The Big Cover Up

Water is our most precious resource. Using a pool cover helps conserve water as it can almost eliminate evaporative water loss. I’ve noticed in the past year, many pool covers being sold online through eBay and other web pages. I guess pool owners are attracted to this method of purchase due to convenience and price! This makes me wonder, how important is product quality to pool owners these days? Perhaps it’s no longer the driving factor behind many peoples’ purchasing decisions?

You see, the quality of a bubble type pool cover is not easy to determine at all. Even for an expert, the formulation of the plastic cannot be confirmed without sending it to a laboratory for some very expensive and specialised tests. Now, thickness is a measure that is pretty straight forward to check, but in most cases you would need a measuring tool like a micrometer to be sure the thickness is what has been stated. The final factor is the reputation of the company you are buying from, and their stated product warranty (including the fine print!) and how easily you can make a claim. So how does a pool owner decide all this when buying online?

I believe a pool owner will “take a punt” in many cases when buying online, if the price looks low enough. But do they know what this could cost them in the long run? If the brand they choose is a brand they have seen in their local pool shop, then this makes it a little easier. They may feel reassured that if their local pool shop sells this brand of product then it’s probably a good quality product – and this is a fair assumption. But if they don’t know the origin of the blanket material (ie; not Australia) and they don’t know the brand or have no rapport with the company selling it, then the only reasoning they can use to purchase is price. The statistics on pool cover evaporation performance can look good no matter what the quality of the cover. For example, you could cover your pool with “Cling Wrap” and this would stop evaporation, just like it stops food drying out in the refrigerator! It would not last too long as a pool cover, but on paper, “Cling Wrap” would rate very well on evaporation performance.

I’ve been around a long time and there is a saying that goes back as far as I can remember which is “you only get what you pay for”. When you consider this, then buying an unknown brand of pool cover, online, from a company you don’t know, is very risky in my view. I know there are pool covers coming into Australia from overseas that are very low in price, but the quality of the plastic for our climate is not good enough to make them last a reasonable amount of time. “Seven months before it started to fall apart” was mentioned to me about a pool cover that was made in China. If you do the sums, a $200 pool cover that lasts less than a year, will cost you at least five times the price of an Australian made cover, over the time the locally made cover will last. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great products made in China, but so long as they are branded and sold through known companies, you have some assurance the goods will perform. If not, you have a reputable avenue to make a warranty claim. So for my money, the choice is clear. Save money and buy an Australian made pool cover, one that has been formulated specifically for our harsh Australian climate, and is a well recognised brand. You’ll be glad you did your homework and be rewarded by years of hassle-free service.

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