Unveiling the Truth: Do Solar Pool Covers Really Heat and Save Costs?

Ever wondered how to keep your pool warm while saving on energy costs? You’ve probably heard of solar pool covers, but do they really work? This article aims to shed light on this intriguing topic.

Solar pool covers, also known as solar blankets, promise not only to warm your pool, but also to cut down on water evaporation. But are these claims too good to be true? Let’s dive into the details and uncover the truth about solar pool covers.

Key Takeaways

  • Solar pool covers, or solar blankets, are a unique type of cover designed to absorb the sun’s heat and transfer it to your pool, helping to keep your pool warm.
  • These covers also reduce water evaporation, contributing to water conservation and maintaining a balanced pool chemistry.
  • Solar covers can increase water temperature by about 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, proving effective even in chillier climates.
  • Solar pool covers can drastically cut heating costs by up to 70%, making them a cost-effective solution for pool warming and maintenance.
  • Real-world performance data and positive user reviews substantiate the effectiveness of solar pool covers in heating pools and reducing evaporation.
  • Beyond solar covers, alternatives for pool heating exist, including electric pool heaters, gas pool heaters, and heat pumps – consideration of which depends on factors such as pool size, local climate, and fuel availability.

Understanding Solar Pool Covers

Having just explored the promises tied to solar pool covers—keeping pools warm and conserving energy—let’s delve deeper into what these covers are and how they actually operate.

What Are Solar Pool Covers?

Solar pool covers, often termed solar blankets, are a special type of pool cover designed to absorb sunlight and transfer that heat to your pool water. Made predominantly from durable plastic and coupled with tiny air pockets resembling bubble wrap, these covers optimize their design to capture the sun’s heat. Beyond that, they also serve a dual purpose of minimizing water evaporation from your pool, hence contributing to water conservation efforts.

How Do They Function?

The effectiveness of solar pool covers lies in their fundamental functioning. Two factors uniquely position them: their heat absorption capacity and their limitation of evaporation. The covers attract and trap heat from the sun due to their dark color, typically blue or black. These caught sunbeams heat the small air bubbles on the cover’s surface, which, in turn, transfer this warmth to the top layer of pool water.

As temperature gaps usually exist between the cover and the pool’s surface overnight, the heat trapped during the day gradually disperses into the pool water, raising its temperature. Simultaneously, the cover acts as a physical barrier that reduces water loss caused by evaporation. These combined actions serve to keep pool water warmer for a longer time, reducing the need—and cost—of pool heating.

The Benefits of Using Solar Pool Covers

Engaging in-depth with solar pool covers, it becomes evident that they yield several benefits. Consider the following:

Heat Retention and Water Temperature

Solar pool covers offer a useful solution to maintain your swimming pool’s heat. They harness the sun’s rays, trap the heat, and deliver it directly to the water. Efficient heat transfer is achieved through tiny air bubbles in the cover. Imagine, even during chilly nights or breezy afternoons, your pool stays invitingly warm. For evidence, a test confirms that solar pool covers can increase water temperature by about 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit!

Reduction in Water Evaporation

One of the main advantages of solar pool covers is their ability to drastically reduce water evaporation. Astonishingly, pools can lose up to an inch of water per week due to evaporation alone! By reducing the amount of water lost, you’re also conserving chemicals in the water that would otherwise evaporate too, maintaining a balanced pool chemistry.

Savings on Energy and Maintenance Costs

Another compelling benefit of using a solar pool cover is the cost savings. It’s not just about keeping your pool warm; it’s also about doing so without having a major impact on your energy bill. In fact, you can slash heating costs by up to 70%! With a much slower rate of evaporation, your pool requires less chemicals and less frequent replenishment of water. As a result, you’ll notice a significant drop in maintenance costs over time.

Examining Effectiveness

To measure the effectiveness of solar pool covers, it’s crucial to delve into practical performance data and user experiences. In-depth research combined with actual user sentiments can offer an accurate assessment.

Real-World Performance Data

Numerous studies and research stand testament to the effectiveness of solar pool covers when it comes to heating pools and reducing evaporation. To illustrate, a research report conducted by The National Pool Industry Research Center at Cal Poly University reveals that pools without covers lose about 70% of their heat due to evaporation. On the contrary, the application of solar pool covers can lure this high percentage to significantly lower figures.

