Tag Archives: swimming pool cover

A review of Aquacomet swimming pool enclosures

At PoolStore our product knowledge and expertise is second to none. We will not list a product unless we know exactly how it works and what it it does. But in the case of our swimming pool enclosures we cannot exactly take one out of the box and put it in our pool.

So we went to Hungary and the Czech Republic to visit the factories where they are made. Here is our opinion of the Hungarian made Aquacomet products. A review of the Czech made Alukov products will be posted later.

But first it is good to know where pool enclosures come from. There are no UK based manufacturers anymore. Nowadays they are all imported from Europe and the best manufacturers are in Eastern Europe. The vast majority of pool enclosures are sold in to the German market, the Germans demand high quality products and these demands are certainly met by Aquacomet and Alukov.

The first thing that strikes you as you approach the Aquacomet factory in Gyor, Hungary is that the place is huge! It is reassuring to know that the company behind our pool enclosures is not operating from a shed on a farm. On the contrary, Aquacomet’s facility occupies over 375,000 sq ft. They export to 24 different countries and have sold over 16,000 pool enclosures in the 20 years they have been in business.

The Aquacomet factory in Hungary is over 375,000 sq ft in size

In keeping with the huge scale of the site is the huge scale with which everything is done on the site. Massive machines to bend the frames, the racks full of aluminium frames waiting to be made in to enclosures. Acres of polycarbonate ready to be the walls and roofs. But despite the huge scale of the operation every enclosure is bespoke made the individual customer’s exact specification. The computer driven bending machines bend the aluminium profiles in to shape but then the humans take the profiles and place them on a pencil drawn line on the floor to ensure that every frame is the right shape with millimeter accuracy. Nothing is rushed, everything must be perfect.

We were very impressed by the professional way that the company is run. From the computer technology to design the buildings, the ease which which the design computers integrated with the factory floor machinery, the care taken with every item, the cleanliness of the facility and even the friendliness of all the staff. It is nice to know that your pool enclosure is being made by people with smiles on their faces.

When an enclosure is made it is carefully  packed and loaded on to an aquacomet lorry. The lorry drives from Hungary to the UK and a team of installers travel with it all the way from the factory to the site. The factory team install the enclosure and the installation usually takes about half a day.

High tech machines bend the frames to shape but every item is checked with human eyes

We at PoolStore act as an intermediary between this immense  factory and you as an individual pool owner. You can call us for expert advice, backed by personal knowledge, on aquacomet enclosures. We can give you a guide price for the enclosure you like and we can arrange for someone to visit your pool to give further advice, to show you samples and quote a firm price for whatever you require. All of this is free of charge and there will be no hard sell.

If you want to start the ball rolling with a new swimming pool enclosure then just call us on 0800 690 6288

What causes a pool solar cover to break up?

We are often asked why has my swimming pool’s bubble cover started to degrade? The usual pattern is that you find little bits of white plastic floating in your pool water. You wonder where they have come from and eventually find that they are from the underside of your pool cover. The bottom of the bubble has degraded and fallen off.
A typical failure looks something like the image below.

Picture of a failed swimming pool cover

Typical break up of a pool cover

The material becomes brittle and the cover literally falls apart. This type of failure happens when either the cover has reached the end of its useful lifespan or something has happened to shorten its lifetime.

The plastic that the cover is made from contains antioxidants and chemicals to protect it from breakdown by UV light from the sun. These chemicals don’t last forever and as the cover ages so these chemicals get used up. Either the oxidisers in the pool water will break the plastic down or the UV light from the sun will. Or a combination of both.

This process should happen after about 6 years but sometimes it happens after only a few years. Why is this? In almost every case it is because of chemical attack on the plastic from the pool water. Excess chlorine in the pool water, whether for a prolonged period or intermittent periods, will attack the stabilisers and and deplete them in advance of their usual lifespan. Once the UV stabiliser is depleted by the chlorine the sunlight will finish off the job of breaking down the plastic.

What can I do to prevent this happening?

Many pool owners say that they do have too much chlorine in the pool and this may be so for most of the time but if you shock dose the pool and put the cover on straight away you will harm the cover. Sometimes you get high levels of chlorine under the cover but don’t realise you have done it.

Pool covers come with solar protection sheets to cover them when they are off the pool. These should always be used.

Roll the cover off the pool so that the bubbles are down. That way the sun can’t shine on them.

Are some covers better than others?

