Until last year, it was illegal in Massachusetts to have an inground swimming pool that wasn’t enclosed by fencing. But safety codes developed by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, in partnership with the International Code Council, have been adopted by a number of states in recent years, including Massachusetts in 2018. What that means, simply, is that homeowners in some towns on Cape Cod can now choose retractable pool safety covers in lieu of fencing.
We say “some towns” because, while the recently adopted safety bylaw does address using retractable covers in lieu of fencing on the state level, local zoning bylaws may still require fencing. For example, the Town of Barnstable’s zoning bylaws continue to require that a pool be surrounded by a fence; the Town of Chatham does not.
When retractable pool safety covers were first introduced, local municipalities were unsure of their effectiveness, and therefore considered them mainly to be an added layer of protection in addition to fencing. They can’t be removed by children, and they can support at least 485 pounds per five square feet. So, there is no danger of a child or a pet forcing the cover to collapse into the water.
There are many benefits to choosing a retractable pool safety cover instead of fencing. From visual standpoint, certain types of fencing can be unsightly and block your view. Fencing also chops up your yard. But with a retractable pool safety cover, the fence is gone and your swimming area blends seamlessly into the rest of the property.
From an economic standpoint, a pool safety cover saves money by insulating the water and thus reducing energy bills. The less heat that escapes, the less electricity is used keeping the water warm. Because you can cover the pool easily with the touch of a button when it’s not in use, you can reduce heat loss by up to 70 percent.
You’ll also spend less time on maintenance. The pool safety cover will keep the water free from debris like leaves and sticks, which means you’ll spend less time skimming and more time swimming. Your pump and filter will also operate much less frequently, saving up to 50 percent on electricity costs. Cleaner water also reduces the number of times your pool needs to be washed.
A pool safety cover also helps reduce water evaporation by up to 90 percent, yet another cost-saving benefit. Pools loose chemicals through water evaporation. A pool safety cover seals the water in and helps keep chemicals in balance.
Of course, safety should always be your top priority. Always make certain that your retractable pool safety cover meets the appropriate safety standards, and check with your local town government for the latest regulations. Even if your town’s zoning bylaws require fencing, the energy savings and reduced maintenance provided by retractable covers make them a great investment.
When you think of it, a retractable safety pool cover is like a roof for your pool that keeps out undesirable things like dirt, leaves and insects, while sealing in all the good things like heat. chemicals and water.
You’ll save money and spend less time on cleaning and maintenance, which leaves more time for the reason you have the pool – relaxing!
Top photo via River Pools and Spas.