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Thread: Building a Solar Cover Roller

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    bbrock's Avatar
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    Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Alright Mark, now that I got the VS pump thing figured out, time to move on to this pool cover idea. I think from the pics you have seen of my pool in the other threads (but I could post more if necessary) I have a kidney bean shaped pool. I was thinking of doing 2 sections. I am trying to figure out the logistics of this though. I have a Baby Barrier pool fence around the pool. Within the gate area, I have maybe 18-24" of deck to walk around the pool. The sections are removable. When rolled up, how much does each section weigh approximately? I am trying to determine if it can be lifted directly out of the pool by 1 person, myself or more so my wife. Are you able to lift it out of the pool and carry it yourself?

    I already have solar, but am more so looking for a cover to aid on evaporation purposes. As such, it doesn't matter if the cover is clear or the blue type, right? Are all the pieces you think I need readily available at Lowes... clamps, foam roller?

    Tx so much for this idea.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrock View Post
    When rolled up, how much does each section weigh approximately? I am trying to determine if it can be lifted directly out of the pool by 1 person, myself or more so my wife. Are you able to lift it out of the pool and carry it yourself?
    It depends on the cover thickness and how big it is. It weighs a lot more when wet. But last year, I went with a 5 mil cover vs a 12 mil and it is like night and day. I can easily pull it out of the pool with one hand. With the thicker cover, there was a lot more effort. So my only recommendation is to go thin.


    I already have solar, but am more so looking for a cover to aid on evaporation purposes. As such, it doesn't matter if the cover is clear or the blue type, right?
    No, it doesn't matter much. I have had both colors and I haven't noticed much of a difference. The clear does not stay clear very long especially with a salt pool so I don't think the transmission benefit lasts very long. At this point, I go purely by price because it is a disposable product and it doesn't last all that long (2-3 years).


    Are all the pieces you think I need readily available at Lowes... clamps, foam roller?
    Foam roller? The pipe is ABS foam core. That does not mean it is foam. It means the pipe walls are a foam core so lighter than PVC and they float but are still very ridged. The clips are from my other roller "The Solar Roller" but you should be able to get automotive clips at Lowe's that would do pretty much the same thing. There isn't much in parts.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Tx Mark.

    What's the benefit of using a thicker 12 mm cover vs thinner one? Less chlorine burn off I suppose. But, I assume a thinner one should also give that benefit.

    Even though it will save water, are there any drawbacks with having one as far as the pool getting too warm?

    Lastly, I may need two 15 to 18 foot roller sections for each half of the pool. Does the ABS foam core pipe come in precut lengths, or custom?

    Finally, if you did not have the parts from your previous roller, how would you have used the automotive clips? Just drill small holes and push them in?

    Lasts only 2-3 years. Does it start tearing, getting holes? I'm sure this is cheaper than all the water costs over the same period.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    The thicker cover is supposed to last longer. There is no other advantage. And often enough they don't actually last longer.

    If you leave a solar cover on for too long (several weeks) without taking it off at all you tend to end up with a CC problem and often other strange chemistry issues.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    While I fully support saving water, in this situation it sounds like I could be trading one thing (water use) for another (risk of CC and chem problems. Are there other types of covers that wouldn't create this potential problem? I don't know if my set up work with one, but what about an opaque safety cover?

    Just trying to find the easiest, best solution for saving water and covering the pool. Chances are, the more complicated covering and uncovering becomes, the less frequently I think the pool would be used, which would be disappointing.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    A solar cover is the best way to save water.


    What's the benefit of using a thicker 12 mm cover vs thinner one? Less chlorine burn off I suppose. But, I assume a thinner one should also give that benefit.
    I haven't really found one yet. I have had 5, 8 and 12 mil and it doesn't seem like the 12 mil lasts any longer for me.


    Even though it will save water, are there any drawbacks with having one as far as the pool getting too warm?
    Not if you turn off solar. Without solar and in our climate, the pool would not get much above 85-86 with just a cover.



    Lastly, I may need two 15 to 18 foot roller sections for each half of the pool. Does the ABS foam core pipe come in precut lengths, or custom?
    I used 4 10' pipe (2 each half of cover) with a coupler to get the length.



