Auto Cover POST Pool Build

l1ltaral1l

Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2019
618
Walnutport, PA
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Sigh. Add another thing to the list of 'wish I did'. I tried a search, but couldn't seem to find anything relating to post build auto cover installs.

Has anyone added one? From what I gather on Google and Youtube, it appears we'd need the surface tracks with the bench thing to hide the motor.This is a pipe thought currently, but I would like to price it out. I actually never even heard of an auto cover until joining this forum. I understand the cost, but why don't more PB's endorse them? Sounds like a lot of pros compared to cons.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
16,719
Evans, Georgia
We love ours. Every year we heard of tots drowning in local pools and being a trauma nurse I dealt with swimming accidents. I knew I didn't want to worry about our pool being an "enticing nuisance" and deal with liability.

We had ours placed after the pool also, but if I'd planned better it could have been included in the install. The tracks are barely noticed and no problem to sit upon a couple of inches back from the pool's edge. I also assumed the on-deck tracks being cheaper and perhaps less vulnerable to problems down the road. Our install cost $7,000 9 years ago on a rectangle shaped pool.

Someone with a bit of skill could easily install one themselves. There are versions that are intended for home owner install and one that doesn't even require electricity to be run as it uses a rechargeable drill to power the motor.

In cold snowy climates a winter cover may also be necessary to avoid the snow's drag on the autocover.

Maddie :flower:
 

l1ltaral1l

Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2019
618
Walnutport, PA
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Thanks Maddie! And wow, your bench looks like it was made to be there. (I'm assuming that hides the cover motor?)
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
7,941
NY
I understand the cost, but why don't more PB's endorse them
They are garaunteed to fail if given enough time in the northeast. Thats not to say that nobody has one, just that they would have to be double protected like Maddie said. If the blizzard hit when the pool was frozen, the ice would probably support the snow drifts. If the bliazzard hit when the pool was water, there would probably be substantial damage. You may get a few years without blizzards/ice storms. But by year 3.... its gonna happen. In order to protect it properly you are buying both covers, which most people wouldnt want to do.

If i was your builder and i had already stretched your budget with cool features like the swim out steps and extra patio, i would have not even thought to try to go even more with the auto cover.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
2,293
Spring Valley, NY
I've got several pools with the auto cover and besides it giving piece of mind from a safety stand point it also saves back breaking work if your neighbors have trees that drop all kind of foliage all season long. For the rains we just have the pool cover pump on it to get rid of the water and for the whatever is on the auto cover including pollen I recommend a powerful blower to blow the cover and deck prior to hitting the power switch. Water management becomes even easier. For winter the auto cover stays rolled up and a mesh cover takes over.
 

sean.a.hyde

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2018
140
Pittsburgh, PA
Sigh. Add another thing to the list of 'wish I did'. I tried a search, but couldn't seem to find anything relating to post build auto cover installs.

Has anyone added one? From what I gather on Google and Youtube, it appears we'd need the surface tracks with the bench thing to hide the motor.This is a pipe thought currently, but I would like to price it out. I actually never even heard of an auto cover until joining this forum. I understand the cost, but why don't more PB's endorse them? Sounds like a lot of pros compared to cons.
We had one installed two years ago on an existing pool. I think we were out about $10,000, but I can look at the paperwork when I get home.
We have a rectangular pool with stairs at one end that stick out.
They install aluminum rails along the pool, and ours extend past the stairs. I was worried these would create a trip hazard along the edge of the pool as well as at the far edges where they aren't close to the pool because of the stairs. Hasn't been a problem. The rails are very low and rounded.
The reel and motor are along the deep end ledge. We did remove a diving board we weren't using.
The manufacturer wanted to charge $4500 for an aluminum cover to go over the reel and motor. I built one out of pressure treated lumber and covered it in composite decking material -- I essentially built a 2.5' wide, 20-something foot long deck. Saved about $3000.

I LOVE my cover. We tend to keep it covered almost all the time except when we are actually swimming.
First and most importantly, I no longer worry about my toddlers (3.5 and 1.5) outside. The yard is fenced because of the pool and they can't fall in it. The 3 year old quite a good swimmer (he can do the length of the pool if he doesn't get distracted) and he knows not to go in the pool without us, but now I don't worry about him falling in while chasing a ball or something.
The cover keeps almost all debris out of the pool. My robot has almost nothing to do. My chlorine consumption is very minimal.
We don't get rain water in the pool. Not sure if this is a pro or con. It does mean that we have to top up the water from time to time, but my guess is we get a lot less evaporation as well.
We chose a dark grey color and it does a lot to heat the pool. We like the pool quite warm most of the time for the kids. We ran the heater at the beginning of the season, and then it didn't run until the fall.
When we had it installed, we actually thought we would still use our old non-permeable winter cover when we closed for winter, but the PB who did the install said that the auto cover would last longer if it wasn't kept rolled up. No idea if this is true, but we are now in our second winter of using it to cover the pool in the winter. Like our old cover, we don't drain the pool, even below the skimmers (they just plug them up). I did put some pipe insulation along the leading edge because last year a lot of leaves were blown in under that. We have a pump that I leave on the cover during the winter. When it is a mild winter (like this year), it keeps the accumulated rain off pretty well. When it is a harsher winter (like last year), the hose coming from it inevitably freezes often and the snow accumulates. Eventually it warms up for a few days and the snow melts and gets pumped off. I haven't had any problems so far with water load on it, but it is still pretty new.

I would recommend an Auto Cover to anyone who has or is building a pool where there are kids around.
 
