Swimming pool covers are wonderful at keeping your pool water nice and warm. In this article, we are going to look at the different types of pool covers available and what you can expect from each. We’ll discuss which option is best for your pool and when to have the pool cover on and when to remove it.
There are quite a few options available for pool covers and they all have pros and cons. Let’s have a look at the choices:-
Solar or Bubble Cover
Strictly speaking, this type of cover is a solar cover, however, it is possibly better known as a bubble cover. These swimming pool covers are the least expensive of all the options.
While a bubble cover describes what the cover looks like, a solar cover is a better description of what the cover does. This cover transfers heat generated by the sun into the water to increase the water temperature. The amount of heat transferred is dependent on the amount of sunlight and the ambient air temperature. For pools that get a lot of direct sunlight, these can be a good option.
Solar covers also help reduce evaporation which saves you money as well. They are available in different thicknesses, usually rated by microns. We sell BMH covers that are 400 microns, 500 microns, and 610 microns thick. The higher the number, the thicker the cover and the greater the insulation provided by the cover. The size of the bubble also makes a difference in the effectiveness of the heat transfer by the cover.
Covers with a larger amount of bubble area transfer more heat to the water compared to those with a smaller area. The 610-micron cover we sell has a ‘triple’ bubble with a large bubble area and therefore transfers more heat to the water than the covers with smaller bubbles.
Thermal blanket covers float on the pool surface. The closed-cell foam core creates an insulating layer that traps heat in the pool. The superior heat retention you get with a thermal blanket makes it the preferred option for heated pools.
Unlike a solar cover, a thermal cover does not transfer any heat into the pool from the sun, but it does provide greater insulation to prevent heat loss.
BMH Duokote thermal blankets are constructed of a layer of closed-cell foam laminated between two sheets of woven polyethylene film. The polyethylene film is UV stabilised and formulated specifically for the harsh pool environment.
You can expect a thermal cover to last approximately 8 years, but life expectancy is very dependent on how the cover is treated/cared for. In general, a thermal blanket cover will outlast a solar cover.
Automatic Swimming Pool Covers
There are a number of different options around for automatic pool covers. There are options available that can be retrofitted to an existing swimming pool. Some automatic covers run along tracks down each side of the pool, others float on the water. Most automatic covers are either made of thermal blanket-type material or air-filled slats. Both of these types of materials prevent evaporation and provide insulation of the pool heat but do not add any heat to the water.
Automatic covers are an expensive option but make taking the cover on and off very simple and easy. Some automatic covers do also offer increased safety as they will hold the weight of a human, some even up to 100kg.
Liquid Pool Cover
Yes, you did read that correctly. Liquid pool covers are a real thing! They work by creating an ultra-thin invisible barrier on the surface of the water. They reduce evaporation and help to prevent heat loss. The liquid is added to the pool manually on a weekly or monthly basis or they can be automatically dispensed via a dispensing unit.
Liquid pool covers are ideal for pools that are difficult to cover using traditional covers, for indoor pools, and for those who struggle to put traditional pool covers on or off the pool. This is also an affordable option for those wanting a physical pool cover but aren’t ready to buy one yet.
We stock Lo Chlor Solar Shield that can be manually dosed and we also install dispensing units to automatically dose liquid covers.
Debris Pool Cover
This type of cover is used during the non-swimming season, usually from around mid-autumn to early spring. A debris cover overlaps the pool by about 250mm and is secured using tensioning straps to pull the cover tight. The mesh material of the cover allows water through while the tensioning prevents the cover from sagging into the pool. Debris that falls on top of the cover can be removed manually or left for the wind to blow it off.
Holes are drilled into the surrounding surface so stainless hooks that are attached to each strap can hook into them. When the cover is removed all that is left are the small holes.
Debris covers are relatively expensive but you can expect a cover to last over 10 years if well cared for. This cover is ideal for pools surrounded by park-like conditions or large gardens. It saves a huge amount of time as all the large debris is prevented from entering the pool.
We recommend removing your swimming pool cover over winter (except for debris or automatic covers). There are a number of benefits from doing this:
- Extends the life of the cover as it gets some chlorine-free time
- You can easily see if the pool is going green or if anything has fallen in e.g. a hedgehog
- A sparkling blue pool is much nicer to look at from inside your home than a pool cover, even in the middle of winter