Swimming Pool Solar Covers – The Why And The How Behind Those Neat Inventions

Swimming Pool Solar Covers – The Why And The How Behind Those Neat Inventions

Owning an outdoor swimming pool, regardless of whether it’s in-ground or with a frame construction, is the dream of many homeowners. In fact, a lot of them would look for properties with already built ones when they want to buy a new home.

And, if we have to be completely honest, having a swimming pool in your backyard is a great amenity. This is a relaxation sanctuary for you and your family. This is the place where you can gather your friends or work colleagues to have some fun, relax and just enjoy each other's company. Combine it with an old-school backyard BBQ party, and you have a recipe for a real time.

Pool Cover On A Pool

However, what a lot of people fail to take into account is that there are quite a lot of things to consider when it comes to the maintenance of this pool. It might be all fun and games on the outside, but there is a lot of work surrounding the proper condition of a pool. What is more, there are also quite a lot of monthly recurring expenses that you have to be prepared for.

The water temperature is important when it comes to being able to take a swim in the pool. And, often, especially when it's still not the middle of the swimsuit season and nights are colder, the water can cool off significantly during the evening. This leads to dramatic temperature spikes.

Quite often homeowners find themselves needing to use an electric or gas heating pump to increase the temperature of the water so that they can use the pool. This, of course, translates to significantly higher utility bills at the end of the month. But that's not all.

Pools get dirty – that’s just it. Regardless of the chemical cleaning solutions that you throw in the water, you can’t prevent dust, dirt, resin and leaves from getting in the water. No matter how hard you try, you would still have to clean it up again in the morning – that’s just how pools are, right? Well, as it turns out, this doesn’t necessarily need to be true.

We are here to provide you with some of the most convenient solutions which are going to take care of all of the hassles above at once. Pool solar blankets, as well as natural swimming pool covers, are available for you to take advantage of. These are neat inventions which will protect your pool from dirt and will help you increase the temperature of the water using nothing but natural sunlight.

What’s A Swimming Pool Solar Cover?

Now, regular pool covers will keep the rain and debris properly out of your swimming pool. This is going to help you a lot with the overall maintenance of the pool. They are also going to save water and reduce the consumption of chemicals, which will inevitably reduce the expenses associated with the facility.

Swimming pool solar covers, on the other hand, provide you with all of the above as well as with the ability to heat the water in your swimming pool – that’s how they are different.

Solar Pads On Pool

Thermal pool covers are specifically designed to provide an increased amount of insulation in comparison to natural swimming pool covers. You may have seen them the most popular and standard models of thermal pool covers look like large industrial bubble wrap.

Of course, there is a particular reason and objective function to the hundreds of thousands of air bubbles on top of the blanket. They are designated to prevent the heat from escaping your pool while at the same time they work to diffuse the solar radiation throughout a wider surface area of the facility.

What is more, pool solar covers are going to help you heat up the water in-depth and not just on the surface. The best thing is that they use nothing but natural sunlight to achieve these results.

Mostly, you can expect a temperature increase of up to 15-18 degrees (F) if you use them regularly. This is a considerable difference and it's most certainly going to result in much more affordable electricity bill at the end of the month. You can quickly forget about having to use any third-party water heaters such as electric pumps, for example.

The Least Expensive Option

Interestingly enough, when compared to regular swimming pool covers, thermal pool covers are the cheapest ones. They provide an environmentally friendly way to maintain your facility as it takes advantage of a renewable source of energy – the sun.

Now, it's also worth noting that pool solar covers are designed to protect the surface of the pool from lightweight pollutants such as dust, for instance. However, they are floating, and they are not intended to be safety covers – you shouldn't expect them to keep heavy windblown debris out of your pool. Of course, it's common sense that you have to remove them to use the pool.

The greatest advantages of using a solar cover are related to the decreased utility bills, less maintenance and, of course, prolonged swimsuit season. That's right – using a thermal pool cover is going to increase the duration of the swimming season as it's going to maintain a higher temperature of the water for a longer period. It's pretty convenient when you think about it.

Kid Swimming In Pool With Solar Cover On Reel

How Do They Work?

Now, the first thing that you need to understand is that swimming pools lose a lot of energy in a range of different ways. Evaporation, however, is by far the largest factor when it comes to energy loss. Evaporating water requires an enormous amount of energy.

To make matters understandable, you should know that to raise the water temperature of 1 pound of water is going to take about 1 British thermal unit. However, each pound of 80 degrees (F) water which evaporates is going to take a massive 1,048 BTUs of heat out of your swimming pool. Yes! It's that high.

