10 Tips for Maintaining Your Automatic Safety Cover
Investing in an automatic safety cover for your swimming pool is one of the best things you can do for your family, friends, visitors and for your pocketbook. These covers prevent unsupervised access to the pool by young children, pets, wildlife and visiting animals, while also minimizing water and heat loss which costs you money. In order to get the most return for your investment, you want to take good care of your cover so it lasts for many, many years.
Below, we share a checklist and expert tips for pool auto cover maintenance. Remember, while it’s important to know the basics of automatic pool cover maintenance and routine maintenance is recommended, you should always contact a pool professional before performing any extreme DIY maintenance or repairs on your pool or cover.
The Wise Owner’s Guide to Automatic Pool Cover Maintenance
If you’re wondering how to clean, repair or maintain an automatic pool cover, we can help you understand the basics. It’s easy to maximize the longevity and value of your pool automatic safety cover. Just add these simple steps to your overall pool maintenance program. They’ll quickly become a habit and will pay tremendous dividends in the long run.
Automatic Pool Cover Maintenance Checklist
Follow these 10 steps to maintain your automatic pool cover and increase the longevity of your pool:
Remove Water From the Cover
Use a cover pump to quickly remove standing water from the top of your cover whenever it accumulates. Pumps are lightweight, intuitive to use, and can quickly remove puddles.
Remove Dirt and Debris From the Cover
Automatic safety covers are strong and durable, but nevertheless, you don’t want to allow leaves, twigs, and other debris to remain on the cover for long. Gently remove it with a soft pool brush or broom.
Leave the Cover Open After Adding Chemicals
For at least two hours after you’ve treated your pool, leave the cover open to allow any gases created by the treatment to escape. Be sure that no unaccompanied young children are allowed in the pool area while the cover is open. Maintaining proper water chemistry is vital to your pool maintenance routine. Learn more in this water chemistry guide.
Examine/Clean the Pool Cover Tracks Regularly
Every couple of weeks during pool season, inspect the cover tracks and remove any debris by spraying the tracks out with a garden hose. This is especially important if you have a saltwater pool. The salt residue can damage both unpainted and painted components if left on there too long, but this can easily be prevented with a quick wash every so often.
Retract the Cover Once a Week
In order to prevent the buildup of gases from chemicals in your pool water, fully open the cover at least once a week.
Keep the Housing Clean
Remove dirt and debris from the pool cover housing regularly. Leaves and other debris can clog the drain which will result in the box filling with water and damaging your system.
Inspect the Fabric
Look closely at the cover fabric periodically. If there are signs of significant wear or damage, it may be time to replace the cover or patch when needed. Follow these steps to inspect your automatic pool cover fabric:
- Look for wear and tear. Pool chemicals, weather and ultra violet light can break down pool cover fabric. Check the fabric for cracks, peeling and weak spots where water may seep through the surface.
- Touch the fabric. The fabric should be pliable and supple. If your pool cover feels stiff or brittle, it may be time to replace the fabric.
- Inspect sewn webbing stitching. Sewn threads can become frayed or disintegrate over time.
- Check the webbing: Webbing can bunch up around the rope which can cause the fabric to catch and tear on the fabric guides.
You should also look out for these signs it’s time to replace your pool cover.
Look for Obstructions
Check for and remove objects such as towels, pool toys, etc. that might obstruct the cover when you are opening or closing it.
Ensure no one is in the Pool When Opening/Closing the Cover
It goes without saying but should be stated anyway: be sure the pool is empty before you close it and that no one jumps in before the cover is fully retracted when opening it.
Have the cover and system inspected and serviced by a professional once per year. They will adjust and inspect your cover and look for any wear items that may need to be replaced. Items such as pulleys and sliders will wear over time and, if not replaced, can cause your cover to run poorly or stop working.
Automatic Pool Cover Maintenance FAQ
Before we get into the pool maintenance questions below, it’s important to note that you should always contact a professional for maintenance and repairs. Your swimming pool and pool cover are a significant investment and DIY maintenance could potentially cause damage or result in your pool cover not working properly. In some cases, DIY maintenance may negatively affect or negate your product warranty. Always use caution and contact Latham for help.
