T he moment you’ve installed a pool, you knew what you have to put up with, namely daily and weekly cleaning, water testing, buying and storing chemicals, as well as using them to keep the water sanitized. While it is a great way to spend the summer days, it is also a bit of a bother, and maybe a great energy drainer, especially in the cooler months, when you may even need to warm the water to make it cozy.
But what if there were a simple and rather inexpensive way to reduce your power expenses, water expenses, and even the time spent cleaning and sanitizing the pool? If you are here, you’ve probably set your mind already on installing a solar pool cover. So, let’s not lose any more time, and plunge directly into the problem. How do these products work, how easy are they to use, and how much power will they save you? We will answer these questions in the following paragraphs.
What is a Solar Pool Cover?
There’s nothing complicated about these products. In fact, you will discover that they are some sort of pool blankets (they are also called this way), built of a special type of plastic that has been treated against UV light. Thus, they sit on top of the water, especially at night, when they use the solar heat trapped during the day to maintain a higher water temperature. The special design, which implies the use of a bubble wrap side facing the water and a smooth, plain side facing the sun, is the one permitting the heat to be trapped with no chances of escaping.
How Does It Work?
When dealing with an uncovered pool, it can be affected by a series of exterior factors that can rapidly mess with the thin balance the water needs to remain safe. The wind carries all sorts of debris, including leaves, algae, and acorns that will eventually end up in the water. Dust is also a common problem. If the temperature is high, water will vaporize, and you will need to add more. Plus, note that with the water, other substances tend to leave the pool, namely chlorine or other chemicals you’ve added to maintain an optimal pH or sanitation standards. Another problem appears when the weather is getting a bit chilly, and the water becomes rather cold and unpleasant.
Well, a pool cover will not save you from maintenance work, but it can do it a lot easier. By placing it over the water when not using the pool, it will have the following effects:
- Will capture sun rays – and it will store the heat as well. Thus, when the night comes, it can use the stored heat to maintain a higher temperature inside the pool. During the hot season, you will be able to swim in cozier waters in the first hours of the day. Moreover, if you like to use your pool in the spring or autumn as well, it can help reduce the heating costs.
- Will act as a shield against debris – as there’s a blanket shielding the water, a lot less dust, leaves, sand, or even dead animals will end up in the water. This will mean less cleaning, more free time, and, if you are using a robotic pool cleaner, a longer lifespan for it.
- Will reduce sanitation costs – if the chlorine is exposed to the sun, the chances are that it will leave the water sooner than expected. Thus, you will need to constantly keep an eye on the pool, testing the water to ensure the level of bacteria isn’t getting too high. If the water stays covered, however, when not used, the level of vaporization is lower and the chemical balance tends to last longer.
- Will reduce water cost – evaporation is a natural phenomenon and tends to happen when the surface of the water gets heated enough to turn from liquid into vapors. Well, if the water isn’t exposed all day long to the sun, the chances are that evaporation will be lower. Thus, you won’t need to add extra water too often.
Looking for a budget-friendly heater to help you create better swimming conditions temperature-wise? Then look no further and check out our selection of the best solar pool heaters to utilize solar energy to the fullest extent.
How to Install It?
Before purchasing your cover, you will need to bear in mind a series of aspects:
- Product type – you will encounter both manual and automatic models. The first ones are less expensive and easier to install. Nonetheless, they are more difficult to operate, as you will need to place and remove them from the pool manually. Automatic models, on the other hand, come with a motor that rolls the cover without any intervention from your part.
- Pool size – We recommend considering the size of the pool when picking the blanket. Try to find one that is as large as the surface occupied by the water. If you don’t find one to fit exactly, buy a larger one and get ready to adjust it.
These being said, considering that you’ve bought your model, it’s now the time to start using it. Here are the steps:
- Unwrap the product – roll it out and make sure it is in good state.
- Place it on the water – the bubble wrap side should face the water while the smooth side should face the exterior. Align it with the sides of the pool.
- Cut it in the right size – if the item is too large, use scissors to trim the extra material. The plastic layer should cover only the water, not the margins of the pool.
- Connect it to the reel – if you have picked an automatic model, you need to connect it to the roller.
Even with the cover, gunk will still fall inside as you will eventually uncover the pool. Use a robot pool cleaner to more easily get rid of the debris that ends up in the water. There are options for all budgets, so just take your time to analyze and compare products, and you are sure to find one that fits your needs in no time.
How To Get More Bang For Your Buck
Now that you know the numerous gains a pool cover will bring, you should know a few extra tips that will allow you to get more for your money. Some of these are:
- Filter – You should run your filter in the afternoon when the sun is up. This will help you reduce heat loss from vaporization. The only drawback about this is the fact that it will consume a lot of energy so your energy bill will go up
- Windbreak – Prevent increased vaporization due to the wind by setting up a windshield around the pool. Arrange the furniture and plants so they take some of the wind’s power.
- Limit Attraction – You should only enjoy pool features like waterfalls only when you’re there to enjoy them. Running them when you’re not there will raise water evaporation meaninglessly
Alternatives To Pool Covers
If this solution doesn’t seem to work for you, there are two alternatives to choose from. These are some of their features:
- Solar Rings – They are formed from smaller rings or circles, that connect magnetically. What you have to note is that they are not protective and safe. Thus, in case something falls in the water like a child or a pet, it will get damaged.
- Liquid Solar Covers – made with aliphatic alcohols which form a single-layer film on the face of the water, they provide more heat and fast. Besides, the alcohol molecules will reduce vaporization and this will help prevent heat loss.
A solar pool cover is an investment in more convenient pool upkeep. It prevents gunk from getting in while the pool is not used, and helps preserve the temperature of the water during the night when uncovered pools generally lose a lot of heat. If you are already using a solar pool heater, the cover helps amplify its efficiency as well because of this. When used properly, there are a lot of advantages to reap from this addition, so needless to say, any pool owner would be lucky to install one.