Solar Covers

TarheelPool

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
86
Burlington, NC
I've been looking for a solar cover and know there are many different brands, designs, thicknesses, etc.

Are the more expensive covers worth it? Silver, Blue, Clear; is one color better than the others? Do the higher mil covers hold heat better?

Basically, I'm looking for some help cutting through the hype and determining what factors should be considered in buying the cover.

Thanks,

Kevin
 

TarheelPool

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
86
Burlington, NC
Maybe I should have asked members to post a review of their covers in the Product Reviews section. I'm looking for general information but would certainly welcome a review of any given solar cover as well.

Kevin
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,624
SW Indiana
My next one will be as close to clear as I can get it, and extruded. The primary purpose of the cover is to control evaporation. The extruded covers don't delaminate so they last longer.
 

sevver

Well-known member
Mar 27, 2007
477
Morris, IL
ditto, cheap blue one. I mainly want it to keep the heat in my pool overnight, once summer is in full force, I just dump it in the storage unit and leave it there.
 
G

Guest

Solar covers work by preventing heat loss through evaporation overnight. They should be removed during the day so the sun can heat the water. IMHO, the really cheap covers don't last more than about a season and the very expensive ones don't last long enough to justify the high cost. The blue and slilver, medium weight (12 mil) covers seem to me to be the best value for the money. If you care for them properly (keep them covered with a white sheet or plastic cover when they are not on the pool to protect them from breaking down in sunlight) then they should last severel seasons.
 

The Mermaid Queen

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
2,522
Northern KY
OK, call me ignorant, but I was always under the impression that , at least with the clear solar covers, the sun magnified through the bubbles and helped to heat the pool, so you should leave it on in the day, also (unless of course you were swimming :wink: ) Hence the name 'solar cover', and not 'evening blankie' or something... 8)

Then again, what do I know? :roll:
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,624
SW Indiana
The Mermaid Queen said:
OK, call me ignorant, but I was always under the impression that , at least with the clear solar covers, the sun magnified through the bubbles and helped to heat the pool, so you should leave it on in the day, also (unless of course you were swimming :wink: ) Hence the name 'solar cover', and not 'evening blankie' or something... 8)

Then again, what do I know? :roll:
The primary function is to control evaporation. There is probably a small insulation factor as well. Maximum sun heating would happen with no cover. The reason I want a clear cover is that it won't be such a big deal if I leave it on during the day. My current cover is blue, and that blocks some of the sunlight hitting the pool, so my thinking is I'm better off taking it off during the day.

Like many things, it's not that simple. Wind, cloudiness, pool temperature and air temperature, all come into play in determining whether you get warmer water with the cover on or off. I've considered trying an experiment with buckets and samples of different kinds of blankets, but getting different kinds of blankets would be tough. I figured it would be a great science fair project for one of the kids.
 

mathey

LifeTime Supporter
May 9, 2007
35
Taylorsville, MD
I've used both the standard blue and the clear covers...the blue heats the top 6 inches of water well, but thats about it...the clear heats the water much more throughly...that being said, I'll never use anything but a clear cover! I don't think the thickness or bubble shape has much effect either way, but the one i just purchased was an extruded type in a 12 mil thickness.
 

divnkd101

LifeTime Supporter
You are starting to make me wonder if a cover would have a reverse effect for people in the deep south trying to keep their pool cooler during the summer months. Perhaps uncover at night and cover during the day to help keep temps down. Any thoughts???
 

uwimage

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 10, 2007
287
Richardson, TX
divnkd101 said:
You are starting to make me wonder if a cover would have a reverse effect for people in the deep south trying to keep their pool cooler during the summer months. Perhaps uncover at night and cover during the day to help keep temps down. Any thoughts???
I've thought about that too, the best suggestion I got last year was to run the pump a couple of hours in the middle of the night, circulate the water at the coldest part of the night...I'm trying it this year, once the pool gets in the mid 80's...I don't like it much warmer.

*sorry to hijack the thread*

thanks for the cover info, I think we'll get one next year, we were just spent with the remodel this year (and a clear one!)
 

JCJR

LifeTime Supporter
May 4, 2007
267
Miami
I've read in other posts that if you keep the cover on you should at least pull it back once in a while to let the gases out. Now, what gases, I don't know. Also, is there any truth in that using a cover lowers your chemical costs? Does the sun breakdown chlorine faster without a cover? If this is the case, I definitely need one because I lose a lot of chlorine living in Miami.
 

brittmer

Active member
Apr 25, 2007
38
Iowa
Here is what I have found in my experience. I have a blue cover that I leave on all the time when the pool is not in use. It warms the water during the day better than if I left it uncovered and helps hold the temperature at night. Once July hits, I leave the cover off or the pool will get too warm during the day.
Keeping the pool covered also appears to use less chlorine than when I kept it uncovered.
 

