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Thread: Solar cover life

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    Solar cover life

    Hi, was wondering how long the average solar cover should last?
    This is the 3rd season for our solar cover and this year it seems to have really deteriorated.
    Almost like a dry rot, could it be the excessive heat this year, This summer has been very hot in our area and I usually leave our pool covered when not in use.
    Thanks in advance!
    18' x 33' Aqua leader AGP (~19k gal) w/hayward swimpro voyager cartridge filter and 2hp hayward pump.
    8 Gal LQ, hayward heater.

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    mikespoolfl's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    2 to 3 years seems about the most I get out of them.
    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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    Re: Solar cover life

    I had one only last 2 seasons, but I left it out in the heat during the middle of the summer. I think it was 8mil, my new cover is 12mil and I've kept it covered with a tarp when not in use. I'm hoping to get 3+ seasons out of it.
    Aaron
    [ Vogue Vectra 24' AG | Hard plumb: Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 1HP 2-speed, 27" sand filter & Pentair MiniMax 100 NG | Taylor K-2006 | Central IL ]
    Powered by: TFP, PoolMath & TFTestkits

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    Re: Solar cover life

    I think if you monitor the heat savings overnite from a solar cover, you will see they are not worth it at nite, drop of 4 degree's is average with cover on and 5 degree's when cover is off. Also, there are studies showing that the suns ray heat water better when they can penetrate. If you are looking at loss of heat due to wind, I would suggest you get a liquid solar cover. I have tossed my cover, mainly because I like to look at water and not some filthy blanket that is constantly covered in pollen dust. THe liquid cover is working fine for me. I should note I use solar heat, so not worried about loss of cash out the window from another heat source.

    Just my two cents

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    Re: Solar cover life

    I would have to disagree with pooladdict. We love our solar cover and see a big difference on the cool nights when we forget to put it on.

    Ours only lasted 2 seasons and I just ordered another one. Planning to keep the receipt so if the new one fails before it's 3 year mark we can write in for help paying for the next one hopefully.

    I like ours not just for the blanket effect on cool nights, but also for the added benefit of it catching leaves and debris during storms that might cause our skimmer and center drain to become covered with leaves and cause a pump failure. We have several trees near our pool that simply can't come down ... some neighbor trees and 2 beautiful walnut trees that shed like crazy. The cover catches many of the leaves and we are better able to clean up the debris left from any storm that might blow through.
    Indiana, ABG 24'x52" Galveston by Blue Cascade (Craigslist buy w/part of deck included), 13,500 gallons, Intex SWG, solar panels mix 2, TF-100 test kit.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    I would also point out that the liquid solar covers tend to ONLY be effective if you have calm air ... otherwise the wind moves the thin layer to one end and the uncovered end looses heat to evaporation. Also you have to continually add more of the product as it does break down.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    MikeInNH's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    3 years is about max for a solar cover. I just replaced mine with a 12mil which in my opinion is too thick now that I have it. I wouldn't go without one though, I believe it is the reason my pool maintains close to 80 degrees seeing we've been having lots of 60 degree nights. I had a long span of 84 degree water but with some rain lately and the cold nights it dipped a bit. I think it was back up to 82 today. The other huge plus is less loss of water. Wind is pretty constant where my pool is so it helps in that way too.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    I can't tell you how much warmer it made my pool, it did last 3-4 years but it seemed to spend 90% of its time warming my deck or in a crumpled pile on my wood chips. I hated taking it on and off.

    It did seem to add some warmth to the top foot but when it was most effective...100+ degree days... I wanted the water cooler. I am in the pool, not a bath.

    I could not bring myself to spend $200 for a reel to hold a $100 cover.... that was in the way of swimming.

    I am without now. Maybe if I invested in a solar setup to make the season last longer? I usually am swimming from late May until October if it stays warm.
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    MikeInNH's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    Quote Originally Posted by techguy
    I could not bring myself to spend $200 for a reel to hold a $100 cover.... that was in the way of swimming.

    I am without now. Maybe if I invested in a solar setup to make the season last longer? I usually am swimming from late May until October if it stays warm.
    It sounds quite a bit warmer where you are. Our temps usually don't go much over 92 so anything we can do to get maintain heat in the water is good. My reel was $100 on sale and we've had it almost as long as we've had the pool. It's pretty easy to roll up and move aside, my kids deal with it all the time. You can see it on the right side of this picture. You can also see the 2 solar panels I have to help with water temps. download/file.php?id=19410&mode=view
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    Central CA is a little warmer than your place. I have considered solar as my wife likes it warmer than I do. We can hit 92 by 8 AM.

