Solar blankets are a great way to heat your swimming pool and extend your swimming pool season - on both ends, spring and fall. Solar blankets or solar covers, as they are sometimes called, lay directly on your pool water with the bubble side down. They concentrate the sun’s energy to heat your pool, and retain the heat when night turns cool.
Benefits of Pool Solar Blankets
- Heats the swimming pool
- Retains heat put into water
- Reduces evaporation of water
- Reduces "gas-off" loss of pool chemicals
As the sun shines down on your solar blanket, the heat passes through the cover. Short wave lengths of energy pass through the solar cover to the water below. But the solar blanket doesn't stop there! It traps the heat gained beneath the cover. The more you use your solar blanket, the more heat it will capture and retain, while saving chemicals and water.
How to Compare Pool Solar Covers
- Extruded or Laminated Material?
- Air Pocket Design Shape?
- Reflective Coating?
Solar blankets are made from a UV-stabilized form of polyethylene or polypropylene material. Larger pool blankets are made from rolls of material that are heat sealed together. The better solar pool covers are made of an extruded one-piece material, rather than a laminated top and bottom, and will be thicker, with longer warranty periods.
Tips for Using a Solar Pool Blanket
- Be sure you cover the entire pool water surface with solar blanket material.
- Use a razor knife or scissors to cut the solar blanket to fit odd-shaped pools.
- Remove the solar blanket completely before swimming or shocking the pool.
While the sun is out and the cover is on the pool, you can raise the temperature by 10-15 degrees. Keep the cover on during the night, and most of the heat will still be there for an early morning swim. If you are also using a heater, heat pump or solar heating panels, you will want to use the solar blanket. When you are paying money for the heat, you want to make sure it is not evaporating out the top of the pool.
Tips for Solar Blanket Care
- Maintain proper pH and Alkalinity levels.
- Remove solar cover to shock pool - leave off until chlorine level returns to normal.
- Store the solar cover indoors during the off-season.
- Use a solar reel, to prevent creases or folds in the solar cover
- Use the solar cover protector. A cover for the cover!
Solar blanket covers are relatively care-free. Just be sure to leave it off the pool if your chlorine is very high. Using a solar roller is recommended, and is a great alternative to your solar blanket laying in the dirt, in a crumpled heap. If you take care of your solar blanket, it will reward you with years of service.
Pool Solar Blanket Reels
A great way to take care of your solar cover is to use a Solar Reel. Solar blankets are pretty durable but if you are dragging it across cement or stones, you will begin to see damage. Cement and stones can scratch the cover causing the bubbles to break. Without a solar roller, it's easy for animals, the elements, even swimmers to damage the solar cover.
- One person operation for installing or removing a solar pool cover.
- Reduces exposure to UV rays by rolling up your solar cover tight and small.
- Keeps the solar blanket out of everyone's way when using the pool area.
- Prevents damage from sun, folding creases, animals or lawn mowers!
You also want to make sure you never place the cover on your lawn for it will leave a brown spot where it laid. Solar blanket reels have a crank handle, to make rolling up the solar cover super-easy. For maximum protection of your solar blanket, cover the solar blanket while on the reel, with a solar cover protector.
There are solar cover reels, aka solar rollers - for aboveground pools and for inground pools. They all strive for a low-profile, easy to use mechanism that one person can easily operate. There is even an electric solar cover remover reel, known as the Pool Boy. Remote control, one touch operation!
No conversation on solar pool covers would be complete without mentioning Solar Sun Rings. These innovative solar rings are very thick and durable, and easy to put on and off the pool. Magnets connect the rings together on the edges, and make them easy to stack together as you remove them from the pool. 5 foot diameter solar rings generate more btu's than conventional solar blankets, are easier to work with and last longer! They are worth taking a look at, if you have not seen this innovative new product. Solar Sun Rings.
Solar blankets are one of the greatest inventions ever for swimming pools. Some people think that solar blankets might be a hassle to put-on and take-off, but with a solar reel, they can be removed in under 1 minute, by 1 person. They are especially popular with aboveground pools, which lose so much heat from the sides of the pool, or with heated pools, which lose so much of their heat at night. In fact, a solar blanket can reduce heating costs by more than 75%.
The US Department of Energy would like pool owners to increase their use of pool covers, to reduce energy demands and pool heater emissions. Do your part by investing in a solar blanket that will save you money and make your swimming pool more enjoyable. Read the full DOE article.
SPP Pool Enthusiast