Are you the type of person that prefers to jump right into an ice-cold pool or do you prefer your water to be warm? Heating a swimming pool can be a costly project, but have you ever thought about using a solar pool cover to keep your pool heated?
Solar pool covers retain the heat and maintain the temperature of your water whether you have a ground, in-ground or Intex pool. They help to increase the heat, minimize evaporation, reduce energy costs and also decrease your chemical requirements.
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Solar Pool Cover Buying Guide
Maintaining and keeping a pool clean can involve a lot of work and many pool owners use a swimming pool cover to keep debris and leaves out of the pool in the winter months. These covers are heavy and not practical for summer. Solar pool covers are light and perfect for pools in the summer months.
Unlike the regular pool cover, solar swimming pool covers keep your pool at a comfortable temperature while saving on your heating costs. They are easy and convenient to use. This is why we have decided to inform our readers all about solar pool covers; we want you to be able to find the best one to suit your needs. This buying guide will help you to do just that.
How Do Solar Pool Covers Work?
Solar swimming pool covers use the sun’s energy to increase the water temperature in your pool. They work in the same way as for instance if you leave a cup of water on a table in the sun. As the sun gets hotter, the rays will heat up the water in the cup. Solar pool covers draw the sun’s energy to the pool, thereby heating up the water. Little air pockets in the solar cover act as insulators, keeping the heat from escaping. Solar heating of your pool reduces energy costs as well a reduction in chemical costs.
Why Use a Solar Swimming Pool Cover?
Now that you know what it is, let’s look at what the benefits are of using a solar cover for your pool. Below is a list of reasons why we believe all pool owners like you should buy and use a solar pool cover.
Conserves pool water by 40%
Reduces your heating costs by 70% – 80%
Reduces chemical consumption by up to 40%
Keeps debris and dust out of your pool
The Three Types of Solar Covers
Three types of solar pool covers are available: bubble pool blanket covers, the solar sun ring covers and the liquid solar pool cover. The three types of covers have their own particular pros and cons. We will explore each one in detail to help you to be able to decide on which one you would want.
Bubble Blanket Pool Covers
These covers are generally known as solar blankets and they look like sheets of bubble wrap. They are very effective in retaining heat in a pool. It is their unique design which works to absorb the sun’s rays and insulates the pool, retaining heat in the water.
Because the bubbles act as insulation, these solar blankets help to reduce your energy costs by around 70%. The bubbles work to ensure the blanket remains afloat in the pool all day or night, keeping out debris and helping to reduce water evaporation.
Solar Sun Rings
Solar sun rings or discs are usually laid on the top of the pool, but they do not cover the full surface of the pool.
They are more decorative than the bubble blanket and easier to put on and take off. However they are more suited to smaller pools as they do not work as effectively as bubble blankets in keeping larger pools warm. They do however magnify heat and prevent water evaporation from the swimming pool.
Liquid Solar Pool Covers
An almost magical solution, this cover is so new on the market that we have not yet had the opportunity to review it. We know that it consists of microscopic molecules of fatty alcohols that sit on the surface of the water to help prevent evaporation. This allows the cover to maintain the warm temperature of the water.
Although it is easy to use, it is not as good as other types of covers. Another disadvantage of the liquid cover is that it needs to be continuously reapplied which can become costly. It is also not as effective as bubble pool covers in keeping debris out of the pool.
What should you look for?
Price and Brand
The three types of covers discussed here range in price from $20 to up to $1,000. Prices depend on size, quality and brand. Work out your budget first before shopping and make sure you buy a well-known and trusted brand that provides quality.
Materials and Type
Materials used to manufacture solar pool covers are usually polypropylene or polyethylene which are made in varying grades and thickness of 8 to 16 gauges. These materials are used for either the bubble covers or the solar rings.
Bubble blankets are generally the more affordable option. They are UV ray resistant and last for around 5 years.
The covers come in varying sizes so it is important that you measure the size of your pool before buying your cover, especially if you would prefer that the entire surface of your pool is covered.
The advantage of a thicker pool cover is that it can retain more heat and won’t get blown away on windy days. Pool cover thickness can range from 8-16 millimetres or from 800-1600 gauge.
The disadvantage of a thick cover is that it costs more than the thinner ones and can be harder to roll up and store.
Solar pool covers are made in either blue or clear colours. Sun rings can have a variety of patterns. Bubble blankets are blue and silver or blue or just clear. Blue covers are usually the best absorbers of UV rays. Clear covers work better to direct the heat of the sun into the pool, while the blue and silver covers reflect heat gathered during the day back into the pool at night.
Despite the colour, all the covers are UV treated so the sun’s damage to them is limited as much as possible. Clear covers last about 10 years and the silver and blue can last up to 6 years. Blue and silver covers block visibility into the pool, while the clear covers allow your pool water to be visible.
Clear covers allow the sun’s rays to reach deeper which is a benefit for larger pools. The clear and blue covers do not work as well as the blue/silver combination at preventing heat loss at night.
Do Solar Swimming Pool Covers really work?
Solar pool covers work really well to retain and maintain heat and to reduce water evaporation in your pool.
What thickness works the best?
This will depend on what suits you. Cover thickness can range from 8 mils to 16 mils. Keep in mind that while thicker covers retain heat better than thin ones and cannot easily be blown off by winds, they might be harder to handle because they are heavier.
How does the solar cover work for an in-ground pool?
In this instance your cover will work as a lid, capturing the sun’s heat and preventing dirt and debris from entering the pool. At the same time it reduces the water evaporation rate from your pool and reduces heat loss.
How fast can a solar cover heat up a pool?
Pool water does absorb quite a bit of the sun’s heat without a cover. But if you have an in-ground pool your solar cover will raise the temperature of the water by about 5°F to 8°F per 12 hours. A plaster pool which averages about 4.5 feet depth will absorb about 60% of the sun’s warming energy. Under a direct midday sun the pool can be heated by approximately 0.7°F per hour.
How long will my solar cover last?
Solar covers are manufactured from plastic materials which will slowly start to deteriorate after a few years. With bubble pool covers, natural elements and pool chemicals will start to dry out the corners of the blanket and the bubbles will slowly start deflating over time. On average a good quality cover should remain in fairly good condition for 4-5 years.
You should invest in a solar swimming pool cover
Solar pool covers may not heat up your above ground or in-ground pool as greatly as traditional gas or electrical heaters can but they will retain heat in your pool and prevent water evaporation.
If used with your gas or electrical heating system, it can save you money on energy costs, chemicals and water usage. The investment is well worth it for the modest financial outlay.