Everything You Should Know About Liquid Solar Covers

Written by Michael Dean
January 9, 2024

bottle of liquid solar cover next to a pool

Like most pool owners, you might have found your water heating costs have risen in recent months. Solar covers are an affordable option for heating the water in your pool. However, the bulkiness of traditional solar blankets is frustrating for many pool owners, especially if you have a freeform pool. Now, there’s a new solution: liquid solar covers.

Let’s explore how liquid solar covers work, what value they bring, and whether they are an effective alternative to solar blankets.

Main Takeaways

  • A liquid solar cover is a chemical product that helps to reduce heat loss and evaporation, like a physical solar cover.
  • To use a liquid solar cover, shake the bottle, start your pump, then add the liquid solar cover according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Some reasons to get a liquid solar cover include: simple storage, no danger of trapping swimmers underneath the cover, and no degradation.
  • Liquid solar covers are not a substitute for actual pool covers, so they won’t keep debris out of your pool.

What Is a Liquid Solar Cover?

A liquid solar cover is an evaporation suppressant. They’re an alcohol-based chemical product designed to float on your pool water, effectively reducing heat loss and evaporation. The process works by trapping heat using a molecular barrier on the surface of the water. This helps keep your pool nice and warm and helps save money on rising heat bills.

Are Liquid Solar Pool Covers Effective?

Liquid solar covers have proven effective in larger public and private pools. Multiple studies now show liquid pool covers work to prevent heat loss and pool water evaporation over time. However, liquid solar covers are not used for heat gain. For more on that subject, read my guide on how fast solar covers heat pools.

Liquid covers have been used for many years, and their formulations continue to be improved. Take the time to explore some of the most popular products within the U.S. market, and you’ll find they’ve been tested regularly in a range of pool styles.

Best Liquid Pool Cover

There are a few different liquid solar options on the market, but this Heat Trapper liquid solar cover from Pool Basics will do the trick for most people.

Pool Basics Heat Trapper Pool Solar Blanket In A Bottle Liquid Solar Cover

Pool Basics is what I recommend to most people looking for a reliable liquid solar cover solution.

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I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at zero additional cost to you. This in no way impacts my research process or opinions.

Are Liquid Solar Covers Safe?

You might be concerned about putting additional chemicals into your pool. But a liquid solar cover is simply another safe and effective addition to your pool system.

Liquid covers have been used by both residential pool owners and commercial pool owners over recent years. The chemicals used within the products are FDA-approved.

Safe for Your Filtration System

Studies also show that liquid solar covers are safe to use with any sanitizing system and will not damage your filter. The formulas are specifically designed to work with your pool filtration system, so they won’t clog or damage anything. In fact, most of the chemicals should remain on the surface of your pool while your pool water circulates through your filtration system.

Safe for Your Pets

The chemicals used within liquid pool covers are also safe to use around your animals, so you don’t have to worry about their impact on your family pets. Even if your pets accidentally ingest a little pool water, don’t worry. Just ensure your pets don’t drink the chemical from the bottle! Always monitor your pets when they are in and around the pool.

Safe for Your Family

Similarly, liquid solar pool covers are safe for your kids. As with any pets, make sure your kids do not drink the pool water in large amounts. All chemicals in the pool, not just the liquid solar cover, can be harmful when ingested in large quantities!

One Disclaimer: Test Before

However, with all that said, it is important to note that some liquid covers contain chemicals that irritate the skin. So carefully note the chemicals in the liquid cover product before you purchase.

You may start by trying a product briefly to see if your family can tolerate the chemicals. This is a great way to ensure their safety and comfort over many summers spent playing in the sun.

How to Use a Liquid Solar Cover

Now that you know a little about the safety of liquid pool covers and their chemical composition, it’s time to learn how to use a cover on your home pool. Fortunately, liquid covers are relatively simple to use.

  1. Shake the bottle. Most liquid pool covers come in a single bottle. Before applying the liquid, shake the bottle to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
  2. Start your pool pump. Next, you can start your pool pump to apply the mixture throughout the pool. The pump circulates the liquid for a uniform layer. Because the liquid pool cover is lighter than the water within your pool, the cover liquid will rise to the top.
  3. Add the liquid pool cover to your pool. You’re now ready to release the liquid into your pool. Take your time and analyze the manufacturer’s instructions during this important process. Most commercially available products recommend using 4 ounces of liquid pool cover for every 20,000 gallons of water.

