If you have a pool, you’re likely already using a pool cover to keep debris out of the water and reduce evaporation. You can greatly reduce the time you spend cleaning your pool by using pool covers. You may have a plastic or vinyl cover, but there is another cost-effective, greener alternative: solar pool covers.
How Do Solar Pool Covers Work?
Solar pool covers work in the same way as regular, non-solar covers. They fit over the entire pool and act as a vapor barrier to prevent evaporation and block debris. However, solar pool covers are also the most efficient cover choice when it comes to retaining heat in the pool – or even increasing the temperature of the water. Of course, they won’t raise the temperature as much as a solar pool heater will. They can’t make your pool comfortable in the fall or winter. But they can be a much less expensive alternative to purchasing a full solar pool heating system if you plan to use your pool mostly on summer days. Solar pool covers are actually lower in cost than their vinyl or polyethylene competitors
Your Options For Solar Pool Covers
You have a few different types of solar pool covers to choose from. Read on to find what product will best fit your needs.
Solar Pool Blankets
The full-coverage “bubble covers” or solar pool blankets are made from high-grade plastic in a bubble pattern. They look very similar to packing material, but are far more durable and contain UV-inhibitors. These bubbles not only absorb the sun’s radiant heat but also magnify it and reflect the heat down into the pool water. This results in a passive heating process that can make your pool comfortable during the summer months with no ongoing expense.
These solar pool blankets are lightweight and easy to use. You can trim the cover to fit your pool exactly, even if you don’t have a standard rectangular design. But keep in mind, these covers do lose heat overnight when they aren’t absorbing direct sunlight. And because they are so lightweight, they provide no protection for pets or small children in case of a fall. These covers can last up to five years with proper care.
Solar Pool Rings
This solar pool cover does not cover the entire pool. Solar pool rings link together by magnets to form a floating raft, allowing small areas of direct sunlight to hit the pool water. This can help prevent algae growth, while still increasing the pool’s temperature. Solar rings work in the same way as the bubble cover or solar pool blanket. They absorb, magnify, and redirect heat from direct sunlight.
Some advantages that solar pool rings have over solar pool blankets include easier replacement. Instead of replacing an entire cover, you have the option of replacing just a few rings at a time as needed. The rings will also separate readily if an animal or person falls into the pool, instead of potentially wrapping around them as a full-coverage pool blanket may do. You can easily install and remove solar pool rings by yourself. They are just as efficient at raising your pool’s temperature in direct sunlight as the solar pool blanket. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that the solar rings cannot be stored away when not in use. Additionally, they are not efficient at reducing water loss due to evaporation.
Liquid Solar Pool Blankets
You have one more option when it comes to using solar pool covers. If the idea of pulling a solar pool blanket off and on or stacking up solar rings every time you want to swim does not appeal to you, you may be interested in a liquid solar pool blanket.
Liquid pool blankets are chemical mixtures that are poured into the pool. These mixtures act as solar pool blankets. Liquid pool blankets protect the pool from evaporation and help the water retain heat. Consequently, they lower energy usage and costs. Some brands of liquid pool blankets have been shown to reduce overnight heat loss by up to fifty percent!
Perhaps the biggest advantage to choosing a liquid solar pool blanket is that you don’t need to remove the cover when you swim. The formula is nontoxic and biodegradable, and there is no tangible residue or film over the pool. Of course, a liquid pool blanket can provide no barrier against debris. You may be trading the time you would spend moving a conventional cover for time spent scooping leaves and bugs out of your pool.
If you are considering obtaining a solar pool cover for your pool, be sure to check out the product recommendations here at Daniel’s Home for Solar Energy. We can do the research for you, and help you make an informed decision on what cover is best for your needs.