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Do Solar Covers Work For Pools

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How To Use Solar Rings: Theyre Not Just For Looks

Do Solar Pool Covers Work? The Good And The Bad of Solar Pool Covers

Unlike the solar blankets air-filled bubbles, solar rings are flat and must be inflated before you place them on the water. Youll inflate the inner portion only slightly, and the outer portion until its firm, the way youd blow up a balloon. Then simply place them on the water and let them do their job.

Some solar sun rings have magnets around the circumference of the outer portion. This not only helps the rings stay connected to each other, thereby reducing gaps, it also keeps them from overlapping and leaving even more water exposed.

Its important to note that neither solar sun rings nor squares will cover every inch of your pool water. There will be gaps, even when theyre connected by their magnets. Its for this reason that solar rings and squares are not as effective as a solar blanket at either heating your pool water or preventing evaporation.

Tip: You can continue to run your pump while solar rings are on the pool.

How Fast Does A Solar Cover Heat A Pool

It takes about an hour for a solar blanket to heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit . The higher temperatures increase the speed with which energy is added to the system, but even at maximum efficiency, this method does not outpace direct sunlight heating by much.

The speed with which a solar cover heats the pool depends on various factors such as solar radiation, volume of water in the pool and how efficiently it is heated.

On average, if you have enough sun exposure throughout your day then you require around six hours of sun time before taking off your solar pool cover. If there are clouds or rain expected during this period that may change these estimates depending on how long they last.

In general, most people will find themselves leaving their covers on from one morning to the next one for a typical day.

Bubbles Up Or Down On Solar Pool Cover

The straight answer is, Solar pool cover bubbles should always face down. Solar pool cover works by heating up the air trapped inside the bubbles using direct sunlight. The trapped heat in the bubble is then transferred to the pool water heating it up. Therefore, it only makes sense for the solar pool cover bubbles to be directly in contact with pool water.

On the contrary, installing a solar pool cover with the bubbles facing up may hinder the process of heating up the pool water, ultimately slowing the process and even damaging the bubbles severely at times. They may simply overheat while facing the suns direct rays and while the heat captured isnt transferred anywhere.

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How Solar Pool Covers Work

Simply put, solar pool covers are essentially blankets for your pool that float on the surface of your pool. Theyre made from a material similar to a very heavy-duty bubble wrap, allowing you to leave it floating on the surface of the water without mounting it. The inside of the cover has bubbles to insulate the water, while the outer layer is completely flat.

The solar pool cover allows sunlight to enter the pool and heat up the water. The heated water is then trapped under the bubbles in the cover, resulting in no loss of temperature and no evaporation. This is an eco-friendly way to heat your pool and save you money.

Lets Discuss The Basics Of Solar Covers And Solar Blankets As Well As Some Of The Benefits They Can Offer

San Diego Pool solar cover installation

What is a Solar Cover?

A solar cover, also referred to as a solar blanket, is a large sheet of plastic that looks like bubble wrap which lies on top of your swimming pool. You have many options when purchasing a solar cover, as many colours, thickness, and sizes are available.

How Does a Solar Cover Work?

75% of a swimming pools heat loss is due to evaporation. A solar cover minimizes heat loss from evaporation by acting as a barrier between swimming pools water and the air. Specifically, you can reduce your swimming pool heating costs by up to 70% by using a solar cover.

How Do I Shape a Solar Cover?

Match the dimensions of your solar cover with the widest and longest points of your swimming pool-imagine the cover the cover is enclosed in a HUGE rectangle. Lay the solar cover onto the surface of the swimming pool and CAREFULLY trim the edges with a pair of scissors to match the shape of your swimming pool. Cut it 4-6 larger on all sides. Once the cover has sat on the waters surface for 2-3 weeks go back and do a final tough up trim.

How Much Does a Solar Cover Cost?

As with any product, prices of solar covers vary greatly. The price of a solar cover depends on the size of the swimming pool, the thickness, and the colour of the solar cover. Most solar covers are available between $250 and $400. If you are looking to have it installed for you, it is a time consuming process and ranges from $300-$500 for the installation .

How Long Does a Solar Cover Last?

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Benefit Two: Cheaper Chemical Maintenance

When your water evaporates, the pool chemicals get imbalanced. Plenty of Florida homeowners find themselves needing to adjust their chemicals often due to this completely preventable factor.

By keeping your pools water enclosed, you can reduce its evaporation by as much as 95 percent. This lower evaporation rate, when translated to reduced pool chemical needs, can result in as much as 50 percent extra savings in chemical maintenance costs.

