Are Automatic Pool Covers Worth the Investment?

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Pool covers are pretty much mandatory these days for any swimming pool. They serve multiple purposes such as keeping dirt and debris out, prevent any accidental drowning, save energy as well as chemical cleaning agents.

Automatic pool covers do the same job, but with the added convenience of covering your pool with just the press of a button. But, is an automatic pool cover worth it and how much does an automatic pool cover cost?

Well it depends on the individual really. They have the same benefits as manual pool covers. The only difference being the convenience. While manual covers require physical labor for operating but automatic covers just need the flick of a switch. But the cost might not be worth it for some. For those who have the cash to spend, they can be quite nice to have.

In this article, I am going to talk about how much does an automatic pool covers costs, look into the economic benefits of automatic pool covers if any, and explore if the benefits outweigh the costs.

These will give you an overall idea to decide whether installing automatic pool covers are worth it or not.

Swimming pool cover detail for protection and heat the water, pool roller-shutter covers
Swimming pool cover for protection and heat the water, pool roller-shutter covers

Costs of Owning An Automatic Pool Covers

Before we talk about whether or not they are worth it, let’s look at how much an automatic pool cover will actually cost you. Automatic pool covers are extremely pricey, even if not compared to manual pool covers.

The minimum amount you will have to spend is around 8000 dollars. Note that that’s the minimum price. The actual amount may go all the way up to 20000 dollars. So, it’s safe to say the price range is between 10000 to 20000 dollars, sometimes a little up.

The price is without installation charge or electrical expenses that you will have to bear to set up properly. As far as maintenance charge is concerned, that amount is also tremendously high.

You will have to spend 800 to 1000 dollars per year for proper maintenance. If you are confident enough and want to hire an expert, add 300 to 400 dollars to that.

First comes the cleaning. The main goal of the pool covers that it will keep all sorts of dirt out of the pool. But the cover itself has to be cleaned from time to time.

Otherwise, due to the load of the debris, the covers might get damaged. As it will keep absorbing UVA/UVB rays from the sunlight, a UV ray protective conditioner needs to be applied. The overall cost is 400-500 dollars.

Pool covers are mainly made from vinyl. In course of time due to heavy usage, they become worn out. It becomes fragile, many holes may appear and the cover itself is likely to be ripped apart.

The entire material needs to be replaced once every 5-8 years. The price is 1500-5000 dollars which is fairly close to manual covers.

Automatic pool covers run by ropes and a pulley. An electric motor runs the entire system. When rolling back, it works just like a manual cover system.

When covering the pool, the ropes need to be stretched from their rolled-up position. It requires an intricate mechanism. This costs about 200 dollars.

The work that the ropes are doing can’t be played down. It’s a heavy task so the ropes are very likely to be damaged soon, depending on the frequency of usage.

Also, if there is something heavy on the cover for a long time like snow, debris, carcass, etc., they might end up being damaged sooner than their life expectancy. The replacement shall cost you 700-800 dollars.

So, you can see, automatic pool covers are roughly affordable. In addition to the upfront cost, there are extra expenses that are similar to the price of manual pool covers.

How Automatic Pool Covers Save Your Money

Automatic pool covers are advertised to save you lots of money and return the investment in time. Firstly, we will take a look at the benefits, and later we will find out whether or not they are actually beneficial.

Energy-saving by heating the pool

Pool water needs to remain heated depending on the area you reside. When building the pool, a water heater is installed to heat the water. However, the temperature is quickly dissipated if the water is exposed.

The heat pump needs to be run constantly to keep the temperature to optimum for comfortable swimming.

When covered, the heat dissipation is cut down drastically. You don’t have to run the heater all the time. Heating the pool is a huge cost and by using an automatic pool cover, you can reduce the cost by almost 70 percent.

If you have an indoor swimming pool, you can mitigate the costs of running dehumidifiers as well. Overall, you can save 50 percent on electricity bills.

