April 17, 2020

An Interview with the Automatic Pool Cover Company!

We had the opportunity to interview Mike Shadoan with Automatic Pool Covers (APC). Don’t worry- this was a social distancing safe phone interview! Here is what we talked about:

What are the advantages of an APC cover over other brands?

Touchpad Technology

APC’s touchpad has an electronic torque limit built right in. This means when your auto cover gets to either end it ramps up and then shuts off. Some competing brands have systems that will try to keep going even though the cover has hit an end.

What in the world does that mean? It means this cover shuts down under stress instead of trying to keep going and force open or close. This saves money on on broken ropes and it also saves you a headache! 

Acrylic Coating

All APC covers come standard with an acrylic coated vinyl fabric. Some other companies charge extra for this coating. This coating is important because it helps your cover glide versus stick when it opens and closes. This makes the cover more slippery, which means it’s easier to clean.

Standard Color Matched Edges

For no up-charge, all APC webbing matches the color of fabric you choose. This makes the cover blend and look more seamless.

Easiest Brand to Service

This is great news for you and for your pool servicer! APC has designed a simple easy to use mechanisms. They had the customer and contractor in mind when they designed these. Repairs can be done in one day and the cover’s pit is easy to clean out.

I have a pool already? Can I still get an auto cover?

Yes! Of course, rectangle pools are easiest to add an auto cover to, but any odd shape or size can be done.

To get an APC cover, first, take a photo of your pool and contact your local rep. From there, they can get some information from you and give you a preliminary quote. Pools that are 25′ in width and 55′ in length, or smaller, are the best candidates for a simple auto cover solution. If you’re ready to move forward, your rep will come out and get exact measurements of your pool and schedule the installation!

How long does the cover’s vinyl fabric last?

Your APC fabric should last 6-7 years before you need to change it. How do you know when it’s time to change it? The vinyl will start to get pin holes. These pin holes will get bleached out on top of your cover and will become about the size of a quarter, so you’ll have dots on the top of the vinyl.  You may also see folds or crease in fabric. These folds will start to crack and water will start coming through. When you see these signs, integrity and safety is down and it is time to change the cover’s vinyl fabric! The average life of your entire APC package is 20 years (with proper maintenance and care!).

What is the best way to clean and care for my auto cover?

If you’re going to use a cover cleaner, be sure to use biodegradable cleaners only (never put ArmourAll on your cover!). Otherwise dish soaps, like Dawn, work great! To clean, just put the soap down and scrub lightly. Do not use a power washer directly on your cover. Anything aggressive will damage the vinyl. Just clean your cover once a year, spring is the recommended time to do this.

If you live in a wooded area, be sure to also clean your box each spring. If you live in an area without a lot of foliage, once every other spring is just fine! To clean, just take the lid off and scoop leaves out. Be careful and watch for critters that may have made this space their home over the winter!

Keep in mind, staining is normal with time.

Mike, what should everyone know about auto covers?

“Firstly, auto covers pay for themselves and continue to pay for themselves. You’ll save about $2,000 every year if you’re using a heater. It truly will. It will save not only on heat but evaporation of chemically treated water. If you’re always adding chemicals and it’s evaporating you’re throwing money away.”

“Secondly, think of your auto cover like a car, you will have some preventative maintenance. Not right away, but down the road there are things you can do. The cover has wearable items that need to be checked like gliders and pulleys. It is recommended to have a professional come in and do preventative maintenance service call every couple years.” 

How is APC responding to the corona virus? 

We are still manufacturing! We  have added cleaning to our warehouses and created two shifts, which is new for us. We have one early shift and one late shift. This helps spread people out: adds distance, less people, and everyone is spread out. It also helps with child care, now our employees have two options for shifts that work best for them.

“APC is trying its best to avoid any layoffs,” Mike says, ” I got a message from the owner stating, ‘We will not be laying off, we will get through it.’ That’s the mentality here. It’s a family owned company, dead set on not letting people go.”

Any predictions for 2020?

Mike states,  “Three weeks ago we were up 40% in sales. Corona virus hit and sales have decreased. Our current goal and prediction is to hit same numbers at 2018. We sell all over the country and it’s hard to get building permits right now, so we are bracing for a down year.”

Mike Shadoan’s Background

Mike started in 1993 full time in the field as a tech for APC and worked his way up. After being a tech, he went to scheduling calls and servicing, then dealer sales, and eight years ago became the VP of APC! He is now  in charge of sales and product development. See Mike’s top five reasons to own an auto cover here. 

Click here to read more on Automatic Pool Covers

Mike Shadoan