How to Use a Solar Pool Cover The Right Way

To keep your swimming pool warm you can spend the dough and invest in a gas or electric pool heater or, you can save your money and purchase a solar pool cover.

A swimming pool solar cover (or solar blanket) will not only bring the temperature up in your pool, it will keep it there too, without using any gas or electricity.

How to Use Solar Pool Covers

What Are Solar Pool Covers?

Solar covers are one of the must-have pool accessories. They’re also known as solar blankets or summer covers. During the year, swimming pools are left exposed to nature’s elements (rain, tree debris, bird droppings, etc.) and its temperature changes.

They are lightweight covers (which look like giant pieces of bubble wrap) that you can place over your swimming pool to keep your water temperature warm.

Solar Cover Close Up

Photo by mightycovers.com

A bonus feature is that they’ll help keep out unwanted debris that may fall in your pool during the day. However, the main purpose is to keep your pool warm and help it to get there.

How Do Solar Pool Covers Work?

Pool Without a Solar Cover

Solar covers trap heat, that you naturally gain from the sun, in your water.

When the sun is hot and the air is warm, this contributes to your pool getting warmer. Unfortunately at night (when it gets cooler outside), all that heat that your pool gained during the day slowing escaping your pool water. They stop that heat from escaping your pool at night or on cold rainy days.

Pool With a Solar Cover

How and When to Use Your Solar Cover

The cover needs to be place on the pool water, bubble side down. Since the cover has air bubbles on it, it floats (see image above).

You don’t want your cover hanging over the sides of your pool or up on the deck. If the cover you have is too big, cut off the excess cover so that it fits inside the pool.

Cutting a Solar Cover

Photo by dealsdirect.com.au

Obviously, the best time to use your solar cover is when nobody is in the pool. So, a good time would actually be at night. I know it sounds a little counter productive, but the truth is your pool loses heat at night when it’s cooler out.

It will actually help keep the heat in your pool that you’ve collected during the warm afternoon sun.

Keep in mind that when you use one, you shouldn’t have your pool running. This could bind up the cover and prevent it from doing its’ job.

The Benefits of a Solar Pool Cover

One benefit to having a solar pool cover is the price.

Solar covers are a very inexpensive way to control the temperature in your swimming pool. You can pick up a cover at your local pool store or online for under $100, depending on the size of your swimming pool.

Another benefit is they are light and easy to take on and off your pool.

If you have a larger pool, you may want to invest in a swimming pool cover reel to make this process even easier.

Some pools have an odd shape, like a kidney or a lazy L. If you an odd shaped pool, you might have a hard time finding a custom solar cover. However, you can always get a cover that will fit the length and width and cut it to match the shape of your pool.

Quick Tip

If you pool is REALLY big and you don’t want to invest in a solar reel, you can cut the cover into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to get on and off your pool. Instead of having a really giant cover, that can sometimes be difficult to deal with.

Doheny's In-Ground Pool Solar Reel
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Price: $199.99
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Stainless steel and aluminum solar reel for inground swimming pools.

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Another Quick Tip

If you have a swimming pool heater attached to your pool, using a solar cover is a great way to keep your utility cost down. It allows you to maintain the heat you initially pump into your pool for a long time.

Maybe you’ve been putting off buying a solar cover or you never thought of buying one, either way, you need to change your thinking this year. If you don’t already have a solar cover or a liquid solar cover, this is the year to invest!

There are several reasons you should have a solar cover. The first one is the obvious one. However, these three reasons why you should buy a solar cover should convince you to pick one up today.

3 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Solar Cover This Year

1. Solar Covers Heat Your Pool

This is a no brainer, but the truth is by putting a solar cover on your pool everyday, you can increase the temperature of your swimming pool by 10 to 20 degrees, depending on how much sun your pool gets.

2. Solar Covers Save Energy

If you have a swimming pool heater, then you should ABSOLUTELY own a solar cover. Using a solar cover keeps the heat in your swimming pool just like a insulated lid for your coffee in the morning. The longer you can keep the heat you generate from your heater, the less you have to run your heater. That will save on gas and electric!

3. Solar Covers Keep Your Pool Clean

A cover is a cover. That means, a solar cover acts as a debris blocker for your pool. The lid for your coffee in the morning doesn’t just help to hold heat in, it helps to keep dust and debris out. So, you’ll clean your pool less by using a solar cover, also saving energy.

What About Liquid Solar Covers?

If you’re one of the many people who don’t own a solar reel and hate putting on and removing the cover, you can opt for a liquid solar cover. However, there are some downsides, including the fact that a liquid solar cover will not help keep debris out of your swimming pool and reduce chemical consumption.

Their only job is to reduce water evaporation, which will keep your pool warmer longer, like an invisible coffee lid.