How Much Do Solar Pool Covers Cost

Solar pool covers are available in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and sizes. For example, a solar pool blanket fit to cover a pool of about 10 ft in diameter should cost you about $70 to $80.

As a rule of thumb, you should expect a solar pool cover to be fairly inexpensive, especially when compared to the value they bring and the money they save.

Most solar pool covers on the market will set you back anywhere between $70 to $400 depending on their sizes and thickness while retaining the heat.

Usually, these blankets come in bulk where you can cut and trim them to fit whatever shape of a pool you have in your backyard.

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Caring For Your Solar Pool Cover

A solar pool cover can extend your swimming pool season by weeks, or even months. These handy covers can help you to warm the pool, and prevent leaves from entering the water. But, like most pool equipment, solar covers exist in a very harsh environment. Constant exposure to chlorine and the sun can wear out your solar blanket much faster than you might hope.

Solar covers are just like all of your other pool accessories. With the right care and maintenance schedule, you can keep your solar cover in great shape, and make sure it stays effective for a few seasons.

Protect from the sun when possible

When your solar blanket is sitting on your pool, it is fully exposed to sunlight during the daytime, but, this exposure is helped by the moist and cooling environment of the water. When you remove your solar cover from the pool, exposure to sunlight becomes much more destructive. A solar cover that is left out to bake in the sun is unlikely to last even one season. Be sure to store your cover in a cool, safe area when you take it off of your pool

Avoid high temperatures

Temperatures that get too high can be destructive to your solar pool cover, whether on or off of your swimming pool. Your solar pool cover can start to degrade in high temperatures. If your water is over 32 degrees, youll need to remove your cover temporarily to avoid damage and breakdown. But, it is also important that you store your cover in a place that is under 45 degrees

Avoid freezing temperatures

What To Look For In A Solar Pool Cover

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Size, thickness and color are likely the most significant factors in choosing a solar pool cover you should also take into account cost and environmental conditions.

Pool covers need to cover the pool from edge to edge. Large, high quality solar pool covers close to 800 square feet will cost around $300, whereas a smaller cover closer to 100 square feet will be closer to $100 or lower budget brands like Intex will have cheaper options available for many sizes. If your pool cover is slightly larger than your pool, you can cut it to size.

Thick pool covers are better, sometimes. A thicker cover will have better insulation but will also cost more, said Gilda Dobrica, founder of ProSwim NYC and creator of the Teach-Your-Child-To-Swim e-course they would be most useful in colder, windier climates. Thin pool covers around 8 to 10 millimeters can save you about $100, broadly speaking, and may be sufficient in warmer climates. Solar pool covers with thickness between 10 to 12 millimeters fall in the medium range.

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Does A Pool Warm Up Faster With The Cover On Or Off

On a hot, windless day it may be that the pool water will heat up quicker with the pool cover off as more of the suns energy will reach the water.

However, the pool cover also helps stop heat loss and evaporation, and this loss happens quicker in windy conditions, so it may heat up quicker with the cover on.

In my experience it makes very little difference so leaving it on is rather easier than having to keep putting the cover on and taking it off.

Can You Run The Pool Pump With Solar Cover On

Absolutely, and you should run it too. Your pool pump should run for the same amount of time each day when the solar cover is on as it does when it is off.

The water still needs to be filtered and the chemicals circulated whether on or off and no harm will come to the solar cover when the pump is running.

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How Does A Solar Pool Cover Go On

Manually: Although you may think its easy to pull a solar cover on and off and keep it aside folded whenever required, it may end up being a lot difficult and impractical for a big pool. By doing it this way, you will likely tear it or damage it in some way or the other.

Manual roller or reel: In this method, the solar cover is attached to a roller removed. Many rollers have a wheel at one end so that you wheel them away from swimmers if required. This is, therefore, the most popular method of removing and putting the cover.

Electric roller: Electric rollers are similar to manual rollers but are operated electronically. This makes them more convenient to use than manually operated solar pool covers.

About The Solar Cover

How Do Solar Pool Covers Work?

They can also reduce the loss of water due to evaporation.

Although they cover the surface of a pool, solar covers are not safety covers and cannot keep windblown debris out of a pool. Like other covers, solar covers must be removed before swimmers can use the water.

In warmer, sunny climates, a solar cover can extend the swimming season. Unlike other covers that are strapped down and anchored in place, solar covers float freely on the surface of the pool. Owners can easily remove and store the cover by folding it up or rolling it onto a reel.

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How To Properly Store Your Solar Cover

At the end of pool season, itll be time to break out the safety cover, and store the solar blanket. But before you do that, you must make sure the solar blanket is clean and completely dry so you dont get a nasty, moldy surprise when you open it up next season.

