What are the best solar pool covers?
Blue Wave Solar Pool Cover
This solar cover from Blue Wave is currently one of the highest rated pool cover in the market. Its blue color makes it easy for the sunlight to get to your pool water, and its UV protection allows your solar blanket to last for a long time.
Pros and Cons of Blue Wave Solar Pool Cover
- Utilizes insulating thermal cells to retain heat so you can swim in warm water even during chilly days
- It is made of UV-protected polymer, which makes it much more resistant to UV-ray and chemical damage. In other words, it will last you a long time.
- It is capable of raising your pool temperature as much as 15 degrees F.
- The pool cover helps to reduce evaporation by more than 90%. This will help you save money on water and chemical cost.
- Keeps dirt and debris away from your pool.
- The cover is quite light and it may bunch up a little when your pool pump is running
Sun2Solar Solar Pool Cover
Made with thousands of little bubbles, the Sun2Solar pool cover effectively retains heat in your pool water. Not only is its blue color effective for heat retention, but it also makes your pool appear more visually aesthetic even with the cover.
Pros and Cons of Sun2Solar Pool Cover
- Easy to trim to fit your pool with just a pair of scissors
- Keeps your pool temperature up throughout the day and night
- Significantly reduces water evaporation
- Saves you money by reducing the overall cost for maintaining your pool
- It may not last long if you don’t take a good care of it
Intex pool cover
Intex pool cover is effective and durable. It is also inexpensive and easy to set up. If you get another person to help you, you can easily get it on your pool and stretch it out within a matter of 30 seconds. Some people complain about the holes in the cover not knowing that it’s intentionally there. Those holes are there for proper water drainage and to let the air out.
Pros and Cons of Intex pool cover
- The normal pool cover that stretches over the side doesn’t work great for above ground pools. But the intex pool cover works great because it just lays on the surface and the wind won’t pick it up.
- It folds back easily, which is good when you don’t want something covered, such as your skimmer.
- Keeps debris away
- The intex pool cover will raise your pool temperature only slightly in most cases.
What is a solar pool cover?
A solar cover is a pool cover that helps to increase and retain the water temperature of your pool and save you more money by reducing water and chemical costs.
One of the main advantages of having a solar pool cover is that you keep your pool water from evaporating. It can prevent up to 30 to 50% of water loss if left on pool for all day.
There are a few factors that affect if your pool will experience temperature increase. One is how much sun the pool gets each day. Another one is the size of the pool. The temperature at night also matters.
Your pool can get up to 10 degree warmer based on the combination of these factors.
What are the benefits of using a solar pool cover?
They effectively heat the pool water by allowing the sun’s rays to enter the pool while its air bubbles trap the pool’s heat during the night.
An added benefit of having a solar pool cover is that it reduces the surface debris on your pool. Dirt and debris will pile on your pool cover, so you want to be careful not to make a mess when you take the cover off. They also reduce water evaporation, which helps cut down the water cost.
Additionally, solar covers block UV rays, which prevent chemical degradation in your pool water. Since your pool is less exposed to the UV rays, it will cut down the amount of chemical cost each week, especially chlorine. This chemical cost can be reduced up to 40%, although it depends on the type of your pool.
Solar pool covers can warm the water temperature by 10 to 15 degrees when the pool receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight and is fully covered. So when your pool is not in use, it’s best to keep it covered. You will also save money since your water will evaporate less, which means you are refilling your pool less.
How to maximize the benefits of your solar pool cover
To maximize the benefit of solar cover to reduce evaporation, you want to cut it so the cover fits the size of your pool and leave no gaps.
You also want to make sure you cut it in a way it matches the shape of your pool.
You can simply use a scissors to get the job done.
If your pool has an attached spot, you also want to cover that.
Depending on how much sun a pool gets, your solar blanket may raise a pool temperature.
How to maintain your solar pool cover
It’s good to cover your pool once a week, clean it, get any kind of debris that may be on the bottom.
To help with the maintenance, you can get a good automatic cleaner for the bottom of the pool. That way, if anything does get through the cover, the cleaner will clean it up.
When you cover up your pool with a solar blanket, you want to make sure your pool has a proper amount of chlorine and a good pH balance. Otherwise, algae can take over your pool.
How to remove a solar pool cover from inground and above ground pools
To remove your pool cover, you can use solar pool cover rollers, which effectively retract your pool cover without much hassle. You simply spin handles a few times and it will get the job done.
You can also get an automatic pool reel that retracts the cover automatically. It both self-deploys and self-retracts the cover, and doesn’t require you to manually crank the handle. You just need to push a button to get it to work.
So if convenience is your priority, this would be a good choice for you.
How to store a solar pool cover
You can put it on the roller and then you have to get it out of the sun. Even if you roll it up, you can’t just leave it on the deck. You have to wrap your solar cover with the white plastic that typically comes with it, so the sunlight is reflected off, and not burning into your solar cover.
If you just pull it off and leave it in the pile by the pool, the sun is beating on that cover and it’s not transferring the heat. What’s happening instead is you’re cooking and boiling all those little bubbles on your cover and each of those bubble will expand and burst eventually which will dry out the cover.
It’s best to put your solar pool cover under the deck. At bare minimum, you want to cover it with the tarp that it comes with.
The key is when it’s not on the pool, it needs to be out of the sun.
This will allow you to use it for years to come.
If you leave it out in the sun for an extended period, you will effectively reduce your pool cover’s life expectancy.
Round vs. Rectangular Solar Pool Cover
There are two types of solar covers.
A round-shaped solar cover, also known as a solar ring or a solar disk. They can be impractical because they take a lot to cover your pool surface. They don’t give your pool a complete cover due to gaps between each rings. This results in a lot of heat loss. Also, the gaps in solar rings make it hard to hold chemicals. They are also a pain to put on and off.