    Finally, if you did not have the parts from your previous roller, how would you have used the automotive clips? Just drill small holes and push them in?
    Yes


    Lasts only 2-3 years. Does it start tearing, getting holes? I'm sure this is cheaper than all the water costs over the same period.
    My experience has been the bubbles come off. They seem to get brittle from the sun. If you can cover the cover when it is out of the pool, that seems to help prolong the life. And don't forget, this year there will likely be fines if you exceed your allotment so that must go into the cost comparison.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    "It depends on the cover thickness and how big it is. It weighs a lot more when wet. But last year, I went with a 5 mil cover vs a 12 mil and it is like night and day. I can easily pull it out of the pool with one hand. With the thicker cover, there was a lot more effort. So my only recommendation is to go thin."

    With help of wife, my approximate pool measurements at the longest points are 33' x 17'. I will post a pic when I have a chance, but my pool is kidney bean shaped. Shopping at Amazon, I see 32' x 16' rectangle shaped covers, and the next size up 36' x 18'. I am not sure if the 32' x 16' would work, or if I should get the larger one with more excess to cut/trim. The 32' x 16' may leave some water exposed, so in that case would it be better to go with the larger one and trim/cut? At Amazon, I really can only find covers that are 12 mm or greater. Can't seem to find 5 or 8 mm covers.


    "No, it doesn't matter much. I have had both colors and I haven't noticed much of a difference. The clear does not stay clear very long especially with a salt pool so I don't think the transmission benefit lasts very long. At this point, I go purely by price because it is a disposable product and it doesn't last all that long (2-3 years)."

    When you say the clear doesn't stay clear very long, what do you mean? Does just dirt and debris make it no longer clear? Remember I don't have a salt pool. Does the clear heat the pool better than the blue? On a related note, does a thicker cover heat better than the thinner one? From what I have read and even what Jason posted in this thread, it sounds like the thicker is not anymore durable. Does one color potentially promote CC easier than the other?


    "Foam roller? The pipe is ABS foam core. That does not mean it is foam. It means the pipe walls are a foam core so lighter than PVC and they float but are still very ridged. The clips are from my other roller "The Solar Roller" but you should be able to get automotive clips at Lowe's that would do pretty much the same thing. There isn't much in parts."
    You talked about using 4 10' sections to make your rollers. What did you clamp/secure them together with? I was not sure if I was going to split my pool into two sections width wise and make 2 rollers like yours that run the length of the pool, or split my cover into 3rds width wise and make 3 rollers that run across the pool. Any input? I figured 3 rollers maybe easier to handle than 2. I even thought that if I go with 3rds, I may just skip the rollers and just pull, tuck, roll the cover to take out, which sounds easier if it is a 3rd of the cover but I'm sure it is still a PITA.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    "I haven't really found one yet. I have had 5, 8 and 12 mil and it doesn't seem like the 12 mil lasts any longer for me."
    Does a thicker cover reduce the amount of chlorine burn off?

    "Not if you turn off solar. Without solar and in our climate, the pool would not get much above 85-86 with just a cover."
    Is this temperature range with a thicker or thinner cover? Do you use the solar at all with the cover?
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    You talked about using 4 10' sections to make your rollers. What did you clamp/secure them together with?
    The cover is in two sections, 2 pipes in each section connected by couplers to make the pipes longer (16' & 18').

    The clamps are simply ~2-3" of pipe that has been split into 4 sections (i.e. 1/4 of the pipe ). Drill a hole through the clamp, cover and pipe and put the clip through all three pieces.

    Is this temperature range with a thicker or thinner cover? Do you use the solar at all with the cover?
    Cover thickness does not seem to affect temperature nor would I expect it too. The R-Value of the cover is determined by the bubble size which is about the same for all covers. I would say thickness doesn't do much of anything except make the cover heavier. Thicker covers are supposed to last longer because they are more resistant to ripping but I have never had that issue probably because of the roller that I use. The bubble life seems to be about the same for each thickness and that is due mostly to sun and chemical exposure.

    With the cover on, I might use about 1 hour a day for solar when the temperatures outside are cooler. During the heat of the summer, solar hardly ever goes on (set point 86F). That is why I said that it rarely gets above 86 with only the cover. However, when we get those couple of weeks of 100+ temps, I will usually remove the cover because night time temps are fairly warm too and evaporation is not so bad during that time. The worst evaporation is when the nights are cool and solar has raised the water temperature 5+ degrees.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Mark, or others, do you use the cover for the entire swim season? Keep the pool covered most of the time? How do you handle the cover during pool brushing? Chemical addition?

