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Thread: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

  1. #1
    Senior Member kenandshari's Avatar
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    solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    We installed a 23k gallon fiberglass with SWG in January and the kids are already jumping in on the weekends. Recent temps have been in the mid to upper 70's here in the Savannah, Ga area. Our water temp is currently 63f. We're also shopping solar covers in hopes of maximizing and retaining heat gained during the day. Does anyone here have any experience with the solar cover reels? Are they worth it, and if so, which ones actually work as advertised? Our pool is 16' x 43' freeform shape with swimouts. Thanks for any advice/experience you may wish to share.
    Ken & Shari
    Savannah, GA
    16' x 40' freeform fiberglass inground (Pacific model, mfg by Tallman Pools), 23k gal, 2" plumbing throughout, Intellichlor IC-40, Easy Touch controller, Intelliflow VS 3050 pump, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Quad Cartridge filter. 4 Jandy deck jets (3/4" plumbing), Fiberstars color changing lighting, SR Smith salt friendly diving system, Interfab Wild Ride slide, Aquasol Solar Heat (5 panels 4'x12' DIY install automated with ET) RIP Nitro Wall Climber Mar 2011-Aug 2012, Nitro is survived by a Polaris 360.

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Ken & Shari

    A good solar cover will add 5-7 degrees to the water temp of your size pool in your geographic area. It will minimize evaporation, and block some debris from entering the water. Don't expect to see the 15 degree increase that we see advertised.

    A solar reel can make the process of installing and removing the solar cover much easier.
    Some of the cheaper solar reels will sag in the middle or the plastic handles will break, especially with larger or thicker covers.
    Get a better quality reel.

    We don't use a reel, but have two teenagers who are very "skilled" at removing the solar cover; however, they need some "supervision" when reinstalling the cover.

    Water temps in this area on Saturday afternoon were 62 without a cover and 67 with the blue 12 mil bubble cover.

    Savannah, Ga: Enjoyed the collard greens and fried chicken at Paula Deans restaurant, but the 2-3 hour wait to get a table is crazy.
    Looking forward to a large Shrimp Po' Boy sandwich and an ice cold beverage at Sting Rays on Tybee Island.
    poolschoolgrad

    20x40 free-form IG vinyl, 1hp Hayward superpump, Hayward pro grid DE filter, Raypak heatpump, Goldline Aquarite SWCG, Polaris 280 with booster, and tested using a Taylor K2006.

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    I've been very happy with my Rocky's roller. It is only two seasons old, but looks and works as if it new.
    27K gal, IG vinyl, 1.5 HP pump, 24" sand filter, Goldline Aqua Plus SWG

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by gordiec
    I've been very happy with my Rocky's roller. It is only two seasons old, but looks and works as if it new.
    Same here
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Senior Member kenandshari's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Thanks for the advice. I'll shop the Rocky's Roller and probably go with the mid grade cover. Today air temp was 83 and water hit 65. The kids were in it again. I waded in on the steps, but it still feels too cold to be refreshing to me.

    Poolschoolgrad: We haven't been to P Dean's in town, but have been to her "Uncle Bubba's" out on the island. Prety good, but you pay for it. We also do Tybee Island & Hilton Head Beaches a lot in the summer...looking forward to that season this year.
    Ken & Shari
    Savannah, GA
    16' x 40' freeform fiberglass inground (Pacific model, mfg by Tallman Pools), 23k gal, 2" plumbing throughout, Intellichlor IC-40, Easy Touch controller, Intelliflow VS 3050 pump, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Quad Cartridge filter. 4 Jandy deck jets (3/4" plumbing), Fiberstars color changing lighting, SR Smith salt friendly diving system, Interfab Wild Ride slide, Aquasol Solar Heat (5 panels 4'x12' DIY install automated with ET) RIP Nitro Wall Climber Mar 2011-Aug 2012, Nitro is survived by a Polaris 360.

