Pool Covers & Evaporation

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that a pool cover can save massive amounts of water.

Just how much varies depending on a number of factors (such as the surface area of the pool, the amount of wind, shade, water/air temperature). Anywhere between 2mm and 10mm of water every day is seen as an acceptable water loss – but this all adds up – and without rain or top ups, a pool can easily lose its entire volume of water – every year!

The single most effective thing a pool owner can do to save water is to buy (and use) a pool cover. To be honest, it doesn’t even have to be a proper pool cover – any sort of covering will help prevent evaporation – it’s just that a pool cover will be more effective, will last longer, and will be easier to use than say – cling wrap or builders plastic.

So how does it work? It’s all about evaporation. Evaporation is what happens when water turns into gas (such as steam, when you boil the kettle). Obviously your pool is not boiling like a kettle, but the theory is the same. When the water inside your pool is warmer than the air around it, evaporation will occur.  Without a cover, that water vapour will release back into the atmosphere – but with a pool cover in place, it can’t escape, and stays in your pool, where it belongs.

ABGAL Oasis Solar Pool Covers have been independently tested and proven to stop up to 99.84% of evaporation. They are Climate Care Certified, Smart Approved WaterMark Licensed, and Water Wise accredited, complying with water saving standards across all drought declared Australian states and territories.

Water Restrictions & Pool Covers

While water restrictions are nothing new to many areas of Australia (such as Tamworth residents who are currently at level 5), this is the first time Sydney has been affected since 2009.

As a pool owner, one of the most effective ways you can save water is by using a pool cover. An Oasis Solar Pool cover has been independently tested, and proven to prevent up to 99.84% of evaporation.

All our Oasis Solar Covers are licensed under the Smart Approved WaterMark, endorsed by the Water Corporation’s Waterwise program and carry the newly created Climate Care Certification from SPASA.

If your local area has recently introduced water restrictions, it’s likely that having a pool cover with one or all of these qualifications is required in order to fill or even top up your pool.

If you registered your warranty with us and require a copy of your cover’s compliance certificate, just send us a message and we’ll be able to send you a copy. Your pool shop can also log into our trade website and download a copy for you too.

If you’re not sure what your local restrictions are, check with your local council or water authority – they will have the most up to date information for you.

Water Loss. Is it evaporation or a leak?

If you’re noticing your water level dropping faster than usual, it’s a good idea to check if its due to evaporation or a leak.

The first thing you should do is what they call a ‘’Bucket Test”.

How to do the Bucket Test:

  1. Fill a bucket with pool water, about 3cm from the top.
  2. Put the bucket on the first step of your pool.
  3. Turn off your pool pump.
  4. Using a permanent marker or pieces of waterproof tape, mark the water levels both inside and outside of the bucket.
  5. Turn your pool pump back on.
  6. Wait 24 hours, and compare the water levels.
How to do the 'bucket test'.

If the water level on the outside of the bucket has gone down more than the level on the inside, it’s likely you have a leak.

If the water level on the inside of the bucket has gone down by around the same rate, then your water loss is caused by evaporation. This can be resolved by using a pool cover.

Fact #6. Is it ok to leave my solar bubble type cover rolled up in the sun when I’m not using it?

No. You should never leave a solar cover rolled up in the sun – even for a short period of time.

The nature of a bubble cover is to allow the suns rays to penetrate through the bubbles. When rolled up on roller or reel, these can build up heat internally through the multiple layers to the point of expanding the bubbles, over-heating the plastic and in extreme cases,  melting the layers together! The expansion of the bubbles on the flat side of the solar blanket is evidence the cover has been exposed to heat and the Sun when not on the pool. This can cause the cover to appear to shrink in size as the upward expansion of the bubbles, causes the cover to contract and measure less than before the bubbles were expanded.

The excess heat can cause a premature degradation of the plastic in sections across the blanket around the width of the rolled up blanket (around 300mm)  and 900mm apart which is commonly known as “Roller Burn”. This caused by not covering the blanket when it is rolled up on the Reel. The way to avoid this is to always cover the blanket when rolled up on the aluminium tube of the Roller Reel.

Again, you can confirm this by looking at the flat side of the bubbles and seeing if the layer is flat or slightly indented (normal) or raised a little, and this means the blanket has been exposed.

You cannot reverse this damage, but you can prolong the life of the pool cover by preventing any further exposure. Always use the ‘Overcover’ provided with your reel/roller to protect the solar blanket when stored.  If you do not have an overcover, you can purchase one from your poolshop, or you could make one using a reflective tarp.