Automatic pool covers not only retain the heat; it can also heat the water. Even if it sounds surprising, it is a fact. Most pool covers are made of vinyl.

Vinyl doesn’t hold on to heat quite well. They dissipate the heat into the pool water. Thus, doing a much better job than any solar panel covers by heating the water up to 15 degrees.

Water conservation

The heat of the sun and the outside temperature is the single greatest cause of water loss in pools. In normal summer temperatures, 2 to 4 inches of water is lost over the course of a week.

That makes half to three-quarters of an inch per day. For a standard-sized pool, that is over 2500 liters of water. That is huge, both in terms of amount and cost.

Automatic pool cover reduces this number to almost zero. It prevents direct contact of the sun with the pool water. If the air outside is dry, the pool cover helps mitigate the effects.

They also prevent water contact with other elements of nature like the scorching heat of the sun, the temperature of the summer, or hot wind blowing over the pool.

Although it is impossible to completely block the effects of nature and physics. But automatic pool covers do the job most efficiently. They do their best to fight sunlight, temperature and low humidity airs blowing over your pool.

Water needs to be changed less frequently

Dirty water needs to be changed and that’s a huge cost. Not only in water bills but also electricity bills to run the water motor, circulatory system, etc.

Automatic pool covers cover your pool and keep dirt away. So, the water and the pool remain clean for longer. It saves your money for pool cleaning and water changing.

You can argue that manual pool covers can do the same thing. But know that manual covers need manual labor. So, from time to time, you may choose to not cover the pool out of laziness.

If you have automatic covers, all you need to do is flick the switch. Remaining open for four hours a day vs fifteen hours a day is not the same thing.

Less chemical cost

It’s not a secret anymore that we use chemicals in pool water. The most commonly used chemical is chlorine. It works as a disinfecting agent by eliminating bacteria and algae.

It also works as an oxidizing agent. Chlorine oxidizes materials like dirt and debris. Automatic pool cover prevents dissipation of chlorines. Thus, cutting down the charge of chemical usage.

Things To Consider Before Buying An Automatic Pool Cover

Automatic pool covers are very expensive.  So, before you go out and buy one here are some things that you should consider.

Every Component Needs Regular Maintenance

Automatic pool covers comprise complex pieces of machinery like a pulley, motor, specialized ropes, etc. All of these parts require regular maintenance.

Even if they are running alright, you have to check to ensure if they are running alright. Unless you are a technical guy or have some sort of knowledge in electrical machinery, you need to call a serviceman.

If you are wondering how long does an automatic pool cover last before needing repairs then the answer is, 5 to 6 years.

Repairing or replacing can cost you a good sum. So, that is definitely something you should think about before getting an automatic pool cover.

Very Expensive

Automatic pool covers are very expensive and there is no way around to express it. They take an upfront cost of around $9000 and range up to $20000 depending on shape and size, let alone set up charge, maintenance cost, and servicing expenses.

With the price of one automatic cover, two or three manual covers can be purchased, maintained, and used for years and they give you the same outcome.

Why people use automatic pool covers you might wonder. The only benefit is that they are automatic, save you lots of labor, and are convenient. You just have to press a button.

If you are worried about expenses, you better opt out of automated covers. No way they are cost-effective and save you money.

Not Suitable for Winter

Pool covers can take a lot of weight. They can hold up to even adult humans. They can take piles of dirt, dry leaves, and other things without being cleaned for days.

You can cover your pool and go out on a vacation without any worries. However, when it is winter, things are slightly different. Heavy snowfall can have severe impacts on automatic pool covers.

There are separate winter covers for pools. They are specially built for taking the load of winter snowfall.

I’m not saying that automatic covers will be damaged by slight snowfall, but you should not take that chance since they are expensive. You either should remove the cover during winter, or get another cover for winter.