How Do You Maintain an Automatic Pool Cover?
While there are some general rules and guidelines to help you care for your pool cover, cleaning and maintenance specifications ultimately depend on the type of cover. For an automatic pool cover, your maintenance routine will consist of cleaning the cover, removing water and debris, regularly inspecting the fabric and parts and having your automatic pool cover regularly serviced by a pool professional.
Do I Need to Clean my Autocover?
The short answer is yes, you need to clean your automatic pool cover. You want to make sure it’s clear of dirt, debris, any unsightly objects or materials and anything that can potentially damage the fabric or obstruct the cover from opening. As a general rule, you should clean the fabric at least once per year.
How Do You Clean an Automatic Pool Cover?
Routine cleaning and maintenance will ensure your automatic pool cover lasts and will help you keep your pool cover in proper working order.
Follow these steps to clean your automatic pool cover:
- Remove leaves, water, dirt and debris from the cover. You can wash the cover with a mild hand dish washing liquid every 3 to 6 months to remove the accumulation. Do not use laundry detergent or any other chemicals.
- Clean the cover guides. Retract the cover from the pool and clean the cover track rope and slider channel. You can use a high-pressure nozzle on a garden hose and spray directly into the aluminum tracks to remove built-up dirt and debris. You also want to spray into the pulley housing at the end of the tracks to remove any dirt from the housing.
- Check the housing drains. You want to make sure the housings drain completely and do not allow water to stay in the housing area, as this can cause damage. Damage to the electrical or mechanical components from standing water is not covered by warranty. Run the cover over the pool, prop the housing lid open (or remove it) and remove the debris in the housing.
- Check the mechanism and pulleys. Clean all rotating surfaces using a hose nozzle. You want to clean these at least every three months. Use the hose nozzle to completely wash all surfaces of the mechanism to prevent sand or dust from accumulating.
- Balance the water chemistry. Proper water balance under the cover will help to keep the cover and the entire pool clean and make sure your pool is ready when it’s time to swim. You can find detailed information in this guide to maintaining proper water chemistry.
Depending on where you live, you may experience a different climate or various types of debris in your pool and on your cover. Here are some resources to help you keep your cover clean:
Can You Pressure Wash an Automatic Pool Cover?
A pressure washer should never be used to clean your automatic pool cover. This can cause damage to the vinyl and wear on your pool cover. It may even lead to leaks. Instead, we recommend using a pool brush and a mild detergent.
How Often Should I Open my Pool Cover?
You may think you need to leave your pool closed permanently during the winter months when it’s not in use, but weather permitting, it’s important to open your cover once per week.
When you do so, open the cover all the way for several hours in order to allow excessive chemicals to dissipate/evaporate.
Pool Cover Maintenance Tip: Invest in a Cover Pump
A cover pump is a handy tool to help regulate the water level and prevent water from accumulating on top of your cover.
We generally recommend a submersible pool cover pump that pumps no more than 20 – 30 gallons per minute, but always check with a pool professional to determine the best cover pump for your specific model. Like your pool cover, you will need to perform minimal, ongoing maintenance to keep your pump cover in working order.
For more information, check out this guide to pool cover and cover pump maintenance.
How Do You Repair an Automatic Pool Cover?
Ongoing maintenance and minor repairs may be easy to handle, but you want to make sure to contract a professional for any major repairs or maintenance.
Repairs you can perform on your own include adjusting the torque limiter or patching holes. For anything beyond routine maintenance, we recommend contacting a professional, as modifying your pool cover can potentially negate your pool cover warranty.
Automatic Pool Cover Maintenance: A Little Attention Goes a Long Way
With just a few minutes of maintenance here and there, your automatic retractable pool cover will provide years of faithful service. If you have questions about how to maintain an automatic pool cover your, we’re happy to answer them. Just contact a pool professional in your area. And be sure to sign up to receive future blog posts with useful insights.