I understand why someone would ask this question; it is important given that our pool covers are a safety product. It is also important because the chances of someone walking on the cover are high. We always emphasize that it should not be walked on for any reason other than removing a child from the cover. That being said, our covers are very strong.
The standard that the pool cover industry references is from ASTM, a company known and referenced widely for safety standards for many industries. The ASTM standard for pool covers requires the ability to hold at least 435 pounds. Our automatic pool cover exceeds this weight standard according to independent testing performed by UL, the most renown testing company in the world.
We are sometimes asked if our covers will support an elephant. The question arises when someone has seen an advertisement from a winter cover manufacturer. We have never tested the strength of our cover using an elephant, nor will we. The advertisement is misleading because it is based on extremely controlled circumstances and a staged environment that you will never have in your backyard, including Dumbo suddenly appearing.
Other factors contribute to the amount of weight a cover will hold including:
- The type of track used for your automatic pool cover system.
- The method used to install the track. Track screwed to the bottom of the coping is not as strong as being installed inside a retainer system.
- The water in your swimming pool should be maintained at the proper height as these are technically floating covers; you need the water under the pool cover to be at the correct level to disperse the weight of anyone or anything that gets on it.
- The age of your pool cover. As any pool cover ages, the weight capacity lessons when it is kept beyond the useful life. If someone is not sure about the condition of their pool cover, they should have a professional examine it.
It is also important to distinguish between an automatic pool cover and a winter pool cover. The former is a safety cover but also provides other benefits including convenience, heat retention, reduction of water evaporation, etc. whereas the latter is only a safety cover. The winter cover is also only intended to be used in the winter to close the pool and then be removed when you are ready to open your pool in the Spring; they are very hard to use so not suitable for regular removal and replacement.
Remember, ASTM says that the standard that is important is 435 pounds. Our pool covers have demonstrated ability to support much more than that; we have pictures of several people on our covers; we have received reports of ATV’s and small cars crashing onto our covers. However, we will never say that is our capacity because we want to reference real scenarios that could actually be experienced in a backyard.
by Andrew Leyer