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Thread: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

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    Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    I've got a kid's birthday party coming up in two weeks and I've failed the last two years to get the pool warm enough (per my wife's specs, not mine!) with our heat pump running 2-3 days in advance. I see the $100 roll in HD every time I'm there grabbing acid, but have never wanted to go down that path particularly because of safety concerns, the odd shaped of my pool and the rather consistant 10+ mph winds we get throughout Spring.

    Questions:
    I've got an Aquacal Heatwave IceBreaker heat pump. I'm assuming the combined heat pump+ blanket is far superior to heat pump alone, correct?

    I've got maybe 3 straight lines on my pool, so I'm never going to get much more than 80% coverage I think. Still effective?

    Ive got water flowing out of the spa and kiddie pool into the main pool. I think I'd need a cover for all 3, and the main pool will have to have cutouts for the water falling in from the other two, correct?

    Are these things just going to blow out as quickly as I can put them in? Tricks to keeping them in?

    Any chemical impact to be aware of? Ie, more/less chlorine use, etc?

    We're in central Texas so I wont need this but a few times a year, I believe. These seem fairly cheap all things considered. Good enough,or do I really need to spend more on a higher quality product?

    Thanks in advance for your advice and help here!
    ~17,000 Gallons, IG-pebble, DE, SWG

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    The main benefit will be heat retention at night, cutting down on evaporation...

    To hold it in place, I fill my empty bleach jugs with pool water and lay them on the top of the cover. This is if I'm expecting high winds or before I go on vacation. 3-4 placed strategically around ought to do it.

    You would probably have better luck if you try to cut it to fit....?
    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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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    The main benefit will be heat retention at night, cutting down on evaporation...

    To hold it in place, I fill my empty bleach jugs with pool water and lay them on the top of the cover. This is if I'm expecting high winds or before I go on vacation. 3-4 placed strategically around ought to do it.

    You would probably have better luck if you try to cut it to fit....?
    So you leave them hovering above the water rather than sitting on it?
    ~17,000 Gallons, IG-pebble, DE, SWG

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    Nope, they sit right on top of the cover. A little water puddles there, but that's okay.
    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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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    I have an odd-shaped pool too; I bought a bigger sheet than I needed and cut to fit in two sections. There was one time it blew off, in the past couple of months. If you cut it reasonably close to all the edges there won't be many opportunities for the wind to catch it.

    I think FPM didn't cut to fit, drapes the overlap on the coping and sits the water jugs on top to keep it from blowing around. But the cover is still basically lying on top of the water, there's no tension to it.

    The main benefit is not losing heat due to evaporation. It also reduces chlorine loss.
    --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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    Nope. I have a round AGP. My cover is fits (easily-sorry standard ) and the jugs sit right on the cover on the water and float with the cover. Keeps the cover secure to the water, no air gets under it and that way it won't blow off. If air gets under the cover, the inexepensive 8 mil stuff will easily fly off (I learned that the hard way).

    The heavier 12-16 mil covers won't blow off in this way.

    So try to get it to cut to fit as much as possible, if you need to go in sections. And then if you want more security, use jugs filled with water. My friend Beave cut his in sections, used gorilla tape for the edges and then zip-ties to attach the sections together. Obviously sections will allow for more movement which isn't ideal but I say it's better than nothing at all!
    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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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    the jugs sit right on the cover on the water and float with the cover.
    I never woulda thought bubble wrap would support something that heavy! 1gal=8pounds. Learn something new every day...
    --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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    Well, when you say "Bubble Wrap" - this is what I have, are we talking about the same thing?

    http://www.americansale.com/Products...e__511193.aspx

    When I go on vacation I usually have 4 on the cover, 1 for every 1/4 of pool. I don't want the cover going anywhere!
    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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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Well, when you say "Bubble Wrap" - this is what I have, are we talking about the same thing?
    Looks a lot like what I have, yep. I just tried placing a gallon jug on mine, maybe 2' in from the edge. The cover wrinkled up a bit and the jug sank down an inch or so, but it held. It sure looks like wind could come up under those wrinkles, but I guess the jug would hold it in place. Wow!
    --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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    stever's Avatar
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    Re: Cheap (?) solar blanket from Home Depot/Lowes

    Quote Originally Posted by lurch
    Questions:
    I've got an Aquacal Heatwave IceBreaker heat pump. I'm assuming the combined heat pump+ blanket is far superior to heat pump alone, correct?

    I've got maybe 3 straight lines on my pool, so I'm never going to get much more than 80% coverage I think. Still effective?

    Ive got water flowing out of the spa and kiddie pool into the main pool. I think I'd need a cover for all 3, and the main pool will have to have cutouts for the water falling in from the other two, correct?

    Are these things just going to blow out as quickly as I can put them in? Tricks to keeping them in?

    Any chemical impact to be aware of? Ie, more/less chlorine use, etc?

    We're in central Texas so I wont need this but a few times a year, I believe. These seem fairly cheap all things considered. Good enough,or do I really need to spend more on a higher quality product?

    Thanks in advance for your advice and help here!
    Blanket with heater always better than heater alone.
    Any amount of cover better than no cover. Covering the smaller pools not required, but the more covered the better.

    I have an odd-shaped pool also. To make the cover more managable, (and to allow better fit) I have cut it into four pieces. Works just as well. The whole cover proved to be impossible to pull out with one person.

    I have not perfected the art of pulling the cover out without water flowing onto the top of the cover and sweeping dirt/leaves back into the pool.

    I've never had any problem with the cover blowing out (not that I'm in a super windy area) IF I make sure all the air pockets are out and the cover does not lap over any of the other cover pieces (all of cover in contact with water).

    As for chemicals -- be careful -- if the chlorine gets a little low, the water neat the top is so warm it will stary algae really quickly. The uncovered pool seems to be helped by the direct sun.

    Steve
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
    Pentair Equip: Intelliflo VF Pump, MasterTemp 400 Heater, IC40 SWG, Quad DE 100 Filter
    Automation: IntelliTouch i7+3 (+ extender panel), 6 Jandy Automated Valves (S, R, Spa Bypass, Solar, Cleaner, Spillway)
    Other: 75% Solar, Kreepy Kruiser Cleaner, Tan Hip-Hop Diving Board (a bit curved) on 606 Cantilever Base (SR Smith)
    Links: [TFP Pool Build Thread] - [TFP Landscaping Thread]

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