Pros & Cons of Automatic Pool Covers

Adding an automatic cover to your swimming pool project is a big decision. While guaranteed to increase the cost of your pool installation, an automatic pool cover delivers many positives to consider. As we’ve discovered first hand through the 35+ years of installing gunite swimming pools, an automatic pool cover is a necessity for some, and of little interest to others.

A closed Automatic Pool Cover on a pool in Litchfield, CT

Here are a few of the Pros & Cons of an Automatic Pool Cover:

PRO - Safety, safety, safety. An automatic pool cover is as safe as it gets. Coupled with a surrounding fence per code, an automatic pool cover provides ultimate safety. Once the pool is closed via key (or code), entry to the pool is shut. The covers are known be very strong, holding up to 12 adults, although we don’t recommend you test that claim out.

CON - An automatic pool cover adds anywhere from $12,000 to $25,000 to the project cost. The cover is intricate, involving a recessed track that is installed between the tile and coping, a gunited cover box at the deep-end of the pool, and a cover motor. It is also recommended to have the cover serviced once a year, which can cost $300 - $600 depending. The pool cover itself is generally recommended to be replaced every 7 years.

PRO - An automatic pool cover keeps the heat in and the water evaporation low. Here in Connecticut, especially during the months of May, June, and September, we experience significant temperature swings. After an 85 degree day, we often feel the chill of a 50-65 degree evening. This significant temperature swing leads to a large loss of heat, and high evaporation rate. An automatic cover acts as a passive solar blanket, trapping in heat and reducing evaporation.

A pool without an automatic pool cover

A pool without an automatic pool cover

CON - A pump with an attached garden hose must always be kept on top of the pool cover when the pool is closed. As rainwater collects on the non-permeable pool cover, a pump must be present to discharge the water and avoid having too much weight on the cover. For some, the task of having to move a pump on and off of the cover is enough to decide against the cover.

PRO - When your pool is shut, swimming is not possible. Since all automatic pool covers are opened and closed via a keyed switch (or code), when you shut your cover, the pool is closed. There’s no animals, no grass or leaves, and no neighbors swimming in your pool. As the majority of our clients are weekenders, the peace of mind of having the pool closed for good is a major deciding factor.

CON - Whether Salt or Chlorine, chemicals get trapped in. Since the pool is closed the majority of the time, chemicals such as Chlorine do not dissipate naturally. Therefore, if you have an automatic cover, it is suggested keeping chemical levels at the very lows and checking the chemical readings more often.

As with any major decision involving your swimming pool project, there are pros and cons to assess. The question of whether to include an automatic swimming pool cover will be based on your budget, your desired safety level, and the several other deciding factors listed in this post. As with any of our posts, if you have any questions, please reach out by contacting us.

Thank you for reading, and as always, thank you for swimming with us.