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Thread: No more Solar Cover

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    tcat's Avatar
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    No more Solar Cover

    Being a new pool owner mid-summer, I decided to buy a solar cover thinking it would keep leaves out of the pool and warm the water some. Cut to fit and installed 3 or 4 weeks ago. Now that leaves and acorns have been falling, I decided it's MUCH easier to keep the pool clean without the cover. Removed the cover today, did some net scooping, let the Kreepy Krawly run a couple hours, and pool looks so much better. May put it back on in the spring to see if it actually warms the water at all, but it really just makes for a lot more work!

    I think some solar panels, and Liquidator will probably be a much better investment.
    IG pebble, 15,000 gallon
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    The solar cover isn't designed to keep the leaves and acorns out of the pool. You need a winter cover for that. The solar coverwill definitely help next spring when you need to warm up the water.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    From what I have read on this board, a solar cover mainly helps by preventing evaporation - so nightly use is more important that daytime use. Off when the sun is hitting the pool, on when it isn't - is supposedly the most efficient. It allows the sunlight to warm the water and then prevents the losses due to evaporation after the sun is no longer on the water. You can leave it on during the sunlight but it is supposedly less efficient when you do this.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    It all depends on the color. A clear cover allows the sun to heat through the cover, A dark cover absorbs the heat and a silver cover reflects the heat. So with a silver cover it's especially important to remove the cover during the day.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    It all depends on the color. A clear cover allows the sun to heat through the cover, A dark cover absorbs the heat and a silver cover reflects the heat. So with a silver cover it's especially important to remove the cover during the day.
    Somewhere I saw a study where they showed heat gain was best with no cover, second best with a clear cover etc.

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    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by UnderWaterVanya
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    It all depends on the color. A clear cover allows the sun to heat through the cover, A dark cover absorbs the heat and a silver cover reflects the heat. So with a silver cover it's especially important to remove the cover during the day.
    Somewhere I saw a study where they showed heat gain was best with no cover, second best with a clear cover etc.

    Sent via Tapatalk...
    Link would be helpful
    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: No more Solar Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by UnderWaterVanya
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    It all depends on the color. A clear cover allows the sun to heat through the cover, A dark cover absorbs the heat and a silver cover reflects the heat. So with a silver cover it's especially important to remove the cover during the day.
    Somewhere I saw a study where they showed heat gain was best with no cover, second best with a clear cover etc.

    Sent via Tapatalk...
    I'd love to see something definitive. I never know whether to have my cover on or off, depending on whether the sun's shining or not, how the air temp compares to the water temp, how much wind there is... there are so many variables. Should I remove my blue cover when the sun is shining, but keep it on if it's cloudy? What if it's sunny but there's lots of wind, or the air temp is lower than the water temp? I mostly just leave it on; it's easier that way.
    14,500 gallons, Clean and Clear 150 cartridge, IG, gunite, USQ 1152 1.5 hp motor (3450 rpm), Pentair Pinnacle Pump

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    tcat's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    I think someone should "invent/manufacture" bubble wrap with a large round bubble (like 6" dia) formed in the shape of several magnifying glasses (lens shaped), that magnify the sun to a point (you know like the fires we started when we were kids)... now THAT should heat the pool up! Or maybe a large lens mounted on an arm over the pool with the focal point on the pool surface... with motorized gimbal system that followed the sun.

    My pool is much cleaner and easier to maintain now that I put my cover in the garage! And just as cold.
    IG pebble, 15,000 gallon
    48” PentAir DE Filter with backwash valve
    PentAir Whisperflo pump with 1hp 2-speed motor
    Aquabot 4WD, Poolskim
    Intermatic Dual Timeclock with freezeguard
    DIY chlorine feed
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by SebringDon
    Quote Originally Posted by UnderWaterVanya
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    It all depends on the color. A clear cover allows the sun to heat through the cover, A dark cover absorbs the heat and a silver cover reflects the heat. So with a silver cover it's especially important to remove the cover during the day.
    Somewhere I saw a study where they showed heat gain was best with no cover, second best with a clear cover etc.

