Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

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Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby tacoma5050 » Mon 04 May, 2009 09:25

Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. aluminized silver back vs. black vs. clear

For years I have used a semi clear blue solar blanket on my 16x32 in-ground pool.

I usually take the cover off in the morning and put it back on when the sun goes down. My theory is that this allows the pool liner/etc to absorb sun rays during the day and retain radiant heat during the night. On cloudy days I leave the blanket on all day.

My current blue 12 ml blanket needs to be replaced and there are more options now than when I bought my last on 7 years ago. I plan on using my new blanket in the same way. Although I occasionally leave the blanket on all day if I don’t have time in the morning to remove it.

This website http://www.poolsupplies.com/covers/solar-covers.asp has five kinds available. I wrote my ideas after each one:
- Standard Blue Covers: would not let in much sun light during the day if left on, but maybe more than a sliver backed liner below.
- Blue/Silver(aluminized back) Covers: I think these may retain heat better at night, but if you happen to leave it on the pool on a sunny day will as much sun get into to pool and heat it?
- Transparent Black Covers; transparent black seems like conflicting terms, but will much sun get into the pool during the day? Will the fact that its black make the blanket itself absorb more sun heat and thus heat the top inch or so of water?
- Clear Covers: seems like this would allow more sun light to enter pool and heat liner in its left on during the day. I think clear would retain radiant heat just as well as a blue cove during the night, right?
- Diamond Covers: seems like bubbles being closer together would provide more insulation power.

On a sunny day which would heat a pool more of these 6 options:
1. Leaving the blanket off
2. Standard Blue Covers
3. Blue / Silver (aluminized) Covers
4. Transparent Black Covers
5. Clear Covers
6. Clear Diamond Covers
And out the above options which would retain heat better at night if any.

Can anyone share their thoughts, experiences and which type work best for you? Some people left bad review at InTheSwin for the silver backed blankets, but I am not sure if this might have been their first solar blanket and their expectations were too high, as other said they liked the silver backed blankets.
tacoma5050
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Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby tacoma5050 » Mon 04 May, 2009 09:41

I just talked with a person at LeisureLiving. They said if I get 8 or more hours of direct sun on my pool per day that they would recommend the CLEAR cover as it would heat the pool the most if left on during the day. I asked about the DIAMOND CLEAR cover and he steered me away from that, he said when rolling up the cover the water cannot run off as well since the bubbles are closer together and thus the cover is heaver/harder to roll up. Still researching.....
tacoma5050
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Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby chem geek » Mon 04 May, 2009 09:57

I'd agree with them that with significant sunlight on the pool, a clear cover is theoretically better. Even white plaster pools absorb sunlight since it is water that absorbs around 60% of the energy from sunlight as described here. You should ask them if the clear solar covers absorb vs. pass-through UV light. If they don't, then your chlorine usgae/consumption during the day will be higher due to greater breakdown of chlorine from the UV in sunlight.
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Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby Vetpabst » Tue 15 Sep, 2009 11:58

I used blue covers and was very satisfide with them. Each lasted about 5 seasons. This year I was talked into getting a clesr cover. It did not seem to heat the pool up as well and I had algae growing for the first time. I think I will go back to the blue cover.
Vetpabst
 

Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby Pool User » Wed 31 Mar, 2010 15:45

I bought the clear, with a silver back on our pool last year available at Specialy Pool Products. Beat out everythiing we ever used. Leave it off on super hot humid days, but other than that, on all the time. Just a small 15' intex frame pool - but in PA we need all the heat we can get! Did not like the blue with silver back at all, and plain blue was only so-so. Never used black.
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Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby Joseph2010 » Wed 14 Jul, 2010 22:35

I see Folks are confused as to How to get the most from their Solar cover.
Know that having your cover sit in the Sun AND that chlorine will break down your cover. Don't over chlorinate and either cover it or get it out of the Sun. Yes - it would be a pain to move it all the time BUT you have to decide IF you want to have it LAST longer. Fortunately the end of MY pool, where the reel resides, is shaded by trees :).
Here is what I have found to work well to heat the water best. Know that heat rises. We have all detected the first few inches of water under the cover is hot. Whilst the Solar pool is on the water, select to have your filter on 'full bottom drain' - the bottom of the pool is where the water is the coldest. The filter will draw the cold water nearest the bottom through the bottom drain sending it back into the pool. As the inlet is closer to the surface of the pool the cold water will then MOVE the hot water - mixing it with the cold water. This then places cooler water just under your cover for solar cover heating. This also helps protect your solar cover from getting too hot. A cover getting too hot will split the layers.
Additionally be mindful to the fact your inlet assembly can be 'adjusted' to direct the water directionally as well as up and/or down. I have my inlet adjusted to direct the water just below the cover but not too close to the surface so that the cover will not 'travel' from the force of the water but yet enough to move that layer of hot water around. This will always supply cool water from the bottom of the pool under your cover.
Of course the bottom drain will help 'pull' the water down also.
P.S. - some of you may 'think' that full skim will draw the hot water through the pool best BUT - because of the location of the inlet being (high on the sidewall of the pool) you will have , by doing this, allowed that cold water to remain at the bottom of the pool. I have tried both ways by the way - my suggestion DOES work BEST!!!
Ummm - there will NOT be a charge for this guidance - a round of applause will do.
Joseph2010
 

Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby chem geek » Thu 15 Jul, 2010 02:44

That's good advice. Unfortunately, many above-ground pools do not have floor drains. In this case, pointing the return(s) down and to the side (i.e. diagonally downward) for a circular rolling motion of the water can help to circulate it.
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Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby Renron » Sat 04 Sep, 2010 12:12

ChemGeek is correct.
Some of us with IG pools have infloor cleaning systems which distribute the water to the bottom of the pool, in which case the wall strainer is the best return location from which to pull.

Ron
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Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby Merlin » Wed 27 Apr, 2011 18:45

You are right, I have used the blue blankets for years and now that I want to replace there are so many choices now. Blue or clear, backed with silver, and one company backs with gold and says will do the most heating. A couple also offer holes in the blanket for drainage. Evidently the clear blankets are much thicker and I read somewhere the solar blanket roller will not hold all the new weight. Then one guy told me the solar rings are better, so I am utterly confused about which one to buy. I did think the comment about using the bottom drain when the blanket is on was a good one, you get my applause. Sounds like a logical thing to do. Does anyone have a definitive answer about the best approach for blankets, clear, blue, lined, solar rings, silver back, gold back, holes in the blankets.................
Merlin
 

Solar blankets / covers: blue vs. silver back vs. clear

Postby chem geek » Wed 27 Apr, 2011 19:47

The gold is just marketing B.S. A pure black solar cover will absorb the most heat, but the black should be backing touching the water with clear bubbles on top. If the bubbles themselves are black on their surface, then that surface will heat up but not get transferred much to the water. If you use a black cover, then be sure to have the water circulation move near the surface, so returns would need to be pointed slightly upward in this case. The advantage of an opaque cover is that it will stop chlorine loss from the UV in sunlight.

A clear cover will allow for sunlight to enter the pool where it will heat the water more evenly at further depth (though more of the heating is near the surface). The downside is that the UV in sunlight will break down chlorine so your chlorine usage will be higher with such a cover.
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