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!