How to Use a Solar Pool Cover?

By Kami Turky


While using the solar pool cover can save you the hassle of excessive evaporation and energy loss, using them wrong can flip the benefits.

So, how exactly should you use these covers?

You should follow specific steps depending on the cover type: Use a solar blanket by sizing, placing it bubbles-side down, customizing, and securing. 

As for solar rings, inflate them carefully, secure them with magnets, and store them properly; with liquid covers, measure, shake, introduce, activate the pump, and reapply regularly.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process step by step, ensuring that you can effectively use your solar pool covers to maximize their benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • A solar pool cover minimizes evaporation and conserves energy by acting as a barrier between water and open air.
  • Using a solar blanket involves sizing, unrolling bubbles-side down, customization, and securing for optimal results.
  • To use solar rings, purchase the right amount, inflate carefully, connect them with magnets, and store them properly.
  • Liquid solar covers require measuring the quantity, shaking the solution, introducing it to the pool, activating the pump, and reapplying regularly.

What Is a Solar Pool Cover?

A solar pool cover is a specialized covering specifically designed for swimming pools. Its primary function is to minimize evaporation, leading to significant energy conservation.

At the core of its design is the ability to serve as a barrier, shielding the pool’s water from the vast expanse of the open atmosphere. 

This not only keeps the water warmer by trapping the sun’s heat but also reduces the loss of moisture to the environment. 

For outdoor pools, this becomes especially important. To put it in perspective, every pound of 80ºF water that evaporates whisks away l 1,048 Btu of energy

However, it’s not just the outdoor pools that benefit. Indoor pools, while sheltered from the elements like wind or direct sunlight, still face the challenge of evaporation. 

This can lead to up to 70% energy loss, a significant figure by any measure. There’s also the matter of maintaining the right humidity levels indoors – an often overlooked challenge. 

Thus, the solar cover shines here too, acting as a regulator and helping maintain an ambient environment.

The benefits extend beyond just the environment. Economically speaking, by using a solar pool cover, pool owners can expect a hefty reduction in their heating bills, often to the tune of 50%–70%.

How to Use a Solar Pool Cover?

1. Solar Blanket

Step 1: Sizing is Key

Before you make a purchase, ensure you measure your pool – it’s important to buy a solar blanket that correctly fits your pool. 

If you’re unsure about the exact measurements, it’s always a good idea to get one a tad larger than your pool’s dimensions. This allows for some leeway, especially when you’re cutting it to fit.

Step 2: Place the Solar Blanket

Begin by unpacking and unrolling the solar blanket on top of the pool. While doing this, ensure that the side with bubbles faces downwards, touching the pool’s surface. 

This is because the bubbles are engineered to trap and channel the sun’s warmth. When these bubbles are in direct contact with the water, they effectively transfer the captured heat into the pool, raising its temperature. 

Additionally, the design of the bubbles serves as an insulating layer, reducing the rate of evaporation.

Step 3: Customize to Fit

Now, with the solar blanket spread out over the pool, you’ll likely notice some overhang, especially if you opted for a larger size. 

By using a pair of regular or heavy-duty scissors, trim the excess material around the pool’s perimeter.

However, in case the cover is exactly as per your pool’s dimensions or slightly smaller, refrain from cutting.

Step 4: Smooth It Out & Secure

After cutting the blanket to fit, use a pool brush to push out any air bubbles from the center outward – this ensures effective heat transfer and keeps the cover in place. 

For added stability, especially in breezy conditions, you can use pool cover clips or straps along the edges.

Step 5: Consider Convenience

For more convenience, while this isn’t a mandatory step, you can invest in a solar blanket reel.

A solar blanket reel is a mechanized system that assists in smoothly rolling the solar blanket onto a cylindrical tube. 

This action reduces the physical strain of manually handling the blanket, making it easier to deploy and retract.

When the blanket is neatly rolled, the risk of damage from folding or creasing is also redeuced.

2. Solar Ring

Step 1: Buy Adequate Solar Rings

First and foremost, invest in a number of solar rings suitable for your pool’s size. Unlike solar blankets, which aim to cover the pool entirely, solar rings are designed to float on the surface without total coverage.

Thus, it’s normal and expected to have some gaps between them. These rings work collectively, capturing the sun’s warmth and transferring it to the pool, while also reducing evaporation.

Step 2: Inflate with Care

Start with carefully unpacking each solar ring. 

Once laid out, begin the inflation process. If inflating manually by mouth, remember to pace yourself to prevent dizziness.

