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A Pool Cover Can Save Money and Lives

Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs
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If you are a swimming pool owner, a good pool cover can provide a number of benefits. Pool covers can prevent the evaporation of water when the pool isn't in use, cutting your water costs by 30-50 percent. They can reduce your pool's chemical consumption by 35-60 percent. A pool cover will also reduce the time you spend cleaning your pool by keeping dirt, debris, and animals out of the water. And for those concerned about safety, the right pool cover can prevent access to an unattended swimming pool and safeguard against accidental drowning.

Pool Cover Types

Technically, any large sheet of plastic could serve as a pool cover. However, the plastic sheets that you can find in the hardware or lumber store aren't well suited for the job. They tear easily, they're difficult to handle and store, and they deteriorate rapidly in sunlight. Your best bet is to use a pool cover specifically designed for the task.

The bubble (or solar) cover is one of the lowest-cost covers made specifically for swimming pools. The bubble cover is a sheet of plastic covered with large blistered bubbles. It looks similar to bubble wrap packing material, but the bubble cover uses a thicker grade of plastic and has been treated with UV inhibitors.

Vinyl covers are constructed of a heavy material than bubble covers, making them more durable and giving them a longer life expectancy. Vinyl covers can be insulated as well, with a thin layer of flexible insulation between two layers of vinyl.

You should also decide if you want your pool cover to be manual, semi-automatic, or automatic.

A manual pool cover can be pulled on and off of the pool, folded, and stored when not in use. You can also use a pool cover reel to help roll up the pool cover. The reel is usually equipped with wheels so it can be rolled out of the way.

A semi-automatic pool cover uses an electrical motor to roll and unroll the cover. However, it often requires someone to pull on the cover when unrolling it, or guide the cover back onto the reel when rolling it back up. The reel for a semi-automatic cover can be mounted on a portable cart, or incorporated into the design of your pool deck.

An automatic pool cover uses a permanently mounted reel to roll and unroll the cover with the push of a button. Automatic pool covers can be expensive, but they are also quite convenient.

If safety (or liability) is a concern, there are pool covers designed to actually limit access to the swimming pool when it's unattended. These covers fit into tracks along the pool's edge, and are built to support the weight of several people.

Pool Cover Tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a swimming pool cover:

  • Make sure that the pool cover you select meets all state and local law requirements.
  • Compare warranties before making your final selection. If the pool cover you're considering isn't guaranteed for at least two years against any defects, then you should probably keep shopping.
  • Know the measurements of your swimming pool. A good pool cover should overlap it completely with ample room for anchoring or strapping.
  • The pool cover should come with the necessary anchors or straps to hold it in place without slipping. Generally speaking, a pool cover should be anchored or strapped down at intervals of four feet.

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