do solar pool covers work?

For a pool owner, solar blankets are perhaps one of the most resources you can invest in. They make up for excellent additions to your pool for many reasons. They are easy to set up, affordable, readily available, and easy to maintain.

It’s a common complication for many homeowners, along with the hassles of maintaining the cover. Millions of dollars are spent each year on solar products, which shows they are crucial resources for the home today.

In this guide, we go in-depth into the critical factors associated with pool solar cover effectiveness:

How Well Do Solar Covers Work?

If they did not function at all, they would have been eliminated a long time ago. You will notice that many pool owners have experienced improved pool temperatures after using pool covers. It’s a unique cover that you can use to heat and retain the heat at night. Plus, it also helps prevent heat loss due to cool air temperatures or heat robbing winds.

More so, solar blankets will improve the heat in your pool based on various factors. These include the average surface area of the material and the level of sunlight. On average, you should expect a gain of about 15 degrees for a pool exposed to 6 hours of direct sunlight.

Furthermore, solar blankets also play another crucial roll in controlling heat reduction, and it also depends on several factors. These include the surface area of the material and the temperature levels at night in your location. That said, issues such as compromises in water and air temperature might reduce solar pool covers’ effectiveness.

How Do Solar Pool Covers Work? 

A swimming pool cover is an important resource for pool maintenance. Usually, a pool cover’s main goal is to ensure debris and rain won’t compromise the pool. Plus, it also serves as an excellent resource for stopping evaporation and saving money on water bills. Furthermore, a pool cover ensures your kids are safe from issues such as falling or slipping.

There are several types of pool covers. A solar pool cover, also referred to as a blanket, performs two key tasks. It heats the pool during the day, while also helping to maintain the temperature levels.

Using solar energy is an affordable and convenient solution for heating the pool. It not only helps you save cash, but it also lets you extend your swimming season!

Usually, the sun heats the pool, which warms the water. However, the heat is sometimes lost through evaporation and wind. With a swimming pool blanket, you are sure of a pool that effectively retains the heat obtained from the sun. As such, this helps to control the heating costs for your pool. Also, pool covers play a significant role in maintaining the strength of the chemicals.

A solar cover often has an appearance similar to a large sheet of bubble wrap. The cover works by heating the pool water and allowing a large amount of the sun`s rays to reach the pool. Ensure the cover on top of the pool for as long as possible for heating purposes. Some users even use unique installation techniques. They may connect a metal reel to one side of the pool deck, to make it easy to roll the blanket on and off the pool. You won’t have to attach a solar blanket to the sides, making it a highly convenient solution for pools.

Studies on Pool Solar Covers

In 2014, a recent survey by Colgate University, on the use of solar pool effectiveness showed some exciting results. According to the study, a pool that was covered for 7 hours at night experienced, on average, 30% in energy savings.

A recent study in 2012 by Michigan Energy Office, which included tests conducted in Chesaning Middle School, showed interesting results. According to the study, using solar pool covers led to almost cut energy use levels by half. Plus, the most significant benefit of solar pool covers, according to the study, is that it provided improved humidity control benefits. A similar study also occurred in Australia in the 1960s. According to the study, the use of clear plastic films showed many benefits for swimming pools. These included controlling the loss of heat, absorbing radiation issues, and more.

A study by Cal Poly researchers was conducted on 12 pools, and it also has impressive results. These include measuring the evaporation effectiveness of solar panels, a liquid solar blanket, and solar rings. However, the study never measured energy savings and heat gain levels. The researchers focused on useful techniques that pool owners can use to control evaporation levels – a crucial problem in California, which often faces drought. Based on the study results, using any type of pool cover provided high levels of effectiveness. Also, using solar rings that were not fully covered, experienced poor heat and humidity control levels.

Solar Pool Covers FAQ

Q. What is a solar cover?

Otherwise referred to as a solar blanket, a solar pool clover is a large sheet of material, usually plastic, to cover the pool. It sits on top of the pool water, and it has many roles. These include controlling evaporation, the loss of heat, keeping out debris, and more. These covers are available with many different characteristics, which you should consider.

Q. How does a solar cover work?

A large amount of heat loss in swimming pools today is due to evaporation. A solar pool cover helps control such issues by reducing evaporation. How? It acts as a barrier between the swimming pool, air, and water. Thus, it plays a major role in controlling heat loss in pools.

Q. How do I shape a solar cover?

The first step is to ensure the pool’s dimensions match the cover at all the furthest ends. Then, place the cover the pull, and cut off any unwanted sides using a sharp item. A good suggestion is to cut a slightly larger size to make it sizeable for your pool.

Q. How much does a solar cover cost?

The cost of solar pool covers vary significantly, and in relation to various factors. For instance, it depends on the pool’s size, the type of material, the brand, and more. Plus, expect to spend between $70-$300 for a good cover.

Q. How long will a solar cover last?

As with most human-made material, the degrade over time, and the same applies to solar pool covers. You may have to replace the cover when you notice its no longer effective or starts flaking.

Using a solar cover and leveraging your pool’s return lines is an excellent technique for preventing evaporation. More so, its also a unique method for distributing the water throughout your pool, with optimal efficiency.

There is also a relatively new technology on the market, referred to as liquid blankets. The role of such an appliance is to work in the same way as a solar blanket. Considering their longevity, price, and effectiveness, pool solar covers are excellent investments. In some cases, some pool owners prefer not to use the covers.

