Do Solar Pool Covers Work? (Warm Water – Longer)

Although the most efficient way of heating a pool is to use a pool pump heater, this is both expensive and bad for the environment. Solar pool covers prevent a cheaper and eco-friendly method of heating pools, but do they work?

Key points about solar covers:

  • How effective are solar covers at heating?
  • Do solar covers have other benefits?
  • The different covers available and how they compare.
  • How expensive are solar covers?
  • What is the longevity of solar pool covers?
  • Dangers associated with solar covers?

Solar pool covers effectively warm swimming pools by converting solar radiation into usable heat and acting as a cover to stop heat from escaping a swimming pool.

Further benefits of solar pool covers include evaporation reduction and chemical depletion.  Let’s look at how these panels work below!

Solar Pool Cover Rolled By A Pool
Solar Pool Cover Rolled By A Pool

How Effective Are Solar Pool Covers?

Solar pool covers are a very effective method of heating pools, reducing heat and chemical evaporation, and keeping debris out of swimming pools.

Traditional pool covers are made from either vinyl or polyethylene. These foam covers, be they transparent or opaque, are used for insulation and to reduce evaporation. They are highly durable but do not actively heat water.

In contrast, solar pool covers are bubble covers made from thick plastic material with UV inhibitors, usually low-density polyethylene. This means that they are seldom as thick or durable as foam covers.


This gives foam covers a slight edge in insulation over bubble covers. It is estimated that foam covers provide insulation and subsequent heating cost savings of approximately 60%, while bubble covers amount to approximately 50%.

In any event, foam and bubble covers are light enough to float on water. However, bubble covers provide a better user experience as they are lighter and easier to remove from a pool than their foam cover counterparts.

Bubble Covers

When actively heating water, bubble covers achieve this by converting solar radiation into usable heat for the swimming pool. The conversion’s effectiveness depends on the weather, particularly the amount of sunshine.

However, even with limited sunshine, a swimming pool entirely covered by a solar pool cover can reasonably expect to gain between 10F – 15F within at least six hours!

This is substantially better than an uncovered pool, as the transparency of water means that sunlight and radiation pass right through it, meaning that very little heat is retained.

A further benefit of all pool covers is reducing chemical depletion and stopping unwanted debris such as leaves or insects from landing in the water. This amounts to reduced costs for cleaning materials and time spent cleaning.

Best Selling Solar Pool Covers

Bestseller No. 1
ARDILA VEELA Solar Blanket Cover for Pool – Pool Reel Cover – Solar Cover Protective Cover – Solar…
  • 【 Solar Cover Cover 】- This solar blanket cover protects the pool for snow and frost in winter, and provides sun…
  • 【Pool Reel Cover 】- Our Reel Protective Cover is easy to put on and remove, and equipped with a zippered storage bag for…
  • 【Solar Blanket Cover 】- Our pool cover cover can be installed within 1 minute. It contains a heavy-duty closure and an…
Bestseller No. 2
Sun2Solar Blue 16-Foot-By-32-Foot Rectangle Solar Cover | 1200 Series | Heat Retaining Blanket For...
7,776 Reviews
Sun2Solar Blue 16-Foot-by-32-Foot Rectangle Solar Cover | 1200 Series | Heat Retaining Blanket for…
  • ATTRACTIVE BLUE DESIGN – Sun2Solar solar blankets are made from a film of thousands of tiny bubbles, which work together to…
  • MINIMIZE WATER EVAPORATION – The use of a solar cover helps in preventing up to 95% of pool water evaporation. When not…
  • JUMP INTO WARMTH – Show friends and family your bravery by jumping in without the standard toe dip. Enter the swimming pool…
SALEBestseller No. 3
Intex Solar Cover for 15ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools
  • Solar-heat-retaining cover for 15-foot round pools
  • Reduces evaporation by 95 percent; retains heat
  • Includes carry bag for storage when not in use
Bubble Wrap Like Pool Cover Pulled Over A Swimming Pool To Keep In Heat Overnight. - Sol Voltaics: Solar Panel Information
Bubble Wrap Like Pool Cover Pulled Over A Swimming Pool To Keep In Heat Overnight.

How Much Do Solar Pool Covers Cost?

Solar pool covers can be expensive, especially if automatic covers are purchased over manual covers. However, they provide savings in the long run, allowing owners to save electricity and chemical usage.

Solar pool covers are the cheapest method to heat a swimming pool while providing parallel-cost saving benefits of reducing cleaning supplies and water usage.

Furthermore, it reduces the need for consistent pool cleaning, thus reducing any labor costs needed to facilitate cleaning. This is particularly important for using swimming pools at commercial facilities such as gyms or sports clubs.


On average, solar pool covers cost approximately $0.30 per square foot, meaning an average size pool will cost about $130 to cover its entire surface area.

While it is advisable to cover the entire surface area of a pool to maximize the gains from a solar pool cover, even partial covering of a pool allows for heat production that wouldn’t have been available had it been uncovered.


The thickness of a pool cover dictates its lifespan. Thinner covers last between two to three years, while thicker covers last between five to six years. It is advisable to source pool covers from reputable vendors to ensure quality in any event.

