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Thread: Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

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    Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    Hi all,

    We kept our pool between 85 and 90 degrees for all of last September and used a solar cover except while swimming. It cost about $200 in electricity for that month, and I bet I can do much better by covering the pool with foam boards at the end of the season.

    Has anyone done this or can anyone think of a reason why I shouldn't. The only downside I can think of is maybe wind, otherwise besides being much more insulating, featherweight boards would be much more manageable then a solar cover and have other benefits as well.

    -Rand
    7600 Gal, 18' Round X 54" AG, In the woods under trees, 1 HP 22" Waterway w/ Micro Media, AquaComfort-750 HP, Taylor K-2006
    Pool Installed 6/2/2014 by Eagle Pool & Spa

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    That could work, but it won't be significantly better than a regular solar cover. The great majority of the heat loss is from evaporation, which any kind of waterproof cover will eliminate.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    Yeah, I think I'll keep that idea in the back of my mind for awhile. It would cost about $200 for the boards and if the savings are small, it would be a long payback.

    Thanks,
    Rand
    7600 Gal, 18' Round X 54" AG, In the woods under trees, 1 HP 22" Waterway w/ Micro Media, AquaComfort-750 HP, Taylor K-2006
    Pool Installed 6/2/2014 by Eagle Pool & Spa

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    I suspect they would end up disintegrating in the sun, just like a solar cover.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    On a windy day I would think there's a chance they would blow off 😎
    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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    Re: Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    I would think over time the foam will absorb water and they will end up weighing a lot. We've left some foam noodles in the water for an extended time and they became waterlogged.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
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    tcat's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    That could work, but it won't be significantly better than a regular solar cover. The great majority of the heat loss is from evaporation, which any kind of waterproof cover will eliminate.
    Curious about that. On my cover there's always a bunch of water "puddles" on top of the cover. All seems to be floating fine, but I'm guessing the "puddles" take up 50-75% of the surface. Wouldn't that water keep evaporating at the same rate? I can see how they hold heat in, just curious about evaporation statistics. My pool auto-fills, so I never know how much is evaporating. I do know after a rain (up an inch or two) that it seems to go down to nominal just about as fast with or without a cover in Texas heat.
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    Re: Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    I've started using a cover again in the last few weeks and my evaporation has gone from over 2 inches a week to less than an inch in three weeks. That is with the cover off for a good portion of the day for 2-3 days a week.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Has anyone used foam boards instead of a solar cover?

    A solar cover without a doubt saves water from being evaporated. Last two seasons I've never had to add any water to the pool. Have gotten just enough rain to keep it topped off and the cover helping with evaporation. 😎
    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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