Central NC Pool Opening


Well-known member
Jul 8, 2019
Central NC
So it’s February but I’m already looking toward opening season here in central NC. So I considered a solar heater but decided to wait to see what happens since this will be our first opening.
Questions are, at what outside temp should I pull the cover off? Is it effective to float black trash bags in the water to heat it? Is it worth the money to get a solar cover? If yes on solar cover, should it be left on all day or removed during day and replaced for night?

thanks for the help.


Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
Welcome back Rumblee ! So usually the target water temp to open is 60 degrees. Algae isnt garaunteed above that, but it is more likely. You can also open earlier as well. Many people only cover long enough to catch the fall leaves/debris, and then open back up (while still winterized) for the remainder. Those that do occasionally test and treat with chlorine, but not nearly as often as in the warm season.

Solar covers work great, but only to their ability. They reduce evaporation which is the largest source of heat loss. They also depend greatly on the overall weather, so retaining 5 to 7 degrees above average air temp for the day doesn't mean much on a week where it is 50 degrees. They really start to shine once the average temps are in the mid 70s and stay that way. In the late afternoon or evening you can hop into 75 degree water when the air is dropping into the low 60s. If the next few days are colder, the water temp will drop accordingly and you'll still be warmer, but not to the point you would want to swim.

If you add a solar/gas/electric heater, the solar cover will be your best friend and retain alot of your man made warmth, paying for the cover many times over. My solar cover cut my utility cost in half and i left it on day and night and I opened it once a week or so to let the pool breathe for a bit
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Silver Supporter
Feb 6, 2018
Chesapeake, VA
hey Rumble. Chesapeake, VA, 20 min from the NC border here. I have a solar heater which is great during the main summer months, but can only do so much in April/May and Sept/Oct. I purchased 2 solar blankets (with 2 blankets I can just manage to put them on/take them off myself) which I use during the border months and it does help some.
Just never lay them solar blankets on your grass to dry for too long. I left one out for 5 hours one warm day and it turned my dark green bermuda grass brown - at least the bermuda bounced back after a week.


Well-known member
Jul 18, 2017
Antelope, CA
Short answer: In my opinion, yes, a solar cover is worth it.

We've used a solar cover for the last 3 summers. The husband won't get in the water unless it's like bath water, but I'm too cheap to spring for a heater. For us it's only effective in the warm summer months. I plan to put it on this year around early to mid May, or sooner if our avg. temps are higher than usual. We are in California.

We need a new solar blanket so this time we will be cutting it into 6 smaller manageable pieces instead of the 4 pieces we had previously. PROS: Using a solar blanket has a lot of advantages - way less chlorine needed, far fewer top offs from evaporation, slightly cleaner water, and the obvious - warmer water. Our water is probably about 10-15 degrees warmer with vs. without. The summer before last it got as warm as 95 degrees. My husband loved it (me not as much).

CONS: Can't see our pretty pool all the time. Have to deal with taking the cover off when we want to use the pool. Need to clean off the gunk from the top of the cover.

For the most part we usually only took the cover off when we were going to use the pool, I saw no benefit in taking it off for funsies. It never raised our CC's or anything. I just lift an edge by a return to get water samples or add chemicals. When taking the cover off we get in the pool and roll it up while it floats on the water then lift it out of the water and drape it over our pool railing.