I am fascinated with an email that I received from a customer and close friend about Solar Pool Covers.
We typically think of complete coverage which has several advantages but also several disadvantages; too big, too hard to remove and put back and too expensive. I was so intrigued by this customers idea of partial solar pool covers that I have purchased 3 round covers for my pool and 1 for my spa. I have started to conduct a test of 3 temperature readings a day of both air and water temps. Once I collect my data, I will report back to you and share the theory offered by my client. Either way, I see a benefit in less water loss and increase in water temp, two things all pool owners desire.
Please read the email from our customer below.
Stay tuned for the results of my observations of Solar Pool Covers on my pool and to share the Theory of our customer.
I have probably mentioned this to you before, but perhaps not comprehensively. You might find our experiences with solar pool covers valuable for your other customers.
Before you remodeled our pool, we would buy a full sized solar pool cover every two years or so. Back in the 90’s when we were doing this they cost a little over $100. We would cut the cover to size for the whole pool. As far as heating and water conservation, the cover worked great. In those days we did not have a pool heater, yet our record temperature with the cover alone was 97 degrees! The downsides were having to drag the cover off when we wanted to use the pool, determine where to put it when it was off, and drag it back on when we were done swimming and how ugly it looked.
When you remodeled the pool in 2001, we decided that we weren’t going to cover up our beautiful new pool with an ugly cover. As a compromise, I bought two round solar pool covers. I think they are ten feet in diameter, but size will be dependent on pool width and length. At first we bought the standard blue, then tried black and finally settled on clear covers. Although logic suggests that darker covers work better, my research and experience indicates that the clear covers actually work significantly better. Although the darker covers heat up more rapidly, it is the infrared going through the covers and getting trapped in the water that really heats the pool. Also, clear covers are far less obvious to the eyes, and the inevitable scaling does not show as much on them. Experience has also shown that 16 mil thick covers work the best and are, overall, easier to handle, although somewhat heavier. The 12 mil covers last two good years, and we usually got a third year out of them. The 16 mil covers are now going on four years old and may even go five years or more. I buy the covers online when needed and have them shipped. The price varies and deals are sometimes available.
In the last several years we have saved our oldest cover and cut it in half so that we now use two and a half covers on the pool. Altogether, they cover about 70% of the pool surface and keep the pool at around ~ 87 degrees in the summer. When we swim, we fold and stack them in a corner of the pool. They take up a space about three feet wide. When we have parties, I remove them entirely and put them in the side yard. As far as evaporation goes, I would guess that since the covers are on % of the surface, they reduce evaporation by approximately 70%. We have a pool heater now, thanks to your remodel job, but only use it on cool days to supplement the covers. When the sun begins getting low in the sky in the fall the covers don’t do much anymore. We remove, clean and store them in the shed until late spring.
I don’t know the physics of it, but from observation, deduction and just plain guessing, I have a theory…