Pool covers, for both above ground pools and those for inground pools, should be utilized by every pool owner. Pool covers will provide a barrier to windblown and airborn (ie. bugs) objects when not in use, and also help insulate the water thereby lowering the requirement for the heater to be called upon as often. This results in saving wear and tear on the pool heater, pool pump, and also saving on electricity, and your electricity utility bill at the end of the month! Evaporation is the single most cause of loss of heat from your pool. Research has found that 70% of all pool heat loss is attributable to evaporation. Therefore, to maintain your pool’s heat and save on costs and wear and tear on equipment as mentioned above, it is a must that you install a cover. Pool covers can absorb up to 80 % of the sun’s solar heat and transfer it into water temperature. A cover will also reduce heat loss when temperatures drop at night.
Evaporation of course by definition means that water is being lost from your pool; a good pool cover can reduce pool evaporation by 30 – 50 ! That is a lot of money staying in your pocket, and also helps the environment by conserving water.
Manufacturers of pool covers claim that covers will not only reduce evaporation of water, but will significantly reduce evaporation of chemicals, and the resulting costs of each of those elements. It seems obvious that pools should have covers, but what kind? There are many makes, materials, styles and costs of pool covers; it will take some research to discover which cover is right for your above ground pool.
It is important to note that any inground swimming pool cover can be used for an above ground swimming pool with the proper adjustments made to the decking surrounding the pool. Some heavy duty safety covers call for holes being drilled in the concrete skirting of the pool. In cases like this, the above ground pool decks have to be strong enough and adapted to meet the standards required by the cover, but it is certainly doable with some planning and effort.
Transparent bubble covers capture more heat than vinyl covers, but don’t last long as the sun’s UV rays and the pool’s chlorination causes the material to break down in a couple of years. Vinyl will last longer, but don’t allow as much heat to be transferred into the pool. There are discs available instead of complete covers. You toss the discs into the water and they act like lily pads, only a lot bigger.
All pool owners are concerned with safety. To help address this concern there are pool covers that are designed to handle the weight of up to several people, and are fitted very tightly along the perimeters of the pool to keep people and animals from falling into the water. There are above ground pool safety covers as well as those for inground pools. Both the American and Canadian Red Cross suggest a safety pool cover be installed for your swimming pool.
The above ground pool covers shown above are manually removed and replaced without mechanical assist. Pool covers can be automated as well as manually operated. Automated pool covers are significantly more expensive than rolling your cover up yourself, but in my conversations with pool owners they are definitely worth the added expense. The unit to the right is inexpensive and by all accounts (ie the reviews) quite effective.
There are more sophisticated versions of this cover roller, and the fully automated, solar powered pool cover roller is a prime example. Being automated means that you don’t have to do the cranking. Solar Powered means that there are no utility electrical bills for you at the end of month, plus it is a green product! A bit pricey at around $450, but very handy indeed.
To sum up, I can share with you what my friend says about pool covers. He has a 32 x 16 inground pool, but claims the basics of covering above ground pools are the same. You have a summer cover which you hope helps to warm your pool, keep debris out, and restricts the development of algae. This is his second cover in four years and says the UV rays from the sun and the chemical chlorine in the pool is very hard on the cover. His pool cover rolls up by hand and he doesn’t enjoy the task. Algae has not been found in his pool even though his cover is clear. Buddy doesn’t feel that evaporation is an issue with our without the cover. He does however feel that the cover does help heat the pool, although on a nice sunny day there is no replacement for no cover at all to heat the pool. My friend has a winter cover that he secures with pails full of frozen water. That cover is vinyl and is in good shape after three Canadian prairie winters.
So there you have it ! Above ground pool covers … covered !
- Keeps the water temperature warmer
- Reduces evaporation of water
- Considerably reduces evaporation of chemicals
- Decrease the costs of chemicals
- Decreases other heating costs associated with warming the water (i.e. gas or electric pool heater)
- Extends swimming season