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Thread: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

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    FinsUp's Avatar
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    Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    Okay - I hope this is the right area to pose this question to everyone. Our inground was installed last year, so I have one season under my belt. We opened on Tuesday and I've already experienced the following problem that I struggled with last season, and that is...

    How do you keep your solar reel stationary on your concrete deck?

    My experience has been that while the solar cover is deployed it takes very little wind to catch the cover where it's attached to the reel and then the whole thing crashes into the shallow end of the pool. Last season I used a bag of Solar salt at each end of the reel for weight, and then placed a long 2x6 along the portion of the cover that was catching the wind and acting like a sail, to try and prevent the problem. The solution worked in general but was cumbersome and unsightly. I was constantly moving the board either to deploy or roll-up the cover. The same thing with the salt bags. I don't want to permanently attach the reel to the deck, because I like to pick the whole thing up and move it out of the area when we're having guests over, parties, etc.

    Even as I type this I've thought of something that I've probably overlooked, but I'd still like to hear from the more experienced deck hands out there about any tips or tricks that you can offer up!
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    What type reel do you have?

    My thoughts are to either change the wheels out to locking wheels (if it has wheels) or to anchor it to the deck with winter cover anchors and straps.
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    Actually, locking wheels wont work too well either. I had one and if the wind got up a bit, the whole thing moved around. I got a Rocky's Roller. They have models that have spring loaded pins that drop into sleeves drilled into the deck. It's also on castors so you can pop the pins and roll the whole thing back out of the way. Excellent reel, but its pricey. About $450.
    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: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    I'm not sure of the type, but I've included a picture here that sort of shows the style. It's the best one that I currently have here on my work computer. Taken with the camera phone, so not the best quality. The solar reel came with wheels, but they are not installed. My thought was that the more surface area in contact with the deck, the better. The thought that I had while typing the original post was that maybe the solar cover is cut too long, therefore leaving material that comes up out of the water and lays on the deck before the straps going to the reel. You can kind of see what I'm trying to describe in the picture. We did have a trampoline cover installed last fall - so maybe I can use a couple of the deck anchors and some bungee cords to strap it down. Then when I want to move it entirely out of the way I can just unhook it, throw the bungees in the cabana, and screw down the anchors. I will have to look at the situation a little close tonight when I get home. I don't want to have bungees stretched too far across the deck, creating a tripping hazard.
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    Here is a picture of the end. It has pins on both ends to hold it on the deck.

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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    it takes very little wind to catch the cover where it's attached to the reel
    Do you have one whole cover end attached to the reel? Use straps that allow the cover to float flat on the water while still attached to the reel, and you can add weights to it to keep it in contact (slightly submerged) with the water.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...JWVYR4EGS60MXX

    You solved it yourself while I was typing, just get the end in the water.
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    You may be able to get away with something much smaller than a 2x6. I have a similar problem with wind, but my reel is anchored to a wall so when the wind gets underneath it, it blows the cover halfway off the pool and twists it all up into a big mess. I just use a couple of 6x9x2.5" concrete pavers, one on each side; that keeps it in place and is much easier to move out of the way than bags of salt and a big board. A couple cinderblocks would almost certainly work for you.

    Or maybe...is your cover cut into two pieces, or do you fold the stair section over and roll it up? It's hard to tell from the picture. If they're separate, you could just trim a few inches off the diving board end and let the straps hang all the way into the water.
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    Until a cinder block or paver get pulled/knocked into the pool and rips the ever lovin heck out of the liner, it will work great!

    Seriously, you dont want anything heavy like that around a vinyl liner.

    Rocky Roller, pin it to the deck. Do it the right way. Anything else is a bandaid and will look terrible. I calls 'em as i see'em

    The better way to do it it to put the rollor across the pool. The whole thing straddles the water where there is about 3-4 feet of cover behind the rollor, and the rest out in front. You adjust the straps so there is not any tension on the cover, and it lays flat on the water. That gets rid of the need for the 2x4 across the end to hold the cover down on the reel end. Thats actually the proper way to set one up. With the L shape, you just put the rollor on the other end of the pool, and fold the L part over when you start cranking on the other end.
    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: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    First, you need to trim down the areas of the cover that aren't laying flat on the water, like around the ladder and in the curves. The cover will tend to stick if laying flat on the water, so the wind can't get started. Better to have a little water uncovered than the cover too large.

