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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 solar pool 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.

1. Cut Your Solar Pool Cover To Make Installing and Removing Easier

If your 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.

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2. Use a Solar Cover Even If You Have a Gas or Electric Pool Heater

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.

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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. The answer is 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!

The Definitive Guide to Liquid Solar Covers

Find out everything you need to know about liquid solar covers, what they are, how they work and why you should use them in your pool.

How to Protect Your Solar Pool Heat All Season

Using a solar pool cover is a cost-effective, long-term solution to all your pool heating requirements, but as with any product, there are a few drawbacks to using solar heat. For example, getting it to last through the ups and downs of our fickle weather.

There are ways to protect the heat your solar system gains with little to no hassle or cost. Here are my top tips for more effective and long-lasting solar heat by reducing evaporation:

1. Create a windshield

The wind increases the rate of evaporation in swimming pools which, in turn, increases the amount of heat that is lost from the water.

If there’s no wind, the air above the water will become more humid and the rate of evaporation will be relatively low. As the wind picks up, the air above the water is moved, allowing cool air to replace the warmer, humid air and allowing more water to evaporate. The higher the wind speed, the higher the evaporative rate.

Considering about 70% of your heat is lost through evaporation, reducing this loss will help to keep the heat in your pool.

Some simple ways to create a windshield for your pool could be:

  • Adding a fence to your backyard or around your pool area.
  • Planting ornamental grasses around the pool.
  • Placing padded patio furniture around the pool.
  • Adding tall structures like a sliding board or umbrella.

2. Reduce running water features

Running water increases the surface area of your pool and more surface water to be vulnerable to evaporation. Features such as vanishing edge pools or waterfalls may lose up to twice as much water each day as a pool without running water features.

Reduce the length of time your water features operate. If you’re only home to enjoy the beauty of your fountain for two hours every evening, turn off the features at all other times.

Happy Swimming!

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Last Updated: Sunday, July 28th, 2013