Aside from raising the pool temperature, a pool cover prevents leaves and other debris from entering the pool. It also reduces evaporation. This combination equals great savings -- less energy to heat the pool, less energy to run the filter and automatic cleaner, and less water due to evaporation. What's more, a covered pool uses fewer chemicals.
Good quality pool covers, such as self-draining nylon covers that stretch taut across the pool, are also an important element in pool safety. Many of these covers are so strong that they can easily support the weight of a small child or even an adult who may have fallen into the pool.
To extend the useful life of your pool cover, scrub it with a nylon floor and wall brush and fresh water. Some cover companies recommend using a mild solution (one tablespoon to a gallon of hot water) of hand soap to clean a really dirty cover. The cover should be washed two to three times a year to prevent stains that can't be removed later. The floor and wall brush is something that comes with most pools, but can be purchased at stores that sell pool and spa supplies and accessories.
Open or remove (depending upon the type you have) the pool cover when adding chemicals. Chemicals and chemical vapors can break down the cover material. After adding chemicals, don't replace the cover until the filter has run for a couple of hours and the chemicals have been diluted throughout the system. Warning: Be sure to supervise the uncovered pool to prevent a potential accident.
Depending upon the type of cover material (vinyl or nylon mesh), small holes or tears should be mended before they become bigger problems. However, a deteriorating cover should not be repaired -- replacement is in order. Vinyl and nylon repair kits consisting of a small piece of patch material and some adhesive are often provided at the time the cover is installed. A repair kit can be obtained by contacting a pool cover professional or through a pool and spa supply company. The damaged area must be clean and dry in order for the patch material to stick.
A brittle cover or one that is cracking is a sure sign that the cover needs replacement. Most covers have a life of about five years.
If you have an automatic cover, periodically check the motor to make certain that it is not in contact with water. This can cause the motor to short out and allow rust and corrosion to damage the motor, its housing, or mechanical parts attached to it.
An automatic cover that is sluggish or that isn't evenly aligned with the edge of the pool when fully closed or when in the full open position are signs of needed maintenance by a service professional. He will have the tools and expertise needed to adjust or replace wheels, cord, pulleys, glides, and other parts.