We've had our pool up and running for a month now and i thought i write a little about the autocover. First off I think it's well worth the money for the safety/convenience factor. I rarely put the pump on the cover unless i know rain is coming. I and the kids run all over the thing, it's like a giant water bed.
We were really concerned about retaining heat and having a warm pool so we could use it 6+ months out of the year. We purchased a Heat Pump to help with that and I strongly considered solar heat as well.
What i've discovered is that this autocover, my full sun, and shallow pool have combined to make this pool a borderline hot tub. I'm unsure what is gonna happen when we have our month long dry spells with 90+ degree heat. We've been in the mid 80's with sun and the pool is constantly 91 or 92 degrees without heat pump just cover. Over the weekend it was up to 94.
I've also learned a couple things about trying to regulate the effectiveness of the cover. If during the day i leave it covered and the pump is not running and then i open it up and go for a swim the top 12" of water will be HOT, like 98-99 hot, the bottom water will be much cooler. The coverstar rep has since told me the very same info, and has suggested that in the real heat of summer if i'm covering my pool to make sure the pump is not running, as it will just circulate the hot layer of water throughout the pool causing the whole pool to heat up. Run the pump at night when i don't have the effect of the sun on the cover.
Still I have a feeling i'm going to be reading more threads on cooling a pool as our summer heats up. Might should have sprung for those fancy heat/cool pumps (i didn't even know they existed at time of purchase).
I also don't manually vacuum and never have anything in the skimmer basket. I throw the "shark" Polaris 280 in every couple of days for a few hours and that takes care of everything. I'm not sure if having it covered all the time is making dialing in the SWG easier or harder, but is seems to be okay at 30% for the time being.
In hindsight i might have gone with a lighter color cover, but the royal blue sure is pretty!