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Thread: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

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    Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    I'm looking at solar covers to get all the nice benefits of less evaporation, less chemical use, and increased pool temp.

    But, there is a lot of different products out there ranging in price and function.

    I live in Florida and my main concern is increasing the temperature of my pool to as high as possible with the cover still on. I'd like for my wife to be able to remove the cover either very easily and quickly manually or with the click of a button. I wouldn't mind putting the cover back on after work if needed. If the expense isn't too much for having it close itself I'm ok with that too. A lot of the products online are also safety covers and that is not what I'm looking for. I just want a solar cover.

    What is the price range for each one of these and how long do they typically last?
    16K gallon in ground plaster pool
    Hayward star clear plus c1202 Cartridge filter
    4 speed Pentair Intelliflo Pump
    TF-100 w/Speed Stir
    Manual Brush and Vacuum

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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    What are the dimensions of your pool? Your signature at the moment says "K gallon in ground plaster pool" -- that leaves a lot to the imagination
    18' x 48" ring top pool (Summer Escapes); 5500 gallons; set up June - October, stored during winter; Intex 2500 gph pump (B size cartridge filter) Hayward 21" sand filter + 1.5 hp single speed Powerflo Matrix pump (upgrade October 2016) *** K-2006 test kit, refills from tftestkits

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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    My pool is kidney shaped and is 16' X 38' on the outer perimeter.
    16K gallon in ground plaster pool
    Hayward star clear plus c1202 Cartridge filter
    4 speed Pentair Intelliflo Pump
    TF-100 w/Speed Stir
    Manual Brush and Vacuum

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    Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    I don't think you can install an auto cover, they only work on geometric pools as you need to have stainless steel rails embedded in the coping for the cover to travel on. Best you can do is a solar blanket on reel.

    One more point - while covers do have their upsides (more heat retention and less water evaporation) they do have their downsides (cleanliness, leaf debris collection and algae). Since cover automation is not likely in your case, there is also the pain of taking it off and putting it on.

    I have a free form pool like you and my PB gave me the standard issue bubble cover which we cut out together to match the pool perimeter. I used it once, it was a total pain in the rear to work with, it collected dirt and debris like crazy and it fouled my pool water. It now sits rolled up in my backyard for the snakes, scorpions and lizards to nest in.

    Also, I've read a fair number of threads on this forum and it's always struck me as odd that pools with solar covers seem to have very weird chemistry problems. I almost liken it to not allowing your pool water to "breath" and so it develops weird issues. I'm not convinced that using a pool cover saves you on chemicals (which chemicals precisely??) but I've heard that quoted over and over again so it would be interesting to see a technical explanation of that.

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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    I am going tor respectfully disagree with Sunny. I have a grey solar cover. With it on I hardly use chlorine and my evaporation goes to almost nothing. I have no weird chemical issues.

    If you have something other than a geometric shape a auto cover generally will not work. You end up with tracks sticking out of your deck.

    However, there is hope.

    I use a nifty device called the Solar Roller. It works ok in my pool which is freeform and 37 by 20. I split my cover in two. On the small end it works fantastic. On the large end not so great. There is just too much cover. But if you have a narrower pool than I do then it should work great. Link to Amazon below.

    http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Roller-E.../dp/B00IV3QKQG
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    I am going tor respectfully disagree with Sunny. I have a grey solar cover. With it on I hardly use chlorine and my evaporation goes to almost nothing. I have no weird chemical issues.

    If you have something other than a geometric shape a auto cover generally will not work. You end up with tracks sticking out of your deck.

    However, there is hope.

    I use a nifty device called the Solar Roller. It works ok in my pool which is freeform and 37 by 20. I split my cover in two. On the small end it works fantastic. On the large end not so great. There is just too much cover. But if you have a narrower pool than I do then it should work great. Link to Amazon below.

    http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Roller-E.../dp/B00IV3QKQG
    No worries. I think this is a highly subjective topic. I really can't make a solar cover work on my pool. It's a royal pain because I did not design the pool with a cover in mind. I could probably do something with split covers, but it's still a pain.

    I'm actually planning on using evaporation control spheres like they use in reservoirs and waste treatment facilities. They will cover 91% of the pools surface area and will be easy to conform to the shape of my pool. Just working out storage ideas.

    If you can make a solar cover work on your pool, more power to you.

    The "weird chemistry" comment came from my observation that people treat covers with a "set it & forget it" attitude. Covers like any other piece of pool equipment requires cleaning and maintenance. As well, with a cover on, people are less likely to care for their pools daily and so I think it can lead to a lot of trouble with water quality.