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Another thumbs up for the rocky here. It's still a pain to put the cover on my pool (straight kidney shape) but it keeps it warmer and that's worth it to me so we do it. The rocky makes the job easier, I couldn't see myself doing that with the cheapo plastic rollers
    19.5k gallons in ground, P4 panel with turbocell SWG, 1hp Hayward superpump II, sand filter, Heater low nox 250k btu heater, solar cover on rocky roller

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    Senior Member kenandshari's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. We ordered a 12 mil clear cover from pooldeals.com that has a series of grommets in it to better drain water when removing it. 16 x 40 was around $135 with grommet upgrade & shipping. The grommets added about $15. We figured that it may be worth the extra $ if it lives up to the claim and actually makes cover removal easier. I'll post an update about that here after we have some experience with the product if anyone is interested. We're waiting to see how much work the cover alone will be before we add a roller, but we're thinking that we'll probably end up getting a Rocky Roller as well.
    Ken & Shari
    Savannah, GA
    16' x 40' freeform fiberglass inground (Pacific model, mfg by Tallman Pools), 23k gal, 2" plumbing throughout, Intellichlor IC-40, Easy Touch controller, Intelliflow VS 3050 pump, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Quad Cartridge filter. 4 Jandy deck jets (3/4" plumbing), Fiberstars color changing lighting, SR Smith salt friendly diving system, Interfab Wild Ride slide, Aquasol Solar Heat (5 panels 4'x12' DIY install automated with ET) RIP Nitro Wall Climber Mar 2011-Aug 2012, Nitro is survived by a Polaris 360.

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by kenandshari
    We're waiting to see how much work the cover alone will be before we add a roller, but we're thinking that we'll probably end up getting a Rocky Roller as well.
    The roller makes the difference between using the cover and not using it.
    19.5k gallons in ground, P4 panel with turbocell SWG, 1hp Hayward superpump II, sand filter, Heater low nox 250k btu heater, solar cover on rocky roller

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Have you looked at this roller http://solarfactory.com/buy-now.html...&category_id=7 ? I'm thinking of ordering one ... Does anyone here have any experience with them?
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

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    Senior Member kenandshari's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Actually, I first saw the "Solar Roller" today. It was referenced in a solar heating thread titled "New Solar System Install" new-solar-system-install-t19278-20.html?hilit=new%20solar%20install
    BTW, great pics and temp comparisons for solar heating. (something we are considering adding)

    no-mas is the poster and the bottom of pg 1 and top of pg 2 are where it is referenced. He makes it sound like it works well for him but does not go into much detail on it. I took a look at the site and info for solar roller and it looks pretty simple. I'm thinking that for about $20 in PVC parts I may be able to fabricate something similar and get the same results. Anyone out there tried doing that & How did it work out? It's kind of nickel & dime stuff after all the cash spent on installing an inground pool, but then there's the whole "I made this and it works" personal satisfaction factor if I get it right. Rocky Rollers seem a bit steep for what they do, but if it makes enjoying the pool in early spring & late fall (not planning to use the cover in the summer) then it's probably worth it. After all, if the pool turns out to be nothing but work, then why have one?
    Ken & Shari
    Savannah, GA
    16' x 40' freeform fiberglass inground (Pacific model, mfg by Tallman Pools), 23k gal, 2" plumbing throughout, Intellichlor IC-40, Easy Touch controller, Intelliflow VS 3050 pump, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Quad Cartridge filter. 4 Jandy deck jets (3/4" plumbing), Fiberstars color changing lighting, SR Smith salt friendly diving system, Interfab Wild Ride slide, Aquasol Solar Heat (5 panels 4'x12' DIY install automated with ET) RIP Nitro Wall Climber Mar 2011-Aug 2012, Nitro is survived by a Polaris 360.

