# Thread: how to do solar cover & reel for irregular shaped pool

1. ## how to do solar cover & reel for irregular shaped pool

We still don't have a working heater for the pool (that's for a different topic) so we don't have any historic costs to go by, but after looking at info about heating costs we were slightly shocked to hear that heating alone even here in the Los Angeles area would cost around \$2000 or maybe even more per year, but that with a solar cover you would actually cut costs way down to just a few hundred dollars/year...

So, considering we thought our gas bill was running high already during the cold months without a pool heater, I immediately started looking at the options for a solar cover, and then you of course need a reel for it as well.

As you can see on the picture we have a very irregular shaped pool, so what I'm thinking of doing is buy a rectangular shaped solar cover big enough to fit the entire pool and then cut out the shape of the pool (according to descriptions I've seen on the pool covers you can do that) which because of the shape unfortunately means I have to buy a cover that's much bigger than the avg size of the pool, but at least it's not a huge cost, but then there's the question of the reel.

It seems like typically you put the reel across the "width" of the pool, and since the max length of our pool is about 35ft, and max width of about 23ft I've hardly seen any reels wider than about 21-24ft, but then because of the shape it would seem to be difficult to reel in the entire 23ft wide cover, can you fold the cover from the protruding areas and just reel it in like that? In that case I would probably only need like a ~16ft reel, or should I buy a 23ft reel and roll it to the widest part of the pool and then reel in / fold in, fold out as it reels?
Or, should I buy a smaller rectangular shaped cover and split it into multiple smaller separate sections for the protruding areas (which would then basically mean one large cover approx 35x16, and then like 4 additional pieces to cover the rounded areas... but I'm guessing I would lose a lot of the heat insulating properties by doing that?

For those of you with this type of irregular shaped pools, how do you do it? Any help on this would be appreciated!

Also for buying the reel & cover, there are a lot of brands & models to choose from, any recommendations / things to keep in mind? Are some reel models more convenient to reel in yourself, sturdier/more stalbe & what not?

Thanks!

2. ## Re: how to do solar cover & reel for irregular shaped pool

There are a couple of different approaches that work, though all of them are a little more work each time than if you had a rectangular pool. The two most obvious you already mentioned.

You could cut a large cover to fit the pool and fold in the edges before reeling it in. This approach means a double thickness on the reel, which means getting a reel that can handle the extra bulk/weight.

Cutting separate sections for each of the protruding areas can also work. That makes the reel much easier to manage, less total cover to hold and no double thickness. But it means gathering up each of the other sections and putting them back out every time. This does not cause problems with heat loss, at least most of the time. A major wind could overlap the pieces, reducing coverage, though that should be rare.

3. ## Re: how to do solar cover & reel for irregular shaped pool

Originally Posted by JasonLion
There are a couple of different approaches that work, though all of them are a little more work each time than if you had a rectangular pool. The two most obvious you already mentioned.

You could cut a large cover to fit the pool and fold in the edges before reeling it in. This approach means a double thickness on the reel, which means getting a reel that can handle the extra bulk/weight.

Cutting separate sections for each of the protruding areas can also work. That makes the reel much easier to manage, less total cover to hold and no double thickness. But it means gathering up each of the other sections and putting them back out every time. This does not cause problems with heat loss, at least most of the time. A major wind could overlap the pieces, reducing coverage, though that should be rare.
Thanks for the reply, so which of the two would be the preferred option here? I've seen some reels that say they can handle 100ft so for my 33-35ft pool those double thickness parts shouldn't be a problem there right? So assuming I get a reel that can handle it, would that be the better option to have one big piece and fold?
Even if I cut the separate sections I still need to store them or reel them in one way or the other... Any other options I didn't think of?

Also about the reel I'm not sure what to get, if my pool width is about 16ft excluding the rounded areas would I be better off buying a 16ft reel or one that extends to 21-24ft?

4. ## Re: how to do solar cover & reel for irregular shaped pool

I have a kidney bean shaped pool and I had troubles reeling in the cover lengthwise, so I cut my cover in half and reel the cover in from the side of the pool. My pool is considered to be 18 X 30, so with the shape of the pool each piece was roughly 15 X 15. I have two sections to reel in, but it is much easier to reel in when you don't have to fold the cover or having to reel the cover up and over the edges of the pool.

It does make it a little harder to get the cover back on the pool if you are not in the water, but there are fixes for that. You can attach something on the edges of the cover so you can pull with a string, I used the clamps that came with the reel and attached a line to the clamps to help pull the cover, or use your pool brush to manipulate the cover in place. To reel in the cover, I just start it by hand, it was easier than using the clamps they supplied with the cover.

I got my stuff from http://www.solarcovers.com/, shipping was fast and they seem to be priced right. Look for different sizes of covers, some of the more common larger sizes might be cheaper than one that just fits the pool. I bought the reel in the in-ground section and is listed as stainless steel reel. I have only used it for 3 months, but so far I'm happy with it. There isn't any gearing to break down and it is easy enough to reel in with my solar cover.

5. ## Re: how to do solar cover & reel for irregular shaped pool

Originally Posted by ping
I have a kidney bean shaped pool and I had troubles reeling in the cover lengthwise, so I cut my cover in half and reel the cover in from the side of the pool. My pool is considered to be 18 X 30, so with the shape of the pool each piece was roughly 15 X 15. I have two sections to reel in, but it is much easier to reel in when you don't have to fold the cover or having to reel the cover up and over the edges of the pool.

It does make it a little harder to get the cover back on the pool if you are not in the water, but there are fixes for that. You can attach something on the edges of the cover so you can pull with a string, I used the clamps that came with the reel and attached a line to the clamps to help pull the cover, or use your pool brush to manipulate the cover in place. To reel in the cover, I just start it by hand, it was easier than using the clamps they supplied with the cover.

I got my stuff from http://www.solarcovers.com/, shipping was fast and they seem to be priced right. Look for different sizes of covers, some of the more common larger sizes might be cheaper than one that just fits the pool. I bought the reel in the in-ground section and is listed as stainless steel reel. I have only used it for 3 months, but so far I'm happy with it. There isn't any gearing to break down and it is easy enough to reel in with my solar cover.
Thanks for the tip about solarcovers.com, they seem to have some of the best prices and good info.
I'll try to do it in one piece, get a reel that covers as much as possible of the width and fold the rest and I guess we'll see how that works

6. ## Re: how to do solar cover & reel for irregular shaped pool

Thanks for the link to solarcovers. I was looking for one for my 18 x 40 irregular pool and took your advice.

Originally Posted by ping
I have a kidney bean shaped pool and I had troubles reeling in the cover lengthwise, so I cut my cover in half and reel the cover in from the side of the pool. My pool is considered to be 18 X 30, so with the shape of the pool each piece was roughly 15 X 15. I have two sections to reel in, but it is much easier to reel in when you don't have to fold the cover or having to reel the cover up and over the edges of the pool.

It does make it a little harder to get the cover back on the pool if you are not in the water, but there are fixes for that. You can attach something on the edges of the cover so you can pull with a string, I used the clamps that came with the reel and attached a line to the clamps to help pull the cover, or use your pool brush to manipulate the cover in place. To reel in the cover, I just start it by hand, it was easier than using the clamps they supplied with the cover.

I got my stuff from http://www.solarcovers.com/, shipping was fast and they seem to be priced right. Look for different sizes of covers, some of the more common larger sizes might be cheaper than one that just fits the pool. I bought the reel in the in-ground section and is listed as stainless steel reel. I have only used it for 3 months, but so far I'm happy with it. There isn't any gearing to break down and it is easy enough to reel in with my solar cover.

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