Lurker who needs a second set of eyes on my approach to making the pool warmer (and saving money?)

karl_burns

New member
May 2, 2020
3
Los Angeles, CA
Hi Team,

I've read so much on this board and learned TONS. Thank you for taking the time to have great discussions that us new people can learn form.

I'm a single Dad and have a big pool behind the house. I'd like my son to learn to swim, so I try to spend 30-60 minutes every day between 9:30am and 11:30am to practice swimming (working from home has been a blessing at this point). He sleeps from 1:30-5:00pm so afternoons are a bit out of the question. He's gone to his grandparents house and a swim school, both of which have heated pools. Recently, it's been a bit cooler (85 degree highs) and it gets down to 60 at night. My son is now complaining about the temperature here at my house. Part of me wants to say "toughen up", but he's so far ahead on so many fronts that it feels like this issue I could yield on to make everyone happy. And likely me too. The pool temp is 74-76.

I live in SoCal, and right now I estimate I spend more than $700 per year on pool water (comparing water bills from just house usage to months with house usage and the pool being topped-up. Those months did NOT have any irrigation water). I'm reading that pool blankets can not only significantly slow down the evaporation, but also give me the 4-8 degree increase in temperature I need to make it more comfortable for him.

I'd like to install a solar heating system, but I'm thinking the pool blanket will get me the few degrees I need for the next 60 days, and then I can work on something more permanent next year. I could also do the black tubing inside a sealed container and a small 360GPM pump. I've got wood/silicone/tubing lying around from other projects.

Am I missing anything? Just a $200 clear bubble blanket and a roller to wind it up for cleaning? Should I also do something homemade?

Thanks in advance for everyone's help and advice. After doing the math, I wish I would have done something 3 years ago when I bought this place!

Karl

Charlie jumping into pool.jpg
 

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zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,643
Houston, Texas
Hi, welcome to TFP! Yes the solar cover will slow down evaporation and help heat the pool. You do need to let the pool "breathe" periodically so if you go a few days without using the pool be sure to take the cover off for a couple of hours to allow chloramine gases to escape.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,512
NY
Hey Karl and Welcome !!

but he's so far ahead on so many fronts that it feels like this issue I could yield on to make everyone happy
Gotta pick your battles. A kid with purple lips is not gonna be a happy one. At least not for long.

You have a good grip on the solar cover. It stops evaporation which in return retains some heat for the next day. Most covers see a 4-7 degree increase over the average daily temperatures. One day won’t swing it much, but a few cool days in a row will. If the average temperature is 60 degrees, the fact that your pool is ‘warmer’ at 65 is kinda a moot point. But more days than not it works in you favor so it is bang for the bucktastic.

DIY solar projects MacGuyver style don’t do enough to matter generally. Especially in an inground pool.
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
1,607
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I'm relatively close to you. A solar cover should keep your water temps in the 80s during this time of year. Mine is on now. Temps are in the low 90s here and water temp has been holding steady between 84 in the morning to 88 by night fall. You're right on the mark as far as temp gains. I see 5 to 8 degree increases with the cover on. I have a 10 mil cover which is heavy enough to keep it from getting blown away and light enough to remove by myself (in two sections). My pool can't easily accommodate a reel.
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,310
Pacific NW
Same here and I'm way way north.
Once the pool gets to 84 it pretty much maintains itself as long as warm days and not too cold nights happen.
 

karl_burns

New member
May 2, 2020
3
Los Angeles, CA
This is great. Thank you!
I'll order the cover today. I think I'll order the roller since it's just me and I'd rather not cut it into two pieces. Plus storage. I can deal with the space consumption for now and decide if I really want to spend more money later on.
Yeah, my son is so far ahead in lots of areas, but he still plays in knee deep water even when his lips are purple, so I give him lots of credit for that.

I found a 12 MIL blanket for my pool (98% coverage) and was going to order the clear. Or should I get blue? Does one trap more heat? (haven't seen that discussion yet)
 
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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,512
NY
I had clear and it appeared to allow the sun to heat the water on top of the less evaporation. It probably didn't matter more than a degree so its arguably a moot point. It. Was. Hideous. At least the blue one looks enough like water when you walk by without looking directly at it. It can fool you at least some if the time to think its water.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,512
NY
Also, its probably common sense, but just in case..... the pool area is *OFF LIMITS* when the pool is covered. My dog tried to run across mine and sunk in up to his neck. It took me 5-10 minutes to drag him and his 900 gallon, 1k pound cocoon to the stairs and free him. If he landed upside down he would have drowned in the meantime. In front on me.