Friday, September 30, 2011

Proper Pool Cover Maintenance

Extending the life of a pool cover is neither hard nor time consuming. Proper cover maintenance will help lengthen the life of your cover and keep it running smoothly. An automatic pool cover not only provides safety for your loved ones, it can also save you money by reducing heating loss, chemical loss and water evaporation.  Additionally, it can be used to winterize the pool and protect it from the harmful effects of the sun.
Throughout the years Coverstar has identified a number of ways to prevent early wear and tear of automatic pool covers and to increase their life by following some simple maintenance techniques.
  •  Keep water levels in your pool at the mid-skimmer level. If the pool is overfilled, water can flow over the bond beam into the housing and flood the mechanism. If the water level is too low, the cover will have a lot more sag in it, which adds more stress and wear to the system.  It is critical to maintain the correct water level especially in the winter months if the cover is being used as a winter cover.  If the water level in the pool is too low to support the weight of the snow load, significant damage can occur to the pool and pool cover. By simply maintaining your water level, it will help keep your system running smoothly.
  •  It is also important to monitor the chemistry of the pool water and keep it properly balanced.   Doing this will minimize the harmful effects of chemical imbalance. The general rule is that you only cover a pool that you would swim in. After adding any chemicals to your pool, allow the chemicals to circulate before closing the cover. If you are unsure if it is safe to close the cover, test the water at the surface with your test kit. If the cover is closed before the chemicals have had a chance to mix, this could shorten the life of the fabric or not allow the chemicals to balance properly in the pool. 
  •  General cleaning maintenance of the cover, housing drains, pulleys, and cover guides can greatly impact the operation and life of the cover.  Periodically removing debris and dirt from the guides and pulleys with a high pressure hose will allow the cover to operate efficiently. In windy and dusty areas, covers may become inoperable until the debris has been hosed from the guides. The build up of this debris, if not removed, can cause premature wear and tear on all components of the system. 
  • When you uncover the pool, the water in the pool is transferred from the pool to the top surface of the cover. The sun then dries it, causing high concentrations of chlorine on top of the cover that may damage the fabric. To remove this build-up and other debris, wash the cover with a mild hand dish washing liquid every 3-6 months. However, do not use laundry detergent or any other chemicals to clean the cover.
  • In order to meet ASTM safety standards, a closed cover should have a cover pump in place on top of the cover to remove any accumulated water. Not only is the accumulated water on top of the cover a safety hazard, but the increased weight on top of the cover will strain the system if you try to operate the cover with water on top of it.
  • Proper operation of the autocover can also impact its life span. We suggest that homeowners stop the cover a foot before the cover is completely uncovered or covered, then bump the switch to inch the cover until it is fully open or closed.  This will reduce the wear on the ropes and the webbing by preventing hard hits against the coping on the deep end of the pool as the cover is closed and on the cover stops as it is opened.

  • Finally, you may want to consider employing the services of a local authorized pool cover professional to provide an annual maintenance and check-up of your pool cover system. They can provide a variety of service options including lubricating and greasing pulleys and fittings, making cover adjustments, tightening loose bolts and screws and cleaning the box and cover.  
 Following these few simple maintenance and autocover care recommendations will help preserve the life not only of your cover, but your pool as well. Taking the time to maintain your cover will pay off and will help to keep it operating safely for many years to come.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Winterizing Your Coverstar Pool Cover!

It’s that time of year to consider winterizing your automatic pool cover.  Although during the winter your pool cover requires less attention, water and/or snow will build up on the cover. If the water level in the pool is not properly maintained, serious damage to the cover can occur. Properly maintaining a pool’s water level prevents excess weight on the top surface of the cover that can cause damage to the cover system.

  • During the winter, make at least monthly inspections of the pool’s water level and make sure the cover pump is operating properly so that water on top of the pool cover does not build up. Even a few inches of water on top of the cover is an enormous weight and can pull the cover and guides into the pool. In situations where the water level is too low, you should add water to the pool immediately to better support the water or ice that are on the cover. Your cover will survive any normal winter if these simple precautions are taken.
  • Make sure your water is chemically balanced before covering the pool for extended periods of time. Double check the water after the chemicals have had a chance to mix completely. This may require checking the pool water a day or two after chemicals have been added. When covering the pool for long periods of time, turn down ozone generators and chemical feeders to their lowest level. Constant long-term build up of ozone can damage the fabric. Place the cover pump on the cover to remove melted snow.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pool Safety Tips...

