Your swimming pool is the perfect spot to stay out of the heat during the summer. But, 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.
As you probably guessed, solar covers use the heat of the sun to warm your pool water. But the bulkiness of traditional blanket solar covers 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 the value liquid solar covers can bring to your home and why they’ve been gaining in popularity.
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 top of your pool water, effectively reducing both 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 been proven effective in larger public pools 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 for most people, this Heat Trapper liquid solar cover from Pool Basics will do the trick.
Pool Basics is what I recommend to most people looking for a reliable liquid solar cover solution.
Are Liquid 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. Studies also show that liquid solar covers are safe to use with any sanitizing system and will not damage your filter.
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. However, it is important to note that some liquid covers do contain chemicals that can irritate the skin. So carefully note the individual chemicals in the liquid cover product before you make your purchase.
You may start by trying a product for a short time 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.
Start by shaking the bottle. Most liquid pool covers come in a single bottle. Before applying the liquid, shake the bottle to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
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.
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 be having trouble deciding on either 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 pros and cons of each type of cover. Let’s start with the advantages.
Advantages of a Liquid Solar Pool Cover
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, so this is unlikely to prevent you from further reviewing liquid pool covers.
Blanket Solar Pool Covers: Benefits and Downsides
While blanket solar covers might be cumbersome for some to use in the home, they offer some benefits.
Advantages of Solar Blankets
Reduce Heat Gain
Blanket solar pool covers and liquid pool covers are designed to minimize heat loss from the pool. But blanket covers will also reduce the water’s heat gain from the sun. And so if you’re concerned about a sudden rise in water temperature due to the sun’s rays, you might review your blanket pool cover options.
Protect Against Debris
One of the clear benefits of choosing a blanket solar cover is that it keeps pool water warm and protects against debris entering the water.
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 several drawbacks to choosing this style of cover for your home.
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. When you work with a blanket cover, you can’t use the pool while it’s covered. And so, you’ll experience a more significant amount of heat loss than if you chose a liquid product.
Liquid solar covers are generally more affordable than blanket covers. They are half the price of a blanket cover over the average summer. Ensure you consider the cost of the product when analyzing how much you’ll save on your heating bills with a high-quality cover.
Now you have all the background information 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 an affordable option for heating your home pool. And so you don’t have to break your pool maintenance budget to buy a liquid cover product. You can simply visit your local pool supply store and pick some up.
Most people find they’re reluctant to go back to using traditional blanket covers after they try the liquid version. But you might still want to ‘test the waters’ with other types of products.
If you’re still unsure which product would work best for you in your home, you might try using both this summer season to see which you prefer.
Using a blanket cover and a liquid cover together means you gain the benefits of having a cover that protects your pool from debris, in addition to a cover you can use while enjoying your swimming pool.
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.
Have more questions? Let me know.