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Automatic Pool Cover Costs & Must Knows

Pool covers are often an essential addition to any backyard pool because of the many benefits they have, they are a no-brainer for any pool owner. There is a wide variety of options available and choosing which is right for you will depend on what you want to get out of a cover, your pool setup and your budget.

For those who have looked into pool cover options, you will have found about automatic pool covers and you’ve thought about getting one. The draw is self-apparent.

Who wouldn’t love to transform the tedium of covering and uncovering the pool into the ease of simply flipping a switch?

But automatic pool cover costs are usually significant enough to give anyone pause. But your opinion might change if you stop and consider some of the following points about pool cover facts and financing. There’s a good chance that you’ll discover you really can, and should, get the automatic pool cover experience.

Advantages of Pool Covers In General

First, let’s cover why pool covers are a great addition to any pool set up as they have many benefits, including:

  • Saving water as less top ups needed because of less evaporation. 
  • Conserving heat in the pool.
  • Keeping debris out, requiring less cleaning.
  • Saves power as less heating and pump cleaning needed.
  • Fewer chemicals needed and time testing and adding them.
  • Safer during winter months as no worry of pets or kids falling in the pool.
  • Offer UV protection to your liner, meaning it will fade less and last longer.
infographic on pool cover benefits

What Is an Automatic Pool Cover?

It’s important to properly define automatic pool covers before taking a more in-depth look at them. An automatic pool cover is a fairly broad term that describes any mechanical system which can automatically deploy and retract pool covers without needing any human assistance. You simply need to press a button and the automated system will do all the work for you. The majority of the time these are for inground pools, although there are also options for above ground pools.

Pool Cover Advantages

pool with blue plastic automatic pool cover closing
Automatic pool covers have tracks to ensure that once they are closed, no kids, animals or debris can get into the water.

Automatic pool covers have tracks to ensure that once they are closed, no kids, animals or debris can get into the water.

One of the nice things about automatic pool covers is that they provide you with all the advantages which come from standard pool covers. While this can be a topic unto itself, the following are some of the most important benefits that all pool covers provide.

Pool Safety

Pools are safe and fun for the entire family when they’re properly used and maintained. And pool covers can be an important part of that process. A pool cover can instantly mitigate or even fully negate most pool-related safety concerns. That doesn’t mean only for people and pets. Pool covers can even protect local wildlife, which might take a shortcut through your property.

Energy Efficiency

A huge amount of a pool’s cost goes into trying to isolate it from local weather and everything that comes with it. Energy is required to clean a pool, regulate chemicals, fill it up with water, heat it, etc. And most of those needs stem from the fact that the local environment seeps into a pool. Whether that means spreading leaves into the pool or causing evaporation. A pool cover can essentially isolate your pool from the surrounding environment. In doing so, you automatically gain a wide variety of energy-related benefits. For example, a pool cover can prevent up to 90% of pool water evaporation. The simple fact that you won’t need to run the pump as much translates into less wear and tear on those systems.

Automatic Cover Advantages

Besides the advantages of a normal pool cover, automatic covers come with some unique benefits.

These are often tied into the system’s construction and relationship to the existing pool structure. Likewise, some advantages come from making specific choices for what type of automatic pool cover you decide to go with.

Cost Factors

It’s natural to think of automatic pool cover costs as a detriment rather than a benefit. But while the covers have a hefty price tag, they also save you a considerable amount of money over time. In general, you can expect to see a full 70% reduction in pool heating costs when you’re using an automatic pool cover. Your pool’s electricity use will typically go down by 50%, chemical use by 70% (this of course lowers chemical costs but also time spent testing and balancing pH levels), and water evaporation will drop by an astounding 90%. On top of this, you’ll also require less overall maintenance.

Not to mention that increased safety means that you’re protecting parts of your life that are literally priceless.

little boy sitting on side of pool with feet on pool cover
Unlike many normal pool covers, automatic covers are secured around the entire edge meaning they stop any little ones being able to get into the water.

