31 July 2014
Why buy a pool cover?
Trying to decide whether you really need a swimming pool cover? You will derive a great deal of benefit from having a cover and here’s why.
Minimise Running and Maintenance Costs: Whether you have an indoor or outdoor pool, installing a pool cover will minimise your running and maintenance costs, protect outdoor pools against unsightly debris such as leaves, shedding shrubs, dirt and insects from wafting into your pristine water and disrupting your swimming. Also, there are specially designed safety covers, which are a ‘must have’ if you have young children and/or pets. Regardless of a pool cover you should always keep a watchful eye on children and animals in and around a pool – a safety cover is just another addition to sensible precautions.
Conserve Heat: Pool covers conserve heat by preventing heat loss from evaporation and cold winds. The water lost through such conditions will need to be replenished and then heated and chemically treated, which adds to servicing and maintenance costs. Using a pool cover when the pool is not being used for any lengthy period – day and night (but especially at night when the ambient temperature drops significantly) – will reduce water evaporation by up to 95%, preventing unnecessary spend on heating and chemicals. Using a pool cover will also reduce the amount of time you spend vacuuming debris from an outdoor pool, freeing time for swimming not sweeping!
Sunlight Protection: Use of a pool cover on an outdoor pool will reduce the amount of sunlight exposure to the water – this is important because too much sunlight can cause algae growth, which is not only unattractive, but can make the surface areas slippery and create a health hazard.
Style and Model for Everyone: Pool covers come in different shapes and sizes, colours and designs – they can be designed to fit irregular and even quirky-shaped pools. Covers are available in either manual and automatic mode, with the latter being a more significant financial investment but they have the advantage of being easy to operate and frees you from physically taking the cover off and putting it back on again.
Some covers float on the pool surface, such as the solar bubble cover, so it’s a matter of laying the cover on top of the water. Care needs to be taken when removing a floating cover to ensure that the debris lying on top does not flutter into the pool. When winterising the pool, a floating pool cover should be dried and stored away, rather than being left on the water where it could freeze and become damaged. A winter debris cover can then be used for the winter months.
Solar Bubble Covers: These are probably the most popular type of floating pool covers. They are made from a material similar in look to bubble wrap, but are thicker and have UV repellent properties. Bubble covers are a relatively low-cost option for outdoor pools. The solar bubble cover allows heat rays to pass through it into the pool, preventing heat loss through evaporation. Safety is vital around your swimming pool, so do be aware that bubble covers and similar heat retention covers are not safety covers. Where extra safety measures are needed you should investigate a safety pool cover.
Vinyl Covers: These are likely to be a top priority if you have young children and/or pets. Not only are they great for keeping out sunlight, dirt and debris from your pool, they are built to withstand the weight of humans and animals - not that anyone should ever stand or play on a cover! Vinyl pool covers can be used during the winter and summer months. The fit of a vinyl cover will very much depend on the shape, size and design of your pool. We recommend that the cover is fitted by a professional pool company.
Mesh Covers: These are winter debris covers that sit in the water – they allow water to pass through the mesh while preventing debris passing into the water. Mesh covers are a lightweight, hard wearing and low-cost option for the winter months.
Automatic covers: At the top end of the price range are automatic pool covers which provide extra safety and ease of operation. They are power-operated, lockable covers manufactured in vinyl, fabric or rigid slatted materials and can be installed on both indoor and outdoor pool. Slatted pool covers are not safety covers as the slats will depress into the water it weight is applied, so never stand on the cover or allow children and pets to do so as this could lead to a serious accident.
Pool Covers on Indoor Pools: The humidity in an indoor pool hall is controlled by a dehumidification and air heating system which manages the amount of evaporation in that area. Using a pool cover will greatly reduce the amount of evaporation and thus the capacity of the dehumidification and air heating system required. This brings about a saving in the upfront cost of the dehumidification and air heating system as well as savings through heat retention in the pool. Although more expensive, over the long term, an automatic pool cover will pay for itself – installed correctly it will generate savings on energy costs.
In newer indoor installations, slatted pool covers are interlocked with the dehumidification and air heating system – when the pool is covered the air handling unit goes into an unoccupied mode. For example, if the normal temperature is 28 degrees in the water and 29 degrees in the air, when the cover is closed, the air temperature will automatically drop because there is no need to continue heating the air when the cover is on as no moisture is escaping from the pool into the hall.
Whichever pool cover you choose, safety is paramount. Never leave young children or pets unsupervised around the pool even when it is covered. If you are seeking ultimate safety in a pool covering, investigate a moving floor – when the floor is raised it provides a solid hard floor that completely covers the pool and the covered space can be used for all manner of social activity. To find out more about moving floors, see technical information and read case studies of our moving floor installations.
For advice on which type of pool cover is best for your pool and its use, contact your local swimming pool experts.