About Pool Covers
A pool cover traps heat, keeping the water warm and making your heater more efficient, and it keeps your pool clean. Some pool covers are also intended for a more important purpose – to provide safety and peace of mind by preventing children and pets from falling through.
Many pool covers run on a track and are operated electronically with the touch of a button. Or, you can save a substantial amount of money by purchasing a manual cover. There are several types of manual covers, including:
- Solar pool covers use the sun’s energy to help warm the pool and prolong the swimming season. They’re not very effective at keeping debris out, and they’re not designed for safety.
- Heavier winter covers are designed to protect your pool from debris, algae growth and harsh temperatures during the off-season.
- Leaf nets are designed to keep the pool clear of leaves and debris. They can be used in combination with a winter cover to keep the pool as clean as possible. Using both is a good idea if your yard is full of trees.
- Safety covers are designed to prevent children and pets from falling into the pool. They also work to keep the pool clean and trap heat, but safety is the primary purpose.
How Much Does a Pool Cover Cost?
Manual solar covers, leaf nets and winter covers are relatively inexpensive, ranging from about $50 for a small pool to $500 for a large pool with a custom shape. However, they can be lightweight and may not prevent children from falling through.
Safety covers are more expensive – about $1,000 to $3,000.
Automatic pool coves are the priciest option, ranging from about $1,500 to $5,000. In some cases, automatic pool covers with top-notch safety features cost as much as $8,000. However, the convenience justifies the cost for some pool owners.
Pool Cover Pros
- Easier setup/takedown – Automatic pool covers are simple to operate. They usually work with the press of a button. However, manual pool covers require several minutes of setup and breakdown.
- Insulates – Pool covers trap warm water, meaning your heater doesn’t have to work as hard. You’ll notice the savings in your monthly energy bills.
- Keeps the pool clean – A pool cover keeps dirt and debris out, reducing the amount of time you spend cleaning the pool. Covers also help reduce chemical loss, cutting down on the amount of chemicals you buy.
Pool Cover Cons
- Price – Pool covers can be pricey. A top-of-the-line automatic cover can cost as much one-third of the price of the pool itself.
- Potential to break – If the mechanical features in your automatic pool cover break down, you will lose the safety benefits until it is fixed. And repairs can be pricey, too.
About Pool Fences
Pool fences are excellent for safety, too. Parents rely on them to prevent their children and pets from falling into the pool. Even homeowners without children use them to keep neighborhood kids from accessing the pool.
Pool fences surround just the perimeter of the pool, not the entire yard. Commonly made of a lightweight mesh material, they are designed for quick setup and takedown. Mesh pool fences are usually climb-resistant, and they’re available in a wide variety of heights and colors.
Some pool owners choose to build permanent fence made of wood, vinyl, aluminum or glass around the pool. These are not removable, but some people appreciate the extra privacy and security they provide.
How Much Does a Pool Fence Cost?
A removable mesh pool fence costs anywhere from $500 to $2,000, or about $15 to $20 per linear square foot. Based on the average pool size, most consumers can expect to pay $1,100 to $1,500.
Permanent pool fences vary widely in price depending on materials used, length and height. Budget about $10 to $30 per linear foot for a wooden fence, depending on the quality of the wood. Chain link fences are $8 to $12 per linear foot, while aluminum and vinyl cost about $25 to $40 per linear foot.
Pool Fence Pros
- Cost – Although prices vary with both products, buying a mesh pool fence tends to be less expensive than purchasing a cover (if you’re planning to buy an automatic cover or a safety cover).
- Easy to install – Setting up a mesh pool fence is simple. Following a demonstration from your dealer, the initial setup can usually be a do-it-yourself project. For a permanent fence, most people hire an installer.
Pool Fence Cons
- Time consuming – If you plan on taking down a mesh fence when the pool is being used, put aside about 10 minutes each time for setup and breakdown.
- Storage – You’ll need a place to store a mesh fence while it is not being used.
- Look – Any sort of pool fence will partially obstruct the view of your pool. Some people find them unattractive, particularly the mesh fences.
- No secondary benefits – Pool fences are a great safety feature, but you won’t get secondary benefits such as increased energy efficiency, as you would with a pool cover.