Determining the Size of Solar Pool Cover

determining the size of solar pool cover

The main goal of a solar pool cover is to heat water through sunlight and prevent evaporation. You set it up when the pool is not in use, perhaps during the night or day. Getting the right one for your pool depends on the size of the pool, the material, and more. The steps you may consider in choosing a pool cover include:

  • Measure the size of the pool to get a cover with the correct size. If the cover is small, it may not be useful for warming the pool.

  • Choose a light colour for the pool cover. Why? Well, the dark colors and blues may be appealing, but a transparent cover is much better. It helps prevent the rays of the sun from penetration through to the pool. More so, a black cover also heats up fast, but the long-lasting effects will not be the same with a transparent cover.

  • Go for a solar cover that has air bubbles inside. Why? The bubbles work to separate the material form the water, and the sunlight will penetrate easier.

  • Search for pool covers that come with reinforced UV stabilized polyethylene. It’s a type of plastic that is durable and also offers longevity. Solar covers without this component might deteriorate faster when placed in the sun for long durations.

  • A good solar pool cover should suit your budget and specific pool care needs. Usually, a manual pool cover is the best to use, because its easy to set up. Also, an automatic pool cover features a small motor and a tool that you can use to pull cover the back out or in. A semi-automatic cover features a small motor, but you may have to set it up with another user’s help.

Caring for A Solar Pool Cover

Caring for A Solar Pool Cover

A new solar cover will require a small amount of maintenance. That said, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Remember to keep the solar cover covered to ensure its safe from negligent damage. Without the over cover, the blanket might overheat fast, which can lead to roller burn issues.

  • Keep track of chlorine levels. They should never exceed 3ppm – doing so, can lead to chlorine allergies and health complications

  • If your pool uses an automated chlorinator system, ensure you can control the output when you have the right cover. Even if its currently running on the lowest level, it’s still possible to calibrate the running time. Check the levels regularly to ensure you have the correct settings, and to control over chlorination issues.

  • If you are using a reel system, ensure you position it as required on the pool to avoid dragging it unnecessary over rocks or pavers.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Pool

What is the difference between bubble and foam covers? Otherwise referred to as a solar blanket, a bubble cover ensures sustainable energy travels freely to the water through the cover. As such, there will be a significant rise in water temperature. More so, heating and running costs will also reduce. Using a foam cover will function in the same way as an insulating lid.

Usually, the best material for such a cover would be through foaming chemicals or radiation procedures. These are done to produce small bubbles in the material. Why? It will help in heat retention, and it’s installed through a heating system. However, there is no extra energy that will move to the pump, expect the amount the heat pump produces. Any difference in the performance of these two relates to the density of the material used.

As far as heat retention factors go, a 6mm foam will provide over 72% of energy savings for heating costs. That said, a bubble cover will provide 46% of energy saving costs. Both bubble and foam covers are excellent for preventing evaporation issues. These are the most significant causes of heat loss in pools, and both leverage air to insulate the surface of pools. Also, both structures provide the same amount of heat-saving benefits.

Why should you go for a bubble cover? The main reason is that it’s convenient to use in all aspects. Set up and maintenance are all easy. Plus, its affordable, and lets you recover your investment in less than one year.

Why Use A Pool Cover? 

There are various reasons as to why pool covers have become common over the past few years. These are pool resources that have come into their own due to educational campaigns, improved awareness, and sustainable practices in daily activities. That said, the abundant availability of pool covers on the market means that it can be challenging to determine the type of material suitable for your needs. It’s crucial to determine that each material has its benefits and perks for UV stability, longevity, lifespan, and density.

It all depends on the functionalities you expect for the material. All pool covers have similar benefits, but choosing proper material should have many more benefits. Depending on the material selected, you should expect between 40-70% in energy savings.

General Benefits of Covering Your Pool

The following list shows the benefits you should expect with a conventional solar pool cover. The performance of each cover may differ based on the materials used. More so, the cover lifespan may also vary in relation to the thickness or UV stabilization factors. That said, a base quality level for most pool covers averages between 1 to 3 years. These benefits include:

Reduces Evaporative Energy Loss

Covering a pool reduces evaporation significantly because there is no room for the humidity to escape. It also ensures you no longer have to perform pool top-ups. Also, evaporation causes well over 70% of heat loss that occurs in pools today. As the water evaporates, this process consumes energy, which compromises the heat in your pool. It’s a process referred to as evaporative cooling. It’s why an open pool tends to get colder compared to a pool covered with the right material.

More so, water supply restrictions have become common, and using such covers can be a great way to save up on cash. Using these covers comes with the additional benefit of reducing heat and water pumps.

Insulates to Reduce Heat Loss

You should know that air has excellent insulation properties. Since solar covers have trapped bubbles inside, they are perfect for insulation purposes. Furthermore, they also help to reduce evaporation levels and providing close to half in energy reduction prices.

Reduces the Accumulation of Debris

On average, 9-115 of the chlorine added to your pool will work to sanitize the water. The remaining amount is consumed during the oxidation of other impurities. These might include dirt, leaves, and many types of debris that might get to the water. Using a pool cover will thus help reduce chemical usage without compromising water hygiene.


A pool is a resource that requires adequate care for the best user experience. Aside from regulating water quality and using safety measures, it’s also good to control energy consumption costs. This guide has been about how effective are pool solar covers, which are becoming more popular than ever. They are simple to use, install, and durable, they also help reduce pool care costs significantly.