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    I'm right there with you. A traditional roller won't work for my pool and deck layout so this one was really intriguing but other than that thread you linked, I haven't seen any other feedback. The Solar roller looks like a good solution but just feels a bit expensive for what it is. I'm a DIY guy too so I get that appeal too. They actually sell replacement parts for the snaps and bushings which really just means finding a suitable pole material. I already have an offset handle from a car top box lift too...
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

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    Senior Member XsAllOverIt's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    I find it funny that you indicate that $20 in PVC parts could do the same. After I saw the thread, I went out and bought 2 1 1/2" PVC pieces of pipe, some velcro strips and a couple 45 degree pieces. Haven't built it yet, but was planning on doing it this spring... I thought putting a handle on both sides could allow the handle to remain in the pool and hang on both sides of the coping and could get some help from someone where rolling/unrolling becomes a 2-person/easier job...
    18 x 36 Inground Gunnite, White Plaster 21K gallon
    18" raised spa, 8' Diameter (620 gallon)
    Triton II Sand filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG
    Pentair Pump, Max-E-Therm 400 BTU
    Lamotte ColorQ PRO 7-Plus test kit
    TFT-100 test kit

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    I'll throw my opinion in, i'm never shy with an opinion

    While the thought of a DYI rollar made out of PVC sounds like a good idea, the issue you will run into is it will be really really flimsy. PVC really isnt made to hold a lot of weight like that. As an example, my neighbor was making some racks to hang clothes on for a consignment sale. He thought a little short piece of 2 1/2" PVC about 8 feet long would be great. The minute he got a few clothes on it, the thing sagged almost 2 feet.
    I'm not sure how that solor roller would work either. They show a normal size guy standing there holding the thing with a rolled up cover. Either that guy is superman or the cover he has on that thing is like saran wrap (my guess the latter). A decent solor cover weighs quite a bit. That excludes any type of PVC or even that solor rollar.

    A good cover reel has anchors that tie it down to the deck. It can be unscrewed and moved around out of the way when you use the pool. If you get a reel thats is screwed to the deck, you can roll and unroll it by yourself since you can pull on the cover and not move the reel. You spent tens of thousands of dollars on a pool. Dont get cheap on a good solor cover reeel that cost a couple to three hundred bucks.

    Ok, my 3 cents
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  14. #14
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    I'll stop by to agree with BK on this. I use PVC for lots of things but it's not good for spanning or supporting things. Aluminum tubing is your best bet and extruded profiled tubing is the best. I'm a big believer in DIY and if you can get hold of some 3" aluminum tubing it would be a good project.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Well while we might disagree some great feedback was the result I'm not sold on PVC or abs alone but thought they'd be cheap and easy to try - and that they might work if I can find or will make the slip couplings to reinforce it. On the web site for the solar roller somewhere they mention that you have to slide the rolled cover over the deck edge and lift it in the middle. Which is acceptable to me. Off to find where I can get extruded profiled tubing
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Shipping on extruded tubing is the biggest expense in buying tubing. If you have a large commercial display design company nearby they are an excellent source for extruded tubing.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    I'm still not sure how that lifting the reel and solor cover works. The 2 covers i have had when rolled on the reel were fairly heavy and took two people to actually lift. Even then, I wouldnt want to hoist it around. The reels are mounted on large casters that make it easy to move around. As i said earlier, it looks like the cover on those small reels are not very thick.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  18. #18
    Senior Member mas985's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by carlscan26
    Have you looked at this roller http://solarfactory.com/buy-now.html...&category_id=7 ? I'm thinking of ordering one ... Does anyone here have any experience with them?
    +1 that is the one I use.

    However, the aluminum corroded after 3 years and broke so I replaced the poles with 3/4" PVC. It is much more flexible than the aluminum and more difficult to pull out of the water but I manage anyway. I did this at the end of last year so I don't have a full year of trying it yet.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner, DIY Acid Dosing

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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    Quote Originally Posted by carlscan26
    Have you looked at this roller http://solarfactory.com/buy-now.html...&category_id=7 ? I'm thinking of ordering one ... Does anyone here have any experience with them?
    +1 that is the one I use.
    So how do you lift the thing the way they show with a 16x30 cover on it?
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mas985's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover(blanket) reels - opinions wanted

    Mine is split down the center so each half is about 18' +-. Rolling it up is actually much easier than unrolling it. Once rolled up, I pull the end out slowly and let the cover drain completely. If you pull it out too quickly, it is full of water and much heavier. The cover is really not that heavy when split in half.

    Note too, I edited my previous post to include recent changes that I made to the roller.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner, DIY Acid Dosing

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