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Thread: solar cover - major PIA?

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    Diver's Avatar
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    solar cover - major PIA?

    So I opened the pool last Friday. This is my first season and after some research I figured that solar cover is a big bang for a buck – cuts the chlorine loss due to UV and retains heat warming up your pool much quicker. I have an L-shaped pool (see my sig) and got the cover for large rectangle.

    I put the cover down Monday night and yesterday I had a chance to take it off to use the pool.

    When the cover is on it gets some water on top and then that water (due to junk falling off the trees) gets all brown (see the pic). When I reel in the cover that water drains nicely back to the pool and creates some nice brown clouds in the water. So it seems that whatever chlorine I save now has to work to clean up the mess. Is there any trick that I can use to prevent this?

    Unrolling the cover to put it back on the water was major PIA. My roller is not affixed (should it be) and while trying to unroll the cover I managed to drop one side of it into the water! I tried to pull on the cover to unroll it and I tried to unroll it first and then pull. It eventually worked, but I didn’t figure out the best way to do. Any tips here?

    Adding chlorine under the cover as long as the water is circulating should be ok I think. The skimmer cleaning action is now not very working, but the junk stays on the cover, so that’s kinda ok. Until I roll the cover up and it all falls back into the water

    So am I doing it all wrong and there is nice and easy way to enjoy the benefits of the solar cover ?
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    That brown stuff is dust and pollen and has a minimal impact on your FC levels. Not much you can do about it going into the pool but honestly it would be going into the pool anyway if the cover weren't there...

    I'd say for your situation have the reel attached to the deck or have extra hands to help?
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    Diver's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    good point on the pollen, it would've been in the pool in first place.

    i didn't want any help with the cover since i want my wife to be able to get the cover off and put it back on herself when i'm at work (she says at home with the baby). if it's difficult for me, then it would be even harder for her.

    i could attach the reel to the deck (concrete), so that might help.

    what is the good way to unroll the cover? use the reel and pull?
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    I have a 16'x40' lazy L pool, and our cover is on a reel also. And it is also not attached to the pool deck. We roll up up, one person usually, carefully to make sure it doesn't bunch up at the ends, and lays flat.

    When unrolling, I'll pull the end off and lay it in the pool, then turn the reel unrolling a bunch, then go and stretch it out, go back to reel, unroll some more, stretch it out, etc. It sound complicated but only takes a few minutes.
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    If the cover gets very dirty, you can use the stream from a hose to push the dirt and debris into the skimmer so the filter can get it out of the pool.
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    I HATE solar covers. I think on a bigger pool they are just a pain in the butt!
    Cleveland, Ohio
    IG 36,000 gallons. Vinyl Liner, Hayward ProGrid 3620 DE Filter, Hayward Super Pump, Hayward Gas Heater

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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    Also have a lazy L type pool and i too agree that it's a PITA to mode the cover...but i've got it down pretty well so it;s not all that bad. I fold my L onto the long side then reel it up. I'm able to do it alone now, the hardest part is getting the fold. I too have many trees around my pool so the cover is constantly getting filled with ****. If it's bad i hose off the leafs and junk into the skimmers, Otherwise i reel it up and then scoop it with the leaf rake/skimmer on my pole. The biggest pain about the cover is that it seems to make more of a mess, Especially in the spring when all the seeds, leafs, etc are falling form the trees. Everything just seems to get stuck and sink, where if there was no cover it would get caught by the skimmers. With my solar heater on and cover on im able to hold in the heat produced much better and longer. Overall i think we will all agree that its a pain but it's surely worth it to hold in the heat early spring/fall. This summer i may spend some time without the cover on, once it's warm enough at night.

    Try a few different methods and you'll figure out whats easiest...ohh FYI it's easiest to put back on while still in the pool.
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    When the solar cover has been on the pool for the week. I will take the garden hose with a powerfull nozzle and wash everything towards the skimmer while the pump is running. Works pretty good. As for unrolling it they make a center rope pull for solar covers.
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    Get a good roller and anchor it in concrete. I like the rocky 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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    Diver's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    5 days worth of **** ..
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    Just a thought, if you took a wet/dry shop vac & modified an attachment so that it would not suck up the cover, perhaps you could set it on the cover then wash the debris towards the suction with a garden hose?

    Our pool is over 1000 miles away so I cannot test this idea but hope it helps.

