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Top 5 Problems With Automatic Pool Covers

When deciding on a product you are going to purchase, always be sure to research the pros and the cons.  Here at Royal Pools and More, we do see 98% of our clients use automatic pool covers for reasons of safety, chemical savings, and energy savings.  Still, it would be wrong to ignore the problems.  Every product, whether it be an appliance in your house, a vehicle, or a lawn mower, has problems. After purchasing a larger product such as one of these, we have most likely all felt at one point, buyer’s remorse due to unexpected costs, more maintenance than expected, etc.  We never want to hear our customers saying the phrase “I wish you would’ve told me that earlier.”  Therefore, in an attempt to help you feel more informed, here are the Top 5 Problems that you may come across with our most popular in-ground pool accessory.

1. Cover Cost

The upfront cost of an automatic pool cover can be overwhelming, averaging anywhere between $15,000.00 – $22,000.00. While automatic pool covers have many great pros, the up-front and lifetime costs together can be even more burdensome.  On average, a customer that takes good care of their cover over the course of 10 years can spend close to $5,000.00 in addition to the cost of the initial installation. The following is a list of routine maintenance that must be done to the cover that will make up the lifetime cost.

    • Material Cleaning – This should be done annually as the cover must be washed of debris and conditioned with a UVA/UVB protectant. Basic cleaning – $400, this packages comes with a wash and conditioning. Basic+ – $500, this package includes washing and conditioning as well as checking the cover box for debris and cleaning it as well as the cover track.
    • Rope Adjustments – Automatic pool covers rely on a motor, ropes, and a pulley system.  As the ropes stretch from the weight on the cover, you will need to have them adjusted  so the cover material continues to come out square to the shallow end of the pool. $85.00 – $150.00.
    • Material Replacement – Every 6-9 years the material itself will have to be replaced,  similar to a pool liner, being that they are both made out of vinyl. As the material ages,  it begins to become brittle and dry rot. Over the course of time, the material will fray,  rip, and holes will appear, resulting in a replacement. $2800.00 – $3800.00 depending on the pool size.replace1

2. Cover problems!

Surprise! The cover won’t open/close!  We tend to deal with this issue a lot and it seems to happen right before or after a large party! Ugh! There are several reasons that could cause your automatic pool cover not to open.  Some of the most common problems our customers experience include:

  • Loss of power – Just like any appliance in your home, the breaker could trip, causing the  automatic cover to not get any power. Just like said appliance, it could be just a surge in  power to where the breaker needs to be reset, or it could also mean something more  serious
  • Broken Rope(s) – Due to either age or an underlying issue that needs to be tended to,  the ropes could potentially break.  Replacement ropes cost $749.99 to replace. The cost includes labor as well.
  • Cover Off The Tracks – Operating the cover does come with a few basic instructions! One of the most important instructions that all clients must learn is when to stop the cover so you do not open it too far! This is typically done by children or when you are in a conversation and forget to stop the cover, resulting in the cover coming out of the track. This can damage the material of the cover, break a glider, or break a rope.

3. Cover Material Maintenance

Automatic pool covers, as stated earlier, are made from vinyl. Although vinyl can handle the sun decently, ultimately the sun will win in this battle and dry rot the material. It is crucial to use material cleaner and a UVA/UVB protectant.  These two products in combination will extend the life of the material by slowing down dry rot.  Many customers who do have some shade in their back yard typically get it in the form of trees or bushes. It is crucial to remove the leaves and loose organic debris, as it can cause staining which can be unsightly.

4. Rodents in the auto cover housing unit

Weather in the Midwest means that half of the year is cold! One of the most important areas of the auto cover is the housing unit which holds the motor and cage mechanism. Unfortunately, this is also a nice, warm, “out-of-the-elements” area for rodents and insects alike to stay warm and nest during winter months.  While inside, there are also a ton of food options for them as they can chew through your ropes, chew holes in your cover, or chew through some of the wires.

5. Not a true winter cover

In the Midwest, 8 inches of snow in a day is not out of the norm at all. Although automatic pool covers can hold thousands of pounds of weight, it is important to understand that these covers are technically not winter covers. That being said, it still takes inches upon inches to damage a cover that is in good condition. It is most important to always remove the melted snow and rain off the auto cover.

Although automatic pool covers come with a great amount of pros, we don’t want any clients having to deal with buyer’s remorse. We understand – this is a huge investment. Whether or not you decide an automatic pool cover is right for you, we want to make sure you are ready to make the right choice.  Feeling unhappy about a product that you purchased is one of the most deflating feelings and we want you to make a decision you are comfortable with!