Of course, the rate of the evaporation varies when it comes to an outdoor swimming pool, depending on the temperature of the pool, the temperature and humidity of the air as well as the speed of the wind at the surface. The higher the pool temperature and wind speed are and the lower the humidity – the greater the evaporation rate is going to be.

A helpful tip here would be to use some windbreak to decrease the evaporation rates. For instance, adding a fence next to the pool to prevent high winds is going to help you out significantly. It needs to be strong enough as well as close enough in order not to create turbulence over the pool.

The latter is going to increase the evaporation significantly. What is more, you should also make sure that the windbreak doesn't shade the pool as this is going to prevent heating.

Pool covers, regardless of whether they are thermal or not, help minimize the evaporation from both indoor and outdoor facilities. The single, most effective means of reducing the maintenance and heating costs for your pool would be to cover it when it’s not being used. Incredibly enough you could save up to 70% of the expenses.

Pool covers which are used for indoor pools have additional advantages. They will not only reduce evaporation, but they will also decrease the necessity to ventilate the air and replace it with outdoor air. This is one of the largest expenses for maintaining an indoor pool so that you can save up quite a lot of money on it too.

Types Of Pool Covers

There are a few different types of pool covers available on the market. To choose which type you want to use, you have to determine the results that you aim to achieve. As we've already explained the main perks and the purpose of a cover, let's have a look at how different above ground pool covers, as well as in-ground pool tarps and covers, provide these results.

Solar Cover Reel In Pool

Solar Pool Covers

Solar swimming pool covers are also commonly referred to as bubble covers because of their original surface. This is pretty self-explanatory.

We’ve extensively covered the main specifications and the purpose of the solar pool cover, but we have yet to take a look at the distinctive pros and cons, so let’s have a look.

The Pros:

  • This is by far the only swimming pool cover which is capable of increasing the temperature of the water. You can expect a significant increase of up to 17-18 degrees (F) in a short amount of time.
  • The cover is also going to reduce the evaporation rate by an effective 99%, nearly eliminating it all. This is going to cut down quite a lot on water costs.
  • ​It’s also going to help you reduce the usage of different pool chemicals, reducing your expenses even more.
  • It will keep debris and dirt out of the pool.
  • It’s easy to use, store and fold and it’s pretty lightweight.

The Cons:

  • It might be a bit difficult to roll it if it has an irregular shape. Using a cover roller is going to help you a lot.
  • Solar swimming pool covers can't withstand any substantial weight, and hence they require additional safety precautions such as a fence, for instance.
  • They don’t provide the same thermal insulation as thermal pool covers.

Automatic Pool Covers

These are capable of alleviating safety concerns and are incredibly convenient and easy to use. The pool covers open and closes automatically at the push of a single button, as you can surely figure out from the name. They are incredibly easy to operate and are far more secure than other types of covers. These are above ground pool covers you can walk on.

Of course, you should also consider that they come with an expensive price tag, but the benefits outweigh it completely. A lot of people report that the peace of mind that they get is well worth the additional dollars spent on this type of pool covers.

All of the installations are custom-fit to suit your pool. This is something particularly important as there is no universal pool size or type. Let's have a look at some of the advantages to consider.

The Pros:

  • They are safe. If installed correctly, it's impossible for anyone to fall in the water, especially in the case of kids.
  • It’s easy to use and maintain.
  • Saves cash on water costs as it cuts down evaporation rates when used.

The Cons:

  • Expensive! They are costly, and the price range varies between $2500 and $8000 for a piece.
  • They are spacious and if you don’t have a rectangular pool the track of the cover needs to be installed on top of it.
  • Don’t provide any heating capabilities.

Thermal Pool Covers

Thermal pool covers are amongst the best types of pool blankets. They are specially designated to provide you with enhanced insulation, blocking the path of sun's rays and keeping damaging algae from growing. What is more, they will also retain the heat of the water far better than solar covers, even though they are incapable of increasing it.

Thermal blankets are typically created out of an insulating foam material. This is the main reason for which they are more expensive than solar swimming pool covers. They usually range in price between $900 and $3000. However, they insulate far better than the latter, and that's what makes up for the cost.

Thermal Pool Covers In Use

Installation is usually carried out by someone with experience in the matter or by a professional. The cover can fit any pool as well as any shape as it can be trimmed accordingly.

