Do you want to reduce your energy costs and save the environment? If so, a solar pool cover is an easy way to do that. Solar covers are designed to trap heat in the water of your swimming pool. This makes them more efficient than other options since they don’t require any electricity or chemicals like chlorine. In this article, we’ll be discussing what a solar pool cover is, how to use one and its benefits.
To use a solar pool cover, you simply place it on the surface of the swimming pool to cover as much of the water as possible. The removal procedure is just as simple although you need to be careful to avoid damaging the pool cover.
What is a solar Pool Cover?
A solar pool cover is a device that blocks the sun’s rays from heating up your pool water. This type of cover also shields you and your family from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation by keeping the UV rays away from the water during the days when the sun is hot.
The thickness of solar pool covers is measured in mils with the available thicknesses being 8 mil, 12 mil and 16 mil. The thicker the pool cover, the better it is at preserving heat from the sun and thus keeping your pool warm for longer.
Solar Pool Cover Benefits
A solar pool cover has many benefits including the following:
- Helps prevent accidental falls into uncovered pools by providing an extra barrier to keep children away.
- A solar pool cover will not only help conserve energy but it will reduce the amount of chlorine needed in order to maintain cleanliness standards in a swimming pool or hot tub when used during warmer months because there won’t be any direct sunlight penetrating the water for hours at a time.
- A solar blanket should result in lower operating costs while helping the users to enjoy their pool more. For example, it increases pool chemical efficiency when used as a pre-treatment before dumping chemicals into the pool (i.e., decreases chlorine consumption by up to 50%).
- Reduces water evaporation by up to 90%.
- Relieves stress on heating equipment (meaning less wear and tear).
If you are ready to purchase a solar pool cover, be sure to do your research so that you find the best type of solar blanket for your needs and also take into account any safety factors in relation with what would work best in each individual situation.
There is not one perfect solar pool cover for every person or home. It will depend on where you live and if there are children living at the residence who might want access to the water while shading from harmful UV rays.
Types of solar pool covers/Blankets
The main types of solar pool covers are:
Bubble solar covers
Bubble solar pool covers are constructed with a series of small, interconnected bubbles. They’re favored for reducing the evaporation of water from your pool by an impressive 95%.
They are opaque, which blocks the sun’s rays from penetrating through to the water in your pool. Bubble solar covers are typically made from UV protected bubble plastic and come with their own special adhesive for installation. The material is closed-cell, so it doesn’t absorb any liquid or dirt that touches it thus making it easy to clean as well.
The main benefit of using bubble solar covers is that they are lightweight and easy to handle.
They also provide a continuous barrier over the pool surface, meaning there is no need for sprayers or water circulation devices (or their associated power consumption) as with traditional solar covers. This means less work for you.
Liquid solar covers
The second type of solar cover is a liquid pool blanket. Liquid covers work by freezing in the night and thawing during the day to provide insulation from heat loss. They reduce evaporation from the pool by 40%.
Liquid blankets come with an electric pump that will push water through tubes into your pool’s bottom, then on top of it where you need it most for heating up the surface.
A liquid cover can warm things up significantly faster than other types of covers if used correctly (i.e., don’t over-fill). Make sure there are no holes or gaps around pipes so that all the bubbles created go to their intended destination at the right time.
The downside? You have to keep topping off your liquid pool blanket every few days because evaporation continuously takes away heat.
Solar sun rings
Solar sun rings are small rings made of heavy-duty UV resistant material which allow sunlight into the water during the day but keep the heat in the water during the cold night. Unlike other solar pool covers which are one continuous sheet of material, these ones are a series of small rings placed on the water.
Solar sun rings have an average lifespan of three years and have a solar cover that is designed to last.
There are also some covers made from woven polyethylene material, which has been proven to be stronger than standard particle board materials for the life span. This type can withstand different weather conditions and will not let water through it until there’s more pressure on it then what its rated at.
The solar sun rings come in many different colors such as white, blue, yellow or green hue so they won’t clash with any swimming pool color scheme you might want to achieve. They’re able to protect your pool against heat loss while maintaining desired temperature levels all year round without having to resort to using chemicals like chlorine or bromine if you don’t want to use them.
There are many different types of solar pool covers, so you have a lot of options when deciding what kind to buy. You might want something that will put less stress on your pump while saving space or one that looks good around your swimming area. It all really depends on what you think would work best for your needs. Whatever type you decide to use though, make sure they’re installed correctly because if they float off, it could cause damage to anything nearby like plants or furniture
How to use a solar pool cover
Solar pool covers are designed to be placed on top of your swimming pool and collect heat from the sun during the day, then release it into the water at night.
The best way for them to efficiently trap sunlight is not flat but slightly inflated like an umbrella or balloon. This allows all parts of the inflatable cover – both in contact with air (the upper surface) and exposed directly to light (the underside) – to be exposed to the sun.
Solar covers are a great option if you want your pool water heated up quickly, as they can raise temperatures by around 20 degrees on a sunny day.
The best time of year to install one is late winter/early spring when it’s relatively cool outside but sunny enough for them to be effective (typically after February). However, if you’re looking at installing one before then we recommend waiting until after March so there isn’t too much direct sunlight out yet.
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.
This procedure applies to both in-ground and above ground swimming pools.
How to take off solar pool cover
Just like the cover of a car, solar pool covers are removed by pulling the cover off in one fluid motion.
To remove your cover, follow these steps:
- First, make sure to turn off all power sources that might be connected to it: pumps and filters, skimmers or other devices like lights or heating elements.
