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Solar Swimming Pool Covers: How They Work & What to Consider

A solar pool cover, also referred to as a solar blanket, is a large sheet of plastic that lies on the surface of your pool. Solar pool covers help to heat your swimming pool naturally by capturing and preserving the heat from the sun using air pockets or “bubbles” which give solar blankets their unique texture. They are the most effective and affordable way to keep your pool water at a temperature that’s ideal for swimming. Here are some things to know when considering a solar swimming pool cover:

Benefits

There are endless advantages of a solar cover. Here are some of the biggest benefits:

  1. They lock in heat: Solar covers are best at capturing and keeping in heat. They can help raise your pool temperature up to 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit. While temperatures outside waver, the temperature of your pool water will remain much steadier so that the water is warm and comfortable whenever you’re ready to swim. 
  2. They reduce evaporation: Studies have shown that a solar cover can cut evaporation by up to 95 percent.
  3. They prevent debris accumulation: One of the apparent benefits of this cover is that it secures the pool and prevents rainwater, leaves and anything else from getting inside the water. Every clean pool makes use of less chlorine and it’s one where the filter doesn’t have to work much. Sunlight might degrade chlorine; hence a cover can save your expenses on chemicals.
  4. They lower the cost of chemicals: Using a solar pool blanket can prevent 35-60 percent of your pool water chemicals from evaporating into thin air. This means potentially cutting the cost of chemicals in half and more than making up for the cost of the pool blanket.
  5. They save energy – It takes a lot of energy to heat your pool and make up for water loss due to evaporation. Solar covers help cut the cost of gas, electricity, and water usage. Using renewable resources like the sun to maintain your swimming pool also contributes to a smaller environmental footprint. 

Solar Pool Cover Sizing

When choosing a solar cover, it’s important that you select a solar cover that is large enough to cover the entire surface area of your pool. If your cover leaves parts of your pool exposed, you risk heat loss, and you can hinder the effectiveness of the solar pool cover. Be sure to purchase a solar cover that is large enough for your swimming pool for the best results.

Most swimming pool solar covers are available in standard shapes and sizes. If your pool is custom-made or is not a standard shape, don’t worry. To make sure that your solar cover fits your pool properly, you can cut it to fit the unique shape of your swimming pool. Simply lay the solar cover onto the surface of your swimming pool and carefully cut the edges until you achieve your desired shape. Be sure to leave 3-5 inches on each side. Once the cover has had time to settle on the water’s surface for a few weeks, you can go back and do a final touch-up.

Solar Pool Cover Durability

A solar swimming pool cover can extend your pool season by weeks, or even months. These innovative covers help to keep your pool temperature warm, your water levels steady, and block out debris. But, like any pool cover, solar covers need routine care and cleaning to keep it in good shape. Even with proper maintenance, consistent exposure to chlorine and the sunlight can deteriorate your solar blanket over time. That’s why it’s important to invest in a quality cover that will hold up season after season.

Be sure to look for solar covers with UV stabilizers to protect your solar pool cover from harmful UV rays and pool chemicals, and to prolong the life of the pool cover. The thickness of the cover also affects how long the cover will last before the sun and pool chemicals break it down. Although ripping and tearing is less common in solar swimming pool covers, thicker covers are less susceptible to damage and will last longer.

Even the best solar swimming pool covers will eventually need replacing. Solar covers will typically last anywhere from 2-7 years depending on the quality of your cover, its environment, and frequency of use.

Moving your Solar Cover on and Off the Pool

Moving your swimming pool cover and on and off the pool is more than just a hassle, it can also lead to wear and tear if you don’t have the right system in place. It is always recommended that pool owner’s use a pool cover reel or pool cover roller to improve the longevity and ease of use of the pool cover. Automated or semi-automated pool cover rollers and reels will help to distribute weight, avoid damage, and limit any dragging or pulling over rough edges of concrete, patio, or decking.

Solar Cover Thickness

The thickness of solar pool covers usually ranges anywhere between 8mm and 12mm. While a thicker cover provides more heat retention and protection for your swimming pool, they can also become very heavy and annoying to move on and off the pool. Pool owners with larger pools might consider using a pool cover reel or a pool cover roller so that they enjoy the benefits of a good quality solar cover without the hassle of manually covering and uncovering the pool each time they’re itching for a swim. 

Check out our other posts for additional guidance on pool covers and pool care maintenance. 

Happy swimming!

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