Pool Solar Covers - Are They Really Necessary?

by Pool Builders on 09-06-2009 in Articles

Solar heating for your pool is a wonderful clean, green addition to your swimming pool and a huge plus for your swimming enjoyment. Solar heat can be generated inexpensively by easy-to-install, manage and maintain solar pool heating systems. Your task is to select the one that best suits your home terrain, climate and budget.

That solar heating systems work is beyond doubt, but relying solely on your solar pool heat system to maintain pool heat at an ideal warmth without bringing in extra help will not produce the best results consistently. This fact is not due to a failing in your solar pool heating system, but to a few laws of nature that try to undermine the warmth that your pool heating system is generating.

These natural processes are:

  • the cooling effect of evaporation;
  • nature's relentless desire for balancing things out will cause heat to be transferred to the colder air around it
  • cooling caused by refilling the pool to make up the water loss to evaporation (between 50% - 70% depending on the weather)
A solar pool cover is just the thing to give your solar heating system additional leverage for keeping your pool heat where it belongs - in the water!

What are solar swimming pool covers and how are they different from conventional pool covers?

They are pool covers with a solar heating capability built into them, so that the surface area they cover (i.e. your pool) also has solar heat absorbing properties. The heat in the solar pool cover is transferred to the water below it adding to the warmth of the pool. Even without a solar pool heat system, a solar cover can raise the pool temperature by a few degrees. When it is used together with a solar pool heating system, it makes a noticeable difference - the water temperature is higher and it remains so because heat loss is minimized by the cover.

This means that the starting temperature of the water moving into the solar collector of the solar heating system will be a little warmer at the beginning of each day. Going for your early morning swim will be enjoyable well into the colder months even if you are a little cold water phobic! And while the family are at work or at school, the pool solar cover will prevent any cooling caused by evaporation because very little evaporation can take place!

Admittedly, if you have to manually put on and remove the solar pool cover each time you want to go for a swim, it can seem like an awful nuisance because it is a rather laborious and cumbersome task. It is doable especially if you have some help, but installing a solar pool reel to do the job for you is a much better option. Some solar cover reels are electric and reel in at the touch of a button; others are manual and work on the hand winching principle.

Whichever way you look at it, pool solar covers do contribute positively to your swimming experience by helping to maintain a pleasant pool temperature.

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