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Do Pool Solar Covers Really Work?

Solar covers are touted as an excellent source of warmth for your pool, but do they actually do anything?

Is it possible that a thin plastic blanket could elevate your pool’s temperature and protect it from algae blooms?

Pool covers come in all shapes and sizes, so let’s find out if it’s time for you to find the perfect match for your swimming pool.

Pool solar covers work by elevating the pool’s temperature by up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. The cover traps the sun’s UV rays in the water, amplifying the heat and preventing it from escaping. Solar covers also stop the water from evaporating, which preserves chlorine and algaecide.

In this article, I’ll show you why pool solar covers work, whether or not they’re worth the investment, and how fast you can expect to see (and feel) the results.

I’ll also show you how long you can leave the cover on the pool. Let’s get started!

Do Solar Covers Work for In-Ground Pools?

Solar covers work for in-ground pools because you can attach them to solar reels that push and pull the cover. These mounted reels use custom dimensions to match your swimming pool.

The cover prevents evaporation, chemical loss, imbalanced water chemistry, and algae. Furthermore, they can increase the pool’s temperature drastically.

So, how can you make sure your solar cover works for your in-ground pool? Follow these tips:

  • Get your cover cut to the exact dimensions of your pool with an additional two inches on each side. The cover should cover the entire pool, not just a small portion of it. The solar bubbles work by trapping the heat in the water. Without complete coverage, the heat can quickly escape the pool.
  • Solar covers work with solar reels, which attach to the side of an in-ground swimming pool. The reel attaches to the edge and uses a lever to reel in the cover. Turn it counter-clockwise to remove the cover or clockwise to put the cover back onto the water.


Solar covers can also save you money if you have an in-ground pool. They prevent excessive evaporation, which means you have to use less chlorine, dry acid, soda ash, and other chemicals.

Test your pool’s chemistry before and after installing a cover; you’ll be impressed by the savings!

It’s clear that solar pool covers are great for in-ground and above-ground swimming pools.

They provide the same much-needed water retention and algae prevention, both of which save time, money, and energy.

However, some pool owners wonder if the initial cost is worth the results. Read on to find getting a pool cover is worth it for your situation.

Are Solar Covers for Pools Worth It?

Solar covers for pools are worth it because they provide optimal heating without having to install extra equipment.

Furthermore, they keep your pool clean and clear from algae blooms when paired with proper filtration and sanitization. Pool covers can be customized to fit any swimming pool in the world.

You should consider a solar cover for these reasons:

  • Solar covers keep your pool significantly warmer than if it didn’t have a cover. These covers retain tons of the UV rays that enter the water. The bubbles act as a barrier, stopping the heat from escaping. Your pool will be much warmer during all seasons of the year. Some people have up to a 20-degree increase!
  • Solar covers prevent debris from getting into the pool. Not only does this prevent algae blooms, but it also stops your pump’s unwanted rattling noises. The debris gets trapped in the basket and overheats the pump without enough coverage. You can spray or sweep the debris off of the cover to stop it from falling into the water.
  • Most pool covers prevent up to 95% of evaporation. Your pool loses tons of chlorine and other chemicals through evaporation, especially during the warmer months. Your solar cover will keep your pool’s chemicals balanced, so you don’t have to adjust them as often.

If you’re interested in a solar cover, I suggest the Sun2Solar Pool Cover. These solar blankets come in 35 different sizes and are designed to fit any swimming pool.

The 12 ml thickness is the best you can find in most pool stores since anything thicker is unnecessary. It provides much more protection and longevity than a 10-mil cover without much weight difference.

Sun2Solar Solar Pool Cover

How Fast Does a Solar Cover Heat a Pool?

A solar cover can heat a pool in a week or less. You should expect your pool to get between 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, though some pools in extreme temperatures get almost 20 degrees warmer.

The warmth depends on how much of the water is covered, how much direct sunlight the pool gets, and the cover’s thickness.

Your swimming pool takes up to a week to get warmer, but some people report a temperature increase in as little as six hours.

The best way to drastically increase your pool’s temperature with a solar cover is to cover as much of the water as possible.

People with strangely-shaped pools can stack multiple pool covers or order a custom-cut pool cover. These covers work well with custom reels, but you might have to manually assist it while it’s rolling the cover onto the water.

The pool heats up much quicker if the cover is exposed to direct sunlight for several hours during the warmest part of the day.

Another way to make your solar cover work quicker is to point the bubbles down toward the water. The bubbles need to point in the correct direction, or they won’t trap the UV rays.

On that note, don’t use a tarp or any other unapproved variation of a makeshift pool cover. They’re not designed to hold the heat or withstand the chlorine, so they won’t work nearly as well.

Pro-tip: 12-mil solar covers are much more effective than 10 ml solar covers, and they aren’t much bulkier. However, they tend to cost more. The 12 ml variants last longer, retain more heat, and prevent evaporation much more efficiently.

It’s up to you to decide if you prefer a budget-friendly 10 ml cover or a higher quality 12 ml cover.

How Long Can You Leave a Solar Cover on a Pool?

You can leave a solar cover on a pool for a week before the water needs to off-gas for a couple of hours.

Spray the cover with a garden hose to remove the harsh chemicals, then put it back on the pool. These covers typically last between 3 to 5 years before they develop signs of wear and tear.

Solar covers don’t cause algae unless they aren’t cleaned and well-maintained. Your solar cover will last less than a year if you don’t follow a recommended cleaning schedule.

Here’s what I suggest doing to make your cover last longer:

  1. Remove the cover once per week and spray off the dried chlorine to prevent harsh corrosion.
  2. Always face the bubbles down to preserve the soft topside.
  3. Sweep or spray the debris off of the solar cover to keep it from dipping into the pool or tearing.
  4. Store the solar cover on a real or folded into a loose square to prevent creases and tears.
  5. Replace your solar cover once you notice the bubbles flaking (they’ll worsen over time and fall into the pool).

Some pool owners have managed to keep a pool cover for up to a decade, while others have to replace the cover every pool season.

Proper maintenance is crucial if you don’t want to break the bank every summer to get a new cover. And remember, 12 ml covers last longer than 10 ml covers.

Author

  • Jonah Ryan

    Jonah has worked for several years in the swimming pool industry installing and repairing equipment, treating pools with chemicals, and fixing damaged liners. He also has plumbing and electrical experience with air conditioning, ceiling fans, boilers, and more. When he's not writing for Temperature Master, he's usually writing for his own websites, LawnCareLessons.com and DIYByHand.com.

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