    I'd still like to see some technical information on covers and pool chemistry because I've got to believe that covering the pool surface reduces a lot of out gassing of CO2 and volatile chloramines which must shift the water chemistry away from an equilibrium state with the surrounding atmosphere.



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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    This thread has me thinking that some sort of solar ring setup would be best for cost and ease of use. I could make my pieces small enough that a single person could do it. I could make them custom shapes so I can increase my coverage and use magnets on the edges to get a good seal.

    16K gallon in ground plaster pool
    Hayward star clear plus c1202 Cartridge filter
    4 speed Pentair Intelliflo Pump
    TF-100 w/Speed Stir
    Manual Brush and Vacuum

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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolStudent View Post
    This thread has me thinking that some sort of solar ring setup would be best for cost and ease of use. I could make my pieces small enough that a single person could do it. I could make them custom shapes so I can increase my coverage and use magnets on the edges to get a good seal.

    Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2
    I looked up the solar rings online and there are more poor reviews in Amazon than good reviews (25 Five-Star versus 56 One-Star). Would love to hear about any ideas you come up with.

    I'm looking into anti-evaporation spheres but the main sticking point for me is a practical storage method and an easy install/removal process.

    http://www.awtti.com/armor_balls_aqua_275_cover.php



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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyOptimism View Post
    I'm looking into anti-evaporation spheres but the main sticking point for me is a practical storage method and an easy install/removal process.

    http://www.awtti.com/armor_balls_aqua_275_cover.php


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    That's a very interesting product. Like you mentioned, storage of the balls and how long it would take to remove them all from the pool would be the problems. Would be fun to load them all up into a tall cylinder or bin near the pool, open a gate and watch them pour down a chute into the pool! Getting them back into the bin however...
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    Generally most solar covers will last 2 seasons then they all start to pop the bubbles and they end up in the pool water. My experience and most others here at TFP agree that the longer warrantied and thicker covers do not last longer than the thin covers. I suggest starting with a 5 mil or 8 mil cover, the thinner the cover means it is lighter and easier to handle. You should be able to find one under a $100 for your pool.

    You can cut the cover into how ever many pieces you want to make handling it easier for your wife. Depending on the shape of your pool and the decking you can have many options on how to remove the cover. Do a TFP search for solar reels and you will get many ideas that might fit your needs.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    I found this link in my search through the forum, http://www.ellerbach.com/Pool/Solarcover/. This seems like what I was thinking about doing.

    My only concern with this is my child failing into the pool, but we have 2 doors leading to the pool and a mesh safety fence and an alarm if she opens the door. But, still it is my one concern and the only way to deal with that one is a safety cover which is crazy expensive.
    16K gallon in ground plaster pool
    Hayward star clear plus c1202 Cartridge filter
    4 speed Pentair Intelliflo Pump
    TF-100 w/Speed Stir
    Manual Brush and Vacuum

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    Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolStudent View Post
    I found this link in my search through the forum, http://www.ellerbach.com/Pool/Solarcover/. This seems like what I was thinking about doing.

    My only concern with this is my child failing into the pool, but we have 2 doors leading to the pool and a mesh safety fence and an alarm if she opens the door. But, still it is my one concern and the only way to deal with that one is a safety cover which is crazy expensive.
    Totally understand where you are coming from. I have three little boys, two of whom are old enough to reach the top of my wrought iron fence and flip the latch.

    All of our house doors are alarmed so that I hear an audible beep anytime a window or door is opened. Also, all of my exterior doors have "pool code" deadbolt locks on them. That's just deadbolt locks that are hung 30" from the top of the door frame (only an full sized adult can reach them). As stated I also have a non-climbing wrought iron gate around the pool with self-closing doors. All pool gate entrances are locked with pad locks that only I have the key to.

    With all that, I still never let my little ones play outside unless I can keep a watchful eye on them. They also get weekly swim lessons from a certified swim instructor and my two-year old has just started ISR (infant self-rescue) Swimming. That last part is amazing. I have personally seen an 18 month old baby let go in deep water flip itself on it's back and kick-paddle to a pool wall to grab hold....absolutely phenomenal to witness.

    With all that said, the most important thing you can do for swim safety is this - always be present and watchful of your kids around pools.


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    Re: Solar Cover - Manual vs. Semi Automatic vs Automatic

    My 1 and a half year has been doing ISR for about 4 weeks now and the results have been amazing.

    I agree the best advice is to keep their distance from water if possible and always be present. But man my daughter sure is quick!.

    With the cover broken up into sections though it should be safer than one continuous pool cover. At least you can fall in between the floating chunks and swim.
    16K gallon in ground plaster pool
    Hayward star clear plus c1202 Cartridge filter
    4 speed Pentair Intelliflo Pump
    TF-100 w/Speed Stir
    Manual Brush and Vacuum

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