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Thread: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

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    Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    I'm looking into getting a solar cover. What are people's experience with these when you have a pool cleaner as well, thrashing about under the surface? I know my Polaris likes to nuzzle up to the shallow-end "wedding cake" steps, sometimes spouting gouts of water (on at least one occasion, this cleared the fence into the neighbor's yard ). And of course there's the hose running from the wall fitting to the unit, sweeping back and forth across the surface. I wonder if this will mess up a cover to the point of not-worth-the-trouble, especially if I chop it into sections like I see some people doing.

    I've cruised a lot of posts about covers and not seen much if anything about this particular aspect.

    Thanks,
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    I haven't had any issues with solar covers vs. 380, but all the covers I deal with are solid with reels instead of cut panels.

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    Re: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    I have a cover that we cut into 3 pieces, and we have a Pentair Legend cleaner...I think I may have used it with the solar cover 3? or so times last season, it didn't cause any trouble that I can recall...I think most of the issues that you may have with a solar cover (particularly cutting it up) will be with the darn wind flipping up the edges of it (and the cut seams).
    But of all the equipment we have, I think we get the most out of the solar cover and the automatic cleaner (besides the SWG), so good call!
    Todd
    --------------
    Pool: 16x36, 16,800 gal., vinyl, sand filter, SWG & AquaCal Heat Pump
    Spa: Hot Springs Sovereign, 355 gal., ozone/ion
    The most helpful tool you'll ever have for your pool:
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/

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    Re: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    This came from the Solar Panel Technology Comparisons thread, where Gooserider mentioned having no heating system, not even a solar cover, because of the Polaris.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gooserider
    As to the solar cover, I have a Polaris 380 (pressure side w/ booster pump) and as I recall the instructions when I put it in, Polaris said not to use a solar cover with it, and to remove any floating pool toys and such to keep them from getting tangled in the hose. I know the cleaner does bat our chlorine floater (I was using tabs - may keep doing so until they are used up) all over the pool. Since we leave the Polaris in the pool all the time, I haven't been willing to experiment with buying an expensive cover that we might not end up being able to use. (Not to mention the challenge of doing a cover with a pool shaped like ours.)
    All that sounds very familiar... except I didn't get any instructions when we bought the house. Downloaded a 380 manual off the web and I didn't see anything about toys or covers, although it did clearly say to remove all the gear before people go in.

    The cover is on the way, and I'll have a bit of cut-to-fit work when it arrives, and we'll just see how it goes. If the cover and the Polaris don't play nicely together, I'll keep the cover for the benefit of reduced evaporation lossage, and run the Polaris on occasion instead of on a timer.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    marthas_ear's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    Which cover did you end up getting?
    Looking forward to hearing your experiences when you use the two together.
    Regards,
    Martha in Texas
    17K gl-15'X34' IG, Fiberglass, Pentair: Intelliflo VS 3HP pump, PAL 2000 underwater lights, DE60 filter, Intellichlor IC 20SWG, Poolvergnuegen Suction Pool Cleaner2009 build date; TC100

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    Re: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    Well, marthas_ear, since you asked....

    The cover:

    I got a 16x40 roll of blue bubbles from poolandspawarehouse.com, it doesn't say but I assume it's 8mil. The longest straight side of the pool is 37'. Cross-wise, the shallow end maxes out at 23' but the deep end is narrow, 10'-12'. So today I laid out the cover along the long side and cut to fit, which left about a 7x15 trapezoidal section not covered in the shallow end. Trimmed a bit from the biggest leftover scrap to put there, and now the surface is mostly covered. If the scrap is snugged up against the big piece, there's maybe a 3x10 curvy section not covered. Actually it looks like the scrap is going to sort of float around in that section, and I didn't feel like trying to piece together enough to completely cover it. I still have another largish scrap so if I get inspired some day I could fill it in.

    (Just looking at it, next time around I might prefer a 12' wide roll which would produce two more moderate-size pieces, instead of one big one with a bitty scrap. I haven't actually tried hauling the cover out yet, but just looking at the 16' makes me wonder how manageable that job will be. The cover is only 30 pounds dry, but it might not be a one-person job just because it's big. No room for a reel either.)

    The cleaner:

    The Polaris hose is about in the middle of the long wall. It ran in stealth mode (undercover ) for a couple hours this afternoon, and it looked like everything was hunky-dory. The Polaris has a sweet tooth--that is, it tends to snuggle up against the wedding-cake steps in the shallow end, and that's where the semi-open section with the free-floating scrap is. So I was a little concerned about whether this loose piece of cover and the Polaris would be any trouble. I checked on it a few times, shooed the Polaris away from the steps just so it would run around more, and it was all fine.

    Now, if I had oriented the cover sections the other way, so the hose could bob up between sections, I could see that might be a problem. And maybe if the cleaner decided to climb the wall right between the sections and somehow ended up on top, that could be an issue. But for now it all looks good.

    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Gooserider's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    Interesting... Everything I'd seen elsewhere says that covers and bots don't mix - essentially that the floats on the hose would keep disturbing the cover as they follow the robot around. I think I've also heard mention that the bot will sometimes try to suck up the edge of the cover - possible as I know that ours will often cruise the waterline for several feet before heading back down. (It also spends a lot of time hung up on the steps... )

    There are two other issues that would make a pool cover problematic that I probably should see if others have discussed, or start a separate thread on - we get a LOT of tree debris in the pool, and our pool is an odd shape, so I don't know how one would do a reel to get the cover on and off - I know we have a safety cover that's a bear to get on and off for closing, wouldn't want to deal with that hassle every time I wanted to swim - how much of a pain are the bubble covers?

    Gooserider
    Free-form Inground gunnite pool, Estimated 16-17K gallons. New Pentair TR60 ClearPro 24" sand filter and Compupool CPSC-48 SWG, Hayward SP1607X10 Pump w/ 1HP motor, 1.5" plumbing, Polaris Pressure cleaner w/ booster pump. pool is more than 25 yrs old, less than 35. Not painted, deteriorating tile surround. I am paraplegic, get in/out of pool w/ S.R. SMITH PAL portable pool lift (significantly modified)

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    Re: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    My Polaris hasn't tried to eat the cover yet; I think that part is pretty successful. The floats on the hose just slide around under the cover, no problem. Like I said, if the cover sections are perpendicular to where the hose attaches to the wall, I think it should be fine. Caveat, my cover is the lightweight bubble wrap, a heavier cover might have issues. I saw one on a spa once, that was like a foam pad you'd put under a sleeping bag; I bet a pool-sized one of those suckers would be really heavy.

    I haven't tried getting my cover all the way off, yet. I have less than 3' maneuvering room at the wide end of the pool, and just playing around with the first 10' or so of cover, I think I will want to shanghai one of the kids when it's time to pull it off for real.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Gooserider's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover versus Pool Cleaner

    Well, I will admit that I still have my doubts, but it does look after reading a lot of posts and checking my pool layout that I could potentially do a solar cover at some point - though it may wait until I start adding solar and so forth...

    Gooserider
    Free-form Inground gunnite pool, Estimated 16-17K gallons. New Pentair TR60 ClearPro 24" sand filter and Compupool CPSC-48 SWG, Hayward SP1607X10 Pump w/ 1HP motor, 1.5" plumbing, Polaris Pressure cleaner w/ booster pump. pool is more than 25 yrs old, less than 35. Not painted, deteriorating tile surround. I am paraplegic, get in/out of pool w/ S.R. SMITH PAL portable pool lift (significantly modified)

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