Ecosavr 99999 Solar Fish Liquid Pool Cover for Swimming Pools
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If you hate dealing with a solar cover, this is the best alternative.

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I get asked a lot if liquid solar covers are safe and if they leave a film on your while you’re swimming. I can honestly tell you NO. They are 100% safe and will NOT leave a film. I also conducted a video experiment to see if, in fact, they really do work. If you don’t want to watch, the experiment was successful and they did help raise the temperature by 5 degrees. See for yourself!

Do Liquid Solar Covers Really Work?

Do Liquid Solar Covers Really Work?

I conduct a video experiment to prove, once and for all, that liquid solar covers really work to keep your pool warm throughout the season. Take a look.

Click here to learn more »

If you have any questions about solar pool covers or liquid solar covers, you can ask them in the comments below.

Happy Swimming!

How to Use a Solar Pool Cover

The Art of Pool Care

Learn How You Can Spend Less Time Cleaning and More Time Swimming

We cut out all the fluff and confusion of pool maintenance and stripped it down to the bare bones in this easy-to-read illustrated digital guide.

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  • Edwin Sanchez

    Do you have a suggestion as to which is the best solar pool cover to buy?
    I listen to the podcast, AWESOME!

  • Melissa

    I use my filter & skimmers at night. Can I leave the cover on while they run?

  • rita

    I shocked my above gnd pool plus used clarifier but my 18 ft rnd pool is still cloudy

  • Matt Giovanisci
  • lou warren

    I am currently using my solar pool cover in late Nov. Will COLD temps harm the cover? should I get a traditional cover for the winter months.

  • Matt Giovanisci

    Nope, you should be all good :-)

  • lou warren

    thanx Matt.

  • Sara King Zadorozny

    We have purchased a solar cover for our pool. Do we only keep it on during the summer months? Living in Arizona, it has been in the high 80s in February. Should we keep it on longer months? Maybe we can swim for a few more months before and after.

  • Matt Giovanisci

    You can put it on whenever you like. It keeps the heat in the pool. I highly suggest keeping it on at night when you lose most of the heat from your pool.

  • les

    During the day will my pool heat up more without the cover and then I put it on just for after hours?

  • Matt Giovanisci

    It won’t heat up MORE, but that’s the best move. Off during the day, on at night.

  • Nora Adriana Preciado

    my solar cover is about a foot too short! does it matter? will it make much of a difference? pool is 37 by 18 and cover is 36 by 18

  • Matt Giovanisci

    It won’t make a big difference. You should be ok. I mean, solar rings don’t cover the WHOLE pool, so…

  • Michael F Cebula Jr.

    Does the skimmer skim off and then filter out the liquid cover?

  • Matt Giovanisci

    Yes. It works best when the filter and pump are off.

  • Nancy

    We use a solar pool cover the second one in two years, the first cover left by previous

    owners.Over a short period of time it starts to deteriorate leaving little plastic dots floating all over the water. Anyone else have this problem? Is there any way to prevent this? Unfortunately as new pool owners upon purchasing a house we bought a more expensive cover thinking it would be of better quality.

  • Matt Giovanisci

    This is a common problem with cheap covers that are not stored correctly. Replace it.

  • Nancy

    Could you recommend a solar cover. The one we purchased was expensive. It was purchased online thru a pool company.

  • Matt Giovanisci

    I don’t have a brand I can honestly recommend. I usually just recommend higher mil or thickness and proper storage: in its own tupperware container after it’s been rinsed off.

  • Jane Wilkins

    We bought a solar cover 2nd hand. It fits perfectly on the one end which is oval, but on the other end, for some reason, it has been cut straight. The cover basically covers about 90%. Will it work despite this gap or should we return it to the seller?

  • Matt Giovanisci

    Yes it will still work with the gap.

  • Nancy

    Thank you I am assuming you mean putting it away after the pool season in a Tupperware. I read that it should be covered with a tarp when its on the roller ,when it is rolled up for the day. Is this a good suggestion ?

  • Joan

    Hi, Great info, thanks. I’ve read that if not using the pool every day, clear solar covers should be removed to prevent algae growth. How many consecutive days can they be left over the pool? I’m in Ottawa, Canada.

  • Matt Giovanisci

    Yes it is.

  • Matt Giovanisci

    A full 24 hours is ok. As long as you have chlorine in the pool, you shouldn’t have an algae problem.

  • Jonel Stanek

    We have squirrels that enjoy throwing things into the pool. Can we use both a solar blanket and a regular cover at night?

  • Bridgette Wright

    I have an indoor heated pool…we use a solar cover when the pool is not being used…now I am noticing a white crusty film on the top of the cover…can’t seem to get rid of it…any ideas…