However, I prefer using a hand pump or an electric inflator. Not only does this make the process faster and more efficient, but it also ensures consistent inflation across all rings.

Properly inflated solar rings will float optimally, ensuring maximum heat retention for your pool.

Step 3: Secure the Rings Together

Each solar ring comes embedded with magnets. This feature allows you to connect rings to one another, creating a cohesive floating layer atop your pool. 

Not only does this give the pool a neat appearance, but it also prevents the rings from drifting randomly or getting inadvertently drawn into the pool’s skimmer.

Step 4: Storage Smartly

When the time comes to remove the rings—whether for a swim or for longer durations—it’s a straightforward process. 

Just tug on one ring and, courtesy of the magnetic connections, the others will follow in a chain. 

After extracting them from the water, simply disconnect the magnets and stack the rings. 

Then, ensure they are thoroughly dried to avoid the growth of mold or mildew. 

Store them in a cool, shaded area, away from direct sunlight to prevent any material degradation until their next use.

3. Liquid Solar Cover

Step 1: Measure the Quantity

The first step in using a liquid solar cover is to determine the right amount to add. 

The product you’re using will typically come with specific instructions, but as a general guideline, you’ll often add around 4 ounces of the liquid per 20,000 gallons of water in your pool.

Step 2: Shake the Solution

Before introducing the liquid solar cover to your pool, take a moment to give the bottle a thorough shake.

This step helps homogenize the liquid, making it ready for effective dispersion across your pool’s water surface.

Step 3: Introduce to the Pool

You can either pour the mixed liquid solar cover directly into your pool or opt to add it through the skimmer. Both methods are effective in distributing the solution across the water’s surface. 

Pouring it directly into the pool allows for quick dispersion, while introducing it through the skimmer ensures that the solution gets evenly distributed as the water cycles through the filtration system.

So, choose the method that is most convenient for you, keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is to create a thin and uniform layer of the liquid solar cover over the pool’s water.

Step 4: Activate the Pump

After any chemical addition to your pool, including a liquid solar cover, you need to run the pool pump to ensure proper mixing and distribution. 

This step is crucial for the effective dispersion of the added solution throughout the pool’s water. 

I recommend running the pool pump for a minimum of 3 hours after adding the liquid solar cover. 

This duration allows ample time for the solution to be thoroughly circulated, ensuring that it forms a consistent and efficient barrier on the water’s surface.

Step 5: Maintain Regularity

The effectiveness of the liquid solar cover diminishes over time due to its biodegradable nature, so you need to reapply it regularly. 

As a general rule, you should repeat the application process once a month to maintain its heat retention and evaporation reduction properties

This consistent upkeep helps ensure your pool remains energy-efficient and warm throughout the swimming season.

When to Use a Solar Pool Cover?

A solar pool cover should be used during periods of inactivity when the pool is not in use. 

This includes times such as overnight or when the pool is not being actively used for an extended duration.

Using a solar pool cover during these times helps to minimize heat loss, retain the pool’s warmth, and reduce water evaporation. 


How Should You Use a Solar Cover on a Pool?

To use a solar cover, lay it on the pool’s surface during periods of inactivity to retain heat and minimize evaporation.

Can You Leave a Pool Solar Cover on All the Time?

You can’t leave a pool solar cover on all the time. You should take them off at least once a week to release collected carbon dioxide and prevent water acidity.

How Quickly Does a Solar Cover Heat a Pool?

A solar cover can heat a pool in about 6 hours, although the exact time varies. The rate of warming depends on factors like cover thickness, sunlight exposure, and other environmental conditions

Should You Run Your Pool Pump With the Solar Cover On?

You should run your pool pump with the solar cover on. This helps ensure proper water circulation, even distribution of heated water, and effective mixing of any added chemicals.


As promised, we’ve covered how to use each type of solar pool cover effectively. 

Whether it’s the solar blanket, solar rings, or liquid solar cover, you now have a comprehensive understanding of the steps required for optimal results.

And if you ask for my personal advice, I’d recommend making it a routine to use your chosen solar pool cover consistently – just like any maintenance task, regularity is key. 

This way, you’ll harness the full potential of the cover to keep your pool warm, reduce evaporation, and contribute to energy conservation.

Do you still have any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Kami Turky

Kami is a solar engineer with nearly a decade of experience in researching, testing, and reviewing various solar products. He has also provided technical consultation to several organizations on the best ways to incorporate solar energy into their operations. When he’s not busy helping others find the best solar solutions, Kami enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and exploring the natural wonders of his home state.

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