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Thread: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

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    Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    Let me start off by saying that over the past year of pool owership, I have found this forum to be very helpful. Thanks to everyone. Let me also say that I am not sure that this is the best section of the forum for this question, but I didn't see one that seemed much better.

    As we are wrapping up the 2008 swim season, I am again thinking about whether I should get a solar cover for my pool. In the beginning of the season I tried the "Solar Pill". I know what people have said about these and similar products, but I tried it anyway. It did seem to reduce the loss of temperature overnight in my pool. For example, without using anything right now, I am losing 3-4 degrees/night (with a typical daytime increase of about the same given current temps in south jersey).

    I know that a solar cover would be better than using Solar Pill/Solar Fish/HeatSavr, but fear that it will be unmanageable with my pool, which is a 800 sq ft freeform pool (24 x 42 at max dimensions). I know that I could use a Reel but, quite frankly, don't like the look. I have also considered the idea of cutting the cover into more manageable sections. The key for me is to come up with a solution that is easily managed by my wife as she uses the pool more with the kids while I'm at work. Our summertime water temperatures were great for us this year. But I know from this past spring that we can get really warm days, but not have water that is warm enough to comfortably swim. So, I'm looking for a solution. Solar heat panels are another option, but I don't have a good place to put them as my house is 70feet from the pool and the roof is 3 stories up (guessing that I would need another pump just to make things work properly). I could put panels in the yard on a rack, but I'm sure my wife won't let me as they "won't look nice"). So, I'm back to the solar cover....can this be made manageable to remove and re-install....thinking that it would need to take 5 minutes for each (off/on) to make my wife OK with it.

    Any insight from members that have larger inground pools is greatly appreciated!
    28,000 gallon gunite/white plaster with 30ft RBB and 2ft sheer descent, 100 sq ft thermaledge, 50sq ft spa w/ 6 jets
    2HP Jandy pump, 60sq ft Jandy DE filter, 400,000 BTU Jandy LX Nat Gas Heater, 2 Jandy color lights + Jandy color spa light, Jandy Aqualink RS6, Jandy AquaPure 1400

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    launboy's Avatar
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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    I don't have an IG but honestly, the reel sounds like the most plausable option. Maybe you could make some sort of full length bench with a flip open front for the reel to roll into. There are also other ways to cover the reel but many of them are just some sort of tarp-like thing that goes over the reel. Going off the bench idea you could make a large trench(maybe even with a lid) that the reel sits in. Then you wouldn't have to see it and it would be easy to access.

    Good luck,
    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

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    Vinyl_Guy's Avatar
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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    Hi ya ,

    Normally a solarblanket reel is the length of the second shortest dimension of the pool, and slightly larger for "leeway". Meaning the solarblanket is going to "roll up" the longer dimension around the reel. It's in the shallow or deep end, not along the length of the pool. So you need a reel to accommodate a 24' wide solarblanket

    I'm haven't worked in the supply side at all, but a reel over 20' might be something not standard. You'd have to check into it.

    If the "bulges" in your free form pool are under 4' a standard 20' foot reel could be used, but you'd need to "fold in" the bulging sections into the main body of the solar blanket, and then "roll it up" on the reel. But this makes for a very uneven rolling process. I've done this set up up with a curved wall kidney , and the owner found it a handful to roll up.

    I've seen customers who had cut their solarblankets, and it worked fine for them, but they are unruly when not rolled up. Then again with 70 feet from the house to the pool you might have a place to tuck them away (the sections).

    This is where 10+ years in the business is trumped by a pool owner. Some one who's gone through the day to day rigors of solar blankets knows more then I. How come I don't have a pool no matter how much the wife asks me to put one in? Because I've worked on them . No but seriously, with no kids around anymore, and NewEngland summers, we haven't been able to justify the cost vs. use (yet).
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Vinyl_Guy

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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    I have a 22' X 43' free form and use a solar cover. I cut mine into 3 sections and can manage the pieces easily. I also have a large deck area and i know that really helps in pulling the covers off and folding/rolling them. I fold the cover pieces as I drag them off the pool to swim then recover after swimming. Probably adds an additional 10 minutes for put on and take off. We have 80% solar coverage up on the barn roof and that adds an add'l 2-3mo swimming with the cover. I'm in Phoenix and able to swim March -Nov most years.
    IG pebble sheen, 22' X 43' freeform, 3 1/2'-10' deep, 33,000 gallons,SWG Zodiac Clear Water LM3-40, 1.5HP whisperflow pump, Clean & Clear 420 cartridge filter, moss rock waterfall, Performance solar. All in Phoenix, Arizona

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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    I have a 16x32. I know it's not as big as yours but I cannot get my wife to help me with the pool at all. I cut the cover into 4 pieces. Over time I've found the best way to manage the pieces is to not roll the cover up when you take it off but instead loosely accordian fold the pieces. That way when you're finished swimming you can just grab a corner and the cover flows right onto the pool easy as pie. Towards late summer I started to leave the cover on 24x7 and took it off only when I swam. I just ripped the cover off and threw it into the yard without folding it and drug it back onto the pool when done. Eventually I learned to just be rough with the cover and don't worry about messing it up.

