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Most solar pool covers are made of plastic (vinyl, polyethylene, or polypropylene) and they actually look like bubble wrap. They vary in size, thickness, and color.
A solar pool cover not only physically covers your pool (which keeps rain and debris out of your outdoor pool as well as protects children or pets from accidentally falling in), but it also warms your pool in a very inexpensive way compared to other methods.
A solar pool cover reduces the pool owner’s costs significantly because it:
- Captures and uses energy from the sun to naturally heat your swimming pool;
- Minimizes the amount of heat in your pool lost through evaporation; and
- Maintains water temperature in the pool during the night.
What is a Solar Pool Cover?
Also referred to as a solar blanket, a solar pool cover is a type of swimming pool cover. Solar pool covers absorb the sun’s heat and transfer it to the water to warm both aboveground and inground pools. Solar pool covers easily float on the pool surface and can also be rolled on and off if you install a metal reel on one side of the pool.
How Does a Solar Cover Work?
Were you aware that three quarters of a swimming pool’s heat is lost through evaporation? A solar pool cover acts as a shield between the pool’s water and the air. Once you have the cover in place very little heat will be lost, saving you energy costs.
Different Types of Solar Covers
There are different types of solar covers in the market and you want to end up with the one that best suits your needs.
- Solar Blankets
Solar blankets look like bubble wrap, which is why they’re sometimes called bubble solar covers. These solar pool covers are made up of thermal bubbles that capture the sun’s UV rays to keep the pool’s water warm. They also retain moisture, providing better evaporation control than a non-solar pool cover. Solar pool covers come in different sizes and thicknesses. We suggest you buy one that’s slightly larger than your pool’s size.
- Solar Rings
Solar sun rings, though quite expensive, are a nice alternative to the solar blanket. They absorb heat from the sun and transfer it to the pool’s water. One advantage of the rings is that you can buy as many as you need to cover every inch of the pool. The rings attach through magnets, making them very easy to install.
- Liquid Solar Covers
Liquid solar covers are chemical additives that come in liquid pill form. When added to the water, the liquid solar cover creates a layer on the surface of the pool that helps to retain the sun’s heat in the water, warming the water up to six degrees. They also prevent evaporation. These work best when the water remains still. It bears noting that the additional chemical has no effect on either pool filters or swimmers.
Benefits of a Solar Pool Cover
Apart from heating your pool, solar pool covers offer owners multiple benefits.
- Solar pool covers save energy.
According to different studies, the average pool uses 4 gallons of propane per hour or 4 therms of natural gas. If you’re using an electric heat pump, you will use about 5 kilowatts in just one hour. That’s pretty expensive and can make pool ownership too costly for many families. A solar pool cover does not use any of these resources, saving you a significant amount of money.
- Solar pool covers protect your pool from debris and algae.
A pool cover helps to keep algae spores and debris from accumulating in your pool, saving you money on maintenance costs.
- Solar pool covers minimize evaporation.
Without a cover, your pool loses approximately two inches of water a week. While that may not sound like a lot, it could translate to about 20,000 gallons a year. A solar pool cover prevents you from having to replace that costly amount of lost water. What’s more, 75% of your pool’s heat loss is as a result of evaporation. Solar pool covers eliminate almost all evaporation, saving you plenty of resources.
- Solar pool covers let you and your family enjoy a longer swim season.
You’ll be able to extend your swim season a couple of months with a solar pool cover. Pools on their own don’t absorb most of the sun’s heat, despite how large their surface may be. That’s because they’re transparent and light just passes right through. The covers absorb this sunlight and then transfer the heat to the water, making it more comfortable to use a pool for longer in the season. Also, because a solar pool cover insulates your pool during evenings, you will be able to swim even at night.
- Solar pool covers prevent chemical loss.
Through evaporation, the chemicals in your pool are reduced. They can also get diluted because of rainfall. Additionally, UV rays can break down chlorine. A solar blanket reduces chemical loss by 60%, saving you time and money to replenish these chemicals.
Features to Look For in a Solar Cover
There are many types of solar pool covers on the market to accommodate a range of shapes and sizes of both aboveground and inground swimming pools. You will want to keep the following attributes in mind when choosing the right solar pool cover for you.
Thicker solar pool covers not only absorb more heat but they are more durable, so they’ll last longer. The disadvantage is that a thick cover is heavier and more cumbersome. It will be harder to spread over the pool.
You need to consider your swimming pool size when selecting a solar pool cover. You’ll want something large enough to sit on your pool’s water surface and you should select one slightly larger than the pool size.
- UV Resistance
This will depend heavily on the material, color, and thickness of the bubbles in the solar pool cover. Clear blankets are the best because they allow more rays to pass through. However, look for one that has high UV resistance.
How Much Does a Solar Cover Cost?
The prices vary depending on the product, its thickness, and size. They can range between $50 to $300.
How Long Does a Solar Cover Last?
This depends on the location of the pool and its weather, but most solar covers last for up to three years. Higher quality, thicker covers may last longer.