Solar Covers - what do you think

DianeF1

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2011
89
Augusta, Kansas
We have a 16x32 Ultra Frame Pool (salt water)....it's the coldest darn thing ever! The only times we don't hear complaints was during our last 10 days of 100 degree temps. Mind you the 10 year olds don't care but the high schoolers (and older ;)) tend to float and get out.

There is refreshing but WOW! I like my pool a bit warmer. Monday I bought a thermoter and at 6 pm it was 84 degrees. We've been in the upper 90s/low 100s and it had been in full sun from 9 am - 7 pm and we'd not put any fill water in that week (we lose about two inches a week due to high wind and evaporation). At 7 a tree starts to shade 1/3 of it until sun down - note the sparklie water reflecting on the side of the pool - thank you troublefree pool!!!
[attachment=0:3g1try21]pool.gif[/attachment:3g1try21]

We are toying with the idea of investing in a solar blanket next year (and thus building some sort of reel so that the boys can remove it themselves) and I've a few questions.

We have the over the side skimmer that floats in the pool. Also, I run the filter and SWG overnight.

  • Do they really help?
  • How does the solar cover stay on the pool with the pump running? Is the pump supposed to be off?
  • If the pump is on do you have to do something so that the skimmer doesn't get covered?
  • How do they behave in HIGH wind locations - because our pool is in ULTRA high wind area (we have cord in two corners of the pool to tie up the floats so they don't go sailing off into the next county.

Any other information on your solar cover expierence would be great! Thanks everyone!
 

cramar

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 10, 2010
1,143
Sault Ontario
Man, I have to fight to get to 84, 84 is like a bath way up here.

The solar blanket will definitely help with heat loss at night, the pump can run while it's on, the blanket won't hurt anything. I'd recommend getting a good one that's a bit thicker so it does a better job. You may want to consider adding a solar heater as well.
 

1380ken

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2012
347
MA
I was going to say the same thing. I am happy when my pool gets up to 78 degrees and I use a solar cover. 84 would be like bath water.
 

Speedo

LifeTime Supporter
May 4, 2011
636
I wouldn't ever go without a solar cover. On a sunny day I can expect a few degree gain and overnight I would say it cuts down the loss by at least 60-70%. I haven't used it in a couple weeks, but it looks like within the next two weeks it will get some use. I also use about 1/3 as much chlorine when it's covered.
 

Hbah923

Well-known member
Feb 25, 2012
47
I live in Oklahoma and have an Intex 18'x54". I have a clear diamond solar cover that i keep on all the time except of course when we swim (at least I did). Last Friday it was 103 degrees with very little wind and alot of humidity. Me and my daughter went to go swim at 9:00 that night and holy Crud the water temp was excacly 100 degrees. We stayed in for about 15 minutes and I told my daughter I couldn't take it any more. I was sweating like I was in a hot tub with no bubbles. So now if the temp is above 100 i leave the cover off (just have to deal with the water evaporating) but the water stays around 90-95 which is great. Of course the 15 minutes of 100 degree water with no bubbles got me thinking about how to add some jets to make a big hot tub.Lol.
 

Britmandogs

Well-known member
Jun 1, 2010
58
16 mil clear and you won't look back, you can build a reel for it or just cut it into three or four pieces so it's easier to handle.
 

MikeInNH

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2007
476
Southern NH
It's a must have where I live in my opinion. I like the clear ones and use a reel that goes across the skinny side of my oval pool. My teens can easily roll and unroll it. Temps drop into the 60's at night at this time of year but with the cover and 2 solar panels I maintain 82 or so degrees unless really warm out. Like mentioned, the cover really helps with maintaining FC and water level. If my pool temp gets into the 90's I will roll the cover up at night so it cools off but it will stay on during the day. As for wind, not a problem because there's some suction affect plus the water level is below the pool frame. The cover sits on the water. I do lift the cover edge up near the strainer and put it on the frame held with a water jug. As for the cover itself, I buy them on e-bay. I have a 12mil one on the way right now. My old one is getting bubble detachment. I've read that 16mil is a bit heavy to deal with and not worth the extra thickness but that may be someone's opinion. 3 or 4 years seems to be the max on these covers.