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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    piku -

    I see that you are not that far from me...in fact I will not be too far from you tomorrow as I have to go to Blue Bell...In any event, I hear what you're saying. I'm considering the solar roller stick that mas985 uses and am considering your approach (just more sections). In the early season and late season, how much do you think your getting out of your solar cover? Put differently, how far into the early season and how far into the late season can you get/keep your water at a "swimable" temperature (let's say, 78-82 degrees)?

    Thanks
    28,000 gallon gunite/white plaster with 30ft RBB and 2ft sheer descent, 100 sq ft thermaledge, 50sq ft spa w/ 6 jets
    2HP Jandy pump, 60sq ft Jandy DE filter, 400,000 BTU Jandy LX Nat Gas Heater, 2 Jandy color lights + Jandy color spa light, Jandy Aqualink RS6, Jandy AquaPure 1400

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    A reel for a cover that size can be a 'reel' pain. Go with the advice here and cut it into sections. Whatever system you eventually sort out for yourself, I promise it will be just as good if not better than the reel, plus you'll save some extra $$$ and isn't that the point of the cover in the first place?

    Good luck!

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    offgrid's Avatar
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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    That's what I did. I have a 18' x 30' ft Free Form In-Ground Pool (Odysee II shape) . The Pool Store guy tried to sell me a 20' x 40' pool so that I could cut into the shape of the pool (with a lot of waste) for $170 and then buy the reel for another $200 .... But I decided to just buy 2 - 18' diameter circles for $40 each and cut the overlap to fill in the last little curve. See attached photo (before I cut the overlap) http://my-pool.blogspot.com/2010/09/...ankets-on.html .... At first I tried to roll them in the water, now I just drag them out onto the grass and fold in halves, until I end up with a 3' triangle that I prop up against the fence (which also keeps the weeds and grass from growing in) - Now I don't need to use a weed whacker along the fence - I'll take a photo of the triangles - they look quite nice. I can get them on and off in about 10 minutes now.
    20,000 gallon, Sand Filter, In-ground, vinyl, 1 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Natural Gas Heater, Aquarite Salt Chlorine Generator
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.MY-POOL.blogspot.com

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    dorpo75's Avatar
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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    sweet. Good old American ingenuity on the rise. Nice work.
    2005 Dimension One Venture model 370 gal. hot tub. We'll be using the TFP method to keep it clean and ready to use!
    TFP - The Finest Phorum on the Net!

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    offgrid's Avatar
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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    Canadian.... but I lived in the US for 5 years. Tried to become an American, but the Green Card process was going to take another 2 years so we came back to Canada. Nights get very cold here so we need all the Solar ingenuity we can get.
    20,000 gallon, Sand Filter, In-ground, vinyl, 1 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Natural Gas Heater, Aquarite Salt Chlorine Generator
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.MY-POOL.blogspot.com

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Using Solar Cover on Large Inground Pool

    A couple of thoughts:
    *Our pool is 38x18 plus a water bench in the deep end. The cover is cut to fit into the bench, and we fold that section of the blanket over on to the main piece before we roll it onto the reel. We live in West Chester Pa, so our climate is very similar to yours. In the spring, you can really "walk" up your temp if there are sunny days, and in the fall it's the same. It always depends on how cool the nights are getting.

    *Using a reel means it's fast and easy. Which means we use it more. The best/only way to make it work for extending the season in May and into Sept, and when the summer temps are cooler, is to be diligent about taking the cover off when you're swimming and putting it back on when you're not. It's easy enough for two of us to carry the reel over by our trees when not in use. It takes about 2-3 minutes to roll up on the reel, and less than a minute to put it back on the pool (with two people), or twice as long with one person.

    *For us, not putting it on the reel would mean it would be in grass, which would get on the cover and then into the pool, because our deck is not that big. I HATE grass in the pool.

    *We use less chemicals because the sun is not shining on the pool when the cover is on.

    *Last year we got a heat pump, (best money spent on the pool so far--we get much more use out of it now) and the solar blanket keeps the heat in the pool. It's depressing to spend all the money to heat a pool and then watch the steam coming off it at night.

    Hope this helped.
    TF-100 Test Kit, 28,000 gallon IG , 3M quartz plaster '09, 48 sq ft DE filter, Heat Siphon SX5HP heat pump '09, Polaris 360 '10, Protect-A-Child safety fence

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