Solar Pool Covers Save You Money And Keep You Swimming

by Pool Builders on 11-04-2010 in Articles

Solar pool covers have one primary purpose; to keep your pool water warmer so you can swim longer. They do this by creating an insulating barrier between the surface of your pool water and the surrounding air. Solar covers are often used together with a swimming pool heater. In addition to generating some heat during the day, the solar cover helps to retain the heat from the sun and the heat generated by the pool heater during the cooler night hours. By preserving the generated heat, a solar cover saves you money. You don't have to heat that water again.

There are different types of solar pool covers and each one works a bit differently. Let's explore some of the differences to help you decide which one is right for your pool.

Solar Blankets

Solar blankets are like bubble wrap for your pool. They consist of two sheets of vinyl separated by a bubble layer that creates an air pocket between the atmosphere and your pool. This layer of "dead air" serves as insulation to keep heat, chemicals and water in your pool. So a solar blanket will prevent evaporation of water and chemicals while it preserves heat.

A clear solar cover is the most effective at capturing the sun's heat and transferring it to the water to actually raise water temperature. Dark or silver (reflective) covers do not transfer heat as well. Rather, they absorb the heat (dark) or bounce it back into the atmosphere (reflective).

Solar blankets are very effective when used with a conventional or solar pool heater because at night they will hold in the heat that was absorbed or generated during the day, thus reducing fuel costs for a traditional pool heater or heat pump.

Solar covers are usually used with a cover reel that makes putting the cover on and taking it off much easier. It also protects the cover while the pool is in use. Another popular accessory for the solar blanket is the solar tarp that wraps around your cover while it is stored on the reel. This prolongs your solar cover's life by protecting it from tearing and from ultraviolet rays (UV rays) that cause the cover to deteriorate.

Solar Sun Rings

Solar sun rings are large disks, approximately five feet across and held in position relative to each other by magnets, that operate on the same principle as a solar blanket. Because they are in separate disks they are easier to put on and take off. They are compatible with automatic pool cleaners and they can easily be separated to avoid entrapment in the water. Only about 75% of the surface of your pool needs to be covered for sun rings to effectively heat the pool and insulate against heat loss at night.

Liquid Solar Blankets

Liquid solar blankets come in different types of dispensers (fish, pills, bottles) but they operate by releasing a thin liquid film onto the top of the pool's water. This film is not harmful to people, pets or equipment so you can swim while it is on. The liquid solar blanket reduces evaporation from your pool by 50%, thus reducing heat loss. Approximately 90% of heat loss from a pool is due to evaporation. Some liquid solar blankets last up to 30 days and have automatic sensors that release additional liquid into the pool as needed.

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