Built primarily for safety, automatic pool covers have been available for 30+ years. But only in the last 10 has their popularity increased tremendously. Why? Heat savings. In fact the U.S. Department of Energy calculates a three to five year payoff for the cost of an automatic cover.
Yes, automatic covers are expensive, ranging anywhere from $11,000 to $15,000 depending on the size and manufacturer for the basic cover. Upscale details for seamless aesthetics and mechanics can add up to $4,000 to $5,000.
In the northeast, without a cover, pool water will naturally warm up 1 to 3 degrees from the heat of the sun, but will lose about 3 to 5 degrees overnight from evaporative loss. Pools without a cover will not get warm until there are warm days and nights. This forces most homeowners to spend a fortune to heat the pool. With an automatic cover the water temperature will increase by 3 to 5 degrees during the day and will lose only 1 or 2 degrees at night by drastically reducing evaporative loss. It is not unusual for a covered pool that gets good sun to be in the mid 80’s all summer without using the heater.
In addition, pools with automatic covers are typically opened a month earlier and closed a month later than pools without a cover. That adds two months to a four- to five-month season. That means you get to use your pool 20 percent more. How can you beat that? “I think one thing we can all agree on is that the swimming season on Long Island is too short,” says Patrick Bonawandt, Vice President of Haven Pools, Inc.
Let’s not forget why these covers were invented in the first place—safety. During the summer months, when the pool is filled to capacity, a typical automatic cover can hold the equivalent weight of about 10 to 20 people, making it safe if someone were to wander or fall onto it. (We don’t recommend people actually walk or spend time on top of the cover.) This prevents anyone from getting into the pool unsupervised. These safety features are recognized by New York State and actually reduce the safety requirements for pools.
Automatic covers also eliminate the need for “in-pool” alarms and door alarms. In addition to saving money on not having to install them, many homeowners find pool water alarms to be unreliable, often going off unnecessarily or sometimes failing to trigger when needed. These safety covers also require a turnkey to open and close the cover. Without the key, no one is accessing the pool. Perfect for peace of mind when going away for an extended period of time!
It should be noted that an automatic cover requires your pool to be a rectangular shape. However, many of Haven Pools’ award-winning designs have automatic covers, so you don’t have to compromise beauty for functionality. In fact, over the last six years 75 percent of pools built by Haven Pools have automatic covers.