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Thread: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

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    Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    Hi Everyone.

    I'm still trying to figure out my shape/design for my new pool, and am currently investigating safety pool covers. Given that I have 2 little girls (4 and 2), I think that we definitely want to go the safety cover route vs. a mesh pool fence. The automatic covers looks pretty cool, but so far the ballpark estimate I've gotten is ~$9k, which definitely hurts the wallet. A co-worker of mine was just mentioning that he bought non-automatic, manual safety cover for about $3,500, and he really likes it.

    I'd be interested to here pros/cons either way from people that have experience with these products.

    Thanks!

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    The manual safety cover is too big a pain to install and remove routinely. It's for winterization, not regular use.
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    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    jjslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    I really like the automatic one I have. It helps manage everything - chemistry, cleanliness, temperature, introducing rain water, as well as safety. Where I live, without the cover, I would have had to modify all gates to the backyard to open out towards the street, and all doors in the house facing the pool would need alarms. With the cover, none of that is required (around here anyway, everyplace has its own rules).

    Aquamatic seems to have something similar to my automatic cover, but it is operated manually with a couple of sticks that look like ski poles or something. I have no experience with it (http://www.aquamatic.com).

    Don
    16K gal IG 16'x28' pebble since 2011; Pentair Easytouch; Sta-Rite Intellipro VS pump; Sta-Rite 400 sq. ft. cartridge (System 3); 6 Heliocol Solar Panels; Aquamatic Cover; Legend pressure-side cleaner with Hayward booster pump; TF100 Test Kit.

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    Re: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    Manual covers are exactly what the name implies, you will physically have to cover and uncover your pool. Which after a period of time will cause you to use the pool less and less. That or you will quit putting the cover on. An automatic cover does have an initial cost but will repay you some through less chemical usage, slowing evaporation los, maintaining a more even temperature, being able to use the pool earlier and later in the year if you aren't in a southern climate, helping to maintain chemical levels more evenly, less cleaning. Just keep in mind that there is no pool that is not maintenance free. Covers do present some issues over time. Ask your pb to give you references of cover customers, go look at the installation, talk to the owners see if they have had issues with their covers and how they were handled.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    Putting the manual cover on my 16x32 in ground took two of us a couple of hours.

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    Re: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    I have an automatic electric safety cover. Keep in mind that it will not only be a higher initial cost, but a higher ongoing maintenance cost as well. The cover will deteriorate and need to be replaced, usually in 4 or so years though mine has a pro-rated warranty that is full for 3 years then declines to zero at year 7 so some people might get longer use from the cover. Other parts degrade over time as well. I figured it averages out to around $400 per year or so which is roughly double the average of a bubble-type cover that often needs replacing every couple of years or so. So you pay for the extra safety and convenience.
    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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    Re: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    We have an automatic electric safety cover, can't imagine the pool without it. Yes, the cover does deteriorate in four to six years and needs to be replaced, but is is still less expensive than one accident. For the little "incidents" that occur with this type of cover such as the pin shears or it comes out of the track, anyone with a little patience can repair without having to wait two weeks for the cover company to get to you.
    20,000 gal. IG pool/ 400 gal. spa combo, unpainted plaster; Hayward Pro Series sand filter; Whisperflow 1.5 hp pump; Pentair Minimax pool & spa heater; Save-T Cover II Automated pool cover; Maytronic Dolphin; Dragonfly pool skimmer; Baquacil.

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    Re: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    If you are worried about safety the fence is a much better idea in my opinion. The fencing uses self closing gates that can be locked and are only opened from the top (out of the reach of children). When the children get older and you no longer need the fencing it can be removed and the holes in the ground are plugged up. Automatic covers are nice but they do wear out and you need to use an automatic cover pump at all times as any collecting water becomes a hazard and it doesn't take much to accumulate around a body to pose a risk. I personally wouldn't invest into an automatic cover with the intent of safety. I think of them as a way to keep the pool near debris free and use less chlorine as they block out much of the sunlight.

    I'm not sure you can get an automatic cover with anything other than a rectangle pool unlike a safety fence.

    manual covers can be a pain in the butt and I feel if you went that route the cover would be such a pain to reel up that you wouldn't use it all the time which negates its safety value.

    It's just my opinion but if you are really worried about safety I would go with a safety fence and if you want more safety I would go with a pool alarm or something like http://www.safetyturtle.com/
    -Kevin
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    Re: Thoughts on automatic safety covers vs. manual covers

    One thing you need to keep in mind is your local building codes if any. If they follow federal guidelines you either will need an automatic cover or a fence with alarms on all doors with access to the pool. Your builder should be able to guide you with some of these regulations. Personally the best safety is an automatic cover. You must remember though you must watch your children no matter what. A pool is a large responsibility. You must teach your children no mom or dad no going near the pool.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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