The 8 Best Solar Pool Covers
8. MidWest Canvas
- lies nice and flat
- takes two people to lay it out
- starts to get brittle over time
|Model||BLUE/SILVER 21 RD 5YR|
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
7. Intex 29025E
- pump can still run while it's on
- available in five sizes
- may blow off in heavy winds
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
6. Steinbach Krystal Clear
- lightweight for easy maneuvering
- offers edge-to-edge coverage
- material is a little thin
|Brand||Steinbach Krystal Clear|
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. Pool Mate Deluxe
- easy to store when not in use
- stands up well to uv rays
- prone to ripping
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
4. Blue Wave NS520
- also helps keep leaves and dirt out
- rolls up effortlessly
- retains warm temperature overnight
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
3. Sun2Solar Round
- easy to install and take off
- saves on heating costs
- can trim to fit
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. Heritage Splash SCV 2415
- built with tightly packed bubbles
- heats water by up to 15 degrees
- weighs just 16 pounds
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
1. Sun2Solar Crystal Clear
- comes in a diamond or circle pattern
- backed by a five-year warranty
- constructed of rugged resin
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
Solar Powered, But Not Electric
We've all jumped into a pool that was just a little too cold. Or a lot too cold. It's a shocking moment, and if it's intense enough, it could take all the pleasure and peace out of what is supposed to be a refreshing dip. What's more, if you rely on swimming as a primary source of exercise–maybe you've got joint issues, for example–, the window through which you can enjoy your outdoor pool is severely limited by the seasons.
Even in southern California, an outdoor in-ground pool is only comfortable for swimming from about late April through early September. A solar powered pool cover can make an immense amount of difference. With one installed over my pool, our comfortable swimming period has been extended from late March to mid-November.
The material is designed to absorb sunlight and transfer that heat to the water below. The process takes time, but it can increase the temperature of your pool by five degrees over the course of 12 hours.
Perhaps even more important than the heating ability of your solar pool cover, is its heat retention. Pools lose a tremendous amount of heat throughout the night, when the air above the water dips below the temperature of the water itself and the water evaporates.
The inverse of what happens during the daytime happens with your solar pool cover in the night, as its backside is designed to trap heat in the pool water and prevent it from being transferred to the night air.
By these means, your pool will get significantly warmer, and insignificantly cooler each day until it levels out at a wonderful average.
Bubble Up To The Top
I can imagine the look of confusion and disappointment on the face of a customer whose pool cover has just arrived, only to be a round shape floating awkwardly in his rectangular pool.
Picking the right cover for your pool is paramount, and that starts with the shape. It's the most obvious piece of advice, but you definitely want to confine your purchase to a shape that most closely resembles your actual pool. Don't get any bright ideas about saving $5 by buying a round cover and cutting it and reshaping it to fit your quadrilateral. Remember, these covers are as much about insulation as anything else, so the less cutting you have to do to get it to fit, the better.
From brand to brand, one of the most easily recognizable factors in the price of a pool cover is its thickness. A thicker cover is going to be more durable against falling debris from trees, satellites plummeting out of orbit, etc., and it's going to do a better job keeping the heat you've built up in the water from escaping.
Some pool covers will brag about the size of their bubbles, while others will flaunt fancy bubble shapes, or spout some statistic about how they've crammed more bubbles onto their cover than anybody else. This is one of those "six of one, a half-dozen of the other" moments. The thing you want to be sure of is that the space between the bubbles is limited. After that, the size, shape, or quantity of the bubbles is pretty irrelevant to the fact of the bubbles themselves, which represent the best heat transfer of any cover type.
Pools Of The Rich And Famous
One of my earliest memories swimming in the ocean involves a large, as-yet-unidentified fish swimming beside me and bumping up against my leg. It scared me nearly to death, as I had only recently seen Jaws for the first time, and was sure I was about to be eaten alive.
For that and other reasons, I find it hard to believe anybody would willingly choose to have fish living in their swimming pool, but the swimming pool as we know it dates back far enough that we find several Roman emperors who kept fish in their pools with them.
Pools and baths and spas of these sorts were popular among the noble classes, and many of these were naturally occurring hot springs like the baths in Ibsen's famous play An Enemy Of The People. It really wasn't until several public pools were constructed in the mid-19th century UK that the concept of confined recreational swimming became a popular option for laymen.
The development of private swimming pools in people's homes came from exactly where you'd expect: Hollywood. The notion of having a private pool of your own gained traction as a status symbol in the Hollywood boom eras following each of the World Wars. As of 2009, the total number of pools in the US according to the International Aquatic Foundation was just north of eight million.
That's a lot of lost heat. Up until the late 50s, most people just threw some canvas down around the pool and weighed the edges with sandbags if they wanted any kind of cover. It wasn't until 1959 that a retractable canvas cover was created, the popularity of which spurred on the development of cheaper, lighter, more efficient alternatives, a development process that has given us these feather-light, supremely effective solar covers.