    Sent via Tapatalk...
    I'd love to see something definitive. I never know whether to have my cover on or off, depending on whether the sun's shining or not, how the air temp compares to the water temp, how much wind there is... there are so many variables. Should I remove my blue cover when the sun is shining, but keep it on if it's cloudy? What if it's sunny but there's lots of wind, or the air temp is lower than the water temp? I mostly just leave it on; it's easier that way.
    The details of the studies that back this US Government claim are not available to me (yet) but it's consistent with what I have read in a number of places: http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/ ... ool-covers

    No cover is best heat gain from solar radiation; clear is next best; opaque is worst.
    There is nothing in this that says what happens if there is dry wind and the air temp is lower than the water temp - in that case I would suspect a clear cover would outperform no cover since the loss vs. no cover in heating is 5-15% and I would expect evaporative cooling impact to be > than 15% of the original heat gain.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    Another document source:
    http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/28038.pdf

    This says the same basic thing but goes on to say that using one during the day may help and says that the drier and cooler the air the more this may apply. It also is pretty clear that the cover should be on at night no matter what (when not swimming) if you are trying to retain heat.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    This doesn't directly address the studies but does have some really cool software for calculating your heat losses and determining the cost to maintain your pool. I was shocked by the cost factor of heating an indoor pool vs. an outdoor one.

    http://www.rlmartin.com/rspec/software.htm
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    tcat's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    WOW! $250 to heat an outdoor pool in Dallas? I guess my normal temp is 82 and if you're only heating to 82, I guess that makes "some" sense. But really amazing numbers in that chart. Not to logical in my mind.


    Quote Originally Posted by UnderWaterVanya
    This doesn't directly address the studies but does have some really cool software for calculating your heat losses and determining the cost to maintain your pool. I was shocked by the cost factor of heating an indoor pool vs. an outdoor one.

    http://www.rlmartin.com/rspec/software.htm
    IG pebble, 15,000 gallon
    48” PentAir DE Filter with backwash valve
    PentAir Whisperflo pump with 1hp 2-speed motor
    Aquabot 4WD, Poolskim
    Intermatic Dual Timeclock with freezeguard
    DIY chlorine feed
    BBB

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    kenandshari's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    We lived in Killeen, TX for 6 years so we're pretty familiar with the weather in Austin (nice city and TX is a great state to live in.) Our weather in Savannah is similar but much more humid so I'd expect evaporation to be greater in Austin and a cover will help with heat loss and extra chemical usage due to evaporation loss. The "steam" you see coming off of the water at night is your heat leaving the pool (or any body of water for that matter.)

    We have a clear solar cover and solar heater and here's what we've found works for us: We use ours from about late Feb-early March untill late May, then no cover typically until late Sept. Solar heat use is typically from last freeze (late Feb early Mar) until early June, then again from mid Sep until late Nov. We generally maintain a pretty warm pool through the summer (84-89) depending on weather conditions, without using the cover at all. The heater is on a thermostat so we really don't shut it off in the summer, we just set a temp of about 86 and it keeps it there as needed. I've noticed that it does not run much from mid June - Aug though. The cover basically minimizes heat loss over night and if you get a cold spell. As for adding heat, the cover is a layer of insulation so it would seem that heat transfer would actually be greater (given direct sunlight and water temp < air temp) with the cover removed. The pool definitely looks better without the cover which is why we remove it once we are done swimming for the season. (Nov-Feb). As for cleaning, I think it is personal preference on that. We have a roller and when using the cover it is pretty easy to skim everything off right after we roll up the cover as all of the trash ends up falling off under the roller. Hope this helps you in your choices.
    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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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: No more Solar Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by tcat
    WOW! $250 to heat an outdoor pool in Dallas? I guess my normal temp is 82 and if you're only heating to 82, I guess that makes "some" sense. But really amazing numbers in that chart. Not to logical in my mind.


    Quote Originally Posted by UnderWaterVanya
    This doesn't directly address the studies but does have some really cool software for calculating your heat losses and determining the cost to maintain your pool. I was shocked by the cost factor of heating an indoor pool vs. an outdoor one.

    http://www.rlmartin.com/rspec/software.htm
    Try this calculator to get more control over the variables you are setting. Be careful not to hit calculate before you setup the schedule - I did and nearly choked on the $27K bill for heating the pool 100% of the time 365 days a year!
    http://www.energyexperts.org/Calculator ... lator.aspx
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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