A liquid solar cover, categorized under solar pool covers, isn’t a new thing, especially among many pool owners. It’s a term you might have come across, especially when searching for the best solar pool cover.
As you well know, solar covers protect the swimming pool, especially from evaporation in the summer. There are two types of solar pool covers:
- Solid Solar Pool Covers
- Liquid Solar Pool Covers
Compared to a solid solar cover, a liquid solar cover is the easiest to use and quite effective; you don’t need to remove it while swimming.
But is it safe to swim with liquid cover on? Yes. But before you can buy it and start pouring it into your pool, it’d be best to know how it’s made, how it works, why to use it, and more; there is a lot to discuss under this topic.
What is a liquid solar pool cover?
It comes as a thin layer of liquid designed to sit on the water surface to cover it. It’s invisible to the naked eye; you neither see it nor feel it.
What is a liquid solar cover made of? It’s made using fatty alcohol mixed with another solution, mainly calcium hydroxide, to make a lighter liquid than water, creating a microscopically thin film on the pool water surface.
It’s a protective barrier effective at slowing evaporation and support heat preservation. It might not seem like a thin layer can have any effect, but it does prevent evaporation to some degree, which is the leading cause of water and heat loss.
How Does a Liquid Solar Cover Work?
The monomolecular liquid lays on the pool water surface to create a barrier. When the pool water is heated by the sun, the water retains the heat and doesn’t evaporate.
When the sun heats the water in an open pool, it becomes vapor and escapes to the sky. That doesn’t happen when you have a liquid solar cover.
Of course, some vapor could escape at high temperatures but not at the same rate as when the swimming pool is wide open.
The heat collected by the water during the day is preserved and prevented from radiating away by the liquid cover. When you apply it, the barrier created reduces evaporation, the main culprit of heat loss.
During the night, the cover also prevents the heat the same way. When the air around the pool condenses, it doesn’t pull the heat from the pool water, thanks to the barrier created.
How effective are Liquid Solar Covers?
A 2015 study that compared the evaporation effectiveness of multiple solar pool cover types showed that various liquid solar cover and evaporation suppressants reduce evaporation with 20-40% effectiveness.
It might not fare too well among other solar pool covers, but it can help reduce evaporation with less removal and storage hassle.
I also tried it by using two water basins full of water. I marked the water level, set the basin in direct sunlight and applied liquid solar pool cover to one, and left the other open.
After sunset, the water level on the uncovered water reduced two centimeters more than the covered water. The water temperature of the covered water was also five degrees higher than that of the uncovered water.
So, is a liquid cover worth it? Yes. Compared to leaving your swimming pool open during a warm day, it can help lower water loss through evaporation. It can also save you some heating bill if you use it together with a pool safety cover during the winter.
How to Use a Liquid Solar Cover in Your Pool
Have you ever used the bulky solar blanket? What was your experience? Too much work putting it on and off? That’s the opposite when using a liquid solar pool cover. There is wrestling here. Here are the steps to follow when using it:
- Step 1: Purchase enough amount of liquid solar cover for your pool. The quantity depends on the pool size. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you have the right amount.
You can also consider buying enough amount that can last for a couple of months. Mostly you will need 4oz per week for a 20,000-gallon swimming pool.
- Step 2: Before you can pour the liquid on the pool water, set a schedule. Liquid solar cover has to be added regularly to enjoy its full effectiveness.
- Step 3: Open the bottle and pour it inside the pool. It will float on the water surface. As the water move, it disperses across, binding together, thus forming a blanket.
Are Liquid Solar Pool Covers Safe?
Can you swim with a liquid solar cover on? Yes. The ingredients of a liquid solar cover are all safe to swim in. But for those sensitive to pool chemicals, there might be minor eye irritation, lighter than what you feel when you swim in a chlorine pool. The cover separates when you disturb the water surface as you swim and come together when it settles.
Is Liquid Solar Cover Safe for Kids and Pets? Yes. Similar to adults, kits and pets can swim when the liquid solar cover is on. According to liquid manufacturers, the liquid formula is biodegradable. That means it should be ok even if a little of it entered the mouth.
