A number of features can add tremendous value to a swimming pool. For example, anyone who’s been reading these discussions should know by now that I’m a huge proponent of modern water treatment technology and equally passionate about proper hydraulics, circulation, filtration, and automated controls. I love LED lights and durable polished aggregate finishes, and I’m a huge fan of subterranean equipment vaults.
Another item that’s often worth serious consideration is an automatic pool cover. Here in the seasonal climate of the great Northeast, we winterize pools, which obviously means they need to be covered much of the year. Different types of covers are available, but none compare to the advantages of the automatic pool cover for winterizing and year-round use.
Safe, Clean, and Convenient
The main reason people buy an automatic pool cover is for safety. That’s especially true for families with small children who are the greatest risk of drowning. Automatic pool covers are among the most reliable safety features. First, because they are so easy to use, opening and closing at the touch of a button, homeowners are more likely to make sure the pool is covered when it’s not in use. It’s a simple fact that when the cover is deployed, it’s impossible to fall in the water.
After safety comes a list of some practical advantages covers offer. Chief among them, covers keep debris from falling in the pool. That means, in turn, the filter doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the water clean, and you’ll inevitably use less chemicals to keep the water safe, clear, and clean.
Also, because the water is kept cleaner, it requires less time and effort to clean. You don’t have to vacuum, net, or brush the pool nearly as often. Skimmers and pump strainer baskets don’t become full as quickly, and filters require less frequent cleaning or backwashing. Furthermore, because the pool is clean, it’s always ready to use when you open the cover, an advantage that definitely enhances the consumer experience.
One advantage most people don’t consider when thinking about whether or not to include an auto cover, although it’s a big one to be sure is energy savings. The most energy used in a pool comes by way of heat loss due to evaporation, which is why all portable spas have thermal covers. An automatic cover on a pool dramatically reduces evaporation and ensures you’re not sending excess energy into the atmosphere.
A couple years ago, we had a client who wanted to leave the pool open over the winter so she could use the attached spa. We studied the situation and found that the energy saved by her automatic cover actually offset the cost of winterizing the pool, and she had use of the spa year-round.
Along with reduced evaporation, an automatic cover contains any smell of chemicals that might be emanating from the surface. That may not be all that important in an outdoor pool, but it sure makes a huge difference in an indoor pool space. Also, by reducing evaporation, as mentioned just above, the cover reduces humidity in an indoor environment, which in turn means less energy required to dehumidify the room where the pool is located.
One limitation of automatic pool covers is that for the most part, they require pools to be rectangular. There are ways to apply them to other shapes, but that can be prohibitively expensive, which does pose a problem for some clients who really want a free-form pool with a creative shape. Fortunately, rectangular pools are beautiful in their simplicity and can fit in with almost any architectural style.
Yes, covers do add to the initial cost of the pool, and far less expensive options are available. But as is true of other value-added features, the long-term savings and convenience, not to mention peace of mind, offered by an automatic cover makes it a feature well worth serious consideration.
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About the Author
Steve Kenny is an aquatic designer, builder, and service technician with more than 25 years of experience. Based in Long Island, New York, he specializes in designing, building, and maintaining commercial and residential pools and spas that feature the highest possible water quality.
He is a passionate advocate of creating a new class of aquatic professionals devoted to the science, methods, and art of ensuring pristine water conditions. Steve was formally trained in the culinary arts and has a passion for fine dining. He is an accomplished photographer and sailing enthusiast. He is also a passionate advocate of the benefits of hydrotherapy.
A devoted family man, Steve lives in East Hampton with his bride of 20 years and their three children.