Jan 18

7 Ways to destroy a solar pool cover and void your warranty

  1. Not turning down automated chlorinators after a solar cover is installed. A cover reduces chlorine consumption by around 50% – if the chlorinator is not turned down, it will produce too much chlorine, and damage the cover. If your chlorinator is already running on its lowest setting, you can reduce the running time slightly, or add fresh water as needed.
  2. Not removing the cover after super chlorination. If you super chlorinate, always remove the cover first, and do not replace it until after chemical levels have returned to normal.
  3. Not keeping chemical levels to within the Australian Standard. Even being slightly over for a prolonged period of time will cause bleaching and brittleness of the cover. We recommend you test your pool chemicals regularly. You don’t need a full breakdown from your pool shop every weekend – just a quick check at home with some test strips is sufficient.
  4. Leaving a floating chlorine dispenser under the cover. While a floating chlorine dispenser is ok, they don’t float so well when they’re jammed under a cover. They will simply sit there, and cause a large concentration of chlorine in one area – and will damage your cover (causing bleach spots/burn), and probably damage the pool finish too.
  5. Leaving the cover exposed to sunlight when not on the pool. Solar covers are designed to attract and store heat. When a solar cover is rolled or folded, each layer gets hotter, and the temperatures build up through each layer. We have seen covers which have gotten so hot the layers closest to the reel have literally melted and fused together. To prevent this from happening, all ABGAL cover rollers are supplied with a protective overcover, which must be used when the cover is not on the pool.
  6. Improper storage. This picture? It wasn’t staged. It was literally what we saw whe7-ways-to-ruin-a-pool-cover-and-void-your-warrantyn we went to visit a pool owner – and they knew we were coming!! They didn’t want it on the pool at the time, so they’d ‘moved it out of the way’ for a few days. When on a reel, or folded, a blanket should be covered with a heat reflective cover. If storing for an extended period of time, it should be rinsed with clean water, and allowed to dry thoroughly before storage – and stored in a covered and protected area, at below 45 degrees celcius.
  7. Incorrect positioning on the pool. A solar cover shouldn’t be dragged over the pool deck, decorative rocks or sharp coping. And it should be cut to shape, so that it moves easily on the water. We’ve heard of people leaving them in a rectangular shape on a kidney shaped pool, then holding the edges down with bricks and rocks to stop them blowing off in the wind!
Oct 17

Why did my solar pool cover turn my pool green?

Generally, if your pool turns green, it is because of algae. While algae is pretty much always present to some extent, it can become resistant to normal levels of chlorine, and if the conditions are right, it can take over, in a very short period of time.

Algae loves

1. Low chlorine levels;

2. Phosphates; and

3. Warm water.

If you already have low chlorine and phosphates present in your pool, then adding a solar pool cover (which warms the water) will most certainly help existing algae to thrive.

So while a solar cover won’t actually ‘turn your pool green’, it will warm your water by up to 8 degrees, so if the other conditions are right, adding a solar cover can easily accelerate algae growth, very rapidly.

You need to get the water balance in your pool right before putting the cover back on. Take a water sample down to your pool shop, explain what is happening and they will work out what you need, based on your pool water condition, and set you on the right path. If you wish to do it yourself, (and it is only just starting to turn green), the first step is an algae starver. This will remove the phosphate build up, (the algae food), and thus, the algae starves. Filter your pool for 12-24 hours, to remove all the algae spores from the water.

Its also a good idea to backwash or clean the filter afterwards, to ensure there are no algae spores trapped inside the filter. If there is algae spores left in the filter, you have a greater chance of the problem recurring.

If the algae is really severe (ie you can see it on the pool walls and floor), you really wont be able to avoid a trip to the pool shop. Superchlorination is required, and you will need professional advice with regard to quantities and concentrations of chemicals. Ensure your pool cover is completely removed when you superchlorinate, and do not put it back on the pool until chemical levels return to within the Australian Standard.

 

 

Aug 27

Solar Pool Cover: Water inside the bubbles

Have you ever noticed a small amount of water inside the bubbles of your solar pool cover? No, it does not mean your cover has holes in it – the water is not seeping inside. It’s actually just condensation, (like you get on the outside of a cold drink). It means that the air inside the bubble is a different temperature to the air outside of the bubbles. It is not a fault with the cover, and does not mean the cover is damaged. It is perfectly normal, the water droplets will disappear as soon as the temperatures inside the bubble and outside equalize again.

