Looking for Solar Cover recommendations

msears101

Member
Sep 20, 2018
8
Bridgeport, NY
Hi all.

I know lots of people here think solar covers are disposable, but at least for me, they are not. Mine last a lot longer than 2 seasons. My last one, which is just starting to go is 6 years old. I am pulling out a few "bubbles" from the skimmer a day from it. I keep the cover on 99% of the time. It only comes off when the water is above 88 OR we are swimming in it. I keep it in on a reel covered the when it is not on the pool. It is stored inside in the winter. The cover is an important part of my pool use. I live in a cooler climate.

I am looking to replace my cover. I would like advice from people who have found quality solar covers they recommend. I am looking for clear and 16mil+.

Thanks in advance.
 

MarlboroMan

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2018
91
Marlboro New Jersey
I am actually looking for a solar cover as well. (I live in Central NJ). Any recommendation on a particular brand or reputable website I can purchase from is greatly appreciated.

Also my question is which color is the most efficient to keep the warmth in the water.

Thank you for your help.
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
125
IL, NW of Chicago
I'm more of a lurker than a contributor, so take that for what it's worth.

I have gotten ~3 years out of my last 2 solar covers. I also typically leave them on throughout the season except when we're expecting to be in the pool. The one I bought at the start of this season was Thermo-Tex 24 ft. 7-Year Round Clear Above Ground Solar Pool Cover-2952424 - The Home Depot. I don't normally think Home Depot when I think solar cover, but it came with a 7-year (3-year full) warranty. That 3-year full warranty will get bumped up 1 year through my credit card program (Chase Freedom). This one is specified at 13mil. For my setup, I wouldn't want to go any thicker / heavier since I (and wife and daughter) need to lift the reel slightly over my head to get it off and back on the pool.
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,193
Pacific NW
I got 4 years out of mine and that was taking very good care of it, rolling it into the reel and covering it when not on the pool.
It has so many of the bubbles with the tops off now. The other day I saw one of the blue circles in my office on the floor lol. time for a new one!

Amazon is where I buy from, I think it's just under a hundred bucks. Standard thickness, blue.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,353
NY
I bought the 16mil one and the tarp part was far superior. No rips or tears in 5 years. Ultimately the same wimpy bubbles as used on the thin covers is what failed but most of that was my fault for leaving it on the reel for 2 weeks uncovered during an August staycation. I was too lazy to keep taking it on/off everyday. I got it from intheswim and was very happy with the quality. Would buy it again without question if we ever decide to buy another one.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
13,518
Pleasanton, CA
Mine last a lot longer than 2 seasons. My last one, which is just starting to go is 6 years old.
Given that you have the pool open for only 3-4 months? per year, that may not be so unusual for standard cover. A cover's life is primarily dependent upon exposure to UV light if not ripped or torn. My current cover, cheapest I could find, is on it's 3rd year without much degradation but probably because I don't use it much anymore and keep it out of the sun when not in use. The forum has had this discussion many many times and we seem to always come to the same conclusion, there are no long lasting covers. The most economic solution is to get the cheapest you can find and replace it when it fails.

Clear cover is best for heat transfer into the pool. I've never seen anything about color and heat retention.
You might think that but I have used both and I have not seen much of difference. I have used an IR thermometer on each of the cover colors to measure the heat transmissivity and they are pretty close to being the same. Close to half of the heat from the sun is transmitted in the infra-red spectrum where both colors have equal transmissivity. For visible light, the clear might have some advantage if it actually remained clear but from my experience, they cloud up fairly quickly so I don't think they are much better than the colored covers.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,353
NY
For visible light, the clear might have some advantage if it actually remained clear but from my experience, they cloud up fairly quickly so I don't think they are much better than the colored covers.
Mine was 'clear'. But brand new i called it opaque. Nothing remotely clear about it. I will vouch for the heating though. It was uncomfortablely warm to the touch on many occasions. I had felt blue ones at friends houses also many times that were lukewarm at best. Then again with my 35k gallon pool, the differences between the 2 may not even make 1/10 of a degree difference in my 35k gallon pool. Oh well, let the debate carry on.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
13,518
Pleasanton, CA
If the clear cover felt warmer than the blue cover, then the clear cover was absorbing more heat rather that transmitting through the cover which is not as efficient for heating the water. Much like solar panels, they should not be hot to the touch or they are losing heat.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Newdude

MarlboroMan

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2018
91
Marlboro New Jersey
Thank you everyone for your insights and experiences with the covers.

Last week I bit the bullet and ordered a solar cover online. I purchased a 16 mil blue cover. However, I will not be using it this season. Turns out we will be busy the next few weekends and the kids have after school activities that will keep them from going in the pool.

So we will be closing the pool in a week or two. Bright side I will be using the cover next year.
 

Teald024

TFP Guide
The most important role of a solar cover isn't to heat the pool. A solar covers biggest benefit is to reduce evaporation and thus helps to retain the heat the pool already has by preventing evaporative cooling. This is why cheap thin covers usually perform as well as thick expensive covers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mclarenf3

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,353
NY
The most important role of a solar cover isn't to heat the pool. A solar covers biggest benefit is to reduce evaporation and thus helps to retain the heat the pool already has by preventing evaporative cooling. This is why cheap thin covers usually perform as well as thick expensive covers.
Somebody posted a link the other day to a detailed analysis on pool energy loss. It said that 10% was from the ground temp, 20% was air temp and 70% from evaporation.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
13,518
Pleasanton, CA
The four major components of heat loss/gain are evaporation, radiation, convection and conduction. The proportion of these are dependent on your local weather conditions. The higher the humidity, the lower the evaporation and visa versa. 70% evaporation would be for a location with very little humidity (AZ). In NY, your humidity should be much higher and evaporation much lower.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,353
NY
The four major components of heat loss/gain are evaporation, radiation, convection and conduction. The proportion of these are dependent on your local weather conditions. The higher the humidity, the lower the evaporation and visa versa. 70% evaporation would be for a location with very little humidity (AZ). In NY, your humidity should be much higher and evaporation much lower.

Makes sense, thanks for sharing. The guide in question I think was an overall onesizefitsall kinda thing. It appeared to be from the government energy dept or whatever they call them selves.

**edit**. HAAAA !!! It was post # 10 in this thread where I saw it. Lalalalalalalalala don’t mind me I haven’t had enough coffee yet today. It was at energy.gov
 

Attachments

Last edited: