What is the best way to use solar blankets to extend the pool season in the UK?

12 June 2024

Swimming is a favourite summer pastime for many in the UK. But as you're all aware, the UK's summer season is notoriously short. If only there were a way to extend the pool season, allowing us to take a refreshing dip even when the weather isn't at its warmest. Well, thankfully, there is. It's time to discuss the benefits of solar blankets or solar pool covers and how to best use them to heat your swimming pool effectively.

Understanding the Role of Solar Blankets in Pool Heating

Before we delve into the best practices for using solar blankets, it's crucial to understand what they are and how they function. Solar blankets, or pool covers, are a cost-effective and energy-efficient way to heat your swimming pool. They work by absorbing sunlight and converting it into heat, which is then transferred to the water in your pool.

Solar pool covers act as a physical barrier, reducing water evaporation from the pool surface. This is important because evaporation is a major cause of heat loss in swimming pools. A solar blanket traps the heat, raising the water temperature and subsequently reducing the need for an additional pool heater.

Choosing the Right Solar Pool Cover

When it comes to solar pool covers, one size doesn't fit all. You need to take into account the size of your pool, its shape, and its location. Solar pool covers come in a variety of types, including bubble covers, vinyl covers, and insulated covers.

Bubble solar covers are the most popular due to their efficiency and affordability. The air bubbles help to trap heat, while the clear plastic allows the maximum amount of sunlight to reach the water. They are also easy to cut and shape, making them suitable for pools of various sizes and shapes.

On the other hand, vinyl solar pool covers are more durable and provide better insulation, but they are also more expensive. Insulated solar pool covers are the most efficient at retaining heat but come with a high price tag.

The location of your pool is also a critical factor to consider. If your pool is located in a sunny area, a clear solar blanket will be more effective at capturing sunlight and converting it into heat.

Effective Use of Solar Blankets for Pool Heating

To get the most out of your solar pool covers, you need to use them correctly. The cover should be placed bubble-side down on the surface of the pool. This ensures that the maximum amount of sunlight is absorbed and converted to heat. It also allows the bubbles to create an insulating layer that reduces heat loss through evaporation.

It's also important to cover the entire surface of the pool. Any uncovered areas will allow heat to escape, reducing the effectiveness of the solar blanket.

For best results, the solar blanket should be left on the pool whenever it's not in use, especially overnight and during cooler days. This will help to maintain a constant water temperature and reduce the amount of energy required to heat the pool.

Supplemented Pool Heating Systems

While solar blankets can significantly increase the temperature of your pool, they may not be sufficient on their own, especially during cooler months. In such cases, they can be used in conjunction with other heating systems to improve efficiency and save energy.

Solar pool heaters, for instance, can be a great supplement to your solar blanket. They utilise solar panels to capture heat from the sun, which is then used to warm the pool water. Pool heat pumps can also be used, which extract heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the pool.

By combining a solar blanket with a pool heater or heat pump, you can maintain a comfortable swimming temperature while minimising the energy costs.

Maintenance and Delivery of Solar Blankets

Proper care and maintenance of your solar blanket can extend its lifespan and ensure its optimal performance. It's important to remove any debris from the cover regularly to allow maximum sunlight to penetrate. Also, avoid dragging the cover on the ground, as this can cause wear and tear.

When it comes to delivery, many companies offer online ordering and home delivery options. Some even offer customisation services, allowing you to get a solar blanket that fits your pool perfectly.

In conclusion, solar blankets offer an energy-efficient and cost-effective way to extend the pool season in the UK. By understanding how they work, choosing the right type, using them effectively, and combining them with other heating systems, you can enjoy your swimming pool for longer periods, even when the weather starts to cool down.

Solar Blankets and Environmentally Friendly Alternatives

If you're seeking to create an environmentally friendly pool, solar covers are a great choice. Not only do they cut energy costs by harnessing the power of the sun, but they also reduce water wastage by limiting evaporation. However, there are other “green” alternatives you can consider in addition to using a solar blanket.

Solar rings are an alternative to traditional solar pool covers. They are smaller, inflatable discs made of UV-resistant vinyl that float on the surface of your pool. The key benefit of solar rings is their ease of use and storage. Unlike solar blankets, they don't require a reel and can be easily put on or taken off the pool.

Liquid solar covers are another option. They are a thin, invisible, and biodegradable layer that spreads across the pool limiting water evaporation. While they are less efficient at heat retention than solar pool covers, they are easy to use and can be a good choice for irregularly shaped pools where fitting a solar blanket may be challenging.

Solar collectors or solar pool heaters are also an eco-friendly option. These devices use solar panels to capture the sun’s heat and transfer it to your pool water. When combined with a solar cover, they can be very effective at maintaining a comfortable water temperature.

The Bottom Line

To wrap up, the use of solar blankets is an effective way to extend the swimming season in the UK. These covers capitalise on sunlight, converting it to thermal energy to warm your pool. They also reduce water evaporation, which is a key contributor to heat loss.

Choosing the right solar pool cover is essential. Consider factors like your pool’s size, shape, and location when making your choice. The most common types are bubble covers, vinyl covers, and insulated covers, each with its own set of advantages and cost considerations.

Proper use and maintenance of your solar blanket are key to its effectiveness and longevity. Remember to place the cover bubble-side down on the pool and cover all exposed areas. Regular cleaning and careful handling can help keep your solar blanket in good condition.

While effective, solar blankets might not be sufficient to heat your pool during cooler months. Consider pairing them with a pool heater or heat pump for increased efficiency. Moreover, eco-friendly alternatives like solar rings, liquid solar covers, and solar heaters can supplement your pool heating system.

In conclusion, solar blankets offer a simple, cost-effective, and eco-friendly way to extend your pool season. By choosing the right cover, using it correctly, combining it with other heating systems, and considering environmentally friendly alternatives, you can get more enjoyment from your swimming pool, even in the unpredictable UK weather.

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