Aussies love a good backyard pool. But it goes without saying that we don’t love the maintenance and seemingly endless pool accessories and add-ons that come with it. When it comes to pool maintenance, it can be difficult to know what equipment is actually worth the money and what is just a convenient upsell from your swimming pool store.
If you’re considering whether to invest in a swimming pool cover, it is useful to know exactly what benefits it will provide, as well as what the downsides are.
So, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of using a swimming pool cover.
Pros of using a swimming pool cover
Maintain water temperature and improve energy efficiency
The main reason most people use a pool cover is to help maintain water temperature. A cover will help to reduce thermal transfer, which reduces heat loss from the water, so your pool heater has less work to do to keep the water at the designated temperature.
Taking some of the load off your pool heater will lower the power use. And that means an increase in your home energy efficiency and a significant drop in your power bills.
If you have solar pool heating, however, using a pool cover probably won’t have much effect on your power usage.
Evaporation is the biggest contributor to a falling water level. And once your pool falls below the safe water level, it can start doing serious damage to your pool skimmers, pumps and filters. A pool cover will help to significantly reduce evaporation from your pool. Not only will this help protect your pool equipment, but it also means you waste less water topping up your pool. And in Australia, anything we can do to save water is worth doing!
Keeps the pool clean
A pool cover helps to stop leaf litter and other debris from getting into your pool, so you spend less time skimming and manually cleaning your pool. It also means there is less debris in the pool blocking up filters and forcing your pump to work harder than it needs to.
Lower chlorine consumption
A pool cover reduces the amount of UV light that reaches your pool water. This is a benefit because UV rays can cause chlorine to dissipate. By filtering out UV light, your pool will use less chlorine and this means you save money on pool chemicals.
Cons of using a swimming pool cover
So, there are your benefits of to using a swimming pool cover. But there are drawbacks.
Let’s face it: pool covers are ugly. They ruin a backyard aesthetic by covering over what, for many backyards, is the design focal point.
Swimming pool covers can add to the safety concerns regarding backyard swimming pools. Cheaper pool covers tend to pose safety risks around the pool, especially if they aren’t properly secured. If people or pets that fall in the pool, they can get tangled in a pool cover. With higher-end (i.e. more expensive) pool covers you won’t have this problem, as they are either solid or tightly secured to the sides of the pool and designed to support a person’s weight.
Getting pool covers on and off, especially if you have a manual system, can be a big hassle. These systems can even reduce how much you use your pool due to the work involved taking the cover off to go for a quick swim. To make it easier, you can invest in powered or manual roller retraction systems, but these are expensive and require extra equipment and space around the pool for the roller and the motor.
Pool covers aren’t cheap, especially if you need something custom made to suit an irregular shaped pool. Unless you’re just using a plastic tarp from the hardware store (which won’t last long, looks ugly and poses a significant safety risk), you will be looking at another serious expense for your pool.
Before investing in a swimming pool cover, it’s worth considering what you will save on chemicals, heating energy, cleaning and maintenance time and water usage to determine if a pool cover is the right option for you.