Keeping a pool clean and warm can be a struggle. You bought one of those massive blue bubble wrap covers, full of optimism of protecting the pool from leaves and even keeping the water warmer to extend your swimming season.
As useful as those covers can be, they’re a real hassle to remove when you want to take a swim. Maybe it’s time to try a hassle-free solar blanket?
Yes, such a thing does exist. It’s called a liquid solar blanket and it might be the revolutionary solution you need. But does it actually work? Let’s dive in and find out.
What is a Liquid Solar Blanket?
A liquid solar blanket is a chemical additive that you add to your pool to create a protective and heat-hoarding “blanket” over the water’s surface. When added, it kicks off a chemical reaction that forms an invisible barrier or forcefield over your pool.
With a liquid solar blanket on your pool, your pool water will be protected from evaporation and heat loss, with the added bonus of actually heating your pool up from the sun. In some cases, liquid solar blankets can raise the temperature of pool water up to 6 degrees Fahrenheit.
How it works in your pool
Not even a blanket at all, a liquid solar blanket is actually a mixture of alcohol and calcium hydroxide that weighs less than water. Its lightness and buoyancy cause it to float on the surface of the water without sinking, creating a film-like barrier that you can’t see or feel.
This invisible layer works like a protective chemical bubble on your pool water, holding the heat from the sun in and keeping the water from evaporating.
Yeah, but does it actually work?
Yes, they do! Studies have shown that liquid covers actually do prevent heat loss and water evaporation and they have some serious advantages:
- Heat retention: If you live in a cold place or want to extend your swimming season a bit, a liquid solar cover is going to do wonders for your pool. As we mentioned, using the liquid cover, pool water can increase up to 6 degrees which can make a huge difference in a chilly pool.
- Energy-savings: If you use a gas or electric pool heater, you’re already having to spend a bit to keep that chill out of the water. With a liquid solar blanket in place, you’ll be running that heater much less and saving a bundle in the process. Your wallet and the power grid will thank you.
- Water conservation: Areas that experience frequent droughts are painfully aware of water usage and consumption. With a liquid solar blanket, less evaporation will occur over time, saving hundreds of gallons of water in the process. It means you’ll be refilling your pool less and saving money on your water bill.
- Convenience: It goes without saying that a bottle of liquid is an easier option than a big bulky cover. With the hassle of folding, storing, cleaning, and spreading — liquid really is the simpler choice.
The best part is that you can still swim in your pool with a liquid solar blanket “on” the pool. You can’t say the same about traditional solar covers, that’s for sure.
Yeah, but is it safe?
Pouring chemicals into your pool water is nothing new. You do it all the time and it’s 100% necessary for owning a pool. But somehow pouring a liquid chemical “cover” onto the surface of your pool just seems… weird.
The most common brands are HeatSavr and EcoSavr by FlexibleSolutions. The company prides itself on its environmentally-friendly and safe products. HeatSavr has been approved by the FDA and has had toxicology studies done to ensure its safety. Liquid solar covers are also safe to use with all sanitizing systems and won’t hurt your filter in any way.
The chemicals that make up a liquid solar blanket are not harmful and have been shown to be safe for humans and animals to come in contact with, unscathed. It’s even biodegradable so there’s nothing to worry about from an environmental perspective either.
However, just like with any substance, different people have different sensitivities. A chemical that doesn’t bother one person might cause irritation or a mild reaction in another. When trying a liquid solar blanket for the first time, don’t buy a year’s supply at first. Try one bottle and see how you and your family tolerate it before completely making the switch.
How to Use a Liquid Solar Cover in Your Pool
Using a liquid solar cover on your pool could not be easier. It’s literally a three-step procedure that hardly requires instructions. But just for fun…
Step 1: Shake the bottle
Grab your brand new bottle of the liquid solar cover and shake that bad boy up. The mixture needs to be combined thoroughly to ensure that it works properly.
Step 2: Turn on your pool pump
The liquid needs a bit of help to make its way around your entire pool. Turning your pool pump on to help circulate water will ensure that there’s a nice layer over every part of the pool’s surface.
Remember, this stuff is lighter than water, so even if it gets mixed up with your pool water, it will always float back up to hang out on top.
Step 3: Add it to your pool
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions here. The amount you need to add will differ, depending on the size of your pool and the brand you get. Most advise approximately 4 ounces of liquid per 20,000 gallons of pool water.
Some brands may recommend adding the liquid directly into your skimmer whereas some say to add it directly to your pool.
Done! That’s all there is to it. Just add the concoction to your pool twice a week and keep to a strict schedule for best results. If the weather turns bad or your pool is getting used more frequently, it’s also a good idea to up the dosage as well.
Liquid Solar Blanket vs. Regular Solar Pool Covers
Regular solar pool covers are probably always going to be more efficient at decreasing heat loss over the liquid alternative. They also have the added benefit of keeping debris like leaves and grass clippings out of your pool so you’ll have fewer things to skim out every day.
The main problem with regular covers is that they are bulky, unwieldy, difficult to store, and they take up a lot of space. They can also harbor algae and bacteria if not thoroughly cleaned periodically.
A major safety concern with traditional solar pool covers is the possibility of a child or pet falling into the pool and getting trapped under the cover. Make sure that you always have good safety precautions in place (like a pool fence or pool alarm) if you have small children or pets at home.
The Good, The Bad, and the… Windy?
Replacing your bulky bubble-wrap pool cover with a sleek, invisible, futuristic liquid sounds great. If you’re thinking of ditching the hassle of big, awkward covers that can get easily damaged and need their own reels and cleaning equipment… read on.
You’ll never have to worry about finding the perfect-size cover for your pool (or replacements) ever again. A liquid solar blanket will fit any pool of any size or shape. You can even swim with a liquid cover on your pool. The splashing and swirling water will separate momentarily and then rejoin when the water settles.
Liquid solar covers are completely safe (for humans, pets, and pool filters), biodegradable, and pretty easy on the wallet. Making the switch comes with some serious benefits but there are some drawbacks to be aware of before taking the plunge.
- The wind: Pool owners that live in regularly windy areas should avoid using liquid solar blankets as the constant movement of the liquid will prevent it from doing its job.
- Less effective: Traditional solar pool covers are always going to be more effective than their liquid counterparts. Regular covers don’t move around, are thicker, and will actually keep debris out of your pool.
When Liquid Really Makes Sense
So, if your regular solar cover is due for replacement or you’re just ready to try something new, liquid solar blankets might be just what the doctor ordered. The combined cost savings of water, energy, and appliance usage alone make it a great choice to protect your pool.
There’s also no rule saying that you can’t use a liquid solar blanket and a regular cover at the same time. If you’re really after warm, toasty water, energy savings, and water conservation, doubling up on your pool’s defense could make a lot of sense too. That way, if you ever forget to put on your regular solar cover, you always have an invisible backup, waiting in the wings.