Solar pool covers serve a very specific role: retaining heat. Even in Florida, pool owners find themselves facing weekly hurdles when it comes to sunny days and cooler nights. But are solar covers worthwhile if you own a pool in Florida? Take a look at this solar pool cover guide.
What Does a Solar Pool Cover Do, Exactly?
A solar cover raises the temperature of your pool’s water. This provides a two-fold, main benefit: Not only does a solar pool cover absorb the sun’s rays as a “heat blanket,” but it also warms the water via small air gaps.
The result is pool water that has a consistent temperature—a temperature which won’t fluctuate much, overnight.
The Problem of Evaporation
There are a number of benefits to owning a solar pool cover—but we’ll cover those below. The main benefit of having a solar pool cover, however, is to reduce your pool water’s rate of evaporation.
Every day, hot, sunny rays drain your pool’s water. Florida pools without covers, on average, absorb about 60 percent of the sun’s energy in 4.5 feet of water. This energy can heat the pool’s water by as much as .7 degrees, Fahrenheit, around noontime.
Unfortunately, this temperature change is altered by evaporation—which doesn’t necessarily rely on water and air temperature alone. Wind blowing across the pool’s surface, for example, can increase the rate of evaporation. Humidity, too, determines how quickly water will evaporation.
For every one-fourth inch of evaporated water, a pool loses approximately five degrees, Fahrenheit, of temperature.
Do Solar Pool Covers Work?
Solar pool covers capture the sun’s energy, transferring it into the depths of your pool’s water. Its surface prevents direct evaporation, as your pool’s water isn’t exposed to open air. They might not keep your pool as warm as a heater can—but they certainly save plenty of money by sparing your pool water, directly.
Why Do Florida Pools Need Solar Covers?
Even though we live in a sunny climate, there’s still plenty of use for a solar heat cover.
Think of it this way: When your pool’s water temperature fluctuates often, your pool heater needs to work overtime to restore balance. Florida’s days might get toasty, but nighttime normally brings in slightly cooler air. Even if this fluctuation is small, it’s enough to change the temperature of your pool’s water.
So, really, exposed water can be costly for two reasons: It costs more to maintain, temperature-wise, and it empties due to evaporation. This problem can become worse during the winter months, too, when Florida’s humid climate becomes a little drier. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t recognize the importance of having a solar pool cover until they’ve paid too much to maintain their pools.
Other Solar Pool Cover Benefits
So, what else can solar pool covers help with? Do they only prevent evaporation and temperature fluctuations—or do they provide other perks?
They do, in fact, offer several other indirect benefits to homeowners.
Benefit One: Easier Pool Cleaning
Solar covers act as a barrier between your pool and the outside elements. As such, they protect your crystal-clear waters from dirt, leaves and debris around the deck. They’ll directly lessen the number of cleaning sessions you’ll need to make—as they prevent debris contamination before it becomes an issue.
If you clean your pool manually, this is a great thing. Why spend extra time scooping out twigs and grass when you can shield your pool from unwanted materials in the first place? If you use a robotic pool cleaner: Why not save a little more money by reducing its runtime?
Benefit Two: Cheaper Chemical Maintenance
When your water evaporates, the pool chemicals get imbalanced. Plenty of Florida homeowners find themselves needing to adjust their chemicals often due to this completely preventable factor.
By keeping your pool’s water enclosed, you can reduce its evaporation by as much as 95 percent. This lower evaporation rate, when translated to reduced pool chemical needs, can result in as much as 50 percent extra savings in chemical maintenance costs.
Benefit Three: A Reliable Investment
Many homeowners shy away from the initial cost of a solar pool cover—thinking it’s an unnecessary purchase which won’t enhance their pool experience much. This isn’t the case, however, as the upfront cost of a solar pool cover makes up for itself in long-term cost savings.
Plus, solar pool covers are durable. Crafted from polymer material with many sealed air bubbles, these pool covers are designed to capture, and transmit, heat into your pool. They’re tough products—and their heavy duty design requires little maintenance. If you invest in a solar pool cover, you’ll have a reliable addition for many, many years.
The Different Types of Solar Pool Covers
Not only are pool covers durable—but they’re divers, too. Pool owners can choose between three main types of solar pool cover to keep their waters at stable temperatures:
The Solar Blanket
Solar blankets are crafted from strong, polymer materials which serve as direct barriers to the outside elements. Flexible and easy to handle, they’re great if you’re looking for a one-size-fits all pool cover that’ll cover your in-ground or above-ground pool.
The Solar Sun Ring
The Solar Sun Ring is a more passive solar pool cover. Crafted from two sheets of U.V.-resistant vinyl, the material covers your pool with the power of double insulation. The upper, clear layer holds in insulating air—directing sunlight into the lower layer. The lower layer, which is blue, absorbs approximately 50 percent of the sunlight—directly converting it to heat.
Liquid Solar Blankets
These ultra-thin, invisible solar pool blankets are applied as a layer of alcohol. The alcohol floats atop your swimming pool water—blocking it from evaporation and heat loss. This type of solar pool cover is cheaper, and it’s also hassle-free. This said, it might not be as effective as a solar blanket or the Solar Sun Ring.
Getting the Most Out of Your Solar Pool Cover
If you really like the solar pool cover benefits listed above, it might be time for you to bring your own pool in a new direction. This solar pool cover guide serves to give Florida pool owners direct, actionable facts about one of today’s greatest pool innovations.
The team at GPS Pools is ready to help you take the next step of your journey. If you’re unsure about which pool cover would be most effective, give our Lutz, FL location a call at (813) 948-9091. Or, contact at our Land O’Lakes, FL location for more information.