Should I get a Solar Cover for my Pool?

solar pool cover

This is a question that many of my pool service customers ask me.  Especially during the summertime when their pool water is dehydrating quickly due to the heat and summer breezes.  For many of them here in California this question was answered for them.  As a result of the drought, all of my pool service customers have been required to add a cover to their pool by the local water control district.  The hope is the solar pool cover, or pool blanket, will reduce the evaporation of water thereby cutting down on water usage by pool owners.

How much water will a Solar Pool Cover save?

During the summer months an uncovered pool can lose up to an inch of water per week.  Depending on the surface area of your pool, this can be up to 2,000 gallons.  With a Solar Pool Cover or Pool Blanket you can reduce this evaporation by up to 90%.  A nice side effect of Solar Pool Covers is that they also will cause your pool to be heated by retaining the heat your pool aborbs from the sun.  The sun is a free source of energy in the summer months for many of my pool service customers who keep their pools covered most of the time and enjoy pool water temperatures as high as 85 degrees.

How effective is a Solar Pool Cover or Pool Blanket?

In terms of cost for a pool blanket versus the amount of money saved by my pool service customers who have added them, there is no question that solar pool covers make sense.  For larger pools a basic pool blanket can cost anywhere from $150 to $200 depending on the thickness of the material.  The thicker the material the more insulation and heat it will provide.  Pool blankets range in thickness between 8 and 12 mils.  No matter what thickness they choose, my pool service customers save hundreds of dollars in their water bills over the summer months and thousands of dollars in their energy bill.  Of course savings in my pool service customer’s energy bills is directly related to what temperature they previously heated their pool to using a gas heater.  One final note is that the bubbles on your solar pool cover need to face down.  Solar pool covers work by trapping the heat in the bubbles and the spaces of air between the bubbles and the water.  So keeping the heated air nearest to your pool will be the most effective way of keeping the pool water warm.

Downsides of Solar Pool Covers and Pool Blankets

Many of my pool service customers who have added solar pool covers think that their pool service professional will remove the cover when they service the pool.  On the contrary almost all pool service companies will have language in their contract specifically stating that any manual pool cover must be removed by the pool service customer prior to the pool being serviced.  If the customer has invested in a roller then it is more probable that their pool service company will agree to remove and replace the cover for a small additional fee.  For other situations it is on a case-by-case basis and usually negotiable.  

Another downside of putting a pool blanket on your pool is that the pool could be more likely to have an algae bloom.  While the pool blanket won’t cause an algae bloom, the warmer water they create can accelerate algae growth.  I tell my pool service customers to think of it like a greenhouse effect, and if there is any sign of algae I tell my pool service customers to leave the pool blanket off while the algae problem is addressed.

Finally most of my pool service customers are under the impression that a pool blanket will prevent leaves and other debris from getting into their pool.  Sadly this is not the case.  While pool blankets will prevent leaves from dropping directly into the pool, when the pool blanket is removed from the pool most of the debris on top of the blanket will end up in the pool.  This is another reason pool service professionals would like the pool blanket removed before they arrive to service the pool.  Once the blanket is removed all of the debris that falls off will have a chance to settle making it easier for the pool service professional to remove it.

Pool Blankets or Solar Pool Covers Make Sense

Whether it’s to save money on heating costs or to save money on your water bill, pool blankets are a very cost effective way to help out with water conservation as well as help pool owners with the cost of maintaining their pool.  For more information on the subject don’t hesitate to talk with your pool service professional.