Here's what I bought although the reel I got locally on sale for $100 I think.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/18-x-33-Oval-12 ... 6rk%3D1%26
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Above-Ground-Sw ... 2eb0e655f9
 

asxetos

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2012
99
Athens, Greece
Any kind of cover that would prevent blowing wind coming in contact with the water surface will work.

Your pool loses too much heat because of high evaporation caused by wind blowing over the surface, this is called evaporative cooling and it can work either for or against us, depending on the situation.
 

Glock

Well-known member
Jun 3, 2012
866
Mesquite, Texas
I bought one for my new pool while it was being built. It's still in the box. The pool took 40 hours to fill and has been 90 degrees since we started. I am freezing empty bleach bottles filled with water to cool it off. I probably won't need the solar cover. lol
 

MikeInNH

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2007
476
Southern NH
Glock said:
I bought one for my new pool while it was being built. It's still in the box. The pool took 40 hours to fill and has been 90 degrees since we started. I am freezing empty bleach bottles filled with water to cool it off. I probably won't need the solar cover. lol
Well, you are a bit more South. :wink: My new cover came in today, talk about fast seeing the shipping is included. Love Fedex.
 

J20832

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 3, 2009
218
Olney, MD
asxetos said:
Any kind of cover that would prevent blowing wind coming in contact with the water surface will work.

Your pool loses too much heat because of high evaporation caused by wind blowing over the surface, this is called evaporative cooling and it can work either for or against us, depending on the situation.
Yes, I definitely agree.

From personal experience, I can safely say to cheap out on this one... don't blow a ton of cash on a thicker blanket. My 16 mil disintegrated after 2 years and the so called warranty is really just a fancy way to get you to buy a new cover from the same seller (because they don't replace, they prorate). So, I am in season 3 with my el cheapo blue cover that is super thin and light and easy to roll up. I didn't even cover it this past winter (big oops) and I had covered the expensive every winter!
 

redhdgirl417

Well-known member
Sep 11, 2012
127
Mid-Michigan
I too leave my solar cover on the pool at all times unless swimming (have the Solar Saddle installed on one side of pool for storing it when not on) and it definitely helps keep the water warmer at night and nice and toasty in the afternoons here in Michigan. Thinking of adding a couple of solar panels in the future. ;)
 

TomAtlanta

Well-known member
Sep 10, 2011
335
Atlanta Ga
I'm going to get a solar cover. I just read over this discussion and would appreciate any links to other discussions of solar covers on the pool forum.

From what I have read here, I think I will get one of the cheap ones from Amazon. Here is a 20'x40' 12 mil for $132.
http://www.amazon.com/Mil-Pool-Solar-Co ... pool+cover
My pool is 36'x18' oval. Should I get a cover that is a little larger, or one that is exactly 36'x18' ? Amazon has both sizes.
 

MikeInNH

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2007
476
Southern NH
I find the exact size easy to deal with. It fits nicely inside the pool. With the size you mention it would hang over the edges. Maybe that's not a big deal on an IG but would be a pain on an AG. These things are a bit cumbersome to deal with so bigger to me would be worse. A reel is a good add-on for it.
 

MikeInNH

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2007
476
Southern NH
I have trees almost all the way around my pool. It keeps some out but I get a bunch of wind where my pool is so some of the leaves blow to one end and fall in. I guess that would be a plus to a bigger cover, you should get no leaves because you can scoop them off.
 

Pauls234

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 4, 2012
412
Chicago, IL
Tom, I recently had my cover on for about two weeks and I have a lot of trees around the pool. The cover definitely keeps a significant amount of leaves out, but with the wind some of them will still slip in around the edges. I was moderately surprised at how many had gotten in when I removed it, but there is no question it makes a material difference.
 

Marsee

Member
Jun 15, 2017
12
Hesperia California
I just put up my pool. Better late then never. I have a solar cover that is 18 ft on 17 ft round. My question is tri fold. Can i run my 1000c pump with the solar cover on. Can i pull back my cover and broadcast needed chemicals ie: stabilizer and bleach. Is it best to run pump at night ir during day while not swiming. Ps pool should be full soon.
 

Jezza

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jan 18, 2015
990
Bunbury, WA, Australia
Yes no worries with the pump running. Pouring the bleach in front of a return and you should be right.

We suggest adding stabiliser in an old sock hanging in front of a return.

It doesn't really matter when you run your pump- but it is always good to have it running at least 1/2 an hour before you perform your testing and when you are adding chemicals to the pool.