The Pros:

  • Reducing evaporation by up to 99% and extends the swimming season as it insulates the water
  • They are capable of keeping larger debris out of the pool and save money on chemical cleaning solutions
  • ​Blocks the harmful UV rays of the sun completely, hence preventing the development of algae
  • ​Very easy to put away and to use as well. They can also be conveniently accessorized with a rolling-up station as well as with different wind protection devices.
  • ​They last a lot longer than regular solar swimming pool covers
  • The sun doesn’t damage the pool covers

The Cons:

  • They are costlier than solar swimming pool covers
  • They don’t provide temperature increasing capabilities like solar covers

Winter Pool Covers

For the most part, people who are looking for winter pool covers are looking for something more long-term to close out their swimming pools for the winter season. What they fail to understand, however, is that winter pool covers above ground can be used year-round without any issues.

These units are most commonly made out of polyethylene fabric. This allows them to conveniently and safely keep out winter winds as well as precipitation and extreme temperatures which could easily cause severe frost damage.

An interesting thing to consider is the fact that they are relatively affordable – they can cost between $150 and $700. Regardless of the inexpensive price tag, they bring a whole lot of value when it comes down to it – they can prevent nasty cleanup during the spring season as they will surely keep leaves, debris, and dirt out.

The installation is also relatively uncomplicated. The covers are sewn at the manufacturer's factory, and they come in the designated shape and size. They are designed to have overlapping sides in the pool to aid keeping all the dirt and dust out of the water. The only thing that you have to consider is creating a few anchor points which will assist the application of the pool covers.

The Pros:

  • Reduce evaporation
  • Keep out debris, dust, and heavier weighted particles
  • ​Lightweight – easy to roll out and roll up
  • Reduces the sunlight, hence limiting the growth of algae

The Cons:

  • Fail to heat water or to retain heat as much as the previous types
  • You need to install anchor points to apply the cover
  • It’s not that easy to take on and off

Hidden Swimming Pool Covers

If aesthetics is what you’re aiming for, then hidden pool covers are undoubtedly amongst the best options on the market. They provide you with an added advantage of being able to be installed on both new and existing pools as well as on those which are currently being renovated.

Hidden Swimming Pool Cover

The blanket, as well as the roller, is housed in a sunken section which is most commonly located at the end of the pool. There is also a lid which is usually made from anodized aluminum and is designed to hide the cover and the roller mechanism.

When you want to unroll your cover, you just open your lid and do it. You can go ahead and take advantage of manual, semi-automatic or fully-automatic rollers, depending on the money you are willing to spend. Of course, fully automatic options are the most expensive. There are a lot of benefits associated with these types of pool covers, so let's have a look.

The Pros:

  • They are good for most of the pool shapes
  • They roll directly on the water manually, semi-automatically or automatically, depending on the mechanism you’ve installed.
  • They are incredibly pleasing regarding aesthetics. When you roll them up, you won't be able to see them like other covers.

The Cons:

  • They can be quite expensive, especially if you go for the automatic option
  • They could be difficult to install if you have an existing pool and not one which is currently under construction or being renovated.

In any case, these are the main types of pool covers on the market. Of course, this is one of the most important decisions that you would have to make when it comes to the cash savings as well as the overall enjoyment that you will get from your pool. For the majority of people, an available pool cover brings quite a lot of benefits and tremendous amounts of value for the money they spend.

Using A Pool Cover

The way you use your pool cover is strictly dependent on the type that you set your sight on. For instance, if you go for a thermal blanket or a solar swimming pool cover, you will need to manually roll them up and off when you want to place them over the pool or to store them away. However, it's important to note that there are useful accessories such as manual rollers which will help you out quite a lot.

On the other hand, if you choose an automatic above ground pool cover you can walk on, the entire process is completed with a single touch of the button. Of course, these are on the highest end of the price range, and you'd have to spend a small fortune for them.

Swimming Pool Cover Used On Pool

Winter pool covers, on the other hand, are also quite challenging to put on as they will require you to install anchor points. However, they do have their according to benefits to compensate for that hassle.


As you can see for yourself, having a convenient and appropriate pool cover is something particularly beneficial to any pool owner. It will provide you with a tremendous amount of benefits, and it's something that every pool owner should heavily consider.

Not only is it going to make the usage of the facility a lot more enjoyable, but it's also going to cut down a significant amount of expenses. If you are tired of vacuuming the pool every two days and collecting dirt every morning, this is your obvious choice.

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