    The second thing I would try is to make your straps longer so the the entire cover is floating, or move the reel to the other end. The normal install of the reel for a pool like yours would have it at the other end, straddling the pool so the reel was over the water.
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406

    The better way to do it it to put the rollor across the pool. The whole thing straddles the water where there is about 3-4 feet of cover behind the rollor, and the rest out in front. You adjust the straps so there is not any tension on the cover, and it lays flat on the water. .
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    The second thing I would try is to make your straps longer so the the entire cover is floating, or move the reel to the other end. The normal install of the reel for a pool like yours would have it at the other end, straddling the pool so the reel was over the water.
    Two votes for the method
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    Yep, just ignore me. You vinyl folks and your wimpy pools....
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    Quote Originally Posted by Melt In The Sun
    Yep, just ignore me. You vinyl folks and your wimpy pools....


    Yea, but we dont have any scale to deal with, or nasty stains that look terrible, or black algea issues, or bad pebble tec, or costly replaster, or.....oh, uh sorry. You were saying?

    (I'm kidding.....sorta)
    Ok, back to solor cover reels
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    Awesome stuff everybody. Okay, here is where I stand at the moment. The cover is currently a 4 piece set-up (no lectures please because I had to work with what the pool builder gave me).

    First, I believe what I need to do to address the problem immediately is to try & adjust my straps so that I can (hopefully) get that end of the cover down onto the water and then trim the main section of the cover to more precisely fit around the ladder and corner curves. Definitely no cinderblocks or patio pavers. I'm already nervous enough with the 2x6.

    Second would be to purchase the Rocky Roller - although I'm not sure it's in this year's budget. I just had irrigation and hydroseeding completed. I've still got some landscaping to complete, a refrigerator to purchase for the cabana, and I NEED one of those Margaritaville Drink Makers. I mean, a man has to have his priorities based on some sort of logical order right?

    So say I purchase a heavy-duty Rocky Roller. A couple of you proposed relocating the solar reel to where it would straddle the deep-end of the pool. How does that work for day to day swimming? Is it not in the way of the diving board? Plus, as I mentioned, I like to totally remove the entire unit from the immediate vicinity of the pool when we entertain. My storage area is behind where the picture that I showed was taken, which is to say close to where my solar reel is now. If I relocate the reel I feel like I would have quite a bit of additional distance (obstacles) etc. to deal with so I'm not sure if that would work.
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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    FinsUp: how do you deal with that cover? fold and roll? or is it two parts? I'm having problems folding and rolling mine because it makes one end of the roller too thick so that side of the roller brings in the cover faster than the other side due to larger diameter of the roll..



    And for the OP: maybe you could put a pin as in the rocky's roller? I've got that roller and it's great!
    19.5k gallons in ground, P4 panel with turbocell SWG, 1hp Hayward superpump II, sand filter, Heater low nox 250k btu heater, solar cover on rocky roller

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    Re: Keeping Solar Reel Stationary

    [quote="mart242"]FinsUp: how do you deal with that cover? fold and roll? or is it two parts? I'm having problems folding and rolling mine because it makes one end of the roller too thick so that side of the roller brings in the cover faster than the other side due to larger diameter of the roll..


    Mart242: Our solar cover is actually comprised of 4 separate pieces, not ideal, but it's what I was left to work with by the pool contractor. Anyway, only the 16' wide x 41' long main section is affixed to the solar reel, which eliminates the problem you're experiencing. Then we cover the remaining leg with 2 loose pieces approximately 3-4' wide that run the same direction as the main cover. We just lay them on the water and overlap each piece (starting at the main cover) by 3" or so - this gets us over to the steps. We then have a final piece that covers the step area, and again we just lay it in and overlap it with the piece that preceeded it. We remove them in reverse order - or steps, strip, strip, main. The 3 loose pieces are easily folded (almost rolled) and placed in a neat stack that we then just slide under the nearest lounger (seen in the picture above) to keep things tidy and out of the way. The only irritation has been that on some windy days the loose pieces will get skewed around. For us it has been dependent on which direction the wind is coming from. I am entertaining the idea of buying a small cover and cutting it to fit the leg & step area, but I don't know if that will be more cumbersome to fold or not. I may just live with my current arrangement until it's time to replace all.
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