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Thread: Solar cover resistance to FC

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    Water_man's Avatar
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    Solar cover resistance to FC

    The first year I used solar cover I also used the trichlor method. The FC level wasn't higher than 2, according to the OTO test which I used at that "pre-historic" pool period. The cover didn’t show any sign of decay. The second year I used the BBB method, and according to my CYA level I had to maintain FC level between 5 and 7. At the end of the season I saw that many “diamonds” fell apart. Does anyone know how resistant is the solar cover to FC? What is considered the highest level of FC that it can endure?
    This is my ticket for Heaven (when all's working..) :
    22k Gal gunite IGP, 38 SF Anthony DE filter, 1 HP Hayward Super Pump
    380k BTU Raypak Natural Gas Heater (Model RP405A) and solar cover
    8 gal Liquidator w/ 12% bleach, Dolphin Diagnostic Advantage robotic cleaner. 3800 ppm salt, 50 ppm borates.

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    Re: Solar cover resistance to FC

    What was the CYA level when you kept your FC at 2 ppm? It sounds like your current CYA level is around 60 ppm since you keep your FC at between 5 and 7 ppm. If your CYA level was the same before when you had the FC at 2 ppm, then the active chlorine will be roughly 3 times higher now so will degrade the cover roughly 3 times faster, if it's the chlorine that is doing that.

    If you wanted to use a substantially lower amount of chlorine at your CYA level of 60 ppm, then you'll need to use some other method (at extra cost) to prevent algae growth, such as a weekly PolyQuat 60 algaecide (usually around $3 per week for your pool size) or use of a phosphate remover.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Water_man's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover resistance to FC

    Hello Richard,

    I assume my CYA was 70 when my FC was 1-2 (no test kit - just an OTO test) because the next season (2008), when I started testing with Taylor's and using bleach, my CYA was 60, as you said. The difference is because of dilution due to pool draining in closing. I can expect that when I open this season CYA will be about 50. If we know for sure that FC attacks the solar cover at these levels than maybe I'd have to lower it. I wonder if there's any published data about it, or other people's exprience.
    This is my ticket for Heaven (when all's working..) :
    22k Gal gunite IGP, 38 SF Anthony DE filter, 1 HP Hayward Super Pump
    380k BTU Raypak Natural Gas Heater (Model RP405A) and solar cover
    8 gal Liquidator w/ 12% bleach, Dolphin Diagnostic Advantage robotic cleaner. 3800 ppm salt, 50 ppm borates.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover resistance to FC

    I have not experienced that. I'm an avid user of my cover....it stays on all the time whenever no one is in the pool. I've shocked the pool and gone on vacation, leaving the cover in place. I had my first cover last 5 seasons, and this will be my third with this cover. You are going to see the bubbles affected over time anyway, I think that's just from normal wear and the natural abuse the cover takes (I know mine gets abuse), but if you see a dramatic difference in a short period there could be some kind of other defect or a quality issue. I doubt it would be from the FC though....was it expensive/special order? Perhaps complain to the manufacturer/store where you bought it?

    Mine is rolled up like an egg roll and shoved in the corner of the deck, I have no reel. So it gets a lot of abuse. Actually I've caused more damage to it myself by getting it caught on various edges and causing the occasional small tear (its a bear trying to remove it myself), but for the most part the bubbles are intact. I do see the occassional one has water in it. That's why I replaced the first one, after 5 years (it was the heavy, space-age type) the bubbles would fill with water and I could no longer lift it by myself.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover resistance to FC

    Did you have the same solar cover the whole time? Solar covers degrade over time just from being used, even when no chlorine is present. It is quite possible that it just wore out after a couple of years and the change in chlorine level was simply a coincidence.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Water_man's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover resistance to FC

    I've had the same solar cover for two years and definitely the deterioration started when I used relatively high level of FC (5-7) during the second year.
    frustratedpoolmom: What is your normal FC? My solar cover was expensive and it's 16 mil thick. I got it at solarcovers.com http://www.solarcovers.com/clear-solar-covers.asp It came with 10 year warranty. I use a reel.
    What is the thickness of your cover? What is the brand name? Where did you get it?
    This is my ticket for Heaven (when all's working..) :
    22k Gal gunite IGP, 38 SF Anthony DE filter, 1 HP Hayward Super Pump
    380k BTU Raypak Natural Gas Heater (Model RP405A) and solar cover
    8 gal Liquidator w/ 12% bleach, Dolphin Diagnostic Advantage robotic cleaner. 3800 ppm salt, 50 ppm borates.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover resistance to FC

    The first cover came as a package deal with the Pool from American Sales, it was the heavy thick one 16 mil? silver on the bottom, dark blue on top, with "Spaceage" in the name....never saw the bubbles deteriorate other than filling with water over time, probably a result of little pin holes from abuse? Man that sucker was heavy. I have RA and the 5th season I could no longer get the thing off myself.