Moreover, a study facilitated by the U.S. Department of Energy affirms that solar pool covers can increase pool water temperature between 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This, in turn, offers a comfortable swimming environment and lowers energy consumption by reducing the need for additional pool heating mechanisms.

User Experience and Reviews

Valuable insights into the effectiveness of solar pool covers can be garnered from real user reviews and experiences. A large number of pool owners acknowledge the benefits reaped from their investment in a solar pool cover.

For instance, some reviews on Yelp from pool owners in cold regions testify to an increase in pool water temperature well within the range promised by the manufacturers. Additionally, pool owners sharing experiences on HomeAdvisor have remarked on the substantial reduction in evaporation, resulting in savings on pool chemicals and water.

Concrete data combined with user experiences underline the efficiency of solar pool covers. Their utility extends to areas beyond mere pool heating – offering a tangible reduction in evaporation and chemical usage, and thus, making a strong case for their adoption.

Alternative Pool Heating Solutions

While solar pool covers offer substantial benefits, they aren’t the only way to heat your pool. Here are some alternate pool heating solutions for your consideration.

Electric Pool Heaters

Electric pool heaters operate by employing electric resistance elements to generate heat, which then warms the pool water. Here’s a quick rundown of their features:

  1. If you’re dealing with colder climates, an electric pool heater assists your pool in maintaining a consistent warmth regardless of outside temperature.
  2. While electric pool heaters instantly warm your water, they are not as energy-efficient compared to solar pool covers, possibly leading to increased energy bills.
  3. Durability is a definitive factor, electric pool heaters typically last for approximately five to ten years.

Gas Pool Heaters

Gas pool heaters remind you of traditional home heating systems since they utilize natural gas or propane to warm water. Below are some unique characteristics:

  1. Gas pool heaters perform excellently in any weather, they heat your pool very quickly regardless of external conditions.
  2. However, they necessitate dedicated propane or natural gas lines, potentially necessitating professional installation.
  3. They possess an edge in durability, as a well-maintained gas pool heater sustains a lifespan of around five to ten years.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are one more alternative that can effectively warm your pool. Let’s examine a few features:

  1. Heat pumps utilize electricity to capture heat and transfer it to your pool, making them a more eco-friendly option.
  2. Even though initial investment costs might be higher compared to other heating options, heat pumps offer lower operational costs in the long run.
  3. In terms of long-term usage, heat pumps outscore others, usually working efficiently for ten to twenty years.

Remember to explore all these alternative pool heating options before making a decision, considering factors such as pool size, local climate, and fuel availability.


Yes, solar pool covers do work. They’re an efficient way to heat your pool, saving on energy costs and reducing water evaporation. You’ll see a noticeable increase in water temperature and save on chemicals too. But remember, they’re not the only option. Electric pool heaters, gas pool heaters, and heat pumps also have their merits. Factors like your pool’s size, your local climate, and fuel availability should guide your choice. So, while solar pool covers are a great solution, it’s essential to consider all alternatives to find the best fit for your pool heating needs.

Are solar pool covers effective in heating pools?

Yes, solar pool covers are effective in heating pools. They work through heat retention and reduced evaporation, which in turn saves on energy costs. They also help increase the temperature of the pool water and save on chemicals.

What other pool heating solutions are available?

Apart from solar pool covers, there are other pool heating solutions available such as electric pool heaters, gas pool heaters, and heat pumps. Each of these has different features and efficiencies.

Which pool heating solution is fastest?

This could vary depending on various factors, however, generally, gas pool heaters are known to heat up the pool the fastest among all the options.

Which heating solution is the most durable?

Durability varies, however, heat pumps often have an edge as they don’t rely on an internal combustion process, leading to a longer lifespan.

How should I choose a pool heating solution?

Choosing a pool heating solution depends on various factors including pool size, the local climate, and fuel availability. You’re advised to consider these factors before making your decision.

Do pool covers save on chemicals and water?

Yes, solar pool covers not only retain heat but also help in reducing the rate of evaporation, which in return saves on water and chemicals.