    Last summer, for a one week or so summer vacation, I reduced the pH for better chlorine efficiency/reduced burn off (as read here at TFP) and brought the chlorine to shock level. I then had a neighbor come by on the 3rd day, and then every other day for 2 occurrences, to dump another bottle of chlorine in the pool. When I got back, chemical levels/pool was fine/no algae. Now, with an 8 mil cover, would the process have to be the same, or would the cover buy me some time that I could just bring to shock level and be fine for a week without any additional chlorine being added? If it matters I am probably going to go with a blue cover, which I think would reduce the amount of chlorine burnoff vs. a clear cover.

    Lastly, I have found some good enough deals on 20'x40' 8 mil covers at InTheSwim and also SolarCover. Here are the links:
    http://www.solarcovers.com/shop/sola...ar-pool-covers
    http://www.intheswim.com/p/8-mil-blu...0-ft-rectangle

    Besides Amazon, the only other place I have considered is InyoPools.com, but their pricing is slightly higher. But, their covers are from Midwest Canvas, and I have read at TFP that some people have had favorable experiences with them/the company. Plus, they have a 5 year warranty on an 8 mil cover vs. the companies above which provide a 3 year.
    http://www.inyopools.com/Products/00100008071671.htm

    Solar Covers seem to have a easier to understand warranty when I spoke with them vs. the explanation the rep was giving me at InTheSwim. For the warranty, they both say they would only cover delaminations and seam splitting, and these are prorated after the first year. In the end, who knows what they would cover. I can't find a 5 mil cover in the size I need. Thus, I think the 8 mil could be the best as far as weight, easier to manage, but at the cost of tearing/degrading easier. From what I read here at TFP, it is recommended to get the cheapest b/c they all really have the same durability.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    First, be careful of the warranties. They are usually prorated and they based on list price not what you paid so you end up paying more for the cover with the warranty than a new cover. At least that has been my experience so I ignore it now. Just go for the cheapest you can find. That is the best warranty.

    I use the cover usually from about now until we get 100+ temps and then I remove it. I don't usually need to shock (SLAM) but if I did, it would remove the cover.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Got the supplies from Lowes. Waiting for the cover to arrive from http://www.solarcovers.com/. Went with the 8 mil 20' x 40.' Price not bad at $105.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Just my luck. While I saw that link for the Charlotte pipe at Home Depot, I ordered what I thought and read was the equivalent Charlotte pipe dwv schedule 40 pipe at Lowes. Definitely feel like a tweedle dumb b/c I overlooked that it was not "foam core." Now to order it from Hm Depot.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Mark, or others, have you tried to use this cover idea while having a Polaris pool sweep operate in the pool? Does it work okay, or does it get hung up on the pipe?
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    I don't use a polaris but my cleaner does not get hung up.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Does ur cleaner use a wall mounted hose? That would better let me know that my Polaris and attached wall hose may not get hung up either. I would hate to make this setup and find it is not compatible with my Polaris, only to have to disassemble it and then use the cover with all the small holes from the auto clips. I'm not sure they would affect anything, but I'm just thinking about outcomes.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Yes, the cleaner uses a wall port. But the pipe is smooth and there is really nothing for it to get hung up on anyway.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    In one thread I started about going on vacation and maintaining the pool, people had suggested to cover bring to shock level and cover the pool. From what you stated Mark, and what I have read, it is suggested to remove these solar type covers when the chlorine level is very high/shocked. Is that correct?
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    That is what I understand as well. In fact, manufactures will usually state the the cover life is significantly reduced if you leave it on while shocking and may even void the warranty. However, I have never tested this theory to see if it is true.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Building a Solar Cover Roller

    Tx Mark.

    To digress, how do you like your pool cleaner, The Pool Cleaner? Is this the one you have http://www.amazon.com/Poolcleaner-89...+pool+cleaner? Since I replaced my pump, my Polaris 280 doesn't perform like it used too, but perhaps it is just coincidence. I have been replacing tires, wheels, etc. as remedies from things I have read, but nothing is helping. While a crazy thought to consider switching cleaners just do to this, it is a very distant option.
    19k gal IG plaster, built '70s, probably resurfaced in '80s-'90s; Blue Haven Hayward filter C4520BHMB (Filbur FC-1275 cartridges); Hayward MaxFlo sp2302 VSP 1.5hp; 6 solar panels 288. sq. ft. total (142"x47.5" ea.) on 1 story hm; Pentair Compool LX220 Solar Controller; FlowVis flow meter; Maytronics Dolphin S200; AG 300 gal AquaTerra spa; TF-100 & Speedstir; gone: Pentair Challenger 3/4 HP 1 speed; Polaris 280

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