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Thread: Automatic Cover

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    Automatic Cover

    Hello,
    I am trying to decide on who makes the better automatic cover. AquaMatic or Pool Cover Specialists. I have quotes for both as a do it yourself install for a pool that I am installing and they are both similar in price. Has anyone had any experience with either.

    Thanks
    24' AGP (13,600 gal)
    Sand Filter with 1.5hp pump
    Lancaster, PA

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Automatic Cover

    I have a Pool Covers, Inc. electric safety cover, not Pool Cover Specialists nor Aquamatic (website was down when I checked). The only complaint I have is that the cover seems to develop small leaks within 2-3 years so I've had the cover replaced once already (mostly under warranty).
    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: Automatic Cover

    Chem Geek,
    Is your pool rectangular, or is there someplace that it drags on to cause the leeks, or is it from the chemicals. I am planning on using a Salt System with a Deck on Deck due to the shape of the pool, and for the cost, I don't want to be replacing covers often.
    24' AGP (13,600 gal)
    Sand Filter with 1.5hp pump
    Lancaster, PA

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Automatic Cover

    My cover was installed when the pool was built, so the rails are under the overhanging coping, not on top. So the cover isn't dragging on anything and instead completely rides on top of the water except at the sides where it's slightly above the water where the rails are. The very small leaks appear to be at the seams and only at the sides where it appears that the cover folds onto itself when it gets rolled up (the cover is intentionally a bit wider than the width of the pool). I suspect it's the opening and closing that is done almost every day in the summer season (about 7 months) that wears on the folds, though it could be something else.

    I've been told that my situation is not unheard of, but not common either. The normal warranty is for 3 years free parts (i.e. cover) so replacement cost me labor only. After that, the parts (cover) cost is pro-rated up to 7 years. Typical life is around 5 to 9 years depending on usage so mine is certainly forming leaks earlier than it should.
    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: Automatic Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    My cover was installed when the pool was built, so the rails are under the overhanging coping, not on top. So the cover isn't dragging on anything and instead completely rides on top of the water except at the sides where it's slightly above the water where the rails are.
    Strange, when I asked our installer and the pool manufacturer Cover Pools, inc about the exact situation you just described, they tried to tell me there is more dragging on you installation than a deck mount.

    Of course that could be because our pool/cover installer hadn't given us options for the installation and wanted us to think the deck mount was the only workable solution

    It looks horrible and is a trip hazard

    I don't think there is any auto cover that has the technology to work correctly and trouble free over time.

    We just had a Cover Pools automatic pool cover installed on our new build fiberglass pool just 10 days ago and it already won't open. Our entire experience with this ugly thing and incompetent pool installer has been nothing but a nightmare. It includes the installer using a 4 ft drain pipe to drain underneath a 6.5 ft deep pool and the pool popped out of the ground. Seriously.

    After we spent $17,000 for our beautiful stamped concrete on our freeform pool, the installer laid 2 silver metal railroad tracks on either side of the pool, covering the trim and hanging over into the pool. We had no idea this was how it would look. We trusted that he knew what he was doing. I had read the info sent to us by the pool cover company explaining how their covers were installed on new build freeform pools, and I thought figured the installer knew the companies directions for installation. If he did, it didn’t make any difference. It was easier to throw the tracks on top of the deck and screw it in and charge us the same as one of the suggested installations.

    BTW, can I ask what other deck mount auto pool cover owners paid for them and installation?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Automatic Cover

    I think they meant that there is more dragging against the water in an undertrack installation and that is of course true. So when I say the cover isn't dragging on anything, I mean on any solid surface like a pool edge. My cover is riding on top of the water and I don't consider that any sort of bad frictional dragging. [EDIT] As James points out in a post below, an under-track with the cover stored in a below-ground vault will rub against a tile wall increasing wear. In practice, though, I've found that the cover wears out near the edges that don't rub against that tile -- the edges are close enough to the track as to stay above the tile. [END-EDIT]

    A freeform pool requires a toptrack installation. You can see from the Pool Covers, Inc. website here that the track is above the ground, though in their photo example on a rectangular pool the track is along the coping. In a freeform pool, it will be well outside the coping area in some places. Note that for a new or remodeled pool they say here that a recessed top track will fit a freeform pool. This looks like a lower profile track than what you have that sticks up a lot more. So the main problem may be why your builder didn't use a recessed top track and instead installed one that sticks up a lot more. If this was an addition to an existing pool with existing hardscape, then that may have been the reason.

    My pool with its cover is shown open and closed.

    I'm so sorry you've had problems with your installer.
    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"

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Automatic Cover

    An undertrack automatic pool cover will drag over the top of the back wall. If the back wall is not very smooth, then the cover will be worn out faster, especially at the folds.

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Automatic Cover

    Good point, though it's not just being an under-track but also that the cover is stored in a vault rather than above-ground, though above-ground storage might only be done with top-track. I've edited my post above. Note, however, that wear in my cover tends to be near the edges where there are folds and sometimes stagnant water on the cover and such areas do not rub against the tile when the cover is moving (the track holds the cover near its edges up above the tile during rolling).
    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"

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Automatic Cover

    Both the installer and the company were grabbing at straws for excuses. The company tech person finally admitted that the closer to the water, the less possible dragging and less wear on the cover. They were trying to make us believe the only good way to install an automatic cover on a freeform pool or any pool was a deck mount, regardless of how bad it looks

    I hate to be a dark cloud here, but to anyone that is in the process of planning and quoting a new pool....question everything. research everything. Make your installer explain everything before the first shovel of dirt flies.

    BTW, anyone that has an automatic cover, can you tell me the cost and what type of installation you had?

    Thanks

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    Re: Automatic Cover

    Chem geek

    I am very envious of your hidden railroad tracks!!!

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    Re: Automatic Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Note, however, that wear in my cover tends to be near the edges where there are folds and sometimes stagnant water on the cover and such areas do not rub against the tile when the cover is moving (the track holds the cover near its edges up above the tile during rolling).
    I usually pin the cover to the roller in such a way as to avoid folds near the outer edges. Folds near the outer edges tend to bunch up more on the roller, partly because the ropes add extra thickness anyway. Also, it helps to clean any stagnant water off of the cover before opening.

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    Re: Automatic Cover

    I put in an Aquamatic using the cantilevered track method 7 years ago. The cover is left closed during the winter and I do not winterise in South West France. The tiny Giant cover pump has failed twice, once probably due to people throwing it onto the cover to try and get it further towards the middle.

    The unit has not needed adjustment or attention during this time apart from clearing out the pit twice and lubricating the gears in the pit as I have a salt water pool. The hydraulic motor has needed no service after I adjusted it when first installed.

    The covers are immensely strong. Two years ago the pool started leaking at the same time as the cover pump failed. Water gathered to a depth of three feet before the weight pulled all the paving stones towards the pool. I have reseated all the paving stones and anchored them into the concrete. The cover and rails amazingly survived unscathed and are still in use today. The attached picture shows the cover almost fully retracted as well as the second row of pavers waiting to be re seated. My pool is designed to be zero maintenance when I am not in France and I always expect the water to be warm and crystal clear on my return. The Aquamatic is a big part of that.

    Ian
    Attached Images Attached Images
    27,000 gal liner pool. Hayward S360SX 36" sand filter, Dolphin Dynamic robot cleaner, Dolphin Supreme M4 pool cleaner, Aquatemp FT40Kst 3 phase Heatpump, Pentair IntelliFlo VF 3.2KW pump, Aquamatic Hydromatic safety pool cover, Autopilot Pool Pilot Digital SC-60 salt water generator. 2 Inch piping throughout.

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