Different methods of installing solar pool cover present different price points, the two methods being manual and automatic installation:

  1. Manual pool covers require physically folding and unfolding a cover over a swimming pool. This is usually achieved with the assistance of a crank and costs approximately $300,
  1. Automatic pool covers are either electronic or mechanical. As the name suggests, installing and removing requires no physical labor. They cost approximately $1000.

Due to decreased evaporation, pool covers reduce the water levels lost from heat and wind. This evaporation reduction means that covered pools have to be filled up less, resulting in a smaller water bill.

This decreased evaporation also translates into decreased evaporation for pool chemicals. This results in fewer cleaning materials, such as chlorine, to purify pool water.

Swimming pools are expensive to construct and maintain. Increasing the usage of a pool during winter months with solar pool covers is a worthwhile expense for recreational and financial purposes if the pool is used commercially.

Solar Pool Cover Bubble Texture Blue. - Sol Voltaics: Solar Panel Information
Solar Pool Cover Bubble Texture Blue.

Are Solar Pool Covers Dangerous?

Solar pool covers can be dangerous for pets and small children should they fall into the pool and be trapped underneath or wrapped up in the cover.

To maintain the longevity of solar pool covers, they need to be stored and maintained correctly. This means they should be kept in dry, shaded areas as exposure to the elements, particularly direct sunshine, will degrade the plastic.

Concerning pool safety when using pool covers, extra precautions should be taken around a pool once the cover has been fitted, particularly in the case of children.

Standing On Covers

This is because pool covers are not heavy or strong enough to support a person’s weight should they fall into the swimming pool while the cover is on. Therefore, while it can catch small debris, it is not intended as a safety mechanism.

Furthermore, while pool covers are not heavy or strong enough to catch a person, they are heavy enough to limit their swimming ability severely, should they fall and be wrapped in the cover.

Pool covers are also heavy enough that should a person swim underneath one and need to come up for air, they may struggle to lift the cover sufficiently.

General Solar Panel FAQ

What Problems Do Solar Panels Solve?

In environmental terms, solar panels can potentially solve a handful of problems, including;
1. Air pollution
2. Water pollution
3. Greenhouse gases
4. Reduction in fossil fuel use

For individuals, solar energy allows you to become completely self-sufficient when it comes to your electricity needs and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

What Are 3 Important Uses Of Solar Panels?

The three most important uses of solar panels are;
1. Solar electricity. This can be used to power almost any appliance in your home, including TVs, computers, and fridges.
2. Lighting. In addition to the use of low-power, LED lightbulbs, solar panels can provide an efficient, low-cost, and environmentally friendly way to provide lighting to homes. 
3. Portable solar. In our modern, always-connected lives, our phones, tablets, and computers are almost always with us, and all run on batteries. Portable PV chargers can help keep our batteries topped up no matter where we are, as long as there is some sun to charge them.

Do solar panels give you free electricity?

Once the cost of the array is paid in full, the energy it produces is free. There are ongoing maintenance costs, too, such as annual panel cleaning, etc. 

How much will my electric bill be with solar panels?

Suppose your solar array includes a solar battery backup system, and it is large enough to fully cover your energy usage per day. In that case, your monthly electric bill will be next to zero dollars, even with a grid-tied system. 

If your solar array does not include a solar battery backup system, then at night, your house or business will use grid electricity. That cost will vary but expect to pay from 1/3-2/3 of your average electric bill, and that cost will fluctuate seasonally. 

Do you save money with solar panels?

The simple answer is, Yes, you save money with solar panels. There is an initial upfront cost, but since solar panels are warrantied for 25 years, you will save money over time. You will also begin to see monthly savings in energy bills, but there are other ways that solar panels pay you back. Those include:
1. Adding value to your home or commercial building 
2. Monthly decreases in energy costs
3. The ability to add more energy appliances without increased monthly costs
4. The potential for tax credits for going solar

Can solar panels power a house 24-7?

Most definitely! Solar panels can certainly power a house 24-7, with the addition of a high-quality inverter and a suitable battery bank, of course. To power, a house under normal usage will require a massive solar array, though, and there will be a very expensive initial financial outlay.

Do I need to tell my energy supplier I have solar panels?

This depends on where you live, but in most cases, it’s not necessary to inform your energy supplier that you have solar panels. That said, you may be producing excess power with your solar system, in which case you may be able to sell that excess power back to energy companies.

In this case, you’ll naturally need to be in contact with them. 

What Are Solar Cells Known as and Why?

Solar cells are also called photovoltaic (PV) cells. They are called so because the term ‘photovoltaic’ literally means light i.e. photo and electricity i.e. voltaic.

These cells generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. This effect basically causes the generation of free electrons from the semiconducting silicon material of the solar panel when sunlight hits its surface.

What Type of Solar Panels Are Most Efficient and Why?

There are currently three types of solar panels available in the market that are:
1. Monocrystalline
2. Polycrystalline
3. Thin-filmed

Among these, monocrystalline solar panels are known to be the most efficient among all others.

Does heat enter your home through the roof?

Absolutely. Heat enters your home through your roof, and on a hot day your attic can get up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Through conduction, heat from the sun warms your roof which then warms your attic and the rest of your home.

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