However, like all the other chemicals, do not allow the kids or pets to drink the pool water. Another thing, the liquid solar cover must not be ingested straight from its container. It could be harmful in high qualities or high concentrations. Keep an eye on the kids and pets when around the pool.
Can a liquid solar cover clog pool filter? No. The liquid has a formula that allows it to have a thin molecular structure, just like water. What’s more, it’s lighter than water, meaning most of it remains on the pool surface during pool circulation.
What are the Pros of Using Liquid Solar Cover?
Compared to leaving your swimming pool open, a liquid solar cover can help:
- save pool water
- retain pool heat and
- save money
Lower Pool Evaporation – Conserves Pool Water
When you leave your swimming pool open during a warm day, you risk losing water via evaporation. According to studies, pool water evaporation can lead to water loss to the extent that you will need refilling in a month or two. In a year, you might even lose up to 20,000 gallons if you live in those warm areas.
A liquid solar cover can reduce pool evaporation with an effectiveness of between 20-40%, according to a 2015 study. That means your refilling reschedule reduces.
Helps with Pool Heat Retention
With evaporation being the #1 culprit of heat loss in a pool, the liquid solar cover helps retain by reducing it.
When the solar heat enters the pool, the pool cover keeps it in, and you can enjoy it during a night swim.
During my research, I found that a liquid solar cover can help increase the water temperature by five degrees.
Lowers Energy Costs
With liquid pool covers helping retain pool heat, your water heating time could reduce, which translates to low energy bills.
If you run your pool heater with the liquid solar pool cover on, you prevent evaporation while helping warm the water faster by reducing heat loss.
And with your pool heating time reduced, your energy bills reduces significantly.
It’s Convenient to Use
Unlike the solid pool covers, you can swim with it; you don’t need to remove your liquid solar cover when swimming. It’s entirely safe and non-toxic to humans and pets.
There is no hassle of unrolling when you want to swim. When applying it, all you need to is pour it on the water surface, nothing more.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about finding the right-size cover for your swimming pool. Liquid solar cover can fit swimming pools of any size. And you know what? The manufacturer provides the quantity and frequency of using the product.
What are the Downsides of a Liquid Solar Cover?
Even though a liquid solar cover has proven to serve some real benefits, it’s not as effective as other solar pool covers like solar blankets in preventing water and heat loss.
Low Heat-and-Water-Loss Prevention Effectiveness
Liquid solar covers are 20-40% effective in preventing evaporation, while solar blankets are 95% while solar rings are 50% effective. That also means you can find a better solution for heat loss in a solar blanket.
If you live in an area with strong winds, the liquid solar cover won’t work for you. When the water surface is disturbed by the wind, the liquid cover tension breaks, uncovering the water. With repetition, the 20-40% effectiveness might reduce to 0%, which will be a loss for you.
How Often Should You Add Liquid Solar Cover?
With liquid solar cover lasting a week, you should add it weekly. That will help keep its practical level 90% and above.
How much do you add? That will depend on your pool capacity. Most brands recommend 4oz to a 20,000-gallon pool per week.
If you don’t know how to calculate your pool volume, you can use a pool volume calculator.
Where Can You Buy Liquid Solar Cover
You can get a liquid solar cover in a local pool care and equipment store near you or order it online stores from sites like amazon. Its prices range from $30-$50 per ounce, depending on the brand.
Which Side Should Pool Cover Bubbles Be – Up or Down?
The bubbles should be down facing the water with a smoother side facing up. That allows the solar energy to pass through the solar cover and get trapped inside by the bubbles. The air pockets inside the bubble prevent heat loss, thus increasing the solar cover effectiveness.
Liquid Pool Cover – Protect Your Pool
Do liquid pool covers work? Yes, of course. You can use it to lower the pool evaporation to save your pool water, keep the water warm and reduce the heating costs. Its usage is hassle-free; you don’t need to unroll it when applying. What’s more, there is no need to remove it when swimming; it’s safe for you, your kids, and your pets.