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Thread: Automatic Covers

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    Automatic Covers

    After watching an HDTV episode where someone installed an automatic pool cover, I decided to consider one.

    Fully installed prices are around $7-$8k and one company agreeing to sell me their unit directly for $5k. There are manual units that are $2-3k cheaper, but it's meant for smaller pools.

    This seems too high for me considering we have a four month pool season and the pool is not heated, but, I love the idea of keeping the leaves out, retaining heat, a simple key switch to open and close the cover, no winter cover, a constant safety cover and less chemicals. It would make pool ownership easier.

    Anyone have one or have other solutions for a cover?
    20k gal pool/spa, marc, Intellichlor SWG, 2 hp pentair whisperflo, Pentair clean & clear filter, Raypack Reheem 266 heater. Taylor K2005 test kit.

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    San Rafael, CA USA

    Re: Automatic Covers

    I have an automatic undertrack model from Pool Covers, Inc.. It's main advantage over a manual bubble-type cover is the convenience of opening/closing. It is a thinner cover, however, so only insulates about half as well as a high-quality bubble-type cover. Roughly speaking from my experience I would say that an electric safety cover cuts down heat loss in half while a bubble-type cover cuts it again in half so 75% overall. So you would save more in heating expense with a manual bubble-type cover, but would lose the convenience.

    Another difference is that the electric covers are generally opaque to most sunlight. This prevents UV breakdown of chlorine so you use less chlorine. However, if you want heating of the pool from the sun, then you would need a darker cover and running the pump during the day to circulate the water, but it still probably won't heat the pool as quickly as a mostly clear bubble-type cover (but then you'd lose more chlorine that way).

    Though the cover I have has a 7-year pro-rated warranty, I find they do not last much longer than 3-4 years before developing holes. Replacement isn't cheap -- on average roughly $1000 as sometimes it's just a cover at $700 while other times it's a cover and some hardware at $1200. These are S.F. Bay Area prices, but figure on an average $350 per year cost (including annual maintenance) which is significantly higher than the cost of replacing a bubble-type cover, even fairly regularly. That's part of the price of convenience.

    You still need to clean off the cover before opening it or else will need to periodically clean out the vault where the cover is stored. We are very happy with our cover except for it not lasting as long as I would have expected.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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