Automatic Pool Covers: Can they be used as a winter cover?


New member
Apr 25, 2017
Toledo, Ohio
I just got done reading an older thread about automatic pool covers. We are in the process of choosing
a company to install an in ground fiberglass pool (16x33 or 16x35). We want an automatic pool cover (APC) for safety reasons. I am getting different recommendations from each pool company about whether or not an APC should be used as a winter cover. Some say yes, and some say you also need a regular winter cover. All of the APC companies I contacted say their APCs serve as a safety cover, solar cover, and winter cover. We live in NW we do have all 4 seasons:)
I would appreciate any advice or information from anyone who has used an APC as their winter cover.


Gold Supporter
Sep 19, 2016
We have a CoverStar Leading Edge auto cover that runs in a track under the coping. Everyone that I know in our area has the same auto-cover - very, very few pools that don't have an auto-cover - in fact the PB that built our said he wouldn't sell a pool without one. I don't know of anyone up here that has a separate winter cover, and we definitely get all 4 seasons in North Dakota. In fact, depending on what radio station you tune into they're saying 1-3" or 3-6" of *snow* for tomorrow! It was in the 60's all last week....

The closing practice up here (which I've only observed a few times) is to use a Gizzmo in the skimmers, and to blow out the returns / skimmer lines, capping the returns, and adding anti-freeze. The main drain is pressure locked via the Jandy valve. The pools are closed full, so the water is supporting the weight of the cover...when it starts to thaw out (March?), whatever is on top of the cover thaws first, so people throw the cover pump on and get all of that water off to reduce the weight...


In The Industry
Nov 8, 2011
I am in the central part of Missouri and we have used auto covers for over 20 years as the only cover for winter. You need to keep any water off whenever the opportunity to pump it off. We have had large snows in the past and we have tried to get as much of it off to keep from pushing water out from under the covers
May 15, 2017
I am intrigued by this thread as we are having our auto cover installed this week. We were told we needed a winter cover in addition to this. We live in New Hampshire and some winters we get many feet of snow in a short period of time (i.e. the snow doesn't melt between storms). The area where our pool is happens to be quite sunny and melts quickly but I am wondering if it is too much for the auto cover. Any guidance would be appreciated!

Thank you.


Bronze Supporter
May 11, 2017
Twin Cities, MN
Short answer is yes.

I'm in MN. Pool was frozen at normal water level for 4-5 months. This is our first pool opening, we have an auto cover. There were over 4 inches of ice on it before the spring thaw.

FYI, the cover pump in the picture sucks. That is our second one (under warranty from pool installer) and it's switch has melted just like the first one. I've rewired both of them and have them as a back up for this one.

Some pool companies are like pool stores. Everyone needs to make money...


Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 16, 2012
Central MD
I choose not to use our autocover as a winter cover. In my build thread there is a lengthy post somewhere discussing the merits for and against. Both of my covers will last longer and replacement will be twice as much.

I do believe there is also more of a concern if you have a gunite pool with waterline tile versus a liner pool. There is more potential for damage to tile than vinyl. How much more I don't know. I keep my water below the tile at all times with my mesh cover by pumping out a few times per winter. Our pool freezes some winters but not others, but not very thick.

To give a counterpoint to the Little Giant pump shown above (if I'm spying it correctly), ours has been great for 4 seasons. I just used it heavily for a month to circulate our pool water due to equipment pad work. I put it on a bench underwater and redirect the water to the other end of the pool. I ran it for an hour or two a day. Otherwise, it is on the autocover if I expect rain.