How to Clean and Care For an Automatic Pool Cover

Normally, pool owners are mainly concerned with cleaning and maintaining their pool, but what about the automatic pool cover? Just as your pool requires care, so does your pool cover. I am going to list the most important tips to successfully care for and clean your automatic pool cover.

What To Check On Your Automatic Pool Cover And Related Moving Parts

With a minimum amount of effort, you can extend the life of your pool cover, the motor, and other components. The housing should be cleaned out at least once per year. Make sure leaves and other debris don’t prevent water from draining out of the housing.

Periodically inspect the track to be sure all screws are secure if they become loose simply tighten with a screwdriver. Spray water in the track channel a couple of times a year to remove the potential buildup of leaves or other debris.

Throughout the year inspect the vinyl fabric for signs of wear brought on by pool chemicals, age, extreme temperature, and the sun.
Should the vinyl become brittle its ability to provide protection may be compromised and should be replaced.

it’s important to inspect the vinyl for holes or tears which can allow water to seep up from the pool and present a safety hazard. Patch kits are available from your dealer.

if the stitching begins to fray the strength of the cover may be compromised and this should be repaired or replaced by your dealer.

To prevent premature aging of the vinyl the cover should remain open for at least two hours after you add chemicals to your pool. This will allow the chemicals and chemical gases to disperse.

How To Clean Your Automatic Pool Cover

For owners who wish to clean their cover, the operation is quite simple. First, make sure the pool water level is at the center of the skimmer opening. Start by placing the bilge pump on the cover. Next, spray water into the tail end of the vinyl and add a mild diluted cleaner.

Then gently clean a five-foot section of the vinyl with your pool brush. Open the cover five feet and repeat the process allowing the bilge pump to remove the standing dirty water. it’s important to follow these simple steps at the beginning of the pool season or whenever you need to clean the cover.

Automatic pool covers must be cleaned every 3-6 months. Spray all the reel components with a Teflon based lubricant once every season to make sure components are running smoothly. This will prevent wear on the moving parts.

At this point, you should be ready for the rest of your pool opening procedures. At the end of the pool season, a few precautions are important to protect your cover and your pool.

First, close the cover completely and put the bilge pump on the cover. Next, make sure that at least 70% of the vinyl is resting on the water. Anything less than 70% may damage the vinyl. if during the offseason support of the vinyl becomes less than 70% add additional water to the pool.

On top track systems, water bags can be added for additional protection.

Safety Aspects To Consider When Using Your Automatic Pool Cover

Your backyard pool is a great place to play, exercise, entertain, and relax but it’s also a place where safety must come first. Responsible pool owners know that real dangers exist.

  • From horseplay or other unsafe behavior, but a very real danger is present around any body of water.
  • The cover should only be operated by an adult or owner.
  • Keep children away from the cover. Children or objects, cannot be under the cover.
  • Do not walk on the cover except for emergency purposes.
  • Only keep the bilge pump on the cover. Set the bilge pump up for proper use whenever the cover is closed.
  • Always keep the water pumped off the cover to avoid a drowning risk. Even a small amount of water is a hazard, especially if someone walks or falls onto the cover vinyl. The water will collect around the person and may present a drowning risk.
  • When swimming, keep the bilge pump away from the pool area and always keep all electrical cords away as well.
  • You should inspect the cover frequently for signs of deterioration, rips, or tears.
  • Do not close the cover until all swimmer’s toys, towels, ladders, and other objects are out of the pool.
  • Never leave the pool cover partially opened.
  • Always make sure you can see the entire pool and pool cover while you’re activating the controllers to open or close the pool cover.
  • Always remove the key from the key switch when the pool is not in use.

Questions and Answers Regarding Automatic Pool Cover Problems

Can I walk on the cover? While you can walk on the cover we recommend doing so only in an emergency.

Is the cover too big? Many new cover owners question the extra vinyl fabric that’s evident in the cover. This is actually key to the effect of the operation of the cover. At first new covers appear to be wrinkled or oversized but this is normal and the wrinkles may smooth out over time.


If I drain my pool or the water level gets low should I close the cover? Never cover your pool if drained or anytime the water level is any more than 6 inches below the skimmer. Doing so could cause damage to the system. Fill the pool to a level where the water supports the cover.

The cover is opening or closing crooked what should I do? While it’s normal for a cover to open or close up to 2 inches off its normal position appearing slightly crooked as it moves. More severe misalignment should be addressed by a trained technician.

Should I leave the bilge pump on the cover at all times? The bilge pump should be left on the cover whenever the cover is closed. The only exception is during severe winter conditions when it’s too cold to melt the ice and snow on the cover. Remove the pump off and place it in a warm area. Then place the pump back on when the ice begins melting.

I hear a popping noise when I open and close the cover is this normal? Sometimes the ropes make a popping noise when rolling on to the Rope reels this is normal and not an indication of any trouble.

The pool cover does not open or close when I activate the controller what should I check? Check if the motor is not turning or the cover is not moving you may need to reset your GFCI outlet. Turn the breaker off then turn it back on. If the cover is still not operating call your installation company.

Water appears on my cover when it has not rained in days? Your cover may have a hole over the water and needs to be patched.

The cover stops halfway open or closed what should I do? If your cover stops Midway the tracks might have dirt or debris inside and you should clean them out with a firm stream of water from your hose. Another possibility is that the ropes have become tangled around the rope reel in the housing. Lift the lid to check the reels and see if they appear tangled. If they are you must first turn off the power to the system and then you can carefully attempt to untangle them yourself. Another situation that may cause a cover to stop Midway is that there may be too much water remaining on the cover. Pump the water off with the bilge pump and then attempt to open the cover.

The key switch indicator light is blinking red? A blinking red light indicates that the cover has stopped under stress. There might be water on top of the cover. There could be an object blocking the cover or the cover could be running crooked and needs adjustment.

The cover is completely open and will not close? It may be that the cover has opened too far and come out of the track. You can also check the green indicator light on your controller. If the light is not on you do not have power to the system and you should check your electrical system.

The bilge pump is not pumping off the water? It may be that the pump’s automatic shutoff is malfunctioning or there’s another problem. Check your bilge pump owner’s manual for troubleshooting tips. The pump may need to be repaired or replaced because a properly functioning pump is critical to the safety and operation of every pool cover.

I recommend you purchase a backup pump to always have on hand in the event of problems with your primary pump.

I hope that this information is helpful to you for having a trouble-free automatic pool cover.