Should I Take My Solar Cover off During the Day?

By Kami Turky


Solar pool covers play a great role in maintaining a pool’s temperature, but it doesn’t mean they should be left on at all times.

While they excel in retaining warmth during cooler times, is it advisable to keep them on when the sun is shining brightly?

The short answer is that it’s generally recommended to remove solar pool covers during sunny days to prevent overheating and potential damage to the cover itself.

In this guide, I’ll explain the factors to consider when deciding whether to leave your solar pool cover on or off during the day.

Key Takeaways

  • Solar pool covers should be removed during the day to prevent uneven heating of the pool water and damage to the cover itself.
  • Solid pool covers, while durable, should also be taken off during sunny days to avoid uneven temperature distribution and algae growth.
  • Always cover your pool when it’s not in use to protect against debris and maintain water and chemical balance.
  • Nighttime is ideal for pool covers as they retain heat and reduce evaporation.
  • In windy conditions or during winter, a pool cover is essential to prevent rapid water loss, debris accumulation, and potential freezing damage.

Should I Leave My Solar Pool Cover on During the Day?

You shouldn’t leave your solar pool cover on during the day. Solar pool covers are designed to capture the sun’s energy and use it to heat the pool. 

While they offer several advantages such as retaining the pool’s warmth, especially during the cooler parts of the day, and acting as a barrier against debris on windy days, there are also some downsides to consider.

One of the primary concerns with leaving a solar pool cover on during the day is the potential for uneven heating. 

The surface of the pool might become warm, but the deeper sections can remain relatively cooler. 

This uneven distribution of heat can make for an inconsistent swimming experience, where the top layer is warm, but as you dive deeper, the water becomes cooler.

The prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can weaken the cover’s material. 

Over time, this can make the cover less effective in its primary function of heating the pool and can also reduce its overall lifespan. 

This means that while you might be trying to maximize the utility of the cover by leaving it on, you could be reducing its effectiveness and longevity.

Another significant concern is the accumulation of carbon dioxide under the cover if it’s left on for too long. 

This can lead to a decrease in the pool’s pH levels, resulting in acidic water. 

Not only can acidic water damage pool equipment, but it can also irritate the skin and eyes of swimmers, making for an unpleasant swimming experience.

Should I Leave My Solid Pool Cover on During the Day?

You shouldn’t leave your solid pool cover on during the day. Unlike solar pool covers,, solid pool covers are constructed from robust materials such as PVC, making them thicker and more durable. 

Their primary purpose is to protect the pool from debris and external contaminants, rather than to facilitate heating.

Because of their substantial thickness, solid pool covers can prevent sunlight from penetrating the water, leading to uneven heating. 

The surface of the pool beneath the cover might remain cool, while any exposed parts could become warmer. 

This uneven temperature distribution can make swimming less enjoyable due to the stark temperature differences.

Keeping a solid pool cover on continuously during the hot summer days can also create a suitable environment for algae growth. 

Algae thrive in dark, moist conditions, and a covered pool during the day can provide just that. 

If the pool water’s chemical balance isn’t maintained, this can lead to murky water and potential health risks.

Additionally, while solid pool covers are more durable than their solar counterparts, they aren’t immune to the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. 

Prolonged exposure can degrade the cover’s material, reducing its effectiveness and shortening its overall lifespan. 

This not only compromises the cover’s protective capabilities but also leads to increased maintenance and replacement costs.

When to Use a Pool Cover?

1. When You’re Not Using the Pool

This seems like an obvious time to use a pool cover, but it’s often overlooked. Even if you’re stepping away for a few hours, a day, or even heading out on vacation, you need to cover your pool.

The cover serves as a protective barrier, shielding your pool from unwanted debris, contaminants, and potential pollutants. 

Especially in areas prone to sudden weather changes or high winds, a cover can prevent leaves, twigs, and other debris from polluting the water, saving you the hassle of cleaning upon your return.

Moreover, a covered pool experiences reduced water evaporation. This not only conserves water but also maintains the chemical balance of the pool, ensuring that you won’t have to readjust the chemical levels frequently.

However, if you’re using a solid pool cover, there are specific precautions to take. You need to ensure that your pool’s chemicals are balanced before covering. 

A solid cover can create a dark and moist environment, which, if combined with imbalanced chemicals, can become a breeding ground for algae.

2. At Night

The best timing to utilize your pool cover is at night. It acts as an insulator, maintaining the water’s warmth and preventing significant temperature drops. 

This conservation of heat not only ensures a comfortable swim the next morning but also saves on heating costs. 

Additionally, the cover minimizes nighttime water evaporation, which helps maintain both the pool’s water level and its chemical balance.

Many pool owners even prefer to introduce chemicals during the evening, as the cover reduces chemical evaporation, making treatments more effective. 

Beyond these benefits, an overnight cover serves as a shield against falling debris, ensuring you’re greeted with a cleaner pool at dawn, reducing the need for morning clean-up.

3. Windy Weather

If you live in an area frequently affected by windy and dry conditions, using a solar cover becomes a must.

Firstly, wind can rapidly increase the rate of water evaporation. This not only leads to a drop in water levels but can also disturb the pool’s chemical balance. 

A consistent loss of water means you’ll need to refill your pool more often, which can be both costly and time-consuming. 

Moreover, when water evaporates, it doesn’t take the chemicals with it, leading to a higher concentration of chemicals in the remaining water. This can make the water harsher on the skin and eyes.

Secondly, windy conditions often carry with them a barrage of debris, including leaves, dust, twigs, and even trash. This debris can clutter your pool, making it uninviting and increasing the need for regular cleaning. 

Moreover, debris can clog filters and skimmers, leading to potential damage and more frequent maintenance.

4. In Winter

In winter, your pool experiences a set of challenges distinct from other seasons. 

The dropping temperatures can cause the water to freeze, or even lead to potential cracks and damage to the pool’s lining and structure. 

This is where you need to invest in a cold weather-resistant pool cover.

This is where a cold weather-resistant pool cover becomes invaluable. By providing a protective barrier, it not only prevents the water from turning into ice but also shields the pool from accumulating snow, sleet, and debris.

Moreover, winter winds can carry a variety of unwanted materials into your pool, from leaves to twigs and even trash. 

A sturdy pool cover ensures that these contaminants are kept at bay, reducing the cleaning and maintenance efforts required when it’s time to reopen the pool in spring.


Should I Leave the Solar Cover on During the Day?

You shouldn’t leave solar covers during the day to allow even heating and prevent algae growth.

Should Solar Pool Cover Be on or off During Sunny Days?

Solar pool covers should be off during sunny days to prevent excessive water heating and reduce the risk of algae growth.

Should I Leave the Solar Cover on While on Vacation?

You should leave the solar cover on while on vacation to maintain the pool’s temperature and protect against debris. However, ensure proper chemical balance to prevent algae growth.

What to Do With Solar Cover When Not in Use?

When not in use, store the solar cover in a shaded area, rolled or folded, to protect it from UV damage and prolong its lifespan.


As promised, we’ve covered using solar pool covers during the day, including their temperature benefits and potential issues under intense sunlight. 

Thus, you now have a clear understanding of when to keep your solar pool cover on and when to take it off.

If you seek personal advice, I’d suggest using the cover strategically: keep it on during cooler times, but remove it on bright days to prevent overheating and maintain your pool’s health.

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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