Materials

The fact that you have a choice of materials is an enormous benefit. For example, stainless steel or aluminum drive mechanisms will let you fit the system into your price range. And the same goes for your choice of fabric. A plastic solar cover (the type that looks like bubble wrap) is a cheaper option and great for not letting the heat escape while still allowing the sun’s warmth to go through and further heat the water acting like a solar blanket.

Mesh pool covers (also known as safety covers) are designed to mainly just keep out debris and pets/children while working less to conserve the heat, these are a good option in hot climates where a solar cover can actually make the water too warm.

More heavy duty winter covers are also available for climates where a lot of snow builds up. This obviously puts a lot of load on the cover, so it needs to be able to withstand that weight season after season.

slat pool cover being rolled up
Some covers are more durable than others, ideal for cold climates where snow is expected to pile up on it.

Track Options

The ideal pool is one where every part was designed as a unified system. When you do so, you can ensure that elements like poolside fire pits, permanent seating, and automatic pool covers can work together in an optimal capacity. When you design a pool design as a unified setting, you can be sure that everything will work perfectly together. But if you haven’t done so, don’t worry. Track options are available for almost every pool form factor out there.

Pool Shape

You might think that unconventional pool shapes will limit your choice in automatic pool covers. But one big advantage of modern systems is that they’re extremely versatile. You can almost always find a system that’s compatible with your pool’s size and shape. However, non-rectangular designs tend to cost more.

Features/Obstacles

You’ve seen that pools work best when every component in the area has been designed as a singular whole. But one unique aspect of doing so comes from the fact that you can turn what would appear to be an obstacle into a feature. When you’re considering pool deck ideas, you should think about whether you want to integrate the deck and automatic pool cover. If your overall design is compatible with the idea, then you can actually have the deck work as part of the larger cover system. This creates an aesthetic where the pool cover system invisibly integrates into the area as a whole.

thing blue cover being rolled out over the pool
Many automatic covers are almost invisible when rolled up and appear like magic when being closed.

Potential Disadvantages

An automatic pool cover system can be extremely beneficial to most areas of pool ownership. But that doesn’t mean automatic covers are flawless inventions. Pool covers do come with the following disadvantages too.

Cost

Automatic covers save you money in a lot of unexpected ways. But there’s no denying that the initial pool build costs can be quite intimidating. In addition to the upfront cost, you’ll also need to factor in upkeep. Automatic covers need to be cleaned annually, and the ropes used to move those materials need occasional adjustment over time. It is always a good idea to get a maintenance quote before choosing an automatic pool cover so you know exactly what yearly expenses to factor in. And materials generally need replacement every six to nine years.

Break Downs

You might have to power a manual pool cover with your own muscle. But that also means that you don’t have to worry about breakdowns. Whereas an automatic pool cover is subject to the same wear and tear that can break any large mechanical system.

Rodent Nests

You obviously love a warm enclosed pool area. But, unfortunately, so do rodents. And a combination of a heated pool and an automatic pool cover system can provide a perfect nesting ground for these unwanted guests. This is an issue for any pool where chilly nights can drive mice to search for a warm place to rest up. But the addition of an automatic pool cover’s mechanical system means that those mice now have a small and enclosed area to set up as a home of their own.

Chlorine Retention

Chlorine retention is the downside to preventing evaporation. You’ll need to be careful with your chlorine use until you get a feel for how your cover impacts retention. Otherwise, the cover-induced chlorine retention could cause erosion and damage to your pool.

rectangle pool with round corners and pool cover to match the shape
The shape of your pool can add challenges to how to install an automatic pool cover however there is always a solution.

Calculate Your Costs and Turn Your Dream Pool Into a Reality

Now that you know just what to expect from an automatic pool cover, it’s time to take the next step. You can use a pool calculator to help you plan how much you can afford for your pool project. Then talk to your pool builder about an estimate for the type of pool cover you are thinking about and see if this will work with your budget. This will help you turn your dream of the perfect pool experience into a reality.

Next Steps – If you are in the design phase of your pool project, our other guides may be useful:

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Disclaimer:

At Viking Capital, we try to provide accurate information on loans, credit scores and pool care, but it may not apply directly to your individual situation. We are not financial advisors and we recommend you consult with a financial professional before making any serious financial decisions. The content on poolloan.net is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.

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