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Thread: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

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    gfxguru's Avatar
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    Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    So, we're still hovering around a pool temp of 85˚ which may last another week or two. In an effort to extend our swimming season a bit more, I'd like to invest in a color cover. So far it seems SolarCover.com offers the best deal.

    Having an irregular shaped pool



    I would have the option of going with an oval or rectangle. I think the rectangle would make more sense as I'm going to end up having to cut it anyway to fit the contours of the pool, plus it it a slightly cheaper price. Pool size is 15' 5" x 26' 7".

    My question in on the thickness and pattern. Is 12mil thick enough or would I want 16mil? The worry here is ease of removal. I have contemplated cutting the cover into 3 or 4 pieces across the pool once it is cut to the pool form. This way, the struggle to roll up or pull out the cover is not as much work. Is the extra 4mil going to add or maintain that much more heat?

    Secondly, I see there is the standard circle shape bubbles or the diamond shape. The crystal clear seems to be the best for heat retention and longevity, but the diamond shape appears to create more heat than the circle shapes. The only downside to the diamond shape is the full warranty is only 1 year versus 2 years on the circle shape. Does anyone have experience with the diamond shape cover?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    I just get whatever is cheapest. None of the covers seem to last longer than a year or two, regardless of what they claim, and even a cheap cover will last that long. The details of the diamond shape, etc, don't seem to make much difference.
    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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    mikespoolfl's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    The easier to get the cover on and off the more you will use it. I would try and figure a way to use a cover roller and maybe have one piece that you would have to remove manually. As Jason said 2 years is about max life. The diamond shape will void the warranty on most reels, they trap to much water making the cover to heavy for the reel.
    Screen enclosed 17K gal 16x30 IG with Diamond Brite finish, elevated 4 jet spa with spill over, Twin dolphin fountain, Hayward Ecostar pump[ Pentair intelliflo VS, Filter Sta rite Posi-Flo PTM 100, Aqua Cal heat pump, Tiger Shark QC robotic cleaner.
    Stenner peristaltic pump model 45MPHP10, 15 gal storage tank. TF 100 with Speed Stir.

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    kenandshari's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    We used a 12 mil clear (mid range) cover last spring with good results. We cut it into 2 pieces for ease of use. Back when night time lows were in the high 50 to low 60 range we would lose about 6 -8 deg overnight without the cover and gain it all back in the day. With the cover we seemed to lose about 2 - 3 deg at night which made our daytime gains better. Don't make the mistake we made by leaving our rolled cover hanging on fence hooks unprotected all summer. Basically the UV destroyed it this summer. This also voided the warranty. Had we followed the instructions better we probably would have gotten more than a few months use out of it. As a result we just ordered a new cover for the fall swim season. When we stop using it next spring it will be dried out and stored in the garage away from the effects of the summer sun. Chalk it up to a relatively cheap learning experience.
    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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    gfxguru's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    Thanks guys. I guess I'll save a few extra dollars and just get the regular 12mil cover. $83 with free shipping ins't that bad, even if it only last 1-2 years.

    I assume though if I cut it, that voids the warranty? I cannot find any details or specifics on the warranty.

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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    Like Jason said, cheapest is probably your best option.
    Most instructions tell you to cut it to fit in your pool rather than lay over the top, so I don't know if that will void the warranty or not.

    Speaking of warranty, everything they seem to cover is based on your typical mfg. defects. It's a giant roll of bubble wrap, IMO there is not much to be covered.
    They don't cover bubbles popping, or tears, or even the sun deterioration. So this should probably not be your biggest deciding factor.

    I have had a blue and this year a clear cover. I like the clear personally, it tends to heat the pool better by allowing light to pass through during the day, but retains it at night. That's my preference.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    I just got my solar cover last week and have already noticed a wonderful difference. I did go for the 16 mil since it was only a few dollars more, but I may go for the 12 next time. We'll see how this one holds up. I also have an irregular shaped pool and I got the rectangle and cut it to fit. It's super easy to cut, kinda like cutting wrapping paper. I would suggest getting the solar reel too. We had a few parts missing so we got to try the rolling it off manually and it was kinda awkward and takes at least 2 people. My hubby has back issues, so the reel was a must anyways (friend helped me take it off manually). Today was my first day with the reel and while it's still kinda awkward to me, I can do it by myself and I definitely like that. The water temp was perfect for us.
    Not to hijack, but I am curious if it's okay to leave it on all winter?
    B
    15,000 gallons, Cartridge Filters, IG,

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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    I had a 12 mil blue one for 2 years, then got a grey 16 mil. The 16 mil was heavier on the reel, and lasted 2 years. The blue one lasted 2 years and worked as well as the thicker one. I ordered another 12 mil for next year. In my limited experience, you get limited returns on the thicker cover. I think any of them only last a couple of seasons, especially if you use them all the time. IMO, a warrenty on a solor cover is almost useless. All that said, I wouldnt be without one. The heat they retain pays for the cover in no time. I have found they dont do much to actually put heat in the water, though.
    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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    chiefwej's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    I have actually had them replace my pool cover under warranty. I called them, they had me cut a 2x2 piece of the cover and send it. The bubbles were all breaking and flaking off. It was within the free replacement period and they honored it.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    kenandshari's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover thickness/pattern help?

    Update on our solar cover that got UV'd out over the summer: After reading posts on pool solar covers here we figured that it wouldn't hurt to send in a sample and see if warranty would cover ours rather than assume that we voided it (which we were pretty sure we did). We called Midwest Canvas and told them what happened and really were not expecting anything other than being told to take better care of our cover. Midwest Canvas instructed us to send in a sample for inspection and about 2 weeks later we received a new cover free of charge. Since we had already cut the one we bought this fall we own it, so it looks like we now have a spare for when this one wears out and a lesson learned about solar cover care. Highly recommend Midwest Canvas based on the way they honored the warranty even though I'm pretty sure it was our fault. MIDWEST CANVAS Solar Cover
    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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