Automatic safety pool covers are easy and convenient to use but they should not be the only source of protection for your family. Please read our recommendations provided by industry and safety groups listed below and implement as many of them as possible for your pool.

Multiple Safety Layers

Don’t rely on only one system of protection. Layering several safety precautions together provides the strongest safeguard. You should never rely on any one layer to be fail-proof. Enclose the pool with a barrier. In face, fencing may be required in certain areas. Keep all doors and windows leading from the house to the pool area secure. Install self-closing mechanisms on doors. Install only child-proof, self-closing, self-latching gates around the pool.

Your Responsibility 
As a pool owner, be aware that you must ensure your child’s safety. Make sure you have rescue devices that are easily accessible. Never leave a pool with its cover partially closed since children may become trapped under it. Always drain standing water off of your spa or pool cover. A child can drown in as little as two inches of water.

Adult Supervision
There is no substitute for constant adult supervision. Never leave a child alone-even for a second. Most drownings occur during a five minute (or less) lapse in supervision. There is a risk of a child drowning when around any body of water. Maintain constant eye contact with your children when they are around the pool. Do not consider young children water-safe because they have had swimming lessons. Post and enforce rules such as No Running, No Pushing, No Dunking, and Never Swim Alone.

Extend Safety Awareness
Instruct baby-sitters about potential hazards to young children in and around swimming pools and the need for constant supervision. Alert your pool maintenance people, utility personnel, and your neighbors to keep covers, gates, and doors to pool closed and locked at all times.

Pool Toys
Remember to keep toys and inflatables away from the pool when the pool is not in use. These items can lure a child in the pool.

Inspect Equipment
Inspect safety and pool equipment regularly. Preventive devices are only effective if they are in working order. Gate latches, gate closure devices, fences, door and pool alarms, and the pool cover should be inspected frequently to be certain they are working properly.

Sources: Drowning Prevention Society; United States Consumer Product Safety Commission; National Spa and Pool Institute’s Operation Water Watch; and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Operation Finally Home

Construction on a new home was finished in June for one of Lubbock, Texas wounded warriors. Lubbock’s West Texas Home Builders Association built a new 2-story 3-bedroom home that was showcased in their Parade of Homes. In 2009 Marine Corporal Anthony Villarreal was severely burned in a roadside car bomb in Afghanistan. Coverstar had the opportunity to be part of this great operation by donating an Automatic Pool Cover System for the pool that was built and donated by Smithco Pools of Lubbock Texas. Coverstar Central installed the Pool-in-Pool underguide system with a Flush Deck Lid to give this pool its finishing touches and keep the Villarreal family safe and happy for a long time to come.

The water feature with an integrated sensor allows the flow of water to activate when the cover opens and shut off when the cover closes.
The Flush Deck Lid provides a cover for the pool cover housing with no "toe stubbers"/ rough edge.
The Pool in Pool design conceals the track around "free formed" pools

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pool Chemistry...

A quick lesson on pool chemistry from Coverstar that will make your automatic safety cover last:

Coverstar suggests, as all automatic pool cover manufacturers do, that you only cover pool water that you would swim in. If the water is temporarily out of balance due to chemical additive, covering the pool will shorten the life of the fabric. Use a good test kit frequently to maintain proper chemical balance. You must avoid a build-up of chemicals in the pool water that can result in serious damage to pool walls and equipment. Such build-up can also create an improper water balance which may cause deterioration of the vinyl pool cover. After adding any chemicals to your pool, allow the chemicals to circulate before closing the cover. If you are unsure if it is safe to close the pool cover, test the water at the surface with your test kit. Some pH adjusters may create harmful levels of alkalinity (high pH) if not allowed to mix with the water before the cover is closed. The same is true with chlorine shocks.

Some chlorine shocks require as long as 12-24 hours to return to swimmable range. Since safety is often the major reason people purchase a pool cover, we recommend the use of a non-chlorine shock. With this type of shock the cover may be closed in 30 minutes or less. Check with your pool service company for proper usage. The use of floating chlorine feeders is not recommended because they vent chlorine gas that can burn the cover fabric and often remain trapped in the same location.