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Thread: Solar Covers...useless?

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    Solar Covers...useless?

    Hello all. My solar system has been awesome since you guys helped me design and install it. Works beautifully. My question today is about solar covers. I've noticed with mine that it doesn't seem to affect temperature one way or the other. I've put it on, taken it off...temps are the same either way. Did I buy a bad one? Here is what I bought:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ustomerReviews

    With or without, over the last couple weeks the water is about 80 degrees in the morning. Warms up to 87 (our set point) with the solar system pretty easily but is 81 again the next morning....with or without the cover. Is there such a thing as a cover that will keep the heat in better or is most of the heat leaving through the ground anyway? If it doesn't help, I'm wondering why bother with it?
    15k IG pebbletec pool, Intelliflo VS, Two wheel ThePoolCleaner, solar cover, Pentair EasyTouch & IC-40 SWG, 8 panel Techno-Solis solar.

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    CJadamec's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    Covers don't keep heat in so much as stop evaporation. Cover or no you are going to loose heat thru convection. If your current atmospheric conditions don't support a lot of evaporation then you won't notice a big difference when you have a cover on.

    Yes covers are worth it . There are times when they won't make a huge difference but those times are by far the exception rather than the rule.
    Chuck-
    15x30 AG, Pentair Superflo VS, 19" sand filter, TF-100 test kit
    Aqua Comfort ACT750 heat pump / 6x20 ground mount solar panel / DIY automation

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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    Ours made a huge difference, but some of that may have something to do with the extremely low humidity here. That said, removing it and putting back on got pretty tedious after a while, and it started to disintegrate after only 1.5 seasons, so we have no plans to get another one.
    Currently renovating 1970's era IG 34'x18' rectangular sports pool with 6'x10' baja shelf
    22,000 gal, Triton II TR-60 sand filter, antique Sta-rite pump

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    I'd bet climate and humidity are big factors.

    I could understand the how and why of a cover not being as necessary in Florida.

    Though ANY pool with full sun exposure would benefit from a non-clear cover
    to avoid faster chlorine uv loss.

    I absolutely have to have one, otherwise I do lose heat rapidly and evaporation/having to refill.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    Is your solar or pump running at night by chance? It seems that your pool is losing a lot of heat over night through some means other than evaporation. A solar cover, even on partially covering the pool, should hold your heat loss to less than a few degrees (like 2-3F) overnight.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    I don't know your climate, but when I first started heating in the spring down here, the ground and concrete were cold and took weeks to warm up. This year I started a bit later and didn't lose so much overnight. I'm now starting heating around October 1st, which would be the same as April 1st over/up there.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Tips for New Members to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    BasicTek's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    The last couple of weeks have been extremely warm in FL. In my case I have a screen so having the cover on during the day doesn't change much but overnight it cuts the loss from 7-8 degrees to 4-5. That has a cumulative effect over time. So I've maintained an 85-93 degree pool over the last 3 weeks with cover. If you aren't screened and get direct sunlight I bet lately that the cover would actually impead your pool from heating during the day. For the best results when in the 80's during the day you need only cover at night, but if you are happy with these temps then uncover away.

    I'd also bet over the next couple of weeks you will really know the difference as the overnight lows will be dropping to the lower 50's and some in the 40's. On those nights for a test try with the cover for a few days and then try without (if you don't mind a cooler pool)
    -Tim-
    Pool: 86 gunite/plaster screened IG 12K 14' X 29', Hayward 120 sq ft cartridge filter, Pentair Intelliflo 2 VST, Hayward SwimPure 40K SWCG, Hayward Poolvergnuegen autovac,
    Heat: 280 sq ft Ultrasun solar Panels, Pentair Solartouch Ctrl, (solar cover and reel)
    Tests: Taylor K-2006C & K-1766 w/ speedstir

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billiam View Post
    With or without, over the last couple weeks the water is about 80 degrees in the morning. Warms up to 87 (our set point) with the solar system pretty easily but is 81 again the next morning....with or without the cover
    Exactly how are you measuring temperature in the morning? Is it a float thermometer? To get an accurate reading in the morning (and before night), you need to run the pump for a minimum of 30 min to mix up the water. Surface temperature is not indicative of heat loss throughout the entire pool.

    Losing 6F overnight is typical without a cover. However, heat loss should be about half of that with the cover on.
    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: Solar Covers...useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    Exactly how are you measuring temperature in the morning? Is it a float thermometer? To get an accurate reading in the morning (and before night), you need to run the pump for a minimum of 30 min to mix up the water. Surface temperature is not indicative of heat loss throughout the entire pool.

    Losing 6F overnight is typical without a cover. However, heat loss should be about half of that with the cover on.
    I'm using the history function in the Pentail Screenlogic App to track whether or not there are any changes. It tracks outside and pool temps. I'm wondering if the pool cover I have isn't as good as I thought when I bought it. Although it has good Amazon reviews, some of the reviews say it provided them with no thermal benefits.
    15k IG pebbletec pool, Intelliflo VS, Two wheel ThePoolCleaner, solar cover, Pentair EasyTouch & IC-40 SWG, 8 panel Techno-Solis solar.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    A sheet of plastic is enough to prevent evaporation and retain heat which is the majority of the heat savings for the cover. So it doesn't matter much what kind of cover you use. However, with any cover, you should not have 6F of heat loss overnight.

    Are you running the pump overnight and are you sure the panels turned off during this time?
    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: Solar Covers...useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billiam View Post
    I'm using the history function in the Pentail Screenlogic App to track whether or not there are any changes. It tracks outside and pool temps. I'm wondering if the pool cover I have isn't as good as I thought when I bought it. Although it has good Amazon reviews, some of the reviews say it provided them with no thermal benefits.
    I'm guessing the temp sensor the Screenlogic app is using is in the plumbing somewhere and not in the pool? This means it's only measuring an accurate temp when the pump is running. And also, as previously mentioned, to get an accurate temp you really need to run the pump for quite a while to mix the water up. Pools have a lot of temperature stratification when the water's not moving. If the pump has been off all night, a reading from a temp sensor in a pipe on the equipment pad might be closer to ambient air temps than the pool water temp. What is your pump run time schedule?
    Currently renovating 1970's era IG 34'x18' rectangular sports pool with 6'x10' baja shelf
    22,000 gal, Triton II TR-60 sand filter, antique Sta-rite pump

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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by MinerJason View Post
    I'm guessing the temp sensor the Screenlogic app is using is in the plumbing somewhere and not in the pool? This means it's only measuring an accurate temp when the pump is running. And also, as previously mentioned, to get an accurate temp you really need to run the pump for quite a while to mix the water up. Pools have a lot of temperature stratification when the water's not moving. If the pump has been off all night, a reading from a temp sensor in a pipe on the equipment pad might be closer to ambient air temps than the pool water temp. What is your pump run time schedule?

    Yes, the sensor is after the pump before solar. Pump comes on at low RPM at 10am, solar and cleaner Noon till 2pm, back to low RPM with solar option ramp up from 2-5pm. When the pump shut down at 5pm last night it was 88 in the pool, it's been running for 30 min today and is at 82. Cover has been on for a few days.
    15k IG pebbletec pool, Intelliflo VS, Two wheel ThePoolCleaner, solar cover, Pentair EasyTouch & IC-40 SWG, 8 panel Techno-Solis solar.

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Covers...useless?

    How long ago did you first start heating?

    And is there a reason why you hold off starting the solar heating until noon?
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Tips for New Members to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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