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Thread: Solar Covers

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    Solar Covers

    Does anyone have experience with different types of solar covers?
    I see many different ad's for these. Different colors, thicknesses, etc. Is there any difference in what color you get or what thickness?
    Does anyone know about how much warmer one of these can get your pool?
    16 x 38 inground pool, 20K gal, vinyl liner, 0.75 HP Hayward Superpump (SF 1.0, 115 V), Hayward Pro Serier Top Mount 24" sand filter (300lbs sand) with 62GPM design flow fate and 3.1 sq ft effective filtration area, Kreepy Krawly cleaner

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers

    Most solar covers wear out after one or two seasons, even if they claim to last longer, so it is often best to get one of the less expensive ones,
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers

    I've had three different kinds. The only one I've purchased twice is the blue/black 8 mil one because the FC loss due to sunlight was significantly reduced. They were all about the same in retaining temp, which is what they really do - retain temp gained during the day by holding it in at night.
    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
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    Re: Solar Covers

    Is there any truth to the claim that the clear covers allow more sunlight through and heat up the pool better?
    16 x 38 inground pool, 20K gal, vinyl liner, 0.75 HP Hayward Superpump (SF 1.0, 115 V), Hayward Pro Serier Top Mount 24" sand filter (300lbs sand) with 62GPM design flow fate and 3.1 sq ft effective filtration area, Kreepy Krawly cleaner

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    Re: Solar Covers

    No the darker the better

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    Re: Solar Covers

    Quote Originally Posted by jordangregory
    Is there any truth to the claim that the clear covers allow more sunlight through and heat up the pool better?
    Well, the answer depends on circulation. If the cover is very clear, then the water in the pool will absorb around 60% of the sun's energy turning it into heat, assuming the pool surface is white plaster. If the pool surface is dark, then 90% or more of the sun's energy can be absorbed. Of course, if the sunlight is getting into the water, so is UV and that means chlorine usage will be higher which is the main downside to using a clear cover.

    A black cover will absorb most of the sunlight, but if it's an insulating cover it may not transfer very much of this heat to the pool water. Even if it did, you'd have to have good circulation moving water from the pool surface to lower depths. Otherwise, the pool surface water gets hot as does the cover and they radiate and convect a lot of the absorbed sun energy back into the sky/air. There are some black covers that are more clear on top and black at the bottom surface touching the water that theoretically should be better.

    I have a mostly opaque electric safety cover so it's only about half as insulating as a bubble-type cover. I did notice a small increase in pool temperature rise when we switched from a tan cover to dark blue so the color does make some difference, but not nearly as much as opaque vs. clear or covered vs. uncovered.

    The ideal cover for heating, insulation, and low chemical usage would be a very well insulated perfectly transparent cover to infrared and visible light but that blocked UV. Unfortunately, such a cover does not exist as far as I know.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Solar Covers

    So from what I understand what you are saying just the light blue ones at about 12 mil is the best bet.

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    Re: Solar Covers

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    I've had three different kinds. The only one I've purchased twice is the blue/black 8 mil one because the FC loss due to sunlight was significantly reduced. They were all about the same in retaining temp, which is what they really do - retain temp gained during the day by holding it in at night.
    Where did you get a blue/black cover? Trying to reduce FC loss...
    15k gunite pool. Intelliflo VF. Autopilot SWG.
    2k separate spa with waterfall (ie: pain in the rear maintaining a separate body of water). 2HP Hayward Tristar pump.

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    Re: Solar Covers

    I was always led to believe that UV light does not go through glass. From that, I assumed that UV light did not go through plastic either.
    16 x 38 inground pool, 20K gal, vinyl liner, 0.75 HP Hayward Superpump (SF 1.0, 115 V), Hayward Pro Serier Top Mount 24" sand filter (300lbs sand) with 62GPM design flow fate and 3.1 sq ft effective filtration area, Kreepy Krawly cleaner

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers

    Quote Originally Posted by jordangregory
    I was always led to believe that UV light does not go through glass. From that, I assumed that UV light did not go through plastic either.
    What we do is uncover the pool during the day and let the dark liner absorb the sun's rays. We only use the solar cover at night to retain heat generated during the day.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers

    Quote Originally Posted by beezar
    Where did you get a blue/black cover? Trying to reduce FC loss...
    American Sale.com
    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: Solar Covers

    Quote Originally Posted by jordangregory
    I was always led to believe that UV light does not go through glass. From that, I assumed that UV light did not go through plastic either.
    Glass and plastic are not at all the same with respect to absorption of UV light. Even ordinary glass is partially transparent to UVA though is opaque to shorter wavelengths. UVA is from 315-400 nm while UVB is from 280-315 nm and UVC is from 100-280 nm. UV from solar radiation at the surface of the Earth falls off rapidly at around 290 nm. Chlorine breakdown from sunlight is mostly from 310 to 370 nm for hypochlorite ion and 320 to 350 nm for hypochlorous acid so mosty in the UVA region. UVA goes through most clear plastic pool covers. Some plastics, like polycarbonate, block most UV. Most pool covers are made of polypropylene or polyethylene for bubble-type covers or vinyl (PVC) for the more opaque thinner electric safety covers. There are generally UV-stabilizers that absorb some UV to protect the plastic and are typically in the bluer bubble-type covers.

    Most people using clear bubble-type covers report chlorine loss consistent with a large amount of UV getting through the cover.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Solar Covers

    Is it necessary to buy a reel with a solar cover? Can you just fold it up? Some of the 12 and 16 mil covers I have seen say the warranty is voided if it is used with a reel.
    Jonell Day Kenagy

    Pacific Northwest
    indoor pool approx. 20K gallons, SPA at one end (included in water filtration/heater system) Hallmark 1980 pool:concrete bottom with ledge the vinyl (fiberglass?) Hallmark panels to form pool walls. Constant problem with 'blisters' on these vinyl walls!) Ready to repaint.
    Chlorine chemistry. Teledyne Laars 175 heater, Hallmark pump

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    flyboy320's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers

    Has anyone tried or heard of Thermo-Shield covers?

    Wonder if they might heat the pool up better then the traditional blue bubble covers?
    10K gal IG, vinyl, 1 HP Jandy Stealth pump, Jandy CS cartridge filter, Delta UV system, Hasa Liquidator

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    Re: Solar Covers

    Quote Originally Posted by mbd
    Is it necessary to buy a reel with a solar cover? Can you just fold it up? Some of the 12 and 16 mil covers I have seen say the warranty is voided if it is used with a reel.
    A reel is not necessary, but there are several considerations.
    Pro:
    - If you have an inground, I'd expect constantly dragging the cover across the coping wouldn't be particularly good for it.
    - The thicker covers can be pretty heavy, beyond the capabilities of the non-beefcake set.
    - Manually hauling the thing on and off every day could get old fast.
    Con:
    - The less like a rectangle your pool is, the more inconvenient a reel is.
    - If you cut the cover into pieces, reels become less useful.

    I don't have a reel, but my pool is oddly shaped (sort of triangular), two sides of it have little maneuvering room, and the cover is two long strips. A reel would be awkward, and the two pieces aren't too much for my teenage daughters to handle.
    --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
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    Re: Solar Covers

    Quote Originally Posted by flyboy320
    Has anyone tried or heard of Thermo-Shield covers?

    Wonder if they might heat the pool up better then the traditional blue bubble covers?
    I guess you didn't read chemgeeks post, clear heats up the water best because it allows the light (radiation energy) through into the water but the cost is chlorine loss to UV. Black covers absorb the energy but also radiate it back out into the air.

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