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Solar Pool Heating Covers and Solar Blankets Swimming pool solar covers, often called a solar blanket provide passive heating for your pool. Just like a passive solar home, heating your pool in this way provides many ECO friendly product benefits. Solar blankets can raise pool water temperatures by as much as fifteen degrees. Even though solar covers are a nuisance to use, increasing the water temperature fifteen degrees is definitely worth the hassle. How Solar Covers Work Solar pool covers increase the warm of pool water, while simultaneously protecting against heat loss and evaporation by insulating the water surface. Lightweight, with thousands of tough, puncture-resistant air cells, solar covers float on the surface of your pool. The air cells capture heat from the sun and transfer that solar energy directly to the pool water. The consensus is, the darker the pool cover, the more heat it attracts and the faster that heat will transfer to the water. Another good performing solar cover is semi-transparent or even clear. The transparency enables the heating rays of the sun to penetrate beyond the water's surface, reaching even into the depths of the pool. Many pool owners have greatly praised the heating effectiveness and their personal satisfaction with semi-transparent and clear pool covers. This type of cover may increase solar energy heating by 85'95%. A dark opaque cover will increase it by 65'85%. These are some factors to consider when selecting a solar cover. In addition to warming the water from sunlight, the pool cover insulates, preventing drastic drops in temperature due to wind, humidity and cooler air in the evenings. Amazingly, the cover can reduce pool water evaporation and chemical depletion up to 90%. Controlling or reducing water evaporation using a solar cover as a vapor barrier simultaneously functions to retain the pool water temperature. How well your solar pool cover works will depend upon the amount of sun exposure to your pool, the blanket color or its transparency, and the length of time the blanket rests on the pool surface. With the right pool cover and plenty of unobstructed sun, you can enjoy more comfortable swimming and add weeks to the beginning and end of your swim season. You can extend your season even longer if you combine a solar cover with a pool heater. In addition to getting more use of your pool, using a solar blanket will dramatically reduce the energy cost of heating the pool. Expect to see your pool heating cost drop by half or more Choosing the Right Solar Cover As mentioned above, the best performing covers are dark in color and at least semi-transparent. The current industry standard in cover color is blue, but this is more due to aesthetic trends than for any special heating properties of blue. However, darker shades of blue can improve the speed of heat absorption and transfer. Today, manufacturers use the term Mil (ML) or Gauge to describe the thickness of the cover. The translation is that Mil is an actual thickness measurement using a micrometer. Gauge is approximately twenty percent less than the true Mil thickness. A thicker solar cover may serve you longer if you provide the proper care. Besides differing in cover thickness, manufacturers also choose different air cell or bubble shapes. Some bubbles are hexagon-shaped; some are diamond-shaped, while others are round. Although manufacturers may claim their chosen shape makes the difference, the truth is that the shape of the bubble really does not make a noticeable difference. Maintaining a Solar Pool Cover By following a few simple rules of pool cover maintenance, you can ensure that your solar pool cover has a longer service life. Here are a few tips: - Always follow the written recommendations on the manufacturer's warranty card. Many people throw this card out without ever looking at it, but reading your card and following the instructions will greatly increase the lifespan of your pool cover. - Remove the solar cover from the pool when you chlorinate or shock the pool water to prevent chemical damage. The manufacturer does not warrant chemical damages. - When not using the cover, keep it out of direct sunlight. Overheating of the cover can damage the air cells. You can use the provided white plastic sheeting or a white fabric to cover the blanket when not in use or remove the cover from sun exposure. The manufacturer does not warrant overheating damages. - Solar cover reels make handling the cover much easier and help to prevent accidental damage or tearing. Without a reel, it takes at least two people to carefully install and remove the solar blanket. Our experience is that even with the best care, most solar blankets will last for only a couple years, due to constant exposure to sunlight on one-side and pool chemicals on the other. Nevertheless, the benefit of using a solar pool cover is well worth the cost, even if you have to replace it after just a couple years. The savings you earn from warming the water and preserving the heat your pool heater produces will add up to hundreds of dollars per swim season. Since you are paying for that heat, you should keep it for as long as you can.
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