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Thread: Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

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    Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

    Hey folks, I'm looking to add a solar cover to our pool. We have a rather irregularly shaped pool with a very wide shallow end, and narrower deep end, free-form shaped. The deep end also has a rock waterfall, and there really isn't a good place for a reel. It's also rather long at about 40 feet, and wide in the shallow end at about 28 feet. I'd like the cover primarily to reduce heat loss in the swim season, as despite warmer temps here in the summer in Southern California, our neighbor has giant trees that block the southern exposure of the sun. Also, his trees tend to drop massive quantities of leaves and junk that our vacuum side cleaner cannot handle very well. I'm hoping that the solar cover can do dual duty to reduce this junk from falling in the pool. Lastly, during the winter months, the temp drops in the pool such that our salt water chlorine generator cannot function. So, I'd like to minimize chlorine loss during these months. So, my thoughts are:

    1. Given the size and irregular shape, I'm thinking it might make sense to get two solar blankets and overlap them across the water. This would make it a bit easier to handle the blanket, particularly since I don't plan to install a reel.

    2. I'd like to keep it clear because I like to turn on the LED lighting in the pool, and it would be nice to experience this even with the cover on.

    3. I would like to get a solar blanket that is durable. I don't mind paying extra up front if this will last several seasons.

    4. The cover does not need to serve as a security cover as the pool is surrounded by a safety fence.

    So, any suggestions? What brands and suppliers do you all recommend? Also, what about the thought of overlapping two cut blankets to cover the entirety of the pool. Actually, I'll need to cut out a third 10' circle to cover the attached spa as well.

    Thanks for the thoughts!
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

    Generally it seems that the recommendations are to buy the cheapest cover you can find as they all seem to last about as long ... no point in paying a premium for thicker covers which also happen to be heavier and harder to deal with.

    It is not uncommon to cut the cover into smaller sections so they are easier to handle.

    Check out this thread and the links within for a way to use a pipe to roll up each separate section without the need for a reel:
    best-solar-cover-reel-for-igp-t40965.html
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

    Jb's suggestion about buyiing a cheaper cover is your best bet. Solar blankets aren't what they used to be and retailers like LESSlies hook you for ever with their "pro-rated" warranty. My customers now buy a new one once a year for less than $100 and it works out better for them they have found.

    The clear covers to me don't heat as much in my opinion but YMMV.

    As JB stated I have a few free form pools on my route and we cut the cover in approx 6 foot sections across the width which makes it easier to roll up and store. The few times I've seen people leave them in one piece the cover got used no more than 2 times and then rolled up in a pile off to the side of the pool because of the hassle the home owners had gone through. It doesn't have to be an airtight fit to work well so don't be too concerned with overlapping.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
    Swimming Pool & Spa Maintenance, Service and Installation Technician
    "If It Ain't Broke, Keep Fixing It Until It Is!"

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    Re: Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Generally it seems that the recommendations are to buy the cheapest cover you can find as they all seem to last about as long ... no point in paying a premium for thicker covers which also happen to be heavier and harder to deal with.

    It is not uncommon to cut the cover into smaller sections so they are easier to handle.

    Check out this thread and the links within for a way to use a pipe to roll up each separate section without the need for a reel:
    best-solar-cover-reel-for-igp-t40965.html
    Okay, this is very useful info. My sense is always to buy once, cry once. But if there really isn't a big difference in durability, your suggestion seems prudent.

    Thanks!
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkPristine
    Jb's suggestion about buyiing a cheaper cover is your best bet. Solar blankets aren't what they used to be and retailers like LESSlies hook you for ever with their "pro-rated" warranty. My customers now buy a new one once a year for less than $100 and it works out better for them they have found.

    The clear covers to me don't heat as much in my opinion but YMMV.

    As JB stated I have a few free form pools on my route and we cut the cover in approx 6 foot sections across the width which makes it easier to roll up and store. The few times I've seen people leave them in one piece the cover got used no more than 2 times and then rolled up in a pile off to the side of the pool because of the hassle the home owners had gone through. It doesn't have to be an airtight fit to work well so don't be too concerned with overlapping.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
    Mark - Excellent! It does sound like the way to go is to buy some cheapo covers and then overlap them on the pool. I like the idea of cutting them into several sections to make rollup and storage more convenient. The main reason I've not gotten a cover thus far has been due to the pain I associate with removing and stowing it, so this seems like a good solution. If our pool wasn't free-form, I probably would have invested in an automatic cover just to avoid the task!
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigMW
    If our pool wasn't free-form, I probably would have invested in an automatic cover just to avoid the task!
    What's stopping you now?

    Technology has been and is ever changing at such a rapid pace in the P&S Industry you'd be surprised at what can be done these days.

    This should wet your appetite or at least get you going to start with. Sorry lol

    Pool Cover Specialists

    Coverstar Pool Covers

    Coverpools Automatic Pool Covers

    There are many more just google "automatic free form swimming pool covers"
    Swimming Pool & Spa Maintenance, Service and Installation Technician
    "If It Ain't Broke, Keep Fixing It Until It Is!"

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

    Note there are some deals to be found now in the "off season" on places like ebay and amazon, I recently bought a Midwest brand "solar" cover for my 20x40 pool off ebay for just over $100, not bad when you consider it weighs 57 pounds and that included free shipping.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Looking for info/experiences with solar covers

    Would agree with everyones statements. Not worth the exta money to by more expensive covers as they will only last 2 seasons at best. Sitting in chlorine for the entire season simply eats away at the cover and by 2nd season you will see bits constantly being pulled out by your skimmers. If your unable to put a roller on your pool I would certainly suggest cutting into multiple smaller pieces as they can be difficult to manage.
    25K Gallon IG Vinyl Liner w/ concrete walls True "L" 16X32X16, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Hayward Swimclear C4030 Filter, Hayward 21104T Heat Pro Titanium Heat Pump, Hayward Aqua Plus SWG + Automation, 2 Hayward Color Logic 4.0 LED lights, Polaris 9300 cleaner. TF-100 test kit.

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