Not Necessary if You Don’t Use a Pool Heater

The biggest pros of automatic pool covers are that they conserve electricity by retaining the heat. They don’t let the heat dissipate into the air so you don’t have to run the heater to reheat the pool.

Also, they prevent the evaporation of the water. This cuts down the water bill and electricity bill required to run the motors.

While this is a fact, it is completely useless for pool owners that don’t run a water heater. You don’t have to necessarily run a water heater to heat the pool unless you live in a particularly colder area.

Also, if you are not in an area where summer is scorching, water evaporation should be much of an issue for you.

Cost-effective Alternatives Available

Everything that an automatic pool cover does, so can any manual pool cover. They can keep dirt out of the water, prevent accidental drowning, keep the heat inside, etc. all these at a lower cost.

In fact, with automatic pool covers, you will have to bear the extra costs of electricity bills and maintenance charges.

Many manufacturers claim that vinyl made pool covers can heat the pool water, minimizing the usage of the water heater. In reality, solar panels do a better job at that.

If you want to cover your pool, the manual cover is enough. If you want to heat your pool, go for solar panels. Unless you have deep pockets, automatic covers are a waste of your hard-earned money.

As you can see when it comes down to just the price automated pool covers don’t offer that much more compared to their manual counterparts. Unless, the wow factor and the luxury of having your pool ready with just a push of a button is basically why you’d be wanting to buy one.

How to Care for Automatic Pool Covers to Reduce Cost?

If you’ve ever talked about automatic pool covers with actual owners then there is a good chance about them bragging how expensive these covers are. That should make you wonder, why are automatic pool covers so expensive?

The maintenance and repair costs of automatic pool covers is what really makes them so expensive to own. So, trying your best to keep them working as long as possible should save you some money. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Clean any debris from the cover

Don’t let any dirt, debris, or snow accumulate on top of it. They are built strong enough to hold on to those, but why keep it filthy when you can keep it clean.

Excess dirt can damage the cover material in time. Every part of the pool cover is expensive and if one is damaged, a chain of replacement can take place. So, clean the cover at least once a week.

Check for rodents

Rodent infestation can be a challenge in terms of proper maintenance. For those of you who don’t know, rodents have special teeth called rodent incisors.

The special thing about them is that they keep growing no matter what. To reduce the growth, rodents have to keep chewing on substances to wear out the incisors.

Do you understand why you need to keep rodents away? The housing unit can be a nice warm place for them.

In no time, you will discover all the elements like ropes, covers, wires are damaged thanks to the razor-sharp teeth of rodents. This will cost you a sumptuous amount of money to repair.

Remove the cover often

Various chemicals are used in pool water. These chemicals might build up gas just above the water surface. These gases might damage the cover and reduce the lifespan.

So often retract the covers, at least once a week. Also, keep the pool uncovered for at least two hours after adding chemicals. This will prolong the lifespan of the cover.

Try not to put weight on it

Automatic pool covers can take a lot of weight. But that does not mean you have to put unnecessary weights on it. Often children are seen running around or jumping on the cover.

Do not allow it. If the cover excess weight repeatedly, the ropes and other things that it’s attached to shall be weakened in time.

Clean the cover top regularly and don’t let anyone kids or adults get on top of it. The ropes will remain hardy and the cover will get maybe a few more years in its life.

Final Thoughts on How Much Does an Automatic Pool Cover Cost

In this age of advanced technologies, many things are becoming automated. Things that used to require manual effort, now need the press of a button.

However, these conveniences come at a cost, and whether or not these costs are worth it are actually dependent on the individual.

Automated pool covers are a thing like that, where the benefits do not outweigh the costs, yet those who can afford would appreciate the convenience.

In this article, I have explained as best as possible how much an automatic pool cover costs and if they are worth it. I have discussed some of the ‘so-called’ benefits and later debunked them to help you realize the fact.

If you are still in a dilemma to decide, let me tell you that automatic pool covers are only worth it if money is not a headache for you.