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Thread: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

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    Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Hi,
    I'm looking into getting some sort of solar cover for our pool this year to extend the season on both ends and am interested in opinions/experience with any of the following options. Feel free to suggest others; these are just the options that I've found out there on a quick internet search.

    Some additional info
    - Our pool is irregular -- an oval with a "squished" part in the middle.
    - At longest point, probably about 45', at widest point, about 15'. I'm guessing maybe 375 sq. ft. of surface area (disclaimer: I am NOT a mathematician!)
    - We have an automatic pool cleaner which I assume cannot operate with a full cover on but could with the discs (?).
    - I have some safety concerns with a cover vs. discs since we have a child (who can swim but not well enough to escape from under a cover in case of an accidental fall-in).
    - Cost is a consideration but not my #1 concern -- I would like to get something that works, is easy enough to use so we'll actually use it, and will last more than a few seasons.

    So here are my questions on the options I've found -- any answers, suggestions, advice, experience, etc would be appreciated!

    1. Solar cover -- I understand you get a rectangular cover and trim to shape - but would a reel work? How hard is it to put on/take off a solar cover without a reel?
    2. Solar Sun Rings - these are the ones that come in blue or with a palm tree image - I've read mixed (mostly bad) reviews in various places - i.e. hard to inflate correctly, don't last, hard to store, rust problems.
    3. Magni Clear Solar Sun Discs - these are white and hexagonal rather than round and connect with velcro. Would seem to solve the rust problem, and provide better coverage (no gaps like with circles) but do the discs hook together by themselves? Seems you might have to actually get in the pool and arrange them yourself to get the velcro lined up. I have not been able to find any reviews discussing ease of use.
    4. Pool Disk (http://www.pooldisk.com) - seems to solve lots of the problems of other discs, although it's about twice as expensive. It's also not clear how effective they would be at generating heat (they are solid black, not clear or colored plastic) although clearly they would reduce evaporation and therefore help retain heat.

    Thanks in advance!
    14,000 gal. in-ground white plaster, 24" Crystal Flo Sand Filter, automatic cleaner, Laars Lite 2 400K BTU Heater

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemypool
    - I have some safety concerns with a cover vs. discs since we have a child (who can swim but not well enough to escape from under a cover in case of an accidental fall-in).
    This one statement says safety cover. If there's a real concern of the child getting in the pool unsupervised then a safety cover is the only consideration.
    If that's not a real concern (I understand it's always somewhat of a concern) then a single solar cover is the way to go. You can use a reel with it. They are a pain to don and doff without a reel but lots of people do it all the time.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Nearly all of the cleaners are fine running under a cover.

    One option with a solid cover is to cut it up into sections. That often makes it much easier to put on and take off, especially with an irregular shape.

    I've never seen Pool Disk before, and have no idea how good they are, but black is a very good color for a solar cover. A black cover absorbs heat from the sun, which mostly transfers into the water, and it reduces chlorine usage.
    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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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Thanks for the comments. @ Bama Rambler - we have a fence around the pool, so in theory the 3-year old should never be in the pool area unsupervised, but as you say it's always somewhat of a concern. We have a mesh safety cover that we use for a winter cover -- that seems like tons of trouble to take on and off a lot. If that's the kind of safety cover you are suggesting I can't imagine actually using it during swimming season.

    In thinking about it more, if I go with a solar cover we would have to have a reel. We have crepe magnolias around the pool and the flowers and seed pods drop on the deck all summer long. Although we try to keep the stuff swept up, if the cover were pulled off and laid in a heap on the deck it would transfer tons of **** into the pool every time.
    14,000 gal. in-ground white plaster, 24" Crystal Flo Sand Filter, automatic cleaner, Laars Lite 2 400K BTU Heater

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    LovemyPool - Great Post. I went through the same process before deciding on the following. Our Pool is also a irregular Shape it is like a kidney with an extra bump in the middle. The shape is comprised of 2 - 18' diameter circles with that extra bump connecting them. At the Pool Supply place the salesman was trying to convince me to buy a 40' rectangular solar cover for about $200 + the Reel, another 2-300 $$ .... i noticed that their 18 diameter circles (usually for above ground circular pools) were on sale for $40 each. I asked what he thought if I bought 2 of those and cut out the overlap for the bump ? He thought it might work but recommended the more expensive solution. I went for the 2 circles - I posted photos on my blog. It's easy to pull them out and fold (like an accordian, then into a 3' square that I stack against the fence. (& behind a lilac tree) - To put back on I throw it out onto the water and it literally unfolds itself.... It's like Solar Circle Oragami - I'll shoot a film of this and also post to my blog. Takes literally 10 minutes on and off.
    20,000 gallon, Sand Filter, In-ground, vinyl, 1 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Natural Gas Heater, Aquarite Salt Chlorine Generator
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.MY-POOL.blogspot.com

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Offgrid -- thanks for the suggestion. That would definitely be cheaper than getting a big enough rectangular cover and cutting it into several pieces. I could handle spending $80 and not feel bad if we ended up not using them much. How heavy do you think each circle is? Do you leave the covers on all day and night when not swimming?
    14,000 gal. in-ground white plaster, 24" Crystal Flo Sand Filter, automatic cleaner, Laars Lite 2 400K BTU Heater

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Not very heavy. I slide them off the pool and then fold on the lawn. I usually leave them on over night and take off around 10:00 am if full sun. If it is cloudy or rainy I leave them on during the day also. When they are on in full Sun I find that the 1st foot of water gets very warm but not so much below that so I take them off and let the sun go deep into the water.
    20,000 gallon, Sand Filter, In-ground, vinyl, 1 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Natural Gas Heater, Aquarite Salt Chlorine Generator
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.MY-POOL.blogspot.com

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    I was quite disappointed with my solar sun rings. They didn't do much heating, possibly some heat retention, and they also dropped tons of **** into the pool everytime I removed them. With 15 of them, it would have been far less hassle to just have a blanket with no reel.
    19,500 gallon plaster pool, Kreepy Krauly, IntelliFlo pump, Solar Sun Rings no longer heating the pool now that I have eight 4x12 Heliocol panels on my roof!

