Selecting a Solar Cover

mwemaxxowner

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Apr 15, 2020
248
Pageland SC
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We have a big, heavy, mesh cover that has always been used to cover our pool. There are spring loaded things that pop up from the patio around the pool that the cover attaches to. It's very nice and it works well, but it's a pain to use and to store.

Last year when we removed it the pool was the most swampy I've ever seen. I didn't realize there was a problem brewing because I couldn't see the water.

This year I want to try not covering it so I can see the water, and so that we simply don't have to fight the big canvas cover. I want to try just putting a solar cover over it to help keep some debris out, and I'll use my robot also as needed.

What should I know to select a good solar cover? Are they all basically the same, or are some better than others and it's a get what you pay for type of purchase? We have a rather large in ground pool, but I don't know the dimensions off the top of my head.

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DorsalSpine

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Jul 8, 2013
714
Columbus, Ohio
Solar covers are a consumable item. With care they will last 2 - 3 years. They are heavy and a PITA to remove without a solar cover reel. It will help keep debris out and reduce cooling due to evaporation. I have not priced this stuff for some time now. A cover could be $100 -$150 and a good reel $300 - $500. Don't go cheap on the reel.

Most open to swamp problems are related to poor water chemistry and/or closing too soon/opening too late. I understand not wanting to wrestle the heavy winter cover. I didn't like it either. On the other hand, once I learned to manage my water better, I never opened to a swamp either.
 
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mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
248
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
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Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I still want to try it this way this winter. I've done two so far the old way, and see which way seems the best for us.
 

Homebrewale

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
358
Apex, NC
A solar cover won't be any more attractive than your current mesh cover. I think it will be less attractive. The solar cover floats on the water. Leaves and other vegetative debris will fall on the cover. If you don't remove them, they'll eventually start rotting and stain the cover. The solar cover only keeps the debris out of the water until you start rolling it up. Then much of it falls into the pool. I just rolled up my solar cover for the year and installed my safety cover. Much of the debris in the pool came originally from on top of the solar cover.
 
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mwemaxxowner

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Apr 15, 2020
248
Pageland SC
Pool Size
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I would imagine you can prevent some of it from falling off the cover into the pool though, no? I also wonder if I could blow some debris off the cover if it hasn't yet gotten wet, but I think as soon as you started to blow part of the cover would dip below the water and water would most likely run onto the surface.

I understand it won't keep everything out, but right now there is nothing on top but the robot is keeping up. I assumed it would help me keep *some* things out, with the added benefit of a faster warm up in the spring.

If by attractive you mean the appearance of the pool while covered I couldn't care less about that.

If there's no way to get the debris off the cover, or get it off the pool without losing most of it into the water then I'd say it's not going to be of much benefit over just leaving it completely uncovered.
 

DorsalSpine

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Jul 8, 2013
714
Columbus, Ohio
Having it covered with the solar cover will keep a lot of debris out of the water. Depending on how much water is laying on the cover some of it will end up in the pool. In warm months with lots of rain that can be a problem as the water laying on the cover and the debris will let algae grow in the puddles. Taking the cover off to let it dry out will solve a lot of that. We had fewer problems when we swam more often. Every cover has its pro's and con's.

You want to use it for a winter cover so algae is a moot point. Honestly, in warm months the more you use the cover the less stuff will end up in the pool. My two cents based on 20 years of solar covers is try it and see if you like it. I have to deal with snow and ice a good bit of the year so I used both the winter cover and the solar cover. I considered the solar cover essential.

Try it for the winter and see what you think. If you like it your next purchase will be a solar cover reel and a cover for the reel. You need to cover a solar cover once it is wound up on the reel. If you don't, the sun will bake it and it won't last long. An expensive, heavy duty reel is worth every penny you spend. Covers come and go but you should get 10 - 15 years out of a good reel. A solar cover is heavy, a good reel will make it much easier to get off the pool.
 
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mwemaxxowner

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Apr 15, 2020
248
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Once it warms up in the spring, the cover would come off and stay off until fall, that's for sure.
Sounds like I'm good to just select the cheapest solar cover I can find that's large enough, then? At least for now.
 

DorsalSpine

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Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
714
Columbus, Ohio
I usually find a mid range price for the cover. I think they range from 8 - 16 mil in thickness. The low end tears and the high end is too heavy. Warranties are typically BS. I went that route once and the hoops you jump through are more trouble than it's worth. They will usually just call it chlorine damage and say you didn't maintain the pool properly anyway. It's been 5 years since I purchased a solar cover. I don't need one now since I have an auto cover. It's a luxury but my wife can open the pool by herself now. Even with a reel the solar cover was getting to be too much for her.
 

mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
248
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hopefully it will only have to be installed once, left for a few months, then removed once per year. We shall see.
 

scdaren

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Bronze Supporter
May 20, 2018
420
Clovis, CA
What you are planning should work fine. In California we don't "close" our pools for the winter. I don't cover mine either, I use my solar cover for the shoulder seasons to help the heat pump keep it warm. But if you have a lot of leaves and stuff, it would probably help. Just run your robot as needed, and maintain your chemistry over the winter and it won't turn green on you. Your chlorine consumption will be MUCH lower between the cooler weather, shorter days, and the solar cover.

Buy a cover on ebay. You may be able to get 2 to 3 seasons out of one. Don't worry too much about the mil - the thicker ones don't last much longer and are harder to take on and off. Here is the reel I have, it was $130 on Amazon, and is very sturdy and works great: Amazon.com : VINGLI Pool Cover Reel Set 18 Feet Pool Solar Cover Reel for Inground Swimming Pool, Aluminum Solar Swimming Inground Cover Blanket Reel (Upgrade) : Garden & Outdoor. I highly recommend you get a reel, the covers are a huge pain without one.
 
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mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
248
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I just pulled some measurements, and the pool is exactly 20x40. I'll get on ebay now and see what's available.
 
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