Solar Blanket Basics – A Quick Overview
Your swimming pool is one of those things that get plenty of use throughout the year, and it’s also something that benefits from a little maintenance and from the use of additional tools and accessories designed for it. Things like swimming pool covers are chief among the fall maintenance tools, but when you plan on opening up your pool next year you’ll want to plan ahead. A solar pool cover, sometimes called a solar blanket, is an investment worth making no matter what time of year it may be. These devices are perfect for keeping your pool at that just-right temperature and for increasing the warm-up time needed for comfortable swimming next spring.
Before getting into the specifics of a solar blanket it’s worth answering the question that’s probably on your mind – why should you worry about a solar pool cover if it’s fall? The basic answer is preparation. There’s a chance you’re already ordering a swimming pool cover, and adding a solar blanket to an order is an easy step that won’t add much cost. In fact, during the shut-down season you may be able to find a solar blanket at a reduced price. Having one on hand and ready to go for next swimming season means you won’t have to worry about it when the time comes that you actually need it.
So just what do solar pool covers do? They essentially trap the sunlight and help disperse the sun’s heat throughout your pool. They’re made up of thousands of tiny bubbles and actually resemble bubble wrap like you would ship breakables in. Those bubbles are the key to their method of action and they actually transfer the heat and help insulate the water. There are a few different reasons that this warming action is important, and a couple of times that you’ll be thankful it’s there.
When you first open up your pool for the spring, a solar blanket makes a huge difference. The cold of the winter months is in that water and keeps it pretty frigid. In fact, water temps in the forties to fifties aren’t uncommon during the first few weeks of spring. It takes a lot of time for heat to transfer, and your pool will take a long time to shake off the cold. For families who want to use their pool that means that you’ll either have to suffer with incredibly cold water temperatures that make it uncomfortable to swim, or you’ll need to warm up the water somehow. A solar pool cover does just that, and drastically reduces the amount of time it takes your pool to warm up to a comfortable temperature.
The other key use of a solar pool cover is simply to hold in that heat. Especially during spring, the nights can get quite cool. Your pool could lose a bit of its warmth over a single night, and it’s important to prevent this by using a solar pool cover. The cover will hold in the heat like an insulating blanket – which it basically is. The day’s warmth stays inside the water instead of vanishing into the night air. Basically, a solar blanket helps to get your swimming pool to the right temperature and helps keep it there. Whether you just filled the pool or are uncovering it for the spring, it’s good to have.
There’s one more way that a solar cover can help, and that is actually during the fall. If you want to keep your pool open as long as you can, adding a solar cover during the fall is a great way to do so. Since solar blankets can boost a swimming pool water temperature by ten to fifteen degrees, you’ll be able to swim for several extra weeks instead of closing down the pool early. With today’s weather of hot fall days but chilly fall nights, keeping a pool open for an extra amount of time lets you and your family get all the use out of your pool that you can.
It’s important to understand what a solar pool cover can’t do, as well. These covers aren’t designed to serve as a fall cover and won’t protect against debris like leaves and branches. They won’t serve as a safety cover either, and swimming with one installed can cause serious accidents so it’s important that they be totally removed before swimming. They also don’t block the sun’s rays, so they won’t reduce algae growth during long periods of non-use. In short, when you’re ready to close down the pool it will be time to use a standard swimming pool cover or safety pool cover instead of a solar blanket.
Solar pool covers work on above ground or in ground pools and you’ll be able to find them in nearly any size and shape. Numerous ‘stock’ sizes are readily available and priced lower than most people probably realize, but those who have odd shaped pools will still be able to purchase one that is custom cut for their pool’s exact dimensions. During the fall and winter, you can store your solar cover just by folding it neatly or by rolling it up onto a solar pool cover reel. These reels make installing and removing a solar cover a snap and eliminate the need for help. You can usually use the covers by yourself as long as you have a reel on hand to provide assistance.
If you’re looking for a way to extend the swimming season and speed up next year’s pool opening schedule, a solar swimming pool cover is just what you need. They’re affordable and effective, and one item most pool owners don’t want to be without.