Automatic pool covers have reached a pivotal moment in their history. As a product with a host of compelling benefits, starting with safety but ranging through chemical savings and convenience, they have enjoyed growing popularity in the last few decades. Now, as manufacturers are emerging from a pandemic that choked their supply chains and labor pools while broadening their lead times, perhaps their two greatest features, water and energy savings, have surged into the limelight.
Focus On Savings
Savings on heat and energy is a massive one, because you see more heat leave a pool through evaporation than by any other means. When the outer cover is closed, the heating-cost reduction is huge. Some customers can recover their costs in five years just through energy efficiency which is one of the reasons cover installations are continuing to go up. More heat leaves an uncovered pool through evaporation than by any other means.
More Attention To Environmental Concerns From Customers
We find customers saying they are putting a cover on because they don’t want neighbourrs thinking they’re being wasteful. It’s an environmental decision, but it’s also a social decision.
In some of the colder areas in BC we service, an automatic pool cover can save up to an estimated $3,000 in heating expenses annually. But demand is skyrocketing in warmer areas too. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, automatic pool covers also conserve water by reducing the amount of make-up water needed by up to 50% and reduce a pool’s chemical consumption by up to 60%.
Pandemic Woes Linger
Unknown to customers like every other segment of the swimming pool business, the automatic pool cover industry was plagued by supply and labour shortages during the pandemic. In fact supply chain issues was the especially difficult as demand for automatic fabric and hard surface pool covers grew in double digits as customers wanted more comfort at home.
The pandemic did not break any major automatic pool cover manufacturers, but it did force them to make production and operational adjustments on the fly, often over ordering to anticipate extraordinarily long lead times from certain suppliers. There was a shortage of aluminum and motors for a while but our customers were totally in the dark about all these issues as we had the foresight to keep the supply chain in flow.
Labour Is Tight
As the auto pool cover business blew up during COVID, finding qualified people and training new ones also became a challenge. Increased demand and lack of labour was a constant concern.
Education Still Important
Despite the popularity of automatic pool covers the reality is that some pool owners could use a primer. The majority of people — unless they live in an area where there’s already a lot of automatic covers on pools — don’t even know they exist.
That is slowly changing as new home owners and their designers buy into the value, they’re changing their designs to better accommodate a cover, and as more consumers hear and learn about the product, especially in areas where an automatic pool cover or fence is required.
What pool owners need to know is an auto cover whether fabric or a slatted hard cover is going to make their pool safer, it’s going to make it less expensive to own, and it’s going to make life easier. Have you ever talked to somebody who has an auto cover and says they regret it?
Pool Covers Going Forward
As 2022 ended, automatic pool cover manufacturers remained mostly optimistic. With supply line issues improved to manageable levels and inventories getting a lot better. Pool cover customers should not have any concerns going forward and reap the undeniable advantages of an automatic pool cover in BC.