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Thread: Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

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    Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

    Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. aluminized silver back vs. black vs. clear

    For years I have used a semi clear blue solar blanket on my 16x32 in-ground pool.

    I usually take the cover off in the morning and put it back on when the sun goes down. My theory is that this allows the pool liner/etc to absorb sun rays during the day and retain radiant heat during the night. On cloudy days I leave the blanket on all day.

    My current blue 12 ml blanket needs to be replaced and there are more options now than when I bought my last on 7 years ago. I plan on using my new blanket in the same way. Although I occasionally leave the blanket on all day if I don’t have time in the morning to remove it.

    This website has five kinds available. I wrote my ideas after each one:
    - Standard Blue Covers: would not let in much sun light during the day if left on, but maybe more than a sliver backed liner below.
    - Blue/Silver(aluminized back) Covers: I think these may retain heat better at night, but if you happen to leave it on the pool on a sunny day will as much sun get into to pool and heat it?
    - Transparent Black Covers; transparent black seems like conflicting terms, but will much sun get into the pool during the day? Will the fact that its black make the blanket itself absorb more sun heat and thus heat the top inch or so of water?
    - Clear Covers: seems like this would allow more sun light to enter pool and heat liner in its left on during the day. I think clear would retain radiant heat just as well as a blue cove during the night, right?
    - Diamond Covers: seems like bubbles being closer together would provide more insulation power.

    On a sunny day which would heat a pool more of these 6 options:
    1. Leaving the blanket off
    2. Standard Blue Covers
    3. Blue / Silver (aluminized) Covers
    4. Transparent Black Covers
    5. Clear Covers
    6. Clear Diamond Covers
    And out the above options which would retain heat better at night if any.

    Can anyone share their thoughts, experiences and which type work best for you? Some people left bad review at InTheSwin for the silver backed blankets, but I am not sure if this might have been their first solar blanket and their expectations were too high, as other said they liked the sliver backed blankets.

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    Re: Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

    I just talked with a person at LeisureLiving. They said if I get 8 or more hours of direct sun on my pool per day that they would recommend the CLEAR cover as it would heat the pool the most if left on during the day. I asked about the DIAMOND CLEAR cover and he steered me away from that, he said when rolling up the cover the water cannot run off as well since the bubbles are closer together and thus the cover is heaver/harder to roll up. Still researching.....

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana

    Re: Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

    My feeling, based partly on my son science fair project, is that clear or blue during the day give similar results, and the silver at night would be best. Overall, clear and blue are probably best.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Cupertino, CA

    Re: Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

    I would expect black to absorb more during the day but also radiate more at night.
    Silver would reflect more during the day and radiate least at night.

    I think the major advantage of a cover is reducing evaporation loss, which has a real cooling effect. My guess is the different colors (blue/black/colorless) don't matter all that much.
    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
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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

    In real world usage, it is almost impossible to detect a difference in water temperature between the different colors/type of solar covers. Theoretically, clear should be best, but the difference seems to be rather small in practice. By far the largest effect is preventing evaporation at night. That is a clear and obvious effect.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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