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The Benefits of Swimming Pool Solar Covers

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Categories: Hot Tubs & Spas, Maintenance & Upkeep, Energy Efficiency, Above Ground Pools
 
For most areas of the country, comfortable pool water in the summertime isn’t a problem. Long, hot days typically ensure a warm swim from morning through night.
 
But what about those early spring days when Daylight Saving Time has already kicked in but your water temperature hasn’t yet taken the hint? Or how about when the days shorten and temperatures fall? What can a pool owner do to extend the swim season without necessarily taking on the expense of conventional heaters – or, at the very least, get the most out of that already-heated water?
 

One popular option is solar covers. These plastic tarps, which sometimes feature light metal coatings on the bottom, can be used for in-ground and above-ground pools as well as spas and offer a number of advantages for heat retention.
 
First, a cover helps keep the heat already in the water from escaping. Most covers feature a bubble wrap-type design that works as an insulator to trap the heat in the swimming pool. As temperatures fall at night, the cover insulates the water to protect its warmth.
The cover’s true advantage is its ability to apply solar energy accumulated through the day to the water. Even on the sunniest, hottest days very little of the sunlight that hits your pool water actually heats the water. A solar cover will absorb and store this sunlight as heat. The heat from the sunlight is then transferred to the pool water. Some covers make use of a thin undercoating of aluminum, a recent innovation which conducts the heat throughout the pool, much like a metal pot helps speed up the cooking process. 
 
Even on sunny but cool days, this can result in a real and sustainable difference in water temperature. For in-ground pools, a cover typically provides an increase of five degrees Fahrenheit in 12 hours alone. 
 
A cover also helps by reducing evaporation, an advantage particularly helpful for spa owners. Warm water doesn’t do any good once it dissipates, and a covering greatly slows this process down. By reducing water evaporation, you reduce chemical evaporation; saving you time and money retreating water.
This advantage is also very helpful for reducing energy costs. Many pool owners cringe at the inefficiency (and expense) of running a heater for several hours only to see that work literally evaporate in the cool night air. Reapplying a cover after use is the simplest way to greatly slow that process throughout the year.
 
The federal government, in fact, reports that covers can dramatically cut down on the energy – and money required for gas heaters to keep pools at comfortable temperatures across the country. One example: a consumer in Atlanta, using a swim season of Apr. 1-Oct. 31, could see the cost of keeping a pool at 78 degrees Fahrenheit over that span plummet from $1700 to $320 simply by covering when not in use.
 
Another plus for covers really has nothing to do with heat at all. Shielding the pool from the elements, particularly in areas susceptible to storms and high winds, can save a great deal of time and exertion cleaning the surface of the water and the pool bottom. Why turn to your cleaner and skimmer after the fact when you already know trouble is on the way?
 
Now that you know you need a solar cover, what's available to you? What's the best option for your swimming pool? 
 
Traditional Solar Blankets
These tarp like covers are made for above ground and in ground pools and spas; and cover the entire water surface. They provide the best results when it comes to preventing heat loss, heating the water and reducing water and chemical evaporation; in addition to preventing dirt and debris from getting into pool water. This type of cover can be easily applied and removed with a cover reel.
Heat Squares or Sun Rings
These types of covers are great for all types of pools - rectangle, round, non-traditionally shaped pool, in ground and above ground because pieces are bought individually. You can cover the entire pool during non-use, or just sections of the pool. Plus, they're quick and easy to use, remove and store.
 
 
 
Liquid Solar Blankets
An invisible layer of non-toxic, biodegradable film on top of the water. This type of coverage is helpful for preventing pool heat loss and reducing evaporation, but are considered less effective compared to a full cover.
 
 
 
 

 
For pool and spa enthusiasts, an investment in a simple, durable cover can go a long way. In fact, it may be one of the best values in the industry today.
 
Have more questions about solar covers? Want advice on which cover might be best for your pool? We're here to help! Feel free to comment below and we'll do everything we can to get you the info you need!
 
 
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Pool Supply Unlimited is an e-commerce company that loves water. We love to pump it, filter it, heat it, chlorinate it, light it up and stare at it while we're barbequing a fat, juicy steak. There are real pool professionals working here. Our guys have seen thousands of pools in their careers, no exaggeration. We are based in Southern California and can land most products to your door (within the 48 contiguous states) in less than a week.
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