- Next, pull firmly on each side until you have it completely out from under water (or as much as possible). You may need help if the cover is heavy; usually two people can do this job just fine.
- Remove any debris left behind using a net before starting up again with your normal routine for cleaning pools.
If you’re not able to take off the entire solar pool cover because there’s too much weight still swaddled around its edges, you can usually cut down to the size of your skimmer or other device and then take off just that portion, exposing it. Fixing a solar pool cover can be done with duct tape in many cases.
This removal procedure for the solar pool cover also applies to both in ground and above ground swimming pools.
How fast does a solar cover heat a pool?
It takes about an hour for a solar blanket to heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11 Celsius). 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.
How to care for solar pool cover
High levels of chlorine in the pool will bleach the cover and damage it. Regularly allow your solar pool to dry out by turning off water circulation pumps before you take a break from swimming or when leaving for vacation, then turn them back on after returning.
Avoid using the solar pool cover near bushes or heavy tree branches that can cause dents in the plastic surface of your solar cover even if they don’t puncture through it completely because this will weaken its protective qualities over time.
Store at max height of 12-18 inches so as not to create large waves in your pool while using the solar blanket – these waves could compromise how effective is covering’s ability to warm up pools water temperature.
If there are any tears present on either side of an overlap section, affix with clear packing or you can just use duct tape.
Highly acidic swimming pool water can cause the solar cover to degrade over time. Such pools are hard on pool equipment too. If you have one in your care and/or keep a swimming pool at home with high acidity levels, we recommend using a new solar blanket for best results.
Do not use chlorine tablets or bleach when washing as this will damage the UV resistant coating that makes it less susceptible to sunlight degradation over time.
Keep out of direct sunlight while stored because prolonged exposure could weaken its protective qualities (if storing outside). The same is true for heaters which can disrupt how well they function during their life span due to excess heat-degradation from consistently being positioned near an outdoor heater source; avoid storing them together outdoors whichever option is the best for you.
A solar pool cover should be removed and stored early in the day for maximum effectiveness. This means you will need to have a plan of how, where, when and who is responsible for taking care of it so that they can do this efficiently on a regular basis. Otherwise, remove any debris from the surface by hand or with a net first before removing as this could compromise its protective qualities over time if not done beforehand. After that, store it until the next use using an opaque storage bag depending on its size.
Also, very low calcium or boron levels can cause the water to form a white, powdery crust on top of it. This is commonly caused by too much or too little chlorine in your pool which should balance out over time as you adjust the chemicals accordingly. If this persists, call an expert because something larger might be wrong with your system and needs attention such as corrosion from rusting pipes, leaking sealant joints or filters that need replacement parts for example.
Can you run pool heat pump with solar cover on?
You can run your pool heat pump with the solar cover on. First of all, it is important that the solar cover should fit tightly so air cannot pass through. The most common mistake people make when using a pool cover and running their heat pump at the same time is not paying attention to this detail. This is because they are usually told by professionals that there will be no problem in doing both things simultaneously.
Should I leave solar pool cover on?
Your solar pool cover is meant to keep your pool clean by blocking leaves, debris and other objects from falling into the water. Your solar cover also helps to reduce evaporation that can lead to higher utility bills for heating. Leaving a solar cover on overnight will not harm it because of how durable these covers are made today. They have UV protection with an average life span of up-to-twelve years.
As long as you do not put anything heavy over the cover while it is inflated (solar panels, bricks) then leaving it on all night is just fine. If you’re looking for more safety precautions about things like wind and rainstorms, we recommend taking the solar pool cover off during these events.
How long does a solar pool cover last?
The typical lifespan of a solar pool cover is up to twelve years. The life of any solar pool cover will depend on how often the water in your swimming pool evaporates, if you use chemicals, and how much sunlight it receives each day.
Too much sunlight and chemical use will reduce the lifespan of the solar pool cover.
What is the best Solar Pool Cover?
The best solar pool covers include the following:
1. Sun2Solar 1200 Series Rectangle Solar Pool Cover
The Sun2Solar 1200 Series Rectangle Solar Pool Cover is the best solar pool cover for rectangular pools. It’s a 12-mil plastic solar blanket with excellent heat retention and a high amount of UV protection. You can also find it different sizes for pools with differing sizes.
2. Intex Solar Cover for 12ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools
The Intex Solar Cover for 12ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools is a great option if you don’t have the time or resources to install an automatic pool cover. The Intex Solar Cover features built-in anchors, which makes installation easy regardless of how large your pool is. Just make sure there’s enough room to open it up when needed (remember that this solar cover won’t close on its own).
The only downside may be that these covers are not made with heavy duty material, so they’re less durable than other options. But what they lack in durability, they more than make up for in convenience. Just unzip and roll out whenever temperature rises too high.
3. Blue Wave NS130 8-mil Solar Blanket for Round Above-Ground Pools, 33-ft, Blue
The Blue Wave NS130 is an ideal solar cover for any pool. With a thickness of just 0.038 mm, it provides the ultimate protection against heat and helps your swimming water last longer than ever before. This long-lasting blanket will reduce evaporation by up to 98% which means reduced costs on maintaining pools in both hot or cooler climates.
The Blue Wave NS130 also features advanced sun resistant technology that reduces exposure from UV rays as well as resist mold growth and bacterial contamination better than other blankets available on the market. The special material used allows this durable blanket to withstand harsh weather conditions such as storms, hail and strong winds without tearing like cheaper options out there.
You can pick any one of these as per the size and shape of your pool and enjoy its benefits.