Solar blankets are a very common pool accessory for all swimming pools. Even with such a high popularity, there are still many misconceptions about this item (Even the name itself brings confusion, I'll explain later).
Let's go over the top questions we get and demystify this common pool accessory.
1 - Do I use my solar blanket during the day or night?
With the name solar blanket, one would think that it would be used as a way to heat the pool using the sun. It actually is the oposite. With the cover on, the rays of the sun can't enter the pool and will reduce the potential temperature increase by a significant amount.
This isn't used as a method to increase the water temperature, but rather as method to maintain the heat. The coldest part of a summer day is when the sun goes down and that's where it is time to shine. Since the ambient air temperature is lower than the water temperature, the heat of the pool escapes through evaporation. When covering the pool this effect is greatly reduced therefore allowing you to enjoy warmer pool water the next day.
Answer: It is most useful during the night.
2 - What would happen if I just left the blanket over a few days?
This is a common follow up question we get from customers who ask about question #1. The main problem with leaving your blanket on for a few days or maybe even weeks is the damage that the cover will endure. The blanket is exposed for too long to chlorine and the bubbles will tend to pop very quicly and the plastic will start to fall off. In other words you want the pool to have the ability to "breath". Another way that leaving the cover on will affect your pool is algea formation. Yes even if chlorine is being used but the pool stays covered for a long period of time, the water will turn green. This is due to a sort of green house affect that gets created which then envolves algea growth.
3 - How do I prolong the lifespan of the cover?
Now that we know the solar cover is such a great tool, one would want to keep thier new tool in great condition to get the most use out of it. Here are a few tips on prolonging it's lifespan.
1- Correct chlorine level
If you know how to properly use chlorine you would bring up the point "hey, if I should only use my cover at night and I should add my chlorine at night also, wouldnt that affect it in a negative way?".
The answer is: not exactly.
Since the it is made to be used for pools, it is resistant to cholrine. The touchy part is the concentration of this chlorine. If used in the right dose, the blanket will react as it was engineered to. If the concentration is too great, then this will drastically reduce the lifespan. This is why it is best to not have it on when doing your regular shock treatment.
2- When you have a Salt Water System
For people who are using a salt water system, there are also some notes to take down. If you have your pump running during the night, this means your salt system would also produce chlorine while the pool is covered. This is also fine and will not have a negative impact as long as the chlorine level is within the recommended 1-3 ppm. Again, when your system is applying a super chlorination it is best to leave it off.
3- The Use of a Solar Roller
One of the hassals of owning a cover is having to constantly remove and store the blanket. To achieve this efficiently, most people will use a solar roller. Rolling the blanket around a tube allows the water to flow off of the blanket. A tip when using the solar roller is to align the straps that hold the blanket parallel to the seams of the blanket. This ensures that the force applied to the blanket seams is even and doesn't produce more stress on one of the seams that could result in a tear.
The placement of the solar roller is also important. When rolling up the blanket, if the roller is positioned too close to the edge of the pool, some friction would be created and could damage the bubbles on the underside of the blanket which would, in the long run, reduce the lifespan of the blanket. The proper placement would be 6 to 12 inches from the edge over the pool water. Another thing to be mindful when positioning the solar roller is the sun exposure. Being exposed to the sun for long periods of time will cause the cover to fade and the plastic will loose some of it's strength. If you are restraint by space, try covering with a white protective sheet to keep it hidden from the sun.
4 - What is the Difference Between Heavy and Extra Heavy?
When dealing with solar blankets there are two terms that are worth knowing, Heavy and Extra Heavy. This is just pool lingo for 4 year and 6 year warranty respectively. The terms originate from the thickness of the cover, Heavy being 8mm and Extra Heavy being 12mm. As one would imagine, the thicker of the two would last longer and therefore need a longer warranty.
Lets dive into problems that can occur and which one of those are covered by warranty.
The main issue arises with the bubles underneath either poping or flaking off the cover. All the factors mentioned above would cause this to happen, and unfortunately this is NOT covered by warranty. Other physical damages such as rips and fading are also not covered by warranty.
"What does the warranty cover then?" is one of the most common questions we get. As explained by the producers of these blankets, the warranty solely applies to the seams of the blanket. Similar to pool liners, the solar blankets are only covered for seam seperations (ie. if the two pieces of materials unweld along the seam). This is deemed as a manufactures defect and will be replaced by the company.
If you still have questions, do comment below and we will answer you the best we can.