A very useful accessory for any swimming pool, a solar pool cover extends your swimming season, and makes the pool more comfortable. It’s been estimated that a solar pool cover can raise the temperature of the water by 10 to 15 degrees.
A solar pool cover is one of the most economical ways of improving the usability of your swimming pool, and it is equally effective whether you have an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool. It is also possibly the least expensive cover that you can buy. It is clear plastic, and should be cut to the same shape and size as the pool’s surface. It has air pockets molded into the plastic, so it resembles giant bubble wrap, such as used in packaging. Because of the way it is made, it floats easily on the pool’s surface whenever the pool is not being used.
It warms the water by trapping the sun’s heat that shines through it. It helps prevent evaporation, and the need to make up the water level, and also helps with maintaining the chemical balance because of this. The warmth of the water is insulated at night by the air trapped in the bubbles, reducing the nighttime cooling.
Because the cover fits up to the edges, it can help stop debris going into the pool. However, it is not a safety cover, and it won’t stop all the leaves getting in. You need to make sure that anyone using the pool takes the cover right off, so that there is no danger of going under it and not being able to reach the surface!
As the cover floats on the surface, it is self-centering. To take it off, you literally just pull it off to one side. It can be fairly heavy, and it helps if you have an assistant to lend a hand as you take it off. You can also get a giant reel at one end of the pool, and wind the cover over it to keep it stored and out of the way.
If you would like to swim in an extended season, which goes beyond that which you get by using the solar pool cover alone, you may be looking at installing some form of heating, quite possibly solar pool heating, which would give you, say, two or three months more use both before and after your normal season. When you install heating to your pool, the solar pool cover becomes even more important, as it will insulate and help retain the heat.