Pool Covers

A Brief Story of Pool Covers

Why

75% of a swimming pool’s heat loss is due to evaporation. A solar cover minimises heat loss from evaporation by acting as a barrier between the pool water and the air. Specifically, you can reduce your swimming pool heating cost by 70% or more, depending upon the quality of the cover you are using.

After deciding to buy a pool cover, the next question will be which type to get? The best way is to identify the primary reason for getting one. Is it heat retention—to stop evaporation, or keeping the pool clean? Let’s go through the types of covers available and speak briefly about their benefits.

Solar Blankets

If your purpose is to stop evaporation and or retain heat in your pool, a solar pool cover is the best choice. A pool that has some form of heating attached to a solar pool cover should be an essential aid. A solar pool cover looks similar to thick bubble wrap. It lays flat on the surface of the water with the bubbles facing down and should be cut to neatly fit over the entire surface with no gaps and has the ability to trap the Sun’s UV rays to warm the pool. Depending upon the amount of sunshine available to the cover, there can be an 8C increase in pool temperature.

Thermal Blankets

A thermal pool cover is an ideal choice for heated pools. Recognised as the most effective type of cover for pool insulation, it acts like a doona for your pool. Once your pool is warm, it will help retain that temperature, stopping a whopping 75% of heat loss. It will also stop around 95% of evaporation, reduce chemical consumption by half and, if your pool heater is electric, will reduce your power bill substantially.

Manufactured using a 4mm thick, double reinforced, multi-layered construction, the waterproof, closed-cell polyethylene foam gives the blanket its superior thermal resistance qualities. The impermeable base layer gives it its chemical resistance. The option of fully sealed reinforced edges with double reinforced leading and trailing edges with eyelets to accommodate the use of rollers (mechanical or powered) are available.

Benefits include:

  • Cut heat loss by 75%.
  • Reducing total heating (solar, electric, gas, etc.) costs by 35%.
  • Cut evaporation by 95%, reducing your chemical consumption by up to 50%
  • Eliminates most corrosive condensation that forms with indoor pools.
  • Ideal for all heated pools.
  • Better insulating properties than a Solar Blanket

Under this thermal blanket category, fully encased foam slat covers, which usually have motorised deployment/retraction, can be supplied to complement the pool surrounding with a large variety of colours available, but are quite expensive.

Chemical Pool Blankets

A liquid solar cover is a microscopically thin layer of alcohol that sits on top of the water of your pool. This layer reduces water evaporation, which is a major cause of water heat loss. On heat loss, expect somewhere in the 30% to 40% reduction in heating costs and maybe a 4C to 5C increase in temperature. Be aware that these results may vary widely and are very much reliant on a number of factors being met.

If you have decided to go with a liquid solar cover instead of a more traditional cover, here’s what you need to know

  • Purchase enough liquid solar cover to last you at least a couple of months. How much you need will depend on the size of your pool. Expect to spend anywhere from $10 to $20 a month and maybe a little more if you have a large pool.
  • Set a schedule. Determine a regular monthly schedule when you plan on adding your liquid solar cover. Once you set this schedule, stick to it. In order for it to be effective, it needs to be added on a regular basis.
  • Simply pour the contents into your pool on your set day. The liquid solar cover will float to the top of the water and disperse across your pool, binding together to form the blanket. 
  • While liquid solar covers do work well, they don’t work well in all conditions. For example, if you live in a windy area, then a liquid solar cover won’t work well for you. Because it is so light, the wind will basically blow the liquid blanket around, preventing it from doing its job.
  • You must also keep your solar cover on a strict schedule, adding more every month. If your pool is getting a lot of use, you may also find that the effectiveness is reduced, requiring you to add more to your pool more often.
  • Pools that are in constant use year out may not be a suitable candidate for this type of cover. An appreciable amount of the liquid cover can be carried out on the bodies of patrons frequenting the pool, needing the addition of more liquid cover, eventually making it less economical to use.
  • If you’re affected by any of these drawbacks, I recommend using a traditional solar pool blanket.

Leaf and Debris covers

These pool covers are made from a weave fabric and are made larger than the pool to create an overlap. They are then fixed in position at regular intervals around the pool to ensure that nothing gets into the pool at all. They are not as effective as a solar blanket, when it comes to controlling evaporation or warming the pool.

However, they do contribute to these two tasks and are considered somewhat effective. Their prime function, though, is to keep the pool clean and, in this, they do a wonderful job, especially where the pool receives a large amount of leaves and debris constantly.

Make no mistake, these covers take longer to put on and take off than a solar blanket pool cover. However, owners report that the hours saved from having to continually clean the pool more than makes up for this. The main practice for this pool cover is to put it on during the winter months and remove the cover when the swimming season arrives.

Conclusion

In the end, the choice of which type of pool cover to buy comes down to what is the prime reason for getting one in the first place. Whether it be keeping the pool clean, keeping it warm or stopping evaporation. They all do a great job in these tasks, but some are stronger at some of those aspects than others. 

Also, factor in the cost of an effective roller system into this equation as it will seriously become very tedious deploying and retracting the cover without one. Correct water chemistry plays a critical part in the longevity of your pool cover. pH and chlorine control are a must; otherwise, the expensive cover you have purchased will be heavily affected in a short amount of time.

The application of manufacturer warranties will be reliant on the correct chemistry being observed and the ability of the purchaser to prove that it has been. Please contact us at Billabong Pool Service & Supply or drop in and see us at Noosa, Maroochydore or Caloundra and we will provide the best advice to match your needs.

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