the three that is fully automatic pool cover, the semi-aut6omatic pool cover and the manual pool cover, full automatic pool cover seems to be the best. However, you have a choice to make based on the information given and on what you need to spend.
All in all having a pool cover will always give you a peace of mind as a parents or guardians who have children playing around in the back yard. It is estimated that up to 400 children in America drown in swimming pools that have no automated covers on them. I hope you don’t want to be part of those who are at risk.
Having this comprehensive information in mind, you can now start planning in having your automated pool cover installed.