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Perfecting the Pool Cover

Business simplifies the process for replacing this staple accessory

Pool covers are an essential tool for the safety of a pool and those around it, both from the elements and for preventing accidents: To maintain that peace of mind, they need to be replaced every so often.

For more than 40 years, Anchor Outdoor, a division of Anchor Industries in Evansville, Indiana, has made a reputation as a leading innovator of safety pool covers. The lifetime of a pool cover is generally 10 to 12 years, says Dora Ramirez, Anchor Industries’ pool cover product manager.

“What was happening is people’s covers were getting older, so they wanted a new cover and they wanted exactly what they had before,” she says. “When you install a new safety cover you have to drill anchors into your deck.”

This is where the decades-old Anchor Outdoors Safety Pool Cover Remake Program comes in. Previously, when new covers were made, the measurements were done with protractors, information was written down on paper, and a cover was sewn. Historically, this data wasn’t saved because thousands of pool covers are made each year.

“Once [Anchor] started getting people saying, ‘No, I want exactly what I had before,’ ” Ramirez says, referring to the company’s most vocal clients, “a bunch of people got in a room and said, ‘Well, the best way to figure out how to do them is to get them to send it back and we’ll look at it, evaluate it, figure out what we made last time and make it again.’ ”

Because pool covers, like any fabric, can become so weathered and worn over time, it is typically easier to make a new cover than repair an old one, says Ramirez, whether it was manufactured by Anchor Outdoors or a competitor. In 2004, Anchor Outdoors added a number on the label of its covers that is saved with the cover’s specific measurements in its computer system.

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According to Ramirez, Anchor Outdoors can remake just about any safety pool cover from a competitor, whether it is mesh or vinyl coated, or if it needs to be upgraded to be more durable. When a dealer sends in a safety pool cover for a client, the design team evaluates the cover and works on the replacement design, being mindful to keep the same anchor points.

Ramirez says that within three to five days of receiving the covers, Anchor can provide dealers with a quote and within a few weeks, a new cover should be ready to be sent back to the dealer.

Working with dealers who are experts at installation is a large part of what qualifies pool covers as safety pool covers, Ramirez explains. “There’s a really long definition of what a ‘safety pool cover’ is,” she adds. “The gist is that to qualify, it has to be installed properly, and so we work with dealers because they’re experts at doing that.”

Anchor vets pool companies that are interested in participating in the Safety Pool Cover Remake Program and works closely with them throughout the process.

Cecil Bond, co-owner of Great Valley Pool Service in Frazer, Pennsylvania, enjoys the simplicity of the Anchor Safety Pool Cover Remake Program. “We can gather a bunch of pool covers together, meet up with their rep, and they ship them out for us,” he says. “They duplicate them and ship everything back.”

The representative, Bond says, can assist when there are difficult pools that need new covers, or if there are complicated installations.

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Having a well-maintained pool cover, he says, helps keep wandering children safe and out of the pool when unattended, makes the pool easier to maintain, keeps the water level at the desired height, and helps maintain water chemistry.

Pool covers aren’t only used seasonally, Bond adds, pool owners will also use them if they don’t want their pools to be open for a year or two, or they’re going away for the summer.

If a pool is going to be closed for more than 30 or 60 days, Bond says, putting a safety cover on is ideal.

Vicky Dugger, who is one of the owners and the treasurer at Dugger Swimming Pools & Supplies, in Bethalto, Illinois, has worked with Anchor Outdoors for years.

Her parents started the business 60 years ago and have always used Anchor Outdoors for its pool covering needs.

“They make a very good cover,” she says. “The remade covers usually fit very well and [we] never have any problems with them.”

The sales and service departments, Dugger adds, are helpful and accommodating, as well.

“[They] walk you through or help you out with anything you need,” she says.

Anchor has a Remake Conversion Chart on its website, outlining the different types of safety pool covers and what old covers can be converted into. For instance, an Anchor Mesh cover can become either a Defender Mesh, Cross-Star Solid or be remade as an Anchor Mesh again, while a Defender Mesh can be remade into an Anchor Mesh, a Cross-Star Solid or returned as a Defender Mesh, and so on. And, unique to Anchor, its exclusive 5 Star Solid cover product can be remade into a brand new 5 Star Solid cover.

The quality of rubber ties or bungees, as well as anchor spots, is evaluated when determining the best type of cover to make as a replacement. Each year, Anchor Outdoor makes thousands of pool covers, and brings in around 600 pool covers to measure and duplicate. The company has come a long way since Anchor Industries was founded in 1892 as a small riverboat supply company, Ramirez says. Now, the company occupies more than 350,000 square feet of production capacity and employs 300 skilled workers.

To learn more about Anchor Outdoors, or its parent company Anchor Industries, go to anchorinc.com.

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