Yes. The higher the grade of material used the longer the life span of the cover. Three grades are available 400, 500 and 600 micron. This refers to the thickness of the material, the thicker the better.

The new Geobubble Swimming Pool Covers will last much longer not only because they are made from 500 and 600 grade but the additives are better and the shape of the bubble is such that it does not have weak corners that are always the first to fail.
So to summarise.

  • Don’t let the cover come in to contact with high chlorine levels when shocking
  • Make sure you don’t accidentally over chlorinate and if you do take the cover off
  • Roll it up with the bubbles down
  • Put the solar protection sheet on

Introducing a new type of pool cover – the geobubble

Up until now there had only been one fundamental type of summer pool cover available now, for the first time, pool owners can choose between two types.

Swimming pool summer covers are often called “bubble covers” because they look very much like a sheet of bubble wrap. In fact the machinery used to make bubble wrap is also used to make swimming pool covers. These machines produce a cylindrical bubble that is prone to weakness on the corners and leaves limited room for air expansion inside.

The traditional bubble

After many years of research Plastipac, the manufacturer, have come up with a new type of bubble that they say will change the way pool covers are made. The new bubble looks like two bubbles joined together. This does away with the weak points of the traditional bubble making much longer lasting as well as giving more room for the air inside to expand. They have also improved the additive in the cover used to protect it against UV light and chemical attack. So confident are they in their new material they have given it a 6 year warranty. That is a pro rata warranty but all cover warranties are pro rata.

The new Geobubble design

The geobubble is available on two types of material. The curiously named Sol + Guard material is a clear material and 500 microns thick. This clear material is the best for “solar gain” , that is gaining extra heat in the water due to the sun shining down on it. It is not so good at retaining the heat at night. Very many of these covers are sold overseas to places with sunny days and warmer nights. Also available is the 600 micron blue top with silver underside cover. Blue is the traditional colour choice for most pool owners and the silver underside reflects the heat back in to the pool at night and so tends to be more popular in cooler climates (like the UK).

600 micron blue/silver material

The Clear Sol + Guard 500 micron material

Swimming Pool Safety Covers – you never know when you might need one

donkey in a swimming pool

Swimming Pool Safety Covers are not just for keeping your children and pets out of your swimming pool. You never know when a stray animal might wander in to your pool!

This pregnant donkey was very lucky because the pool was empty. Had she fallen in when the pool was full of water she would surely have drowned. The conventional cover could not hold her weight and ripped sending her to the floor of the pool.

The winter safety cover is made with double reinforced straps, extra strong spring fixings and brass floor connections making it strong enough to hold an elephant.

For more details click here

What is the best swimming pool cover?

How do you choose a good swimming pool cover? Here is some infomation to help you choose.

Developed from the same technology as bubble wrap, pool covers are made from two layers of plastic one flat layer on top bonded to a bottom layer with air bubbles in it. The air bubbles mean that the cover will float on the water. Pool covers are often refered to as bubble covers. The first pool covers were coloured blue because it seemed a sensible colour to choose.

Research on pool covers soon discovered that not only did they keep the heat in the pool by stopping evaporation but by a “greenhouse” effect they could also heat the surface of the water. This lead to the covers being refered to as Solar Covers. It was then discovered that if you made the bottom, bubble, layer of the cover in silver plastic then the silver reflected the heat back in to the pool like silver foil on a roast joint. This lead to them also being called heat retention covers. Because of the blue top and the silver underside they are mostly known as blue/silver covers.

Another consideration is the thickness of the plastic that the layers are made from. The thickness of the plastic is measured in microns. One micron is 1,000th of a milimetre. Some cheap covers are 100 or 200 microns thick but the standard thickness for our covers is 400 microns or 0.4mm. So our standard cover is made from 400 micron material with a blue top layer and sliver bottom layer and is refered to as a “400 micron blue/sliver”.

The next level up in quality is a cover made from 500 micron thick plastic. 500 micron covers come with a blue top layer and a gold bottom layer. Hence they are refered to as a “500 micron blue/gold“. The thicker material means these covers are harder wearing and they are heavier too. They do not retain much more heat than the 400 micron blue/silver but they do have a longer warranty. If you have a big pool the extra weight, 25% more, of this cover may be an important consideration for you.

All bubble covers for swimming pools have chemicals in them to protect against ultra violet light. The 400 micron blue/silver has a 3 year pro rata warranty and the 500 micron blue/gold’s is 4 year.