ABGAL supply an overcover with all Hydrotools branded reels. It is a white, heat reflective poly tarp fabric with a cord at each end, designed to slip over the rolled up solar blanket pool cover.

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!

Pool Shops: How to give your customer a 10 year warranty on a pool cover

warrantySick of losing pool cover sales to that faceless stranger who continues to undercut you on ebay? You can’t beat them on price, but you can beat them on service. Talk to your customer, and help them choose the right product for their needs.

Offer an installation service too – not only do you make a few extra dollars , but by ensuring the cover is installed correctly, you extend their warranty. That’s right – we will extend the warranty on all 500 micron Oasis covers to a whopping TEN years (pro-rata), when profesionally installed.

The extended warranty is only on professionally installed covers, to give you an edge over web sales. All you need to do is arrange for a professional installation of the solar cover, and make sure your customer quotes the name of the installer when registering their warranty with us – we automatically upgrade their warranty from 8 years to 10.

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.

If you find your pool water is too warm, you may consider a non heating pool cover like KoolCover – it will insulate the water and stop evaporation, but being opaque, it doesn’t heat the water like a traditional solar blanket.

 

 

What made my pool turn green?

Unless you’re talking about being environmentally friendly, its never a good thing to have a ‘green’ pool.

We’ve had a beautiful few sunny days here in Queensland – many of us were peeling back the pool covers over the weekend, ready to take the plunge. Unfortunately for some though, the last couple of months of neglect meant that they uncovered pools which were less than in tip top shape.

If you have  a solar pool blanket and rolled it off over the weekend to reveal less than crystal clear swimming conditions, don’t panic – if its only just happened, it shouldnt take too much to get it back under control. The instance we had on the weekend was due to the automatic chlorinator giving up the ghost at some point during the week.

Super chlorination is the quick fix, so if you’ve got company coming over this weekend, it is your best bet. (Remember though, if you superchlorinate, take your pool cover off first, and leave it off until the water balance is returned to normal).

If the pool is allowed to stay green for long, correcting it will become a really big (and expensive) job, so is  is a good idea to test your water regularly, and continually make the minor adjustments needed to keep your chemical balance  right for swimming. There are several contributing factors towards a green pool, but the main culprits include inadequate filtration, unbalanced water, warm temperatures, increased sunlight and a presence of phosphates, nitrates and carbon dioxide.

Once it has turned green, there are several steps you need to take to get it back to its best. Your pool shop will be able to give you detailed advice to suit your pool, based on your test results, so take a sample of your pool  water and head to your pool shop.

Our advice? Don’t ‘set and forget’. Pick up a packet of test strips, and roll back a corner of your pool cover every week or so during off season and keep an eye on your water balance. Two minutes a week can save you a major headache down the track!

 

 

 

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.  🙂

 

 

How to stop heat loss from my pool

The biggest cause of heat loss from a swimming pool is evaporation. A number of factors contribute to evaporation in your pool – air temperature compared to the water temperature, humidity level and the amount of wind blowing across the surface of the pool. The bigger the difference between the air temperature and the water temperature in a pool, the greater the evaporation and therefore the greater the heat loss. The same for low humidity environments, the potential for evaporation is increased when the humidity is low. When the wind is blowing across the surface of the pool, you increase the amount of evaporation and therefore heat loss.

If you are spending money to heat your pool, the last thing you want to do is throw that money down the drain…  So invest in a good quality pool cover, and you’ll see the difference straight away! The pool cover will create a barrier between the wind and the water surface, and can also stop up to 99% of evaporation! A cover with good thermal properties will also stop heat loss through the fabric.

There are some different types of covers ranging from chemicals that coat the water surface, to floating rings to proper fabric covers. The chemicals and rings are not as effective as good quality fabric cover that is fully waterproof and covers the whole surface of the pool in one piece.  The chemical style evaporates away by itself and needs to be continually added to be of any benefit. Rings – while they look cute, and (individually) stop evaporation, they are really not a practical solution as they leave lots of gaps which allow leaves and debris to fall through to the pool water. These eventually sink to the floor of the pool and need to be cleaned up by a pool vacuum or automatic pool cleaner. If you use a one piece fabric cover, it will help keep the leaves out of the pool as well as stop heat loss. Most fabric covers can be used in conjunction with a pool reel system to make covering and uncovering easier.

So if your main goal is to stop your pool from losing heat overnight, the best thing you can do is invest in a good quality, thermal pool cover.