The second type is the traditional solar cover or a blanket. It comes in wide panels and rolled out lengths and you have to glue the seams together and then cut it to fit the size of your pool or the layout of your pool surface. You can then get a roller to roll them up. You’ll usually have to purchase the roller reels separately.
Generally speaking, a rectangular pool is best suited for solar pool covers.
When you look at your solar blankets closely, you can see that they are made of small dots. What those things do is that they eventually wear out and break and start to deteriorate into your pool.
If you live in an area where it’s extremely hot during the summer, then you may not necessarily need a solar pool cover.
Liquid solar cover
Traditionally, we used the solar pool blanket to retain heat at night and gain heat during the day.
The solar pool cover is basically a bubble wrap. With the bubble resting on the water, the heat could transfer through the sun into the water and warm the water.
Because of the surface of the pool cover, you don’t get the evaporation over night.
One drawback was that you had to pull the cover on and off the pool.
The liquid solar blanket was made to address this issue.
While it’s not as efficient as the hard cover, it still is plenty good enough to do the job.
When you add the liquid solar blanket onto the pool, it creates a film over the surface of the pool.
So as long as the water isn’t choppy, it’s doing its job.
The liquid solar cover creates a thin film that covers the surface of the pool. It increases surface tension, so you don’t get evaporation.
With the cover, you are essentially holding the water down so it has no room to escape. You are neither gaining heat nor losing water.
In most cases, a regular solar pool blanket works the best. But when you have a weirdly shaped pools, the liquid solar cover can be a good investment.
What is the best color for a solar pool cover?
The best color for your solar pool cover will vary based on a few factors.
Solar pool blankets come in different colors, such as clear, light blue, and dark blue.
Depending on the color of your solar pool cover, your pool will either have an easier or harder time retaining heat and blocking off UV rays to protect chemical.
Clear vs Blue solar pool covers
1. Clear solar pool cover
More sunlight enters your pool with clear cover. This means clear pool covers are great for getting your pool temperature up during the day when the sun is up. But the downside is that they also allow the heat to escape more easily.
Also, clear covers absorb quite a bit of UV light into the water, which leads to deterioration of chlorine, raising your chemical cost.
2. Blue solar pool cover
Blue covers are more effective at retaining the heat inside your pool. It does its job by holding onto heat after the sunlight reaches your pool. With clear covers, the heat inside your pool can run off more quickly, which makes blue covers a better alternative in most cases. They also do a better job of preventing UV rays from reaching your pool water, which helps to reduce chemical costs.
3. Dark blue pool cover
Dark cover does the best job at retaining heat. Because of its darker color, it also absorbs the most amount of heat out of all.
In sum, clear covers are best suited during the day for maximal heat gain and dark blue covers are great for retaining heat in your pool over night.
What is the best thickness for the solar pool cover?
Solar pool blankets come in three different thickness: 8 mil, 12 mil, and 16 mil.
The 8 mil one makes it easy for the sunlight to penetrate through the cover.
The 16 mil is durable due to its thickness, and it also absorbs the most amount of heat. That said, it’s heavy and difficult to set up.
The 12 mil is in that sweet spot, which is why it’s the consumer’s favorite.
How much do solar pool covers cost?
The price of solar pool covers can range anywhere from $50 to over $500.
It will depend on different factors, such as the size of your pool and the material of the cover.
You will also have to factor in the cost of reels, which can add another $50 to $500 to your total.
Overall, you can expect to spend anywhere between $100 to $1000 for your solar cover and reels.
How long does a solar pool cover last?
There are a few factors that determine how long your solar cover will last apart from the quality of the cover itself.
1. How often you use it
The more you use it, the faster it will wear out
2. How long the sun stays up where you live
The more your cover is exposed to the sun, the shorter its life expectancy will be.
3. How well you take care of it
When you take off your solar cover, you don’t want to leave your cover exposed to the sun. You want to make sure to put it under the deck or use the plastic cover to wrap it. This will help your cover last longer.
How fast does a solar cover heat a pool?
This will depend on if your solar cover completely covers your pool and also where you live. If your solar cover fully covers your pool and you live in an area where your pool is exposed to a good amount of sunlight for 5 to 6 hours, then you can expect your pool to gain more than 10 degrees F.
Can you run a pool pump with a solar cover on?
Yes, you can. In fact, you are encouraged to do so.
Since your solar pool cover only heats the surface, you want to run your pump to circulate warm water down into the lower part of your pool water, so your entire pool gets warmer.
The pump has to be running during the daytime because it won’t do you much good at night when there’s no sun.
Cons of a solar pool cover
1. The solar pool cover extends your swim season by about 4 weeks, with 2 weeks on either end. That may or may not be much depending on how often you like to swim.
2. They can actually restrict the movement of your pool vacuum because when they cover the surface, your pool vacuum hose tend to float around the surface. And that forces your pool vacuum to work a little harder to get around the pool. So it can affect the efficiency of your pool vacuum.
3. It can also affect the efficiency of pop-up cleaning system since there is no surface movement of the water. And a lot of the movement of the debris that’s being blown up gets restricted and doesn’t get to where it needs to go.
4. If your solar pool blanket is not anchored firmly all the way around the perimeter of your pool, it does not serve as a protective device for children should they fall into the pool. Most solar pool covers sit on the surface and rolled in. They are not attached on the sides. So if a child happens to fall on top of that cover, their weight will push down and push the solar cover down into the water and then the water will collapse the plastic around them. So it is not a safety protective device.
Other minor cons
- One obvious drawback is that your pool won’t look very aesthetic with a cover
- It’s work to get your pool cover on and off
- Algae may start appearing under your solar blanket
- You may not see your water temperature rise by much
- Pool covers usually only last between two to four years