To clean your solar blanket, remove it from the pool, and lay it on a soft surface like grass. Concrete can damage the bubbles, making the blanket less able to float and do its job.

Once you have it spread out flat, use a soft push broom or soft scrub brush and clean water to scrub away dirt, algae or buildup, then rinse. Dry the blanket well by hand, using a leaf blower, or hanging it up to dry.

Tip: Dont ever leave your solar cover out to dry on your lawn. It can burn your grass.

After you wash and dry your solar blanket, reel it up. Some pool cover reels come with a weather- and UV-resistant storage cover so you can store it outside if you dont have any indoor space for it. If your reel didnt come with a cover, you can always pick one up.

If youre folding your blanket up, place it in a container with a sturdy lid to keep pests out. Then store the container somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight to prevent the cover from shrinking, and the plastic container from deteriorating.

The Steps To Put On Solar Pool Cover

Installing a solar pool cover is a straightforward process that can save on your heating costs and taking care of an otherwise cold pool.

The steps to install a solar pool cover are as follows:

  • Find out how much you need by measuring across one side or from one end, whichever way works best with your equipment size. Be sure while doing this you have enough slack in the material so it will fit over the water surface without pulling tight around corners.
  • Next, unfold the solar cover completely and place it into position at the desired location by gently pushing down small dents as needed until there are no wrinkles present anywhere on its surface.
  • After laying out where you want your solar pool blanket to be positioned, take two opposite ends of the covering material and tie them to the hooks on either side of the pool.
  • It is recommended that you leave about a foot or two at each end for tying purposes and then tie securely with your desired knotting technique by following this pattern: overhand, square knots, bowline or rolling hitch.

    The solar cover should now be in place and ready to go. Be sure not to pull it too tightly when securing since doing so will create wrinkles which will cause heat loss during use, as well as inhibiting proper heating of the pool surface area covered by those wrinkles. Once properly tightened without any wrinkles present, enjoy your pool all while reducing energy costs of around $200 per year.

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    How To Store A Solar Cover In Winter

    Apart from UV light another thing that makes your solar cover degrade quicker is the chemicals in the pool. So if you just remove the cover and store it then it will have these chemicals, and dirt, still on it. These will continue to act upon the cover while it is stored. So before you store the cover you should wash it with soapy water.

    Ideally you should do this in an area large enough to lay it out flat, such as a terrace or a driveway. Lay it out and then hose it down. Afterward, using a bucket of soapy water wash it with a soft broom to remove as much as you can. Then hose it down again. You should do this on both sides and then leave it to dry completely before rolling it up.

    Once dry and rolled up you need to protect it from not only the winter weather but also from UV light. Even the winter sun can produce enough UV to degrade the cover. If you have somewhere inside you can store it, such as a large garage, then that is ideal. If you cannot store it inside then you can buy a cover to protect it quite cheaply in a size to fit yours.

    Science Says Solar Pool Covers Work

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    One lesser known fact about solar pool covers is that they actually help heat your pool by preventing evaporation. Thats right, evaporation and heat are linked.

    Evaporation Causes Heat Loss Solar Pool Covers Prevent This

    When water evaporates it requires a lot of energy. And this energy loss can and will decrease your pools temperature.

    If your swimming pool is 80 °F and one pound of water evaporates out, there will be 1,048 British Thermal Units lost. Compare this to the 1 Btu it takes to raise a pound of pool water 1 degree. You can see here that evaporation requires a lot of energy and can really reduce your pools heat.

    With a solar pool cover you get the best of both worlds, more heat and less evaporation.

    Besides preventing heat loss by preventing evaporation, they also are very effective at heating up your water. This is the more obvious function of solar covers.

    Solar Pool Covers Heat Up The Water

    These covers do a much better job at absorbing sunlight than water. Sunlight can penetrate water without the water being effected much. But solar pool covers absorb much of it and heat is produced. This heat is then transferred to the water below it.

    Once the heat is transferred to the water beneath, there is somewhat of a greenhouse effect that is going on. Where the heat is trapped below the cover, maintaining your pools heat.

    According to science, solar pool covers definitely work. But how do they do in real application?

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    Can You Use The Solar Pool Cover In The Winter

    When the weather is warm and sunny, you may witness a slight increase in the pool water temperature when you remove the cover during the day. However, this could only work if you took it off for just the hottest hours of the day. Once the sun starts to go lower, you may not find it effective since the heat starts to lose due to evaporation. Thus, remember to never leave your solar pool cover on your pool after swimming or in winter in general. They are not cold-resistant and, therefore, may end up being severely damaged.

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