If you own a swimming pool and your priority is to keep the pool water all day long, then you may want to consider investing in a solar pool cover. It’s the best and simplest way to keep your pool water warm and clean.
What is a solar cover?
A solar pool cover is a relatively budget-friendly pool cover option that specializes in retaining the heat in the pool’s water through the help of sunlight. In addition, a solar pool cover protects the pool from dirt and debris and prevents evaporation.
Solar pool covers are often referred to as giant bubble wraps as they resemble the regular bubble wraps that protect sensitive or fragile items. They are usually made from light and transparent plastic material that floats on the pool’s surface. The air bubbles absorb the sun’s heat and transfer it to the pool water, warming it up.
Key points about solar pool covers to remember.
- A solar pool cover’s effectiveness in heating the pool depends on its type, size, color, and surface coverage. Weather conditions can play a significant part as well.
- When it comes to heating pool water, a solar pool cover is the most effective.
- A solar pool cover warms your swimming pool up to 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the right conditions.
- Although a solar pool cover warms your swimming pool sufficiently, it should not be considered a replacement for heaters.
What are some advantages of solar pool covers?
Available in a wide range of sizes for in-ground and above-ground swimming pools, solar pool covers provide numerous benefits.
- The main benefit of solar pool covers is heating retention in the water. Your pool stays warm throughout the day, making it comfortable for swimming, especially during the evening or early morning. When the weather is cool in fall and early spring, solar pool covers keep the pool water warm.
- Solar pool covers may help reduce chemical usage depending on the type or color.
- They help prevent evaporation, thus saving you a lot of water.
- Less time, effort, and money spent on pool maintenance.
- They keep the pool clean to prevent dirt and debris from getting into it. This means less time for cleaning and more time for enjoying your pool!
- They are more affordable than the other pool cover options.
- They are easier to set up, remove, and store than other pool cover types.
Solar pool covers are easy to set up and can be laid down between pool uses. The solar pool cover absorbs the sun’s heat and retains it under the cover, transferring that heat to the water. Thanks to the solar pool cover, enjoy the water’s pleasantly warm temperatures while swimming in the pool.
What are the disadvantages of solar pool covers?
Like many other pool cover options, solar pool covers may not meet everyone’s needs and preferences. Here are some disadvantages of solar pool covers:
- The cover’s lightweight and loose fit provides no added safety features to prevent children and pets from falling into the water. So, if pool security is your top concern, choose a safety pool cover instead.
- Short lifespan (most solar pool covers last only up to three years).
Solar pool covers as an extension to swimming pool heat pumps
While solar pool covers offer gains from the sun’s light and heat, they will never increase the water’s temperature to sufficient or desired levels completely on their own.
In cooler temperatures, where you want to keep your pool warm for a longer time, you may have to use a swimming pool heat pump to warm the pool first, then maintain the water’s heat with a solar pool cover.
A swimming pool heat pump differs from a swimming pool heater as the former is run by electricity instead of gas or propane, which powers a conventional pool heater. In addition, heat pumps are a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly option to heat your pool to your desired temperature. Heat pumps also consume less energy.
After heating the pool, cover it with a solar pool cover to maintain the water’s temperature.
Clear vs. blue solar pool covers
The color of a solar pool cover is an indication of its properties and what it can do for you. Expect to find two types of solar pool covers: clear and colored, typically blue.
Other than the appearance, there is a significant difference between clear and colored solar pool covers in terms of heating efficiency. In general, clear or transparent solar pool covers do a better job of heating the pool. They transmit and harness the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to heat the water.
However, the downside of using clear solar covers is that they offer less protection from the sun’s UV rays, which will degrade the pool’s chlorine content. The reduced chlorine levels will help algae grow and thrive in the pool.
While a solar pool cover won’t directly turn your pool “green,” it can heat up your water by up to 8 degrees. Provided that the conditions are ideal, adding a clear solar pool cover can accelerate algae growth in the pool – easily and rapidly.
Blue solar covers, on the other hand, can trap the heat as clear solar pool covers do. However, blue solar pool covers hold the sun’s UV rays more effectively than clear solar covers. The coloring helps the blue covers absorb more light than clear or transparent covers.
Both types of solar covers can heat the pool, but it’s apparent that blue solar pool covers are more efficient in heating the pool and absorbing the harmful UV rays.
Although solar pool covers are available in manual and motorized options, it is worth investing in the motorized cover as it is easy to manage and operate. Once reeled in, it is stored out of sight when the pool is in use. You can also opt for lightweight solar pool covers that are easy to handle if you use your pool regularly.
Since your swimming pool is a big asset, a solar pool cover can be a worthwhile and cost-effective investment to heat your pool water and help you save on maintenance costs.