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Thread: Using Auto pool cover in winter

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    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Hurricane,wv
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    Using Auto pool cover in winter

    This will be our second year with our pool. Previous owner recommended keeping the automatic pool cover open during the winter and using a traditional pool cover. He felt like this saved wear and tear on the auto pool cover and may prolong the life of it. The pool store said it is harder on the fabric to be rolled up all winter and we should be using the auto cover to cover the pool in the winter. Any advice/opinions?
    kcb
    in ground, 11,800, vinyl, s200 sand

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    bmoreswim's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
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    Central MD
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    Re: Using Auto pool cover in winter

    Here's a post from my pool build from 2013 on the topic of using an autocover as a winter cover...

    I thought I'd share information from the autocover installation folks today regarding its use as a winter cover since I know it's a bit of a controversial topic on the site. This doesn't necessarily jive with what is in the manual (it didn't address nearly the ideas i did with the installer) but is all to be considered by the pool owner when deciding whether to use an autocover as a winter cover or to use a dedicated one.

    First off, we have a Coverstar cover which was installed by Coverstar East Coast who operates in MD, PA and CT and we are in MD. I asked him whether they recommend using it during the winter in our climate, which freezes often though not like a northern tier state and can have monster snows at times. He didn't actually say whether they recommend it but said that about 50% of their customers do use them in winter. He said to do it we should lower the water level to winterize the lines and plug them. Then raise the water level to 1-2" below the tiles (6" water line tiles on our plaster pool). This would still provide adequate support for the cover when precip. comes. The 1-2" would also keep the water level from rising to the tile level after freezing expansion occurs. The reason being that you do not want any water/ice at the tile level to keep it from getting behind it and popping them off. My thought is that 2" may be more appropriate but would also provide less support.

    You would still need to be pumping off the cover during winter. Another option you would have is to open the cover when a snow storm comes and just let it go in. Then if the water level gets too high, above the 1-2" below the tiles, you would just pump it out by putting the cover pump on the top step and lowering the level.

    He said that some covers did fail (they ripped) after the back-to-back blizzards a few years ago (roughly 48" in 4 days) but they only failed after the second storm because the first storm had displaced water under the cover and expelled it out over the dam wall under the cover. And then the owners did not remove the snow (not easy I suppose but do-able by pulling it off with a broom or some other device) before the second storm. The lowered water level was also not raised by adding water and the second storm put too much weight on the cover which didn't have proper support because the water was too low.

    His feeling (and that of his firm) seems to be that they can be used as winter covers if done very carefully and actively managed throughout the winter. It is NOT a close and forget scenario. The other interesting comments were on cover life. He said that they are seeing about a 10 year life of the fabric when used in our 4-5 month swim season. When used as a winter cover, the extra UV exposure causes shrinkage and other issues which accelerate breakdown and the average life seems to be about 8 years. Incidentally, he said that the replacement cover cost today is $4.50/sf. So a roughly 20x40 cover for our pool would be $3,600 plus tax. Not sure if that was installed. So two more years life on average but you have to buy/maintain a separate winter cover at several grand for a nice Loop-Loc type spring cover and a no maintenance winter with a dedicated winter cover.

    Life is full of trade-offs I suppose. I'll go swimming now and decide later!
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. Saltwater w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, salt cell, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Groundbreaking: 2/14/13 | Plaster: 5/21/2013 | First Swim: 5/30/2013

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    MarianParoo's Avatar
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    Aug 2014
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    Northern IL
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    Re: Using Auto pool cover in winter

    I use mine as my winter cover. However, I am considering getting a large tarp from a big box store to put on top of it and anchor that with sandbags. It would look ugly, and I would still use my cover pump, but it would cut down on UV and certainly make it easier to clean in the spring. I don't worry much about the weight of snow because the water is frozen beneath the cover almost all winter.
    27K IG rectangular; vinyl liner; sand filter; 1hp pump; auto-cover; heater; K-2006C.

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    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Hurricane,wv
    Posts
    4

    Re: Using Auto pool cover in winter

    Thank you all for your help!
    kcb
    in ground, 11,800, vinyl, s200 sand

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