Do Swimming Pool Solar Covers Really Help?

Often, I am asked this very question whether a solar cover will make a difference in the temperature of the pool water?

First, lets get a few facts straight as to what the proper use of a solar cover is and the actually purpose as there are many misconceptions about what a solar blanket does and doesn't do. These blue or black blankets are sized to your swimming pool and can be useful in holding in the warmth your water already has. It is important to know that the solar blanket is not a pool water heater. The blanket is usually made out of a resin or polymer plastic and is known by the bubbles that sit on one side of the blanket. (Similar to packing material) They come in various levels of thickness and most have a higher warranty coverage in alignment with the thickness.

A solar cover is useful in increasing by a few to several degrees the warmth from the day’s sun and holding it in when the nights become cooler. The solar blanket can also enhance the efficiency of your pool heater by letting less warmth escape as well as help stymy evaporation when atmospheric temperatures are conducive to condensation and evaporation.

Some towns in our area require a solar blanket be part of the new swimming pool package if a heater is planned on being installed. Not quite sure I agree with that as there are some situations where a solar cover is not appropriate, mainly being the concern of safety for children and pets.

There are also products called liquid solar blankets made from a form of alcohol which is easier to use as you just let the liquid leach into the swimming pool and replace every 30 days or so. You do not see it or taste it and I find they work fairly well. The benefit of a liquid solar blanket is it also eliminates the struggle of putting on and taking off a regular cover which can be quite tedious especially for one person even with a solar reel.

Environmentally, the liquid solar cover may leave less of a footprint than that big bulky blue plastic thing that ends up in the dump in 3-5 years. I personally think the liquid solar market will continue to grow and is the future of heat saving technology.

Of course, I will point out that the regular solar blanket is often used as an additional barrier to keep leaves and other debris out of the pool (not its purpose)but for the most part they are to be used for retaining heat and preventing evaporation.

Please note that a solar blanket is not to be confused as a safety feature, it will not prevent children or pets from falling in the pool and can actually hinder rescue efforts as they may get tangled up in the blanket while trying to free them selves to get out. For other safety tips visit for this and other swimming pool guide books.

TIP: When the weather becomes very warm keep your solar cover off during sun light hours. Algae can blossom when the cover is kept on during intense heat spells.

**Almost forgot, put solar cover on bubble side down!