When you choose a solar cover for your pool, there are several different factors to consider. We’ve already looked at how color can impact the effectiveness of your solar pool cover when it comes to absorbing and retaining heat, as well as preventing evaporation and chemical loss (see Parts 1 & 2). Now we’ll consider how thickness can make a difference in your solar cover’s overall performance.
How Does Thickness Impact a Solar Pool Cover?
The standard thicknesses for solar pool covers range from 8 to 12 to 16 millimeters. The thinner solar covers have the advantage of letting more heat travel through the cover and into the pool water. Thicker blankets, on the other hand, tend to be better at overall heat absorption. Another plus for thick blankets is durability. They’re not as susceptible to getting damaged by pool chemicals or suffering rips and punctures.
Even though thicker solar covers are more durable and absorb more heat, most people opt for 12-millimeter covers. That’s because the eight-millimeter covers tend to be too flimsy and ineffective while the 16-millimeter covers tend to be too heavy and bulky for convenient use. Once again, the middle of the road choice of 12 millimeters seems to strike the best balance for most pool owners, just like the light blue color option did for color.
How Long Should You Expect a Solar Pool Cover to Last?
The answer to this question is a bit complicated, because it varies widely depending on how you treat your solar cover. If it’s well cared for, your solar pool cover could last up to seven years in areas of the country with lower heat indexes. In hot locations, even with proper care, solar pool covers may only last for four years at the most.
What Steps Can You Take to Lengthen the Life of Your Solar Pool Cover?
If you want to get the most longevity out of your solar pool cover, make sure to follow these simple steps.
1. Don’t leave your solar pool cover in direct sunlight when it’s not in use. Instead, store it away in a cool, shady spot or at least keep it covered. The sun’s UV rays are powerful and will eventually eat away at the cover’s surfaces, causing them to deteriorate and tear. There’s no sense in speeding up that deterioration process at times when the cover isn’t even doing its job. Instead, protect it, much like people with sensitive skin seek to keep their skin out of direct sunlight to avoid sunburns.
2. Don’t place your solar pool cover on the pool right after you shock it. Doing so can cause brittleness to the cover.
3. Don’t place your solar pool cover on the pool when chlorine levels are high. If the chlorine level is 2.5 ppm or higher, it could cause damage to your solar cover, causing it to harden and break.
4. Don’t place your solar pool cover on the pool when the pH level is low. This is one of the many reasons why you should test your pool’s pH and chemical levels on a regular basis.
Taking these precautionary measures will go a long way toward extending the life of your solar pool cover. In our final article, we’ll discuss some alternatives to one-piece solar covers.
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