Automatic Cover Fabrics Don't Last – Replacement Myths Dispelled
Via Phone call: 'How long will an auto cover last?' Asked a customer this week. 'I have read that they can fail in a few years. Is that true?'
We install A LOT of auto covers on our pool installations. Over the years we have also done quite a bit of service on behalf of the factories (Warranty) as well as general tune ups for other pool companies that don't have cover techs on their team. During that time we have seen some poorly installed units. It's not a surprise when we get there to service them that they need service. Most often they are installed "out of square" causing high tension on the ropes and a TON of resistance on the motor and linkage (if equipped). That will destroy a cover in a couple to few years easy. The other problem I have seen is the cover being opened (or attempted) with several inches of water on them. One inch of water on a 16 x 40 pool is 485 gallons of water. At 8.3 pounds per gallon that's 4,025 Pounds. Covers are not designed to move that kind of weight. I promise it will break or at the least cause some longer term damage. Solution? Use the automatic an automatic cover pump. We provide one with every system. Not a tough concept.
On blogs I have read the cost of a replacement cover is also inflated. The fabric is going to run about $2,000-$2,500 installed. The fabric retails around $1500 and labor is about a day for two men ranging from $500 to $1000. That's a long way from $5,000.00 – $7,000.00 every 8-10 years. If a dealer quotes that its a LIE or they simply rip their customers off on fabric replacements. On the flip side that 5-7 year window is about the life expediency of a quality winter cover replacement at about $1,200-$1,500. That makes the additional cost for the auto cover replacement about $800-$1,500 each every 10 or so years MORE than the winter. You could almost save that amount in a year of ownership with the saved chemicals, heat, cleaning, water, and headaches with a retractable cover.
Why do we install them? Because the market demands it. It is part of the pool and our company's success is a result of providing our clients a COMPLETE install. If we never put another one in I would be fine with that. But that's simply not going to happen. Covers ARE VERY nice and drastically reduce if not eliminate cleaning and other pool maintenance. There is a reason that most pools out West have them. They're worth it. It is unfortunate that the truth is so hard for the average consumer to find. My goal in writing this (or any other blog) is simply to educate customers on the FACTS as well as pros and cons so they can make an educated decisions as to what is best for them and their family.