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sean.a.hyde

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2018
140
Pittsburgh, PA
They are garaunteed to fail if given enough time in the northeast. Thats not to say that nobody has one, just that they would have to be double protected like Maddie said. If the blizzard hit when the pool was frozen, the ice would probably support the snow drifts. If the bliazzard hit when the pool was water, there would probably be substantial damage. You may get a few years without blizzards/ice storms. But by year 3.... its gonna happen. In order to protect it properly you are buying both covers, which most people wouldnt want to do.

If i was your builder and i had already stretched your budget with cool features like the swim out steps and extra patio, i would have not even thought to try to go even more with the auto cover.
It is interesting, my builder actually told us NOT to use our normal winter cover because he thought leaving the auto-cover rolled up would cause it to deteriorate faster. I have no idea if this has any merit. We are now in our second winter of just using the Auto Cover by itself, but who knows what will happen in the future.
 

l1ltaral1l

Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2019
618
Walnutport, PA
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
They are garaunteed to fail if given enough time in the northeast. Thats not to say that nobody has one, just that they would have to be double protected like Maddie said. If the blizzard hit when the pool was frozen, the ice would probably support the snow drifts. If the bliazzard hit when the pool was water, there would probably be substantial damage. You may get a few years without blizzards/ice storms. But by year 3.... its gonna happen. In order to protect it properly you are buying both covers, which most people wouldnt want to do.

If i was your builder and i had already stretched your budget with cool features like the swim out steps and extra patio, i would have not even thought to try to go even more with the auto cover.

I did ask him about it (not really knowing what exactly it was, just saw the term come up when researching safety for the kids) and he scoffed at me saying they 'always break and aren't worth the hassle'. So I didn't give it much thought...until I saw more and more people here sing their praises!
 

l1ltaral1l

Bronze Supporter
Jul 16, 2019
618
Walnutport, PA
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
We had one installed two years ago on an existing pool. I think we were out about $10,000, but I can look at the paperwork when I get home.
We have a rectangular pool with stairs at one end that stick out.
They install aluminum rails along the pool, and ours extend past the stairs. I was worried these would create a trip hazard along the edge of the pool as well as at the far edges where they aren't close to the pool because of the stairs. Hasn't been a problem. The rails are very low and rounded.
The reel and motor are along the deep end ledge. We did remove a diving board we weren't using.
The manufacturer wanted to charge $4500 for an aluminum cover to go over the reel and motor. I built one out of pressure treated lumber and covered it in composite decking material -- I essentially built a 2.5' wide, 20-something foot long deck. Saved about $3000.

I LOVE my cover. We tend to keep it covered almost all the time except when we are actually swimming.
First and most importantly, I no longer worry about my toddlers (3.5 and 1.5) outside. The yard is fenced because of the pool and they can't fall in it. The 3 year old quite a good swimmer (he can do the length of the pool if he doesn't get distracted) and he knows not to go in the pool without us, but now I don't worry about him falling in while chasing a ball or something.
The cover keeps almost all debris out of the pool. My robot has almost nothing to do. My chlorine consumption is very minimal.
We don't get rain water in the pool. Not sure if this is a pro or con. It does mean that we have to top up the water from time to time, but my guess is we get a lot less evaporation as well.
We chose a dark grey color and it does a lot to heat the pool. We like the pool quite warm most of the time for the kids. We ran the heater at the beginning of the season, and then it didn't run until the fall.
When we had it installed, we actually thought we would still use our old non-permeable winter cover when we closed for winter, but the PB who did the install said that the auto cover would last longer if it wasn't kept rolled up. No idea if this is true, but we are now in our second winter of using it to cover the pool in the winter. Like our old cover, we don't drain the pool, even below the skimmers (they just plug them up). I did put some pipe insulation along the leading edge because last year a lot of leaves were blown in under that. We have a pump that I leave on the cover during the winter. When it is a mild winter (like this year), it keeps the accumulated rain off pretty well. When it is a harsher winter (like last year), the hose coming from it inevitably freezes often and the snow accumulates. Eventually it warms up for a few days and the snow melts and gets pumped off. I haven't had any problems so far with water load on it, but it is still pretty new.

I would recommend an Auto Cover to anyone who has or is building a pool where there are kids around.

Thank you for sharing!
 

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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,882
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Great when they work, expensive when they don't. Kind of like a car. Thankfully ours has only had one larger expense in 7 years. The benefits are great and the cons vary. I roll it up in the winter and use a mesh cover. I feel better about it that way. Good comments so far about adding one post-build. Ours was a new build.
 
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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
16,719
Evans, Georgia
There is a company out of Utah that sells DIY covers. Google it.

Skippy and I were going to try that but I was a nervous nelly and wanted a pro to install ours. Now I realize we probably could have done it.

Maddie :flower:
 

swimcmp

In The Industry
Nov 8, 2011
1,091
Moberly,MO
I am not aware of any cover manufacturer that will sell direct to a homeowner. It is not something I would necessarily recommend as a DIY job. It isn't that complicated but installation is critical to longevity.
 

Honey Badger

In The Industry
Dec 11, 2015
28
Lehi, UT
There is a company in the Northeast that just does covers and could give you a quote. They are called Coversafe. (CoverSafe Automatic Pool Covers - Coverstar Installation & Maintenance)
They specialize in Automatic Pool Covers. They would be able to give you a quote on what you are looking for.

You can easily put a cover on an existing pool.

One of the reasons in my experience that PB don't mention them is that they are uncomfortable with them because they don't understand them. A lot of PB sell them on every pool. It is critical in a new build that the pool is square and level for the auto cover to work. This is the leading reason that people have problems with them.

You don't notice that your pool isn't really square until you put a tape measure. Unless you have an autocover it isn't critical.
 

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