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Thread: Solar pool cover

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    Solar pool cover

    We've had our AG pool for 4 years and are considering buying a solar cover mainly to use in early spring and early fall when the outdoor temperature is warm enough to swim but the water is too cold (i.e., this past week, the outdoor temp has been in the mid 80's, but the pool temp is mid 70's). Our pool is in direct sunlight most of the day. I'd like to know how a solar cover works. I've read too much on the web, and am confused above when to place the cover on the pool. Any help would be appreciated.
    15K, AG, Cartridge Filter

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Solar pool cover

    Welcome to TFP.

    Solar covers are great at retaining heat at night due to heat loss from evaporation. They will raise temp slightly during the day if the air and water temp are about the same and it is a sunny day. It's better to leave the cover off if it's a nice hot sunny day.

    Don't waste your money on the thicker ones. An 8 mil is just fine. I use a clear one.
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar pool cover

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    To add: Assuming there is no wind and you do not have very low humidity, you get the most heat added to the pool when the sun is shining on it with no cover. If you have a breeze or live in the desert, having the cover on even in the sun may add/retain more heat than if you did not have a cover. Their main benefit is reduced heat loss due to evaporation. They will not raise the pool water above the high air temp. The water temp will generally settle around the average of your high/low air temp and the cover may help it maintain a temperature little above that.
    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
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Solar pool cover

    Welcome to tfp, littleangelbsb

    Ditto what they said...having a solar cover on at night is where the biggest advantage is. They really should not be called solar covers
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Solar pool cover

    Thanks for all the information. This will help me make a decision.
    15K, AG, Cartridge Filter

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    Re: Solar pool cover

    I'm brand new to the site and am enjoying all the information. I think a "solar" cover is in order STAT. I just also moved to Casa Grande, AZ...hence my interest here as the new home has a pebble tec pool. The pool temp is down to 73 while daytime highs are low to mid 80's but nighttime lows hover around 50. Would a cover help hold in enough heat to make the pool usable? I've got family coming soon and would love to use it when they're here. From what I've read so far there's no sense in going fancy but if you'll tolerate just one stupid question...lol. I checked "In the Swim" and they advertise a 16mil "ultra clear" that boasts a better transfer of "captured" heat to the water due to some "aluminized" layer and better heat retention. It's $235 where a 12mil clear (thinnest they offer in my size) is $159. Should I fall for the hype and spring for the extra $75? It claims a potential 18 degree difference where the clear one claims 15. Hahaha...reading what I've typed I think it's an easy call.

    Thanks

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    Re: Solar pool cover

    The only thing I can say about these solar covers are that they are a nuisance to take off and put on. If you have a nice rectangular pool, the roll up spooler works great (if you are cautious), but they are not really attractive looking. Kidney or odd shaped pools can be a bit more tricky and often require two people to help roll it up. The other problem is the collection of leaves combined with rain water laying on the cover (think rot!) when it is too cold to use the pool (remove and store cover when that happens).

    If I lived in AZ, I think I would consider solar panels when the budget permitted such an installation.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar pool cover

    I would go cheap as you can find if you are going to get a cover. I have found them to be more trouble than I deem them worth. Any dirt/dust/debris that collects on them ends up falling into the pool when you try to take it off ... unless you try to clean it off first directed toward the skimmer (which in theory could help).

    I have a big solar array and we find that our water is already cooler than we would like. Sure the cover would help, but once the kids are in school it seems like the usage drops dramatically.
    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
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Solar pool cover

    Thanks, I went ahead and ordered the clear one. I do want to install a solar heating system but it's going to be a little while before I can free up the budget enough for that. Maybe in time for spring I hope.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar pool cover

    Quote Originally Posted by BunnMan
    Thanks, I went ahead and ordered the clear one. I do want to install a solar heating system but it's going to be a little while before I can free up the budget enough for that. Maybe in time for spring I hope.
    FYI, there are a lot of used solar panels for sale in Phoenix. You take a small risk as to whether they have leaks, but they are a LOT cheaper. This is what I did and my array ran me around $1200 (should have been less, but had to buy missing parts) instead of closer to $5k
    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
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Solar pool cover

    Thanks jblizzle. I assume CL would be the place to start when I'm ready?

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    Re: Solar pool cover

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    I would go cheap as you can find if you are going to get a cover. I have found them to be more trouble than I deem them worth. Any dirt/dust/debris that collects on them ends up falling into the pool when you try to take it off ... unless you try to clean it off first directed toward the skimmer (which in theory could help).

    I have a big solar array and we find that our water is already cooler than we would like. Sure the cover would help, but once the kids are in school it seems like the usage drops dramatically.
    I have a neighbor who used his cover about 6 times and found it to be such a PITA that he just gave it to me. I layed it out in the driveway and cut 8 foot circular sections out to use on my spa. That was 4 years ago and I still have a couple of unused sections. For the spa, I can usually get about 1-1/2 years out of them before it starts delaminating and I get little blue pieces in the filter.

    Even used as a spa cover, I find I have to remove it every week and hose it off.... and if I am not careful I end up dumping a few leaves and debris in the tub. Soon, I'll be buying some tubular solar water panels (maybe next Spring).
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar pool cover

    Quote Originally Posted by BunnMan
    Thanks jblizzle. I assume CL would be the place to start when I'm ready?
    That is where I found mine ... 11 4'x12.5' Heliocol plus controller for $600 {should have paid less since so much of the mounting hardware was missing ... which I did not realize at the time. And Heliocol parts are hard to get for DIYers}

    There is another guy/company? I have seen that is constantly selling the panels for around $75 each.
    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
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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