Solar Covers and Freeze Protection

curtis325

New member
Jun 29, 2013
2
0
Redding, CA
#1
Quick question. Would adding something like a solar cover during the winter bring up temps enough to reduce (or eliminate) the need for freeze protect assuming the equipment was sufficiently covered? How much should I expect a solar cover to raise temps in the winter? The surface gets full sun most of the day. Also is there an adjustment for the duration that freeze protect comes on? It has been very cold up here lately (low 30's at night) and freeze protect has been coming on and staying on alot. Seems like a big waste of energy ($$$). Don't want to break any pipes, but don't want to waste money either.

Sorry, that turned out to be not so quick.

16000 gallon IG gunite with cartridge filters
 

mas985

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 3, 2007
12,109
1
Pleasanton, CA
sites.google.com
#2
A solar cover will raise the water temperature of the water some but it does not protect the plumbing when the pump is off. The plumbing can still freeze.

But there are other things you can do besides use freeze protection to protect the plumbing. I started a thread some time ago on this very subject.

http://www.troublefreepool.com/threads/86914-The-Physics-of-Freezing-and-Freeze-Protection

If you have any question or would like to evaluate your risks going without freeze protection, just post back.
 

curtis325

New member
Jun 29, 2013
2
0
Redding, CA
#3
I actually read that thread and am hoping that by adding a solar cover it might raise the temps enough so as to be able to go without Freeze Protect as many have. I guess that really hinges on how much the solar cover will raise the temps in the winter. Does anyone know? Right now the water is in the low 40's and the nighttime temps will routinely dip below freezing.
 

mas985

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 3, 2007
12,109
1
Pleasanton, CA
sites.google.com
#4
Warmer pool water isn't going to help much. The water can be 90F and it can still freeze in pipes that aren't flowing, albeit it takes just a little longer but not that much longer. I would not rely on that. Plus a solar cover in the winter can actually reduce the water temperature because it blocks some of the solar gain and evaporation loses tend to be quite low anyway.

But I think you might have misread the thread I posted. It isn't the pool that needs covering it is the pad equipment that requires covering. That is how people can go without freeze protection. Tarping the equipment reduces convection and radiation loses so it takes much longer for the pipes to freeze. Adding a light bulb under the tarp can prevent freezing all together. It takes many days of freezing temps to freeze pool water but far less time to freeze the water in the pipes.

As I posted in the thread, I have not used freeze protection for many years and regularly get temperatures down to the low 20s F. I haven't used equipment covers either without incident. But your conditions may be different. Again if you want help in assessing your freeze risk, then let me know the following:

Minimum air temperature typically experienced.
Maximum duration of temperatures below freezing (hours).
Smallest pipe size on the pad.
Location of the equipment (middle of a field vs next to the house).

It may turn out to be like me where nothing is required.