Solar covers, or solar blankets, are large sheets of plastic which are used on top of an outdoor pool to prevent debris and from entering the water and maintain the temperature. This thick plastic sheeting has an appearance similar to that of bubble wrap with one smooth side and one side covered in small pockets filled with air. They are available in many colors, thicknesses, and sizes so you can easily match your outdoor décor while selecting the proper thickness for your climate.
Essential for the proper maintenance of a pool, solar blankets are laid across the surface of the water with the bubble-covered side down. This helps to create an air pocket above the water’s surface the shields the water from temperature changes and slow down cooling of the water. They also prevent leaves and bugs from ending up in the water and needing to be removed before you can swim. Another great benefit is that it can help to prevent small animals and pets from drowning if they fall in. It is still important to practice good pool safety and secure the area if you have small children.
Solar blankets work by trapping heat inside the water. The air bubbles prevent heat loss during colder parts of the day as well as capturing solar energy to warm the water naturally. This is not only the most environmentally friendly way to heat your pool, it is also quite efficient! Keeping the solar blanket on as much as possible between swims will heat the pool during the day and prevent cooling at night, saving you up to 70% on your heating costs.
And their benefits are two-fold: Up to 75% of an uncovered pool’s heat loss can be directly attributed to evaporation, but these plastic blankets act as a barrier, trapping moisture inside and preventing it from evaporating.
Depending on the size and shape of your pool, you may wish to attach the cover to a metal reel at one end of the deck. This will help you roll larger blankets out more easily, but often is not required for smaller pools. For round or freeform pools, this may not even be an option!
The cover doesn’t need to be attached to the sides as it will simply float on the top of the water if trimmed to fit exactly. Any edges beyond the surface of the pool may catch the wind and will likely need to be secured.
Solar covers will slowly deteriorate over time due to the effect of the sun and the chemicals in your pool. When the cover begins to flake or bubbles begin to fall off, it is time to get a new cover. Most covers will last about three years.
So what’s the biggest difference between a solar blanket and a hot tub cover? Their lasting factor! Hot tub covers also keep in heat, keep out bugs and small animals, and keep your water clean, but when compared to pool covers, they have nearly nine times the average lifespan!