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    Diver's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    that sounds like a lot of extra work, plus i don't have a vac

    i removed the cover yesterday and tons of stuff went into the pool. there was a lot of yellow water and it colored the deep end green for a while. but then the filter picked it up pretty fast. right after i rolled the cover up the pool had more stuff in it then it had when i opened it this spring!

    what i learned from this is that solar cover while doing a good thing is not as easy and convenient as i thought it would be. i thought my wife should be able to remove and redeploy the cover herself on week days, but i don't think it's feasible anymore.

    as it was mentioned above the yellow stuff is pollen so hopefully it would go away soon. there are still some dead leaves coming from the oaks (i hate the oaks!) so there will still be some derbies ... i'm going to try to stick with the cover for a while until it either gets better, the water gets warm enough or i give up

    it kinda pains me to see my pool being so dirty. during week days. even though it's mostly on the cover. we'll see ..
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    Yes the covers are cumbersome, but I've found in the beginning and end of the season, it's a big help keeping the water a few degrees warmer.

    Our cover looks similar to yours, shape and size, and my wife is able to roll it up and unroll it. I noticed that yours has wheels on the bottom, and ours does not. Can you lock the wheels while you are winding the cover? Or maybe consider removing the wheels so the reel stays stationary?

    Good luck!
    28K IG Vinyl lined pool - 1 skimmer, 2 returns
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    Some people have found it easier to cut the covers into smaller sections to cover and remove. Seems as if you could greatly minimize the junk on top of the cover from going back into the pool as well.
    20x40 IG Vinyl, 1.5 HP Whisperflo, Sta-Rite System 3 (300) Sq. ft Cart
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    Diver's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    i think i got the mechanics of the process kinda covered now. going slow and patient with both rolling up and unrolling seems to help and it doesn't bother me much. it's all the junk from the cover going into the pool at one big dump that sucks.
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    We made our own reel. Purchased two ends from pool supply store, but they have 18 inch wheels on either end, not just the small crank. Then we got a 4 inch aluminum irrigation pipe (about 22 feet long) to connect the ends, drilled holes and bob's yer uncle. I can manage it by myself, usually have to walk back & forth once or twice to adjust the edges. The larger pipe rolls easily and you can get the blanket started on the reel easily.

    You have a big pool, so I can see why it's hard to get the cover off. You'll lose so much heat & chlorine without a cover, but you know that.....

    As for the debris, I use a big leaf net and swoop the the water near the reel as soon as the blanket is off. Gets the big stuff, and I tolerate the fine.
    20 X 40 inground gunite. 38,000 gallons, Jacuzzi Dial Valve Sand Filter, Jacuzzi Magnum 1000 pump. 40 + yrs in (fairly smooth) operation thanks to cussedness and a tiny bit of hydraulic cement.

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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    Quote Originally Posted by applgrl
    We made our own reel. Purchased two ends from pool supply store, but they have 18 inch wheels on either end, not just the small crank. Then we got a 4 inch aluminum irrigation pipe (about 22 feet long) to connect the ends, drilled holes and bob's yer uncle. I can manage it by myself, usually have to walk back & forth once or twice to adjust the edges. The larger pipe rolls easily and you can get the blanket started on the reel easily.

    You have a big pool, so I can see why it's hard to get the cover off. You'll lose so much heat & chlorine without a cover, but you know that.....

    As for the debris, I use a big leaf net and swoop the the water near the reel as soon as the blanket is off. Gets the big stuff, and I tolerate the fine.
    Can you post a picture of ypur home made reel assy? Thanks
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    I have a free form pool and my solar cover is a PAIN and then some, but it does work well when it's on or when its cooler like now in CT or a lot of debris like pollin.

    After much brain damage I cut mine into THREE parts- and then put a 1/2 inch PVC pipe down the middle attached by zip ties. I pull the cover parts to the side of the pool then dump all the dirty water out of the pool. The plastic pipe helps me roll up and carry each section without folding and makes it easier to pull into place- easier but not easy. I dont think I can use a reel due to the shape of the pool. I do plan on adding some supporting PVC pieces to the edges to help keep it in place with wind, and make rolling up maybe a bit easier.

    If anyone has a better idea let me know. I do wish I installed a nice deck mounted cover, but may end up getting to it if I live long enough.

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    Diver's Avatar
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    Re: solar cover - major PIA?

    blakeusa, can you take a picture of your setup?

    right now rolling the cover in and out is not big of a deal for me. it's all the mess that goes into the water that bothers me.

    it does help with the temp and the chlorine usage. it's really cold right now in NE and a week of gain going from 60 to 80 (!) is now half way lost. my chlorine usage for 24 hours is 0.5 ppm though!
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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