    This one I bought at American Sales in 2007, was the cheapest they had (in stock) and was around $50 or maybe $60 don't recall the brandname, I'm sorry. (Sidenote, my SIL buys the cheapy ones and replaces them every year. She has an 18' AG so her covers only run about $30....

    In the last two years my water has changed quite a bit. I did use to run with a routinely low FC because I was using the Pool Frog, and they recommended a FC of 1 . But plenty of times it malfunctioned shooting ridiculous amounts of FC into the pool, off the scale of my then routinely used test strips . Plus we were brainwashed into "routinely shocking" our pool every other week.... whether it needed it or not....long story.

    After the third season I noticed changes with my pool, and for the next 2 summers experienced some problems, which led me to discover TFP in May 2007, the same year I bought this replacment solar cover. So I started that May with CYA over 100 and corresponding FC levels, through 3 partial drains, lowering the CYA to 70 and running with a FC of 5-8 most of the time. Last season my CYA went from 70 to 50 (I did another partial drain at the start of the season) and I lowered my FC level to be around 4-5 most of the time. CYA through dilution and splash out eventually dropped to 20 and my FC was about a 3 for the remainder of the season (late Aug thru Oct when I closed).

    Throughout the seasons as I've said I've experienced very high FC from either malfunction of the Frog to shocking for vacation and haven't noticed the bubbles deteriorating like you described.

    Sorry for the long-winded report, hope this helps....
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Water_man's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover resistance to FC

    It seems that different brands have different tolerance to chlorine, and maybe yours is more tolerant than mine.
    This is why I wanted to know as many details as possible about your cover.
    Yes, it's not easy to reel in and out a 16 mil cover. My next one won't be as heavy. I just wonder if they'll replace mine under the warranty.
    This is my ticket for Heaven (when all's working..) :
    22k Gal gunite IGP, 38 SF Anthony DE filter, 1 HP Hayward Super Pump
    380k BTU Raypak Natural Gas Heater (Model RP405A) and solar cover
    8 gal Liquidator w/ 12% bleach, Dolphin Diagnostic Advantage robotic cleaner. 3800 ppm salt, 50 ppm borates.

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    amjohn's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover resistance to FC

    I have a 12 mil clear bubble wrap style cover from amerimerc.com. My pool is <28 foot diameter, so even at 12 mil, that thing was HEAVY. I cut it into 3 pieces on its seams, which were already reinforced, so did not have to tape. It also came about 6 inches too big in radius, so cut all the way around- again, the edges are raw, not taped. The brand they sent me was from Midwest Canvas Corp. (http://www.amerimerc.com/above-ground-p ... ear-ag.htm They have since changed to 14 mil- the price has gone up and that has to be really heavy.) I use a solar saddle, and drag it over the metal edge of the pool and back every day (no deck yet). We are not kind to it.
    I got my CYA too high last year, had some algae outbreaks, and managed to do several things wrong (first time pool owner). So I frequently had my FC above 10 with the solar cover on constantly and never saw that kind of degradation in the cover- just a few bubble collapsed from not so gentle handling, and they did not fill with water.
    I am hoping that holds, and certainly one season is not much experience. I had considered the diamond cover, the space age cover, the fancy two color cover, the extra heavy extra warranty cover, and finally cheaped out and got the plain ol' clear bubble cover- just went 12 mil instead of 8mil. That has been one of my better choices. I get 5 degrees of warmth out of it on a sunny warm day (without solar panels) even with a stiff wind, and major reduction in water loss.
    28 ft round Doughboy Sand Dollar II AGP, Aug 2008: 4 ft shallow, 6ft deep end: 24K gal approx Hayward Power-Flo Matrix
    1&1/2-HP 2-SPD Pump, Hayward 27-Inch Sand Filter with a little DE -(2) 4ftx20ft Solar Bear AGP Panels w/ Goldline auto-controller, 50ppm Borates And some day, maybe this year, a DECK!!!

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