Liquid Solar Covers vs. Blanket Solar Pool Covers

Solar covers are quickly becoming one of the more popular options for heating home pools without significantly increasing heating bills. But you might have trouble deciding on a liquid solar cover or a blanket solar pool cover for your home.

To help you understand the differences between the two products, here are the key points to keep in mind:

Liquid CoverSolar Blanket
StorageEasier to storeHarder to store
SafetyNo danger of trapping underneathDanger of trapping underneath
DebrisDoesn’t prevent debris from entering the waterKeeps the pool clean by preventing debris from entering
WeatherCan be picked up by windIs not affected by weather
HeatDoesn’t really warm up the poolCan warm up a pool by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit
Using the poolCan use the pool even with the cover onCannot use the pool with the blanket on
PriceMore affordableLess affordable

Advantages of a Liquid Solar Pool Cover

Let’s start with the reasons you should get a liquid solar pool cover.

Simple Storage

Chemicals used within a liquid solar cover come in a bottle, so they’re very simple to store in your shed or yard. You won’t have to find additional storage space when adding a liquid solar cover to your home maintenance routines.

No Trapping Danger

The liquid solar cover is safe to use around your family. Your children and family pets cannot become trapped underneath them. The cover provides a liquid layer of warmth to heat your pool.

Does Not Degrade

Liquid solar covers perform effectively for many months. You can store the liquid over a season and then use it again next year without worrying about material degradation or the breakdown of chemicals.

Drawbacks of a Liquid Solar Pool Cover

While there are many benefits to using a liquid solar cover, it’s important to weigh some potential downsides.

Can Be Affected by Weather

In high winds, liquid solar covers can be affected. Naturally, any product that sits on top of the water and forms a liquid layer will be affected when the wind picks up. While this is not a significant downside, it is something to consider if you live in an area with windy conditions.

Won’t Keep Debris Out of the Pool

Another obvious, but no less important, consideration is that liquid covers cannot keep debris out of your pool.

You’re more likely to encounter tree leaves and other lawn debris in the pool when you choose a liquid solar cover. Like most homeowners, you probably clean the pool regularly as part of your ongoing maintenance work, but to make your life easier, keep in mind that a liquid cover is not a replacement for a normal pool cover.

Advantages of Solar Blankets

While solar blankets might be cumbersome for some to use in the home, they offer some benefits.

Heat Gain

Solar blankets and liquid pool covers are designed to minimize heat loss from the pool. But solar blankets will also help warm up your pool water. While solar blankets are not a full replacement for an actual pool heater, they can raise your pool water temperature by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit!

Protect Against Debris

One of the clear benefits of choosing a solar blanket is that it keeps pool water warm while protecting the pool against debris entering it. Garden debris, such as leaves and flowers, can enter your pool, potentially contaminating the water supply. You may find that regular pool cleaning reduces the need for a solid cover, but this is a major benefit if you have limited time for regular pool maintenance.

Drawbacks of Solar Blankets

Blanket covers might be the right choice if you’re concerned about debris and potential heat gain, but there are a few drawbacks to consider as well.

Safety Concerns

First and foremost, serious safety concerns are associated with traditional solar blanket covers. Families with small children and pets should consider your choice of cover carefully.

Children and pets can become trapped under the cover if they fall into the pool. This increases the risk of drowning and represents a significant safety hazard. Carefully consider this risk and discuss this issue with your family before adding a blanket cover to your pool.

Cannot Use the Pool While Covered

Liquid products cover the pool even while your family and friends are inside enjoying the warm water. But on the other hand, if you have a solar blanket, you can’t jump in the pool when you’re using it. You’ll need to uncover it first, which can be a pain!


Liquid solar covers are generally more affordable than blanket covers. They are half the price of a solar blanket over the average summer.

Is Liquid for You?

Now that you know everything about liquid pool covers, you can make an informed decision on the type of cover you’ll use for your pool. Remember that liquid covers are affordable for keeping your pool warm; you don’t have to break your pool maintenance budget to buy a liquid cover product. Whether you choose to try a liquid pool cover, a blanket pool cover, or a combination of the two, remember to do your research beforehand.

Do you have any more questions about heating your pool? Let me know.

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