Hello, I am new to TFP and new to pool ownership. My husband and I are both teachers and we bit off a little more than we could chew with this house that we bought a year ago. The pool is a 18x40' in-ground, 9' deep end so we estimate about 30,000 gallons. He's just about mastered the chemistry I think (yes, it's taken a year) and has a fairly good cleaning routine.
Here's the problem, it has COOOOLD water pretty much year round. Even if it's 100 degrees outside (we live in East Texas) last summer I hardly got in the pool because of how cold it was. Our three boys just get goose flesh and swim anyway. I, however have a bone degenerative arthritis and the cold is more than just uncomfortable, it can be distractingly painful. Unfortunately, a big reason we bought a house with a pool is because it would be great exercise for someone with bad joints (okay, wearing out the kids is another big reason!). I told myself I'd be less a baby this summer and would just work through the pain and shivers because it's not like it will kill me and I'm in pain much of the time anyway. Still, I'd like to find a way to warm it even a few degrees. (On a side note, if you've ever heard of a heated wetsuit, I'm open to buying one of those!)
The big problem is, we don't get a lot of direct sunlight. There are many tall Post Oak trees in the backyard and it would be pretty expensive to have even one cut down. He estimates that we get around 2-3 hours of direct sun in the summer. The shade can be great, for instance, we never used sunscreen which is great because I've also had melanoma cancer twice.
But if there is anything that's fairly inexpensive we can do to get it warmer, I welcome suggestions! I told my husband that I've read that a solar cover can help even if you have little direct sun. The idea is, that the wind and evaporation is part of the reason the water cools off despite being a warm day. Is that true in your experience? Do you think it would only keep the first few inches warm? Would it be worth the $200 price tag (assuming I need to get the 12 or 16 gauge to be at all effective)?
Also, is a reel necessary for one as big as we would need (18'x20') or do these fold up okay as you pull them out of the pool? If we attempted to fold it, do you think it would rip? I can't tell how delicate they are. Also, we have a ladder with rails and steps with a rail in the middle that might pose an obstacle but it looks like these covers can be caught. that If you have a favorite brand, color, type, etc.. please let me know what it is!
Thanks for any and all advice!