Everything You Need To Know About Solar Pool Covers

Kenneth Wilson

Whether you’re a new pool owner or a longtime one, one of the biggest expenses and inconveniences you’ve found yourself dealing with is how to heat your pool. There are tons of different options out there but one of the most efficient methods out there is through a simple solar cover!

A solar cover is anything that forms a layer over the water in your pool, keeping water from evaporating while helping to focus the sun’s rays for extra heat. 

How fast does a solar cover heat a pool?

It all depends on how much sunlight you have, the quality of your solar cover, and the time of year, but the short answer is that investing in a good solar cover can heat your pool up to 5 degrees for every 12 hours of sun! A pool cover can also help your pool retain some of its heat through the night, so that even before the sun has been on the pool all day you still have nice warm water. Using a solar cover to heat your pool can be a great idea especially when you consider how inexpensive and easy to use they are.

How does a Solar Cover Work?

The fastest way that a pool typically loses heat is actually through evaporation. As the warmer water on the surface of the pool absorbs the rays of the sun it evaporates, leaving only the cooler water below for you to swim in! A good solar cover performs two functions: it limits the amount of water that can evaporate from your pool and it magnifies the rays of the sun to warm the water. There are a few types of solar covers that do this in different ways, and we’ll go over some of the pros and cons of the different types next.

Different Types of Solar Covers

The effectiveness of your solar cover in keeping that pool nice and warm depends on which type of solar cover you get, as there are several. (Related: Protect Your Pool: Different Types Of Pool Covers) The main thing you should look for when deciding between types of solar covers are affordability, ease of use, and efficiency. Some of your different solar cover options include:

Solar Blankets

A solar blanket is the most popular type of solar pool cover. It looks similar to a large piece of bubble wrap that lies over the whole surface of your pool, with many pockets of air that help direct more of the sun’s rays into the water. Solar blankets can also be extremely inexpensive, with options as cheap as $70 depending on the size of the pool. This makes them an especially cost-effective option, and the most efficient option on this list.

Solar Rings

Solar rings are circular floats made of UV-resistant plastic that you can spread across the surface of your pool. The top layer of vinyl blocks most of the UV rays from the sun but passes heat through to the bottom layer which in turn heats the water of the pool. Most solar rings are roughly 4-6 feet in diameter, so it takes a few to cover your whole pool. They are, however, typically sold in a pack of at least 3 and they’re inflatable which makes them easy to store.

Liquid Solar Cover

One of the less known ways to heat a pool, a liquid solar cover addresses the major problem with using the other types of solar covers. Solar blankets and rings can be seriously irritating because you have to take them off every time you want to use your pool! A liquid solar cover is just a chemical that you add to the water in your pool. It forms a thin layer on the top of the water that slows evaporation and heat loss, and don’t worry because it’s been proven completely safe!

This is the most convenient type of solar cover to use on your pool and is similar in terms of cost to the other types. The only thing you need to do for a liquid solar cover is have a fairly regular schedule of when to apply it to your pool, but all in all it’s a great option.

How to Best Use your Solar Cover

For a solar cover to properly heat your pool, there are a few basic steps you need to take. If you’re using a solar blanket, you’ll most likely need to cut it to fit the size of your specific pool, as most of them come in a large standard size that might not work for you. A solar blanket or a set of solar rings will begin to deteriorate over time, so it’s important to make sure you check on them regularly and get a replacement when they begin to flake and deflate. Your solar cover should last a good while though, many of them have up to a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty so be sure to take note of that when purchasing and evaluating your options.

If you really want to maximize the heat that you get from your solar cover, consider combining it with a pool heating system. With a good solar cover, you can help your pool to better retain the heat it gets from the heating system, making this the recommended combination for the best possible heating of your pool. This is obviously going to cost more than just using the solar cover alone, so you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it. We think it is!


Whether you choose a solar blanket, liquid solar cover or solar rings, your investment will prove to be worth it in the long run. One final benefit of a solar cover is that it reduces the rate at which your pool chemicals deplete, which adds even more to the money you save by using a solar cover. A good solar pool cover is sure to keep your pool nice and warm and save you money at the same time. It’s really a no brainer!

Kenneth Wilson
September 15, 2021

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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