    If I do solar, I may need to find a cover for her.
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Re: Solar cover life

    I also disagree with pooladdict. We come from the same neck of the woods, and according to my math, the solar cover is well worth the money, particularly in our more northerly climate, where our annual propane pool heating bills can run up to $1000 (pooladdict is using solar, so doesn't have these bills). My propane company tells me they have one customer who doesn't use one, and "he is a very good customer"! I am quite confident I save much more than the $50 or so a year that a cover costs.
    I rarely have to use the pool heater in July or August, and find the big saving with the solar cover is the lack of cooling at night, particularly in our shoulder months (late May, June and Sept.). Leaving the cover on also keeps the chemical use down on hot sunny days (less CL eaten by the sun) when we are not using it, and both keeps it from cooling down from evaporation and keeps the leaves out on windy days. I also keep it on when out of town and with the help of a puck feeder and a timer, always return to a clear pool (it also helps keep the neighborhood kids from wanting to use it). From experience, 2 seasons is the norm for an 8 mil cover, and 3 for a 12, making the thicker model well worth the extra $25 or so. A roller is essential, in order to make it easy to use. I don't bother covering it when it is on the roller, and don't pay attention to the warranty, as it is generally pro-rated, and not worth the paperwork, as the covers aren't very expensive, anyway. I leave the cover out in the snow and wind all winter, putting a couple of bungee cords around it to keep it on the roller.

    Quote Originally Posted by Suziqzer
    I would have to disagree with pooladdict. We love our solar cover and see a big difference on the cool nights when we forget to put it on.

    Ours only lasted 2 seasons and I just ordered another one. Planning to keep the receipt so if the new one fails before it's 3 year mark we can write in for help paying for the next one hopefully.

    I like ours not just for the blanket effect on cool nights, but also for the added benefit of it catching leaves and debris during storms that might cause our skimmer and center drain to become covered with leaves and cause a pump failure. We have several trees near our pool that simply can't come down ... some neighbor trees and 2 beautiful walnut trees that shed like crazy. The cover catches many of the leaves and we are better able to clean up the debris left from any storm that might blow through.
    18X36' 25000 gal Jacuzzi vinyl Inground Pool (1985) with resin sidewalls, newer Jacuzzi 1 hp two-speed pump and sand filter. Raypak propane heater, Rainbow 320 chlorinator (mostly use bleach).
    Softtub 220 portable hot tub.

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    I wouldn't live without our solar cover at night in the spring and early fall.

    To answer OP's question...2-3 year is the best we have done on solar cover life and our season is 4-5 months at best.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: Solar cover life

    Off the top of my head I'm thinking our overnight loss on nights under 70 can be as much as 8 degrees. With the cover that number is closer to 4 or 5. If I'm trying to maintain the temperature overnight (using a gas heater) I'm sure the cover saves me at least a third of the run time needed to maintain the same temp without it.
    Aaron
    [ Vogue Vectra 24' AG | Hard plumb: Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 1HP 2-speed, 27" sand filter & Pentair MiniMax 100 NG | Taylor K-2006 | Central IL ]
    Powered by: TFP, PoolMath & TFTestkits

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    Re: Solar cover life

    I am on year 2 for my 8 mil cover. I am noticing a few bubbles collecting in the skimmer, so I am thinking that if I try to get a 3rd year out of it, it will probably fall apart. I bought mine during the winter months and did a lot of searching on-line to compare prices. I bought a 28' round for just about $100. That is $50/year and it saves me bleach, water, I have no need for solar heating or any other supplemental heating and it makes the wife happy with the temperatures (priceless). I really don't think that I lose anywhere near 4 degrees/night and I know that I can heat it up with the cover on. I actually have the cover off right now because the pool temp is around 96 and that is in Pennsylvania, although we have been having some very hot weather. I can tell the difference in the trips I am making to get bleach that I have the cover off.
    So, I am happy with about a $50/year cost and the benefits that I derive from it.
    28 foot doughboy AGP, dug out to 5 foot, about 18,000 gallons
    1 1/2 HP pump and 100 lb sand filter
    South Central Pennsylvania

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    I find that the pool loses about half the heat overnight with the cover than without the cover (3 vs 6 degrees). I also heat via solar and because of the difference in heat loss, I can run the pump half as much with the cover than without to maintain water temperature. So even when using solar, there are energy savings due to the reduced pump run time not to mention the water savings due to reduced evaporation.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    MikeInNH's Avatar
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    Re: Solar cover life

    Quote Originally Posted by barnyard
    I am on year 2 for my 8 mil cover. I am noticing a few bubbles collecting in the skimmer, so I am thinking that if I try to get a 3rd year out of it, it will probably fall apart.
    Mine was just starting when I put it on after opening. A couple weeks later so many bubbles were falling off that it was clogging my strainer. Oh well, the new one is fine.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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