This condensation will not affect the performance of the pool cover in any way.  🙂

 

 

Jun 22

Is your pool ready to swim?

Spring is here and, as the warmer weather coaxes us into the outdoors more, it’s time to get your pool ready to swim.

Is your pool too cold? Green and neglected? Full of leaves and debris? Or, all of the above? The solution is easy…

A cold pool is easily transformed into an oasis with a solar pool blanket. They raise your pool water temperature by up to 8 degrees C and can extend your swimming season by up to 3 months a year, so you can start swimming sooner.

A green pool usually means algae has started to grow in the water, due to lack of maintenance. Super chlorination is the quick fix, backed up with regular testing and adjusting to get the chemical balance just right for swimming again. Remember to remove your pool cover when super chlorinating!

If a pool full of leaves is getting you down, simply cover up with a fitted pool cover. There are many different styles available for both inground and above ground pools, salt water and chlorinated, specifically for keeping your pool leaf-free. They are cost effective and can pay for themselves in the first year, due to how much money you’ll save on chemicals and water. Plus, you’ll have more free time to swim in your crystal clear pool.

 

May 12

True or False? Uncovering the myths about pool covers…

1. “You don’t need a pool cover with a heated pool.”
A. False. Yes, you do. More than one third of the heat you put into your pool can be wasted if you don’t cover it up. We as a society can’t afford to waste that much energy these days, particularly if your pool is heated using fossil fuels like electricity or gas.

2. “Pool covers don’t work that well anyway” 
A. False. Yes, they do. It is a scientific fact that a waterproof cover stops evaporation and reduces chemical usage.

3. Just use “floating rings” or this “new miracle chemical” that you cannot see, but somehow magically eliminates evaporation from your pool.
A. False, false, false. The simple fact is, if the cover is fully waterproof, it will stop nearly 100% of water evaporating out of your pool. Floating rings and invisible chemicals just don’t do the same job. Don’t be fooled by bogus claims. If it seems too good to be true, it very often is.

4. Do I really need a pool cover in the winter time?
A. True if you want to save water and pool chemicals. With a cover you can reduce the pool filter running cycle to save electricity too. Otherwise you will still spend the same on electricity running the filter and cleaning time keeping leaves and debris out of the pool.

5. Pool covers look ugly, don’t they?
A. False. Not at all, a properly fitting and maintained pool cover will complement any pool surround.

6. Pool Covers really save a lot of chemicals?
A. True. By keeping the Sun off the pool water and reducing the light entering the pool or sealing the top of the pool, they substantially reduce the chemicals needed. A pool covered with a floating cover will use around 2/3 less chlorine.

7. I have read that some Pool Covers save over 99% evaporation?
A. True. A Pool Cover made from a fully waterproof fabric (like a floating bubble cover) will stop almost 100% of vapour transferring through the fabric.

 

May 01

Fact #5b: Week 2 of “How often we fail, in our cover-up plan”

When planning a new pool or refurbishing an existing pool and surround, the question to start with is not “Do I need a pool cover?” but rather, “What type of pool cover do I need?”

Pool covers are an environmentally responsible part of owning a pool these days, but they are generally purchased after the pool and landscaping has been completed.

Keep your options open, by being smart and planning your pool cover in the beginning, when planning the rest of your pool entertainment area.

Start by asking yourself these questions…

• Will the pool be heated?
• Are there overhanging trees which will drop leaves into the pool?
• Is the pool exposed to high winds?
• Is it more important to reduce leaves, retain heat or reduce evaporation and therefore water loss?

Use the answers to these questions as the basis for choosing the right pool cover for you, so you can plan for it when designing your new pool area.

If you are planning on a fully automated cover, these cost many thousands of dollars and need to be built into the pool structure for best results. While these are expensive, they can make covering the pool as easy as pushing a button. However, if you have lots and lots of leaves, some styles do not keep all the leaves out of the pool, so choose carefully.

If your pool will not be heated and you have existing trees that shed their leaves, then a tie-down leaf cover is probably best for you. But if the pool is heated or you are looking to extend your swimming season with free heat from the sun, a floating pool blanket is your cover of choice.