NWMNMom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 8, 2007
1,582
Waaay NW MN
Yes, the sun burns off chlorine - thus the need for CYA.

We just have a blue cover, which does heat the top few inches, but our entire purpose is to keep heat in at night where its gets pretty cool here in the great north. I leave it on during the day when not swimming just because it helps keep debris, bugs and leaves out of the pool, helps keep evaporation in check. Its like putting Saran Wrap on food in the fridge - if I didn't it would have Crud in it and get all dehydrated.
 

MikeInTN

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 27, 2007
1,335
Middle Tennessee
uwimage said:
divnkd101 said:
You are starting to make me wonder if a cover would have a reverse effect for people in the deep south trying to keep their pool cooler during the summer months. Perhaps uncover at night and cover during the day to help keep temps down. Any thoughts???
I've thought about that too, the best suggestion I got last year was to run the pump a couple of hours in the middle of the night, circulate the water at the coldest part of the night...I'm trying it this year, once the pool gets in the mid 80's...I don't like it much warmer.

*sorry to hijack the thread*

thanks for the cover info, I think we'll get one next year, we were just spent with the remodel this year (and a clear one!)
The best way I've found to cool down my pool in the summertime is to hook up a fountain. You'll lose more water to evaporation, but you can sure bring the water temp down. Same principle as a water tower on a chiller. The fountain connects via hose to one of your return jets. Right pretty, too. :)
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Occasional periods of direct sunlight, without the cover, help control combined chlorine levels. Even a clear cover will prevent most of that from happening.
 

Sunny John

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 2, 2007
32
Philadelphia
First post from a new member...

I've used solar covers for over 10 years now, in pretty much all the ways mentioned above - it all depends
on the weather that particular season (ie leave it on at night, off at night, etc). Some experiences:

- the thin covers just aren't as durable as the thicker ones. I had a thin one that was literally destroyed
in a hail storm. I'm sure the thicker would have gotten some damage, but not holes throughout (of
course it depends on the size of the hail...)

- the thinner seemed to detiorate faster: sun and chemicals

- tradeoff: weight. If you will be dealing with the cover with yourself, think about the additional weight of
a thicker cover. It makes a difference.

Right now we've got the heaviest Leslie's cover, blue, still going strong after three seasons.

Once, in a drought year, I cooled the water down by buying several tons of commercial ice (what is used
for ice sculptures, for example).
 

Honey

Member
Jun 1, 2007
24
Austintown, Ohio
Sunny John said:
First post from a new member...

Once, in a drought year, I cooled the water down by buying several tons of commercial ice (what is used
for ice sculptures, for example).
I have a very funny mental picture of this hehehe

Last year was our first having a pool, the only time I got in it was to vacuum it when dirt was visible on the bottom, it was soooo cold. We have one of those solar panels for heating and always ran the pump on low 24/7.
When the solor panel... not cover... was installed they left the OFF lever off so it was onall the time too.
We found out this year that having the pump on all the time and the water filtering through the solar panel 24/7 we were just cooling down what we warmed up during the day. never even hit 80 degrees. This year we bypassed the solar panel and have not used a cover since opening and the pool is at 82 degrees.... can't swim in it yet because of other issues but it's funny how the temp changed.

Sorry this doesn't quite go with the thread :oops:
 

Buggsw

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
925
Arizona
Visions of a giant cocktail in my head.

Hey John - Leslie's has a chiller on sale right now. It's cheaper in their store than online, though. $500 dollars cheaper in store price than online sale price. In case you're interested.
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,226
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
We had a silver/blue "space age" solar blanket that was very heavy and it lasted 5 seasons....was getting too hard to move. I bought a cheapy blue one this year, much easier to manuver myself but it blew off on a windy day and that has never happened to me, and we are in a windy spot....I keep it on when not in use I notice a huge difference in how clean the water is (especially on those windy days) and it does control evaporation.
I filled a few empty bleach jugs with water and placed them on top, it kept the cover in place and it did not blow off again.

On a side note, my neighbor has a 27' round and it is difficult for her to do the cover herself, so she cut it in half. It's not perfect, sometimes it moves around but it does the job and makes hers easier...