You may know pool blankets as pool covers. But no matter what you call them, these accessories have become essentials, especially to owners who want to heat their pools the natural way.
We’re not talking about the regular cover that just keeps the debris out. This post is about solar blankets whose purpose is to slow or reduce evaporation while also heating water.
Pool covers are available in various sizes and types. However, they are all capable of using the sun’s energy for a warming effect in the water. Here are some of the reasons why pool blankets have become quite popular over the past few years:
- Energy-Savers: On average, a propane gas heater uses about four gallons per hour (15 litres per hour) for a 400,000 BTU heater. If you have an electric heat pump, it requires about five kilowatts per hour of electricity to operate. Energy bills are not exactly cheap, which means that you could end up paying high prices just to heat your pool up. Using a solar pool cover does not need any of the added resources. It directly harnesses the sun’s power, which is absolutely free.
- Minimised Evaporation: Without using a cover, your pool loses a little over five centimetres per week. Yes, it may not sound a lot, but it can accumulate over time. In just a year, you would have lost 38,000 to 75,000 litres yearly, depending on the size of the pool. That’s a massive amount considering the valuable resources used, which also means you are wasting money. Also, more than 50% of the pool’s heat loss is due to evaporation, which is why a solar pool cover is deemed beneficial.
- Chemical Loss Prevention: With evaporation, the chemicals also reduce. You probably add water to your pool, which dilutes the chemicals as well. Using a pool cover can lower the reduction of chemical levels in your pool, which saves you both money and time.
While you can use any pool cover to prevent debris and algae build-up, solar blankets will keep them out with the added benefit of retaining heat. Therefore, they can keep your pool cleaner for longer, which definitely cuts down the maintenance required.
Problems with a Pool Cover
There’s no doubt that pool blankets are beneficial to pool owners. But not everyone is a massive fan of them. They can make the pool less appealing. You’ve spent a ton of money on your pool just to hide its beauty with an unsightly cover.
There is also the hassle of rolling the cover off before you jump in even if you are only going for a quick swim. And do not forget to replace it afterwards. The roller requires space when you store it. The fence may not have enough space, which means the roller can restrict your access to the pool.
But the biggest issue that you have to deal with concerns cleanliness. These blankets are effective against debris by keeping them away from the water. But you are trading this benefit with a huge consequence.
Pool blankets do not allow water to breathe. It is often recommended to use a pool cover that is at least close to the size of your pool. As a result, you get a tight-fitting blanket. When you usually cover your pool, it means there are trapped gases underneath. It’s not a huge concern, most of the time, because these gasses will simply exit and dissipate to the atmosphere.
As you keep using the pool blanket, though, you continue to trap these gasses. Unfortunately, they build up and cause corrosion.
One more thing about pool covers is that they do not last forever. A good quality cover can have a lifespan of about five years or so, but cheaper ones do not last three years. Blanket degradation is a common complaint of many Australian pool owners.
The Top Solutions
Let’s start with the first issue above, which concerns the look of the pool cover. There’s really nothing you can do about it. Just make sure that you look for a blanket that complements the aesthetic of the pool and its surroundings.
Blue is often the favourite option, but be aware that there are other colours available. Dark blue perhaps is the best choice because it does a great job at retaining heat. Also, you can easily see if there are white patches due to the bleach from your pool. Clear blankets may be more attractive, but the net heat gain is much less compared to darker hues.
When it comes to dealing with the hassle of taking off the covers when it is time to swim, a good solution is to purchase a cover reel, which will make the removal process faster and easier. Motorised rigid covers are also an option, although they are expensive. They are a good investment if you do not want to be bothered by the constant task of removing and putting the cover back in.
If space is an issue, you can have a covered put installed. Make sure you follow layout regulations if there are any in your area.
As for solving woes regarding trapped gases, the best thing that you can do is to avoid using a pool cover whenever possible. For instance, during the winter, a pool cover is not as effective in retaining heat. There is just not enough warmth from the sun to absorb. Evaporations rates are much lower, as well.
However, if you do plan to cover your pool, you may want to remove it every five days. And it does not mean folding it in half. We’re talking about complete removal and make sure you store the blanket properly. If the job is too much work for you, you can fold it in half, but do it for one full day. This way, you let the pool breathe, which also releases the trapped gasses into the atmosphere.
Finally, if the blanket is no longer as blue or vibrant as it used to when you bought it, you may need to replace it. Overexposure to heat and chlorine can cause the cover to degrade over time – usually quickly, especially for those in Western Australia. To counter this effect, make sure to keep the chlorine levels within an acceptable range while avoiding usage for a prolonged period.