Now that you’ve decided on the type of pool cover which best suits you, now think about the storage of it. Most floating covers will be stored on a Reel or Roller. These are popular as they are portable and reasonably lightweight. They are as wide as the pool by about half a metre deep. In your planning stage, ensure your landscaping allows enough room for the Reel. It is usually stored at one end of the pool, away from the gate or pool access.

If you have a lot of leaves raining down on your pool, you will likely choose a tie-down, leaf cover. These overhang the coping and keep out all the leaves and twigs, seed and blossom. Leaf covers have fixing points about 1 metre apart, most often fixed into the coping or pool surround. Plan your paving to accommodate these fittings. You need to allow enough space between the waters edge and any change in level, for the cover overlap and the tie-down fittings. A minimum of 300mm is ideal…

A leaf cover is usually rolled up like a tent and often comes with a storage bag. These are usually custom-made to shape for inground pools or readily available in standard sizes for above ground pools.

A properly fitting pool cover makes pool maintenance a breeze. It will give you peace of mind when you’re away for extended periods and have a leaf problem, plus you will help the environment by saving lots of water and pool chemicals. Be smart, and cover up…
Mar 10

Fact #2: Pool covers save water – but how much?

One of the questions I am often asked is, “How much water does a pool cover save”? We all know that pool covers save water by virtually eliminating evaporation when they’re on the pool, but how much evaporation does your pool have? It’s a valid question and one that, in the past may have been quite subjective.

Now, you can look at statistical averages on the government weather bureau website to see 10 year averages of evaporation in your area, and then make some sort of calculation from there. However, the nationally endorsed Smart Approved Watermark website has developed a handy tool for pool owners to calculate how much water a cover will save. I’ve just tried it for my own pool and it showed evaporative water loss of over 73,000 litres per year. Isn’t that a staggering amount?

How much would your pool lose in a year? Click on the link and see for yourself, then tell your friends about it.

Go to  and enter in your postcode and some details about the size of your pool and how often it is used. With a simple “click”, the magic number appears, taking all the necessary factors into consideration.

This means it’s really easy to justify why all pool owners should use a pool cover and just how much precious water they will save. So, try it for yourself and spread the word, to see how much we can contribute to sustainable water usage for Australia’s future, today!
Mar 03

Fact #1: what you must know about Salt Chlorinators and pool covers

One of the best inventions for pool owners is the salt chlorinator. When these were invented, they reduced the weekly cost of adding chemicals to the pool and, most importantly, they were an automatic dosing system which meant less time spent maintaining the pool.

Fact #1: These units are not fully automatic. When running, they are constantly dosing your pool, so you still need to monitor the chlorine level yourself. Most pool owners think that these automatic chlorinators are “set and forget”, but they are wrong! Checking the correct level of chlorine in the pool is critical for the health of your family.

It’s also important for the life of pool accessories too. For example, a pool cover is so efficient at reducing the amount of chlorine needed, that the chlorine production on the chlorinator should be turned down by two thirds, so it is only producing around one third as much chlorine as when the pool is uncovered. If the chlorinator is not adjusted, the level of chlorine in the pool gradually increases to a point where it starts to attack the pool cover and pool cleaner and is not healthy for swimming.Obvious signs of an over-chlorinated pool are:

  • The underside of the pool cover looks bleached.
  • Pieces of the pool cover start to flake off and you find them in the pool skimmer.
  • The automatic pool cleaner skirt and parts get sticky and discoloured.
  • Pool accessories that are in the water start to perish (like the cord attached to a thermometer).

How can you fix this? Unfortunately, once a high chlorine level has damaged your pool cover or pool cleaner, the damage cannot be reversed. But, you can easily check the chlorine level yourself with a standard test kit — or even easier, by using testing (dip) strips, then adjust the chlorine output to suit.

The good news for the future is that self-adjusting, salt chlorinators are being developed and released into the swimming pool market. These innovations check the chlorine level at regular intervals and automatically adjust the chlorine output to maintain an ideal, continuous level. Look for these in your pool shop or online, if you want the convenience of not having to check chlorine levels yourself, and to avoid damage to your pool cover and pool cleaner.