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Thread: solar blanket alternatives

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    dayhiker's Avatar
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    solar blanket alternatives

    It's time to replace my solar blanket, so I've been doing some searches to price them out. I came across some hexagonal discs that you put out, but they are either discontinued or on backorder, as they are listed as not available. I like the idea of isolated items that would be easy to place. I found some discs that are pretty similar. These had mixed reviews. I then came across some black discs about 4' in diameter. The material is only listed as Coast Guard approved UV insulation. It seemed like a good system but was pricey at $40 each. I would need 35-ish. I did a couple of searches and found closed cell foam insulation like you would use for a backpacking mattress. I doubt that this is the exact material, but I bet it's close. I am very tempted to buy sheets of the closed cell foam, cutting it into shapes and giving it a try. It's more expensive than a blanket, but the thought of being able to place and retrieve them easier along with easier storage is very attractive.

    Does anyone have any experience using disc type products in lieu of a solar blanket? Am I nuts for thinking what I described above might work?

    Here's a link to the foam: http://www.foamorder.com/closedcell.html

    Here's a link to the hexagon stuff that's no longer available: http://www.inyopools.com/Reviews/NS7912-6
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    The main function of a solar blanket is to reduce heat loss due to evaporation. If you do not cover most of the pool, then you will still loose heat. From what I have read, the floating disks do not stay in place if there is wind and certainly do not cover all of the pool surface.

    I had one of the HEX bubble covers and found that in the corners of the bubble, the material was thinner and they would fail more quickly in the corners.

    Stick with the cheapest blanket you can find as they all seem to fail pretty quickly anyway.

    EDIT to add link to relevant thread:
    does-clear-solar-covers-realy-get-the-water-warmer-t51988.html

    Unconfirmed aside:
    You could probably get most of the heat retention benefit from putting a clear plastic sheet over the pool. The blankets really do not "heat the water" very much.
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    dayhiker's Avatar
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Regular plastic would work, but is still bulky. This article does a pretty good job explaining the whole thing: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/w ... opic=13140

    Using circles of foam would cover about 70% of the area. Not ideal, but not too bad. The foam would be several times more expensive than the blanket though. That's a bummer, but taking that blanket on and off is just a pain.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Also realize though that the heat is added to the pool by the sun. If you put foam on the water, the sun will not be able to heat the water as you have now insulated it.

    I suppose you could pull the foam off every day and put it on every night.

    Have you tried to cut the blanket into a few smaller pieces? That is pretty common.
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    dayhiker's Avatar
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Yes, I'm just trying to hold the heat in at night and realize it won't add heat. I do have solar panels for that.

    I may wind up trying getting one and cutting it into strips. As-is, I can put the blanket on and take it off by myself, but my wife cannot, so that's part of the issue too. I only need them in April, May, late Aug, and Sept. Once school starts, the pool doesn't get used much because if the blanket is on over night, then when she gets the kids home from school, they can't really get in until I'm there to deal with the blanket.

    The system that triggered the thoughts on foam was pretty neat, they had about a 2" dia. hole in the middle of the disc and then you took a pole to grab the hole. They then had a storage rack that was a base with a dowel sticking up and you just stacked the discs on the dowel. It seemed very well thought out. Enough 1" closed foam to cover the pool is knocking $1000, so that isn't the ultimate solution, but something similar sure would be nice. Heck, that's not much cheaper than just buying their system. The convenience isn't worth $1000 price difference.
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    have you considered the liquid pool stuff. I am in the process of building and researching. A coworker said he is using the liquid pool cover and it appears to be working. maybe some input from other as i am technically still a newbie and still learning. wife would not have to.remove it. sorry, sent from my phone. think it is heatsvr.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    The liquid only works if you have basically zero wind. Add a little wind and the alcohol is blown across the surface of the pool leaving only the downwind side covered.
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    good to know. thanks
    Seablue Grecian IG 18' x 37'(3' to 8' depth), Pentair Superflo 1hp(SF-N1-1A), Pentair Sand Dollar SD80, CircuPool RJ60 SWCG,1 x Intellibrite 5G Color LED, Diving Board, Home Made Solar Tube Heating System
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Maybe you need to focus on making the cover easier to put on/take off. Do you have a reel, and can you locate it a one end?
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    The reason that I've never gotten a real is that it seems like it's in the way. You'd pretty much limit access to the pool at the deep end from the diving board only. It may not be as big of a deal as I'm making it, but that's why I've resisted it.

    It sounds like getting a new blanket and cutting it at each seam is the way to go. I think that would leave 4 long strips. I guess you can just roll each one individually for storage and when it's time to place it, you just unroll one, push it out into the pool, unroll the next in the same spot, then you have 2 down, then repeat on the opposite end. The rolls are then narrow enough and light enough to more easily manage.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Check of carlscan26's link and info in this thread ... might be a good/easier way to remove the covers.
    best-solar-cover-reel-for-igp-t40965.html

    I think it I get a cover, I am going to go the route described there. I can not put a reel anywhere as I have boulders in the way all around the pool.
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    I think someone mentioned this earlier in the thread, but what about using plastic sheeting or a tarp. 1 or 2 mil plastic sheeting is probably durable enough to last the season, could be folded up into a much smaller size than a solar cover, and will prevent heat loss due to evaporation. You would probably get something for less than $20.
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Check of carlscan26's link and info in this thread ... might be a good/easier way to remove the covers.
    best-solar-cover-reel-for-igp-t40965.html

    I think it I get a cover, I am going to go the route described there. I can not put a reel anywhere as I have boulders in the way all around the pool.
    I like that design alot.
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by faby3003
    I think someone mentioned this earlier in the thread, but what about using plastic sheeting or a tarp. 1 or 2 mil plastic sheeting is probably durable enough to last the season, could be folded up into a much smaller size than a solar cover, and will prevent heat loss due to evaporation. You would probably get something for less than $20.
    The thing about a sheet, is no bubbles to pop that then grow algae.
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by dayhiker
    It sounds like getting a new blanket and cutting it at each seam is the way to go. .
    i regret cuttting mine. The wind blows it around exposing parts of the water - loosing heat. Alsoo the pump during the day moves the pieces around. 18' AGP cut into 3 strips

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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    I still have not covered my new-to-me pool at all due to the pita factor, Grecian shape and awkward footprint of decking area.
    I am using cover free, but I have nothing to compare it to.
    It does make quite a difference, though, compared to without it. Eg. After a cold night if I swim in the am as soon as I "break" the surface tension by diving in you can watch the steam rise, but prior there is very little. Last night it was down in the low 60s and this am pool is 81 degrees, down from 83 last night. However, if it had been in the 50s, id have expectedMeire like a 5 degree drop. At night I turn off the filter so that the water stays calm, which is when the cover free seems to work the best.

    Ultimately, someday I'd like a retrofit built-in automatic cover (I think) but even with higher heat costs I'm not sure I'd get much of an ROI on it...but ask me again after I battle leaves this fall

    Hope that helps.
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    i have a proper L-shaped pool and the cover only covers the main rectangular of the pool. about 80%. and it still makes a huge difference. so it doesn't have to be a perfect fit
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by hayabusa3
    Quote Originally Posted by dayhiker
    It sounds like getting a new blanket and cutting it at each seam is the way to go. .
    i regret cuttting mine. The wind blows it around exposing parts of the water - loosing heat. Alsoo the pump during the day moves the pieces around. 18' AGP cut into 3 strips
    Fill some bleach bottles with water and scatter them about.
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
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    Re: solar blanket alternatives

    $45 - I think I'll just splash for a new one next season

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