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Thread: When to start using solar cover?

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    When to start using solar cover?

    I am planning to order a solar cover and reel to try to increase total swim time by a couple of weeks at least. I am in the Atlanta GA area and have not seen this addressed before. I am wondering when should I plan to start utilizing the solar cover to actually benefit from any temperature increase? My pool is not covered nor closed. I have kept it open this Winter.

    I am not certain of the current water temperature, other than the fact that it is very COLD. My thermometer bit the dust back in January when I had about 2 inches of ice covering most of the pool (stayed open!).

    Any suggestions, information will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Edd

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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    Thanks for the replies. I will plan to leave the cover on most of the time, at least early season and late in the season. I actually leave for work a couple hours before daylight, so, not sure how much it may affect heat retention if I remove the cover before I leave?

    My actual intent with this thread, which may not have been very clear, was to determine a 'date' when I should start using the cover. Like, maybe start around April 15, for the Spring warm up and perhaps just after Labor Day in the late Summer/Fall. I was thinking, there is no need to use the cover before I need to, and also, for now, no need to order one before I need to start using it.

    Thanks again.
    Edd

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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    Mine stays on most of the time when someone is not actually in the pool. I've found that a solar cover helps retain heat that's already in the water rather than actually help heat the water. But, YMMV as they say. I have a heater, so I really use it to retain the heat so thats why it stays om most fo the time. In your case, it sholud be pretty good if its a nice, hot sunny day to let the water heat up by the sun, then put the cover on at night to reduce the heat loss.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    Mine stays on most of the time when someone is not actually in the pool. I've found that a solar cover helps retain heat that's already in the water rather than actually help heat the water. But, YMMV as they say. I have a heater, so I really use it to retain the heat so thats why it stays om most fo the time. In your case, it sholud be pretty good if its a nice, hot sunny day to let the water heat up by the sun, then put the cover on at night to reduce the heat loss.
    Ditto
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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    Use your own judgement. There is no hard and fast rules for a solar cover.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    Quote Originally Posted by mredd01
    not sure how much it may affect heat retention if I remove the cover before I leave?

    My actual intent with this thread, which may not have been very clear, was to determine a 'date' when I should start using the cover. Like, maybe start around April 15, for the Spring warm up and perhaps just after Labor Day in the late Summer/Fall. I was thinking, there is no need to use the cover before I need to, and also, for now, no need to order one before I need to start using it.
    At the shoulders of the swim season I don't think you want to remove the solar cover except when you're getting ready to swim. Leave it on, day and night.

    Of course, the right swimming temperature is individually determined. For me, it's close to 80 degrees, so when the water temperature begins creeping up into the 70s -- in this area that usually means toward the end of April but last year the water was 75 at the end of March -- I throw on the solar cover for several days to see if I can raise the temperature enough to make it swimmable. If it's close (77+) and the air temperature is inviting I'll turn on my electric heater to get those last couple of degrees and go for it.

    Note that when I say the cover raises the temperature it is actually effecting a rise by way of heat retention over a number of days. By July, leaving the solar cover on results in what is for me insufferably hot water (95+) so despite No.California's typically chilly mid-summer nights I leave the cover off. This would apply more so (and earlier in the season) if I had solar heating.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    With no heat or solar heat, you want to start using the cover at least a couple of weeks before you hope to start swimming. Starting sooner is better, but most of the gain is in the last few weeks right before you start swimming. With gas/electric heat you can put off using the cover until you turn the heater on, though starting earlier will help just a little.
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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    Not to change the subject, but the new 'Solar Pills' that were released by SmartPool are really a lazy man's solar blanket. If you have like a 33' round, or some awkward oval pool, and it really is a hassle to mess with that solar cover, this stuff works great. Here is what I would recommend. The more your solar cover is on, the warmer the pool gets, period. However, once you are into your 'peak months' depending on where you live, you pop this round orb of liquid in your pool, that's actually liquid silicone and paraffin wax, that leaks out of the housing, and will actually float on top of your water, invisible to the eye, and impervious to chemicals and swimmers. You will not notice much, if any heat loss during peak times. However, this is not the best method to warm the pool up, or to prevent heat loss towards the end of the season. These guys probably retail between 15 and 25 dollars. Hope that helps =]
    Manager of retail pool location in Ohio

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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    The Solar Pills have a reasonable effect if there isn't a lot of wind. If there is wind, then the chemical tends to pile up and not keep it's thin layer. They are not nearly as effective as a traditional solar cover, but with little wind they are better than nothing at all.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: When to start using solar cover?

    Reinforcing chem geek's post, anecdotal evidence over the years at this forum has indicated that neither the liquid or pills is particularly effective.

    Back to one of our primary principles.....don't put something unnecessary in your pool.....it frequently has unintended consequences.
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