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Hey offgrid, I see you had your pool built by Bob as well last year? He did ours over in Orleans in August. Had a few issues but otherwise OK.

    I just fitted a solar blanket to our pool (36x16) was amzed at how much heat this thing produced. Our pool is in full sun for a good 10 hours a day, I heated it to 79F overnight with the blanket on, at 8am I turned the heater off and the pool racked up to 83F on its own, just put the balnket back on.

    They are a nightmare to get on and off but other than that seem to be a real energy saver.

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Michael - Bob did ours in August also - Not sure how he does so many pools ... that's a lot of driving from his place in Stittsville. You had your pool up to 83 F on April 30 ???? Wow - ours is still at around 60 degrees. Are you heating yours with Natural Gas ? I had the Solar blanket on last week while it was raining and when I took it off this morning the water was milky white - I learned that the salt chlorinator doesn't convert to chlorine when the water is below 57 F. So we had about 0 CL and low PH.... so I had to shock today and add 3 bags of salt - the clarity is coming back slowly. I heated to about 62 to get the Aquarite converting to Chlorine. I'm thinking I'll wait later next spring.... when the water is over 60 F at least.
    20,000 gallon, Sand Filter, In-ground, vinyl, 1 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Natural Gas Heater, Aquarite Salt Chlorine Generator
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.MY-POOL.blogspot.com

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Hi. I have a inground liner pool lagoon style so it is rounded on all sides and one side is longer. I tried the blanket and reel and we bought a big one and cut to our pool but it was a hassle and never fit right and hard to get on and off by myself and its basically my pool, I swim, I found this site, I keep it clean, etc....

    So a few years ago got rid of that and tried solar rings...great the first year, yes does get more leaves in pool but i can do alone and worked okay until after a few years they got water inside and turned moldy. First summer I had to return a bunch for leaks which was a hassle.

    So I just found the disk site. I don't care about leaves in pool, just want something I can do alone that works!!!

    If anyone has seen these recently let me know. I found this old post by goggling review on the disks.

    And it says I am new here because I forgot my user name and password and set up new one last summer. I love this site and live by it every summer!!!!!!!!!
    Inground liner pool 25,000 gallons, shaped like a lake lots of rounded areas, 4 1/2 ft deep 1/2 pool, other 1/2 8 ft deep. Sand filter, electric heater, Polaris auto pool cleaner. Have solar rings also.

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Quote Originally Posted by mypool888
    And it says I am new here because I forgot my user name and password and set up new one last summer. I love this site and live by it every summer!!!!!!!!!
    Was it marlaspool?
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Funny you found me I have two~!
    Inground liner pool 25,000 gallons, shaped like a lake lots of rounded areas, 4 1/2 ft deep 1/2 pool, other 1/2 8 ft deep. Sand filter, electric heater, Polaris auto pool cleaner. Have solar rings also.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Send a pm to JasonLion and he can combine your accounts and fix the password.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Thanks he did!
    Inground liner pool 25,000 gallons, shaped like a lake lots of rounded areas, 4 1/2 ft deep 1/2 pool, other 1/2 8 ft deep. Sand filter, electric heater, Polaris auto pool cleaner. Have solar rings also.

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Quote Originally Posted by offgrid View Post
    LovemyPool - Great Post. I went through the same process before deciding on the following. Our Pool is also a irregular Shape it is like a kidney with an extra bump in the middle. The shape is comprised of 2 - 18' diameter circles with that extra bump connecting them. At the Pool Supply place the salesman was trying to convince me to buy a 40' rectangular solar cover for about $200 + the Reel, another 2-300 $$ .... i noticed that their 18 diameter circles (usually for above ground circular pools) were on sale for $40 each. I asked what he thought if I bought 2 of those and cut out the overlap for the bump ? He thought it might work but recommended the more expensive solution. I went for the 2 circles - I posted photos on my blog. It's easy to pull them out and fold (like an accordian, then into a 3' square that I stack against the fence. (& behind a lilac tree) - To put back on I throw it out onto the water and it literally unfolds itself.... It's like Solar Circle Oragami - I'll shoot a film of this and also post to my blog. Takes literally 10 minutes on and off.
    Do you have a picture of this? I went to your blog and the picture didn't show in the post - I might need to get 2 of the 21ft ones though.

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    Re: Solar cover vs. Solar Sun Discs/Sun Rings/Pool Disk

    Quote Originally Posted by tko View Post
    Do you have a picture of this? I went to your blog and the picture didn't show in the post - I might need to get 2 of the 21ft ones though.
    Just as an FYI, this member has not been active since September 2013 so you might not receive a reply.
    5900 G Fiberglass IG pool (circa 1990), SWG Hayward Aqua Rite GoldLine (2013), IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump (2013), Hayward Pro Sand Filter (circa 1990), Well water (no iron or other metals fortunately), test with Taylor K2006C, Charleston, SC

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