Guide to Solar Pool Covers
Not everyone is like the Finnish people who consider ice-cold water swimming as a happy pastime. If the cold bothers you in any way (pun intended), you’d find ways to keep your swimming pool warm. While gas and electric heaters are the traditional options, you can also consider using a solar pool cover. It offers many benefits, including reducing energy costs, minimizing chemical consumption, and lowering water loss. So, you might want to consider using it.
What are Solar Pool Covers?
Most pool owners are familiar with pool covers. However, a lot of them do not know that it is different from solar covers. Aside from keeping debris and dirt out of the water, solar pool covers can also heat the water.
It is worth noting that the water in your pool can absorb a considerable amount of sunlight, especially without any cover. If you have a white plaster pool with an average depth of 4.5 feet, the water will absorb around 60% of the energy from the sun. With this amount of energy during the noontime, the water in your pool can be heated by about 0.7°F for every hour.
As ice cream is to your diet, so is evaporation to the water in your pool. Aside from affecting the chemicals in the pool, evaporation can also counteract the heat gain in the water. It is worth noting that for every quarter of an inch of water evaporating, the pool loses about 5°F.
What solar pool covers do is capture the energy of the sun, then transfer it directly to the pool to keep it warm. Depending on the conditions of the area, the cover may have the same capacity of keeping the water warm as a gas or electric heater.
How Solar Pool Covers Keep Your Pool Warm
As we’ve mentioned, energy and water are lost due to evaporation. When you come to think of it, the main factor contributing to the warmth of your pool is not the thermostat level or the kind of heater that you use. What’s important is you contain the water and energy within the pool.
We do not have a genie to snap their fingers and solve all our pool-related problems. We cannot even prevent swimmers from splashing the water out of the pool. All you can do is deal with water/energy loss and find ways to minimize it. One of the best solutions for this is to use solar pool covers.
Solar pool covers do an efficient job at retaining the heat that’s already in the water. By installing even a standard cover, you can save about 95% of water lost due to evaporation. After all, they function as physical barriers sitting on top of the water, preventing it from evaporating. Keep in mind that there are different types of solar pool covers and some of them do a better job at keeping the water warm.
For instance, the design of a bubbled solar pool cover is somehow like a magnifying glass. So, it amplifies the heating effect of the sun. You probably understand how this works, especially if you’ve tried holding a magnifying glass over a sheet of paper while you’re under the sun.
Different Types of Solar Pool Covers
When you start shopping for solar pool covers, you will find that the options are available in various thicknesses. Most of the time, they are measured in mil, which stands for one-thousandth of an inch. You will also notice that the color corresponds to the thickness of the material. For instance, blue covers can measure between 4 to 8 mil while clear covers measure between 12 to 16 mil. The latter tend to be more robust, lasting for four or more years. Moreover, clear covers allow more heat to penetrate through the material, performing a more efficient job at keeping the water warm.
There are also different types of solar pool covers in the market. You might find the following options:
- Solar Blanket
- Solar Rings
- Liquid Solar Cover
This is the type of pool cover that resembles a bubble wrap. We know how satisfying it is to pop bubble wraps, but you must fight the urge when you’re handling a solar blanket! Usually, these covers are relatively inexpensive. If you are worried about the odd shape of your pool, you can simply trim the cover to perfectly suit your pool.
How to Use and Remove a Solar Blanket
You may notice that the solar blanket is a bit unwieldy the first time you unpack it. Do not rip it into pieces out of frustration! You can fix this easily by unfolding it by the pool. Remember to spread it out over the water with the bubble side down. It would also be ideal to leave about two to three inches of excess material where the skimmer is. Doing so will allow you to tuck the blanked below the edge of the skimmer.
Now, if you often use your pool, it can be challenging to remove the solar blanket. Some people work around this problem by cutting the blanket into smaller panels. Doing so allows them to remove the blanket piece by piece. However, a more convenient and efficient option is to use an automatic pool cover reel.
What’s great about an automatic solar cover reel is it can be used for both above-ground and inground pools. All you need to do is attach one end of the blanket to the reel. With a push of a button, you can draw out or draw in the cover. All the hard work will be lifted off your shoulders!
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that not all pool reels are made the same. There are reels with a handle or wheel that you need to turn manually. Moreover, some of the products available online are not robust enough to last long under harsh conditions. So, when you need an automatic reel for your pool cover, do not hesitate to contact us! We use premium quality materials to engineer our automatic pool reel to the highest standards.
Solar rings are another pool cover option. While they offer various functionality benefits, they can also be decorative. They are available in various printed designs, and some even come in quirky shapes like flowers.
Of course, these solar rings are not solely for decorative purposes. They can help retain heat, reduce evaporation, bring down chemical costs, and keep bugs and debris out. However, you should know that the rings will not be able to cover every inch of the pool. Even when you connect them by their built-in magnets, you can still expect to have gaps. This is the reason why solar rings do not perform as efficiently as solar blankets. While the former may be easy to install and remove, they do not offer the optimum heating benefits.
Liquid Solar Cover
You might think, “What sorcery is this?” Well, it’s science. Yes, you can pour a liquid solution into the water to keep it warm!
You can purchase liquid solar covers that contain aliphatic alcohols. The substance forms a non-toxic, monolayer film of fatty alcohol on the surface of the water. Instead of escaping upward, the water molecules expend energy by forcing adjacent molecular chains apart. Basically, the liquid solar cover disables the water molecules to evaporate normally.
How to Use a Liquid Solar Cover
You can buy liquid solar covers in bottles and dispersal packets. When you opt for the packets, you simply need to make a small cut, then let it float free in the pool. Make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging to know the appropriate amount you need to cover the volume of your pool. Usually, liquid solar covers last for about a month. You simply need to top them off as the chemical dissipates naturally.
The Cost-Effective Option
Now, you may wonder what the best solar pool cover option is. Well, if you want the most cost-effective and practical solution, then go with a solar blanket. If you’re worried about the challenges of removing it, contact us today and we’ll make the task easier for you. Let us ship you an automatic